Marry your rapist? Female POWs as war trophies? Does the Old Testament really condone rape?

When attacking atheism, Christians will say without God, there is no objective right or wrong. With no divine lawgiver, everything is permitted. Rape might be taboo, but there is no way the atheist can say that it is truly evil. If the skeptic knows a bit about the Old Testament, they might be glad you brought up the R-word. “Oh really!? Well, then how can morality be based on a divine lawgiver that condones and allows rape?” Admittedly, there is some funky sounding stuff in the Old Testament. For example: We read in Judges that the Israelites hatched a scheme to allow the pathetic Benjaminites to essentially rape 400 women at Jabesh-Gilead so their clan’s … Read more

No, David Hume’s Treatise Against Miracles is Not Knock-down Argument

The apostle Paul said that Christianity stands or falls on the claim that Jesus rose from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:14) Yet for many religious skeptics, any argument made for a miracle is a project doomed from the start. It simply cannot get off the ground. Why is that the case? Enter the famous Scottish philosopher David Hume. In 1748 Hume wrote a short essay called Of Miracles. Hume vigorously argued that one can ever rationally believe a miracle claim because there is always more evidence that one did not occur. Michael Shermer has gone so far to say that “I think his treatise against miracles is pretty much a knockdown argument. Everything else is … Read more

7 eye-opening facts we learn about early Christianity from a Roman Historian who hated Christians

Most of what we learn about Jesus and early Christianity comes from the New Testament. This is not a big shock. But what does come as a shock to some is that we can also learn a lot from non-Christian sources. There are some hostile sources from the first century from whom we can glean a lot. One of them is from a guy named Tacitus. Who is Tacitus? Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56-120 AD) is his full name, and that’s as Roman as it gets. Tacitus was a Roman senator and is also considered to be one of the greatest Roman historians. His works – The Annals and Histories gives us a lot of info on … Read more

Did Matthew Really Write the Gospel Attributed To Him?

If it could be shown that Matthew’s gospel was written by one of the twelve apostles, it would be a decisive weight in favor of the credibility of biblical history. After all, Matthew would have had a front-row seat to Jesus’ life and alleged miracles. Because of that, skeptics have challenged the genuineness of the authorship of Matthew. For example, here’s the famous agnostic Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman in an interview with NPR: “All the Gospels were written anonymously, and none of the writers claims to be an eyewitness…Whoever wrote Matthew did not call it “The Gospel according to Matthew.” The persons who gave it that title are telling you who, in their opinion, wrote … Read more

Polycarp – How a church father with a funny name gives us strong evidence for the early use and high esteem of the New Testament documents

How do we know the books that we have in the New Testament are the right books? Why isn’t the Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Mary included with the other four gospels? And didn’t the teachings of the disciples and apostles get corrupted over the centuries? Christians often get tested with these questions. While I hate to admit it, this is also the quiz that most believers flunk. We need to be better prepared and that requires a little understanding of early church history. So let me introduce you to a guy who went by the funny name of Polycarp. His life and martyrdom are a big part of the answer to these … Read more

7 powerful passages from The Book of Acts that show that the Apostle Paul used evidence and reason to turn the world upside down for Jesus.

Well-meaning Christians argue that using evidence and reason doesn’t bring people to faith. We’re just supposed to preach the gospel and let the Holy Spirit do his job. Paul is the model missionary, and he said that preaching Christ with eloquent speech would empty the cross of its power. (1 Corinthians 1:17) On the surface, arguments like this sound right. People do need the aid of the Holy Spirit to come to Christ. Plus, faith does come by hearing the word of Christ. (John 16:7-9, Romans 10:17) But if we look closer at Paul’s teaching and life, we will see that Paul absolutely relied on logic, reason, argumentation, and evidence to defend the truth of … Read more

Answering Ehrman: Why We Won’t Lose or Abuse Free Will in Heaven

The problem of evil comes up a lot when talking to non-believers. If you haven’t got the question about why an all-good, all-powerful God allows evil, you need to step out more. Why are there suicide bombers, school shooters and people that eat Tide Pods? Why does God allow such pointless evils? The standard Christian rejoinder is that God gave man free will. He doesn’t want Stepford Wives, he wants people who can make free choices. Free will makes love possible, but it also makes evil possible as well. Now that’s not a bad response to the problem of moral evil. There’s a problem, though. Christians are also committed to the idea that the saints … Read more

6 ancient sources that prove the traditional authorship of the Four Gospels

Double standards are the worst. Have you ever been on the wrong side of a double standard? Of course, you have. To use an example, let’s say I have someone drop by my house unexpectedly. I have four kids so things are bound to get messy. Let’s pretend that there’s an empty pizza box sitting on the counter, crumbs on the floor, toys are strewn about the living room and a pile of dishes in the sink. While this feels awkward for me, my wife is going to feel extremely uncomfortable and anxious about it.  Why? Because she is far more likely going to get unfairly judged over it. Even in this day where sexism … Read more

Killing the Canaanites: Why can’t atheists like Richard Dawkins tell the difference between genocide and justified capital punishment?

Critics of Christianity (and Judaism) have said that the God of the Old Testament is worse than Hitler, Stalin and Mao Zedong put together. Richard Dawkins has famously wrote in his book The God Delusion: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” Dawkins must have had his thesaurus handy when he wrote that, but I digress. It’s not as if Dawkins and other critics have no basis for these claims. Deuteronomy 20:16-17 reads “… in the cities of these … Read more

There are two kinds of skeptics. Jesus demonstrated how to deal with both types.

We can gain knowledge about the subject of Christian apologetics until our eyes bug out of our heads. But knowing how to apply that information in our everyday lives is another animal. And a big part of learning effective communication is knowing our audience. I’m old enough to remember those cheezy WWJD bracelets from the ’90s. I’m sure they decorated the wrist of many a Newsboys concert-goer. They do raise a good question that we’ll apply here. What did Jesus do when faced with doubters? Let’s look at a couple of examples: The open-minded doubter – John the Baptist Yes, even a spiritual stalwart like John the Baptist went through a period of doubt in … Read more