Posts Tagged “Contesting Christianity”

Sign with line through Christian cross

Contesting Christianity: Wrapping Up

Religion · · 19 comments

Well, we have come to the end of my ten-part series. What a journey it’s been! I hope that it has been informative and has made you think about which arguments can or should be used to defend Christianity, and which should be left aside. But to wrap up this series, I’d like to share a few more thoughts about how to think about beliefs in general.Continue Reading

Falling Dominoes

Contesting Christianity: Consequentialist Arguments

The last set of arguments I wish to discuss is comprised of what are known as “consequentialist arguments.” In other words, these are arguments that, instead of dealing with the truth of Christianity, instead talk about what the consequences would be if Christianity were false. This is an enormously popular strategy, and anyone who has discussed with a Christian the reasons why he or she believes is likely to have at one point heard the statement, “But if Christianity isn’t true, then ______.”Continue Reading

The Empyrean, by Gustave Doré

Contesting Christianity: Personal Experience

The next argument I would like to deal with concerns personal experiences. While this argument is widely used by Christians and believers of other religions, it is difficult to pin down and make explicit. It is odd that something which seems to be one of the primary factors for religious belief is so notoriously hard to put into words. Often it comes down to, “I just know God exists.” But I find that a deeply unsatisfying answer when there is nothing to back up that knowledge—other than perhaps a vague feeling. Nevertheless, considering the impact it evidently has on believers around the world, I think it is important to deal with it. As I have already written about prayer and miracles, those topics will not be covered here. Instead, I would like to talk about three things: visions and other strange occurrences, the “changed life” phenomenon, and personal feelings.Continue Reading

Scroll

Contesting Christianity: Messianic Prophecies

Religion · · 28 comments

One of the arguments that Christians use to prove that Jesus was who he said he was is that he fulfilled all of the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. As the argument goes, there are hundreds of prophecies that foretell of the Messiah and what he would do, and many of these were even prophecies that Jesus had no control over. He might have been able to control whether he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, but he couldn’t control where he was to be born! Usually the argument then states that the likelihood of one man fulfilling all these prophecies perfectly is extremely unlikely…Continue Reading

Creation

Contesting Christianity: Young Earth/Creationism

Religion, Science · · 25 comments

Creationism was always one of my favourite issues as a Christian. I spent time online debating people who defended evolution, and I enjoyed “poking holes” in their arguments. Of course, despite my zeal for debates and apologetics, I had never actually read any books by evolutionists or spent any time researching what evolutionists said—my information always came from creationist sources. So, I would hear what creationists had to say, and I would hear what creationists said evolutionists had to say, but I never heard what evolutionists themselves had to say (outside of the debates I had). Creationists, of course, aren’t going to bring up arguments that they can’t deal with, so I was clearly missing out on the best arguments for evolution. When I actually spent some time researching the issue, I realized just how much I had missed. So this post will attempt to summarize the arguments for a young earth and for creationism, as well as what I feel to be the best arguments against these views. Obviously I don’t have room to cover everything (this post is long enough as it is!), but there is plenty of information out there for those who are interested in learning more. I will put some links to further reading at the bottom of this article.Continue Reading

Philosophy - Plato and Aristotle

Contesting Christianity: Philosophical Arguments

As far as my experience has shown, philosophical arguments do not play a large role in the life of most believers. Most people seem to come to be a Christian either from growing up into a Christian family or through an intense emotional experience of “conversion”. Nevertheless, philosophical arguments for the existence of God and/or the truth of Christianity have a rich historical tradition, from Thomas Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo to Descartes and Kant. And while many philosophers have conceded that these arguments are ultimately unsuccessful, they still do have their supporters even today. So I’d like to take some time to examine a few of the most common philosophical arguments for God.Continue Reading

Praying hands

Contesting Christianity: Prayer and Miracles

Religion, Science · · 13 comments

Prayer and miracles are two more key aspects of Christianity. While it seems that the Christian faith could survive without these things, it would seem to be a pretty bland religion if it did. The efficacy of prayer is often touted in church services as evidence for the truth of Christianity. And miracles are a key element of some Christians’ defense of the faith as well. But do these arguments hold up to scrutiny? I would argue that they do not, and that the reason these arguments are used is because the individuals using them don’t adequately ask themselves what they might expect if God did not exist. Like any good scientist, in order to evaluate a hypothesis, we must establish what we would expect if the statement were true, and what we would expect if it were false. I am going to attempt to do just this in regard to prayer first, and then miracles, to determine whether these phenomena can reasonably be used as evidence of God’s existence.Continue Reading