Five Books for Skeptics and Seekers

Do you ever feel like you have to have all the answers for your skeptical friends? Here’s the problem: it is way, way easier to ask a hard question than to give a good answer. In the space of five minutes someone can ask twenty incredibly difficult questions: how can we know anything at all? Maybe the Bible was altered by a group of powerful religious leaders – prove me wrong! How do you know Jesus is God? What about the violence in the Old Testament? How do you reconcile faith and science? What is your opinion on evolution? Doesn’t the Bible contradict itself? And on and on it can go…

Read more

How To Answer Your Friends’ Questions

In this post I am going to teach you a process that will let you answer your friends’ questions. Seriously. You can do this.

Before we begin, though, we need to recognize a more general point. Whenever we decide to learn something new, there’s a three-step process:

  1. Decide that the new skill is worth learning.
  2. Overcome our initial fears of not being good at the new skill.
  3. Become competent at the new skill.

When it comes to apologetics, I have talked to hundreds of people who buy into #1. “Yes, apologetics is a skill worth learning. It would be amazing to be able to answer my friends’ questions. I would really like to be able to do that.”

Read more

Why I Love Being Wrong

One of the most common phrases I hear about research scientists is that they love to be wrong. Why? Because when they are wrong, it means there’s a good chance they have discovered something new. This new data, which does not fit the current paradigms, can lead them to a breakthrough discovery. So being wrong can quite literally lead to fame and fortune.

By contrast, of course, the common perception seems to be that Christians absolutely hate to be wrong. Rather, Christians (especially conservative, evangelical, or fundamentalist ones) appear to have a high need for certainty that they are right.

Think about it: don’t these words all seem to go together?

Read more

Five Ways To Answer A Question

Christians seem to have a poor reputation for answering questions.

Would you like to know why people don’t listen to our answers? And do you want some ideas for changing this situation? Then this post is for you!

Let’s start by understanding the problem a little better. There are at least three reasons why people are not always interested in our answers:

  • For one, sometimes we are offering an answer when no one asked us a question.
  • Two, sometimes we seem to have only one way of answering questions: by giving a lecture. People start to doze off, frustrated that their mild curiosity has been taken advantage of and that they are now subject to a rambling theological discourse and a full-bore presentation of, say, the gospel message. It is like asking to see a movie trailer and being shown the extended Director’s Cut version.
  • Finally, the mismatch between our lives and words – this is called hypocrisy – means that others don’t really care what we think. They see our lives, they are unimpressed, and they decide they aren’t interested in what we have to say.

So today let’s break out of the box and look at five different ways to answer a question!

Read more

The Reason for God by Tim Keller – A Book Review

The Reason for God, by Tim Keller, is an outstanding response to the biggest questions of our day. (In the very unlikely chance that anyone is wondering: no, there is no connection whatsoever between Tim Keller and this website).

Tim Keller is the highly regarded pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, a church with weekly attendance around 5,000. Redeemer has planted dozens of other churches and is generally considered to be one of the most influential churches in America. From the first page, then, Keller has earned substantial credibility for his excellent track record of addressing people’s toughest questions in one of the world’s great cities.

Read more

Christian Hypocrisy and Unbelief

The problem of Christian hypocrisy is a major reason for unbelief. As Ghandi perceptively noted, “If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today.” In the same line of thought, one …

Read more

The Atheistic Leap of Faith

In the course of having thousands of conversations about the ultimate issues of life, I’ve encountered many skeptics who, out of a deep respect for their religious friends, are reluctant to explain their objections to faith. These skeptics have noticed that, for their friends, the practice of religion is fundamental to filling their lives with meaning, purpose, joy, and service to others. Out of a gracious and loving spirit they decide, “Hey, if that works for you, that’s great. I don’t want to mess with something that’s so beautiful to you.” Also to their credit, when sincerely invited to be open and direct about their perspective, these skeptics have been excellent conversation partners, and we’ve had rigorous, intriguing conversations about our respective beliefs.

Read more

The Problem of Blind Faith

In talking with skeptical students around Boston, I have learned that few things drive them as crazy as Christians with a blind faith. They are perplexed: “How can your core convictions be completely divorced from reason and logic?”

Three examples, just from the past year, illustrate the problem:

Read more

If you were born in another country, would you still be a Christian?

One very common question about Christianity goes like this:
 “If you were born in another country, a place like Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Iran, would you still be a Christian?”

The presumptive answer, from an honest look at the demographics, is simple: it would be very unlikely. (Though you might be surprised to learn that in 2000, 60% of all Christians lived in Africa, Latin America, or Asia).

Read more

Why Are Christians So Crazy?

Depending on where you grow up or currently live, it is possible that all or nearly all the Christians that you know strike you as crazy. For instance, they might:

  • Be opposed to science
  • Be hypocritical
  • Make racist or sexist comments
  • Treat people with different beliefs in a mean-spirited way
  • Know less about the Bible than you do
  • Take dreams, numerology, angels, demons, or “signs” way too seriously
  • Loudly share abrasive political opinions
  • Love comforting lies and wishful thinking
  • etc., etc., etc.

If the Christians you know act like this, it is probably enough to drive you a bit crazy too! There are at least three reasons for this:

  1. Crazy is bad.
  2. Expectations are high.
  3. We’re fed up.

Read more