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Atlanta, 4 November 2015

Greetings from the U.S.! We're home from our 5-week tour (St. Legièr, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Zürich, Geneva). What an amazing time! See the photo gallery (first 36 shots).

After the customary recap of the previous Answering Skeptics installment, we begin the final unit of the series, Religion. How do we respond to common allegations about why religion is bad -- and to some, the source of all evil?
The Answering Skeptics series:
Hypocrisy, Scripture, Morality, Nonsense questions, God, Science, Suffering, Miracles, Christ, and Religion

Recap: Skeptic questions 13-18, about Christ's Resurrection
  • "Jesus' resurrection was faked": A careful reading of the gospels shows that the disciples lacked means, motive, and opportunity. This is most unlikely.
  • "Christ was copied from mythological figures": The so-called parallels are too late, many appearing in manuscripts later than the N.T. And the History of Religions school roundly rejected this notion a century ago!
  • "The Resurrection is no different than other pagan 'resurrections'": Actually, it is very different. Christ rises once, not annually; the agricultural cycle is in no way linked to Christ's resurrection; he came back in a physical body in this world, not to the underworld; he was seen by many witnesses.
  • "His followers were gullible": They knew as well as we do that people don't come back from the dead. It doesn't take a high level of education to tell the difference between resurrection and unsubstantiated rumor.
  • "The gospel accounts vary in the details, so the resurrection must be rejected": While the gospels do exhibit different emphases, all agree on the basic points: death, burial, empty tomb, witnesses to the risen Christ.
  • "Group hallucination": Sometimes the ghost of a loved one appears post mortem, especially during a familiar routine. But Jesus' followers did not expect to see him. Further, they encountered him not a ghost, but as a living human. Would the "hallucination" appear to 500 persons, or over a period of 40 days?

Religious wars

Reacting to all the suffering inflicted in the name of religion, many modern unbelievers reject all religion as dangerous. When we are asked to account for the problem, the first thing we should do is to concede that it is a problem. Religious violence contradicts the message and "turns people off." We ought to be ashamed that for many, Christianity is the religion of the oppressor, the bigot, and the persecutor. Possible answers to four common questions:
  • "What about the Crusades?" -- The Crusades, Inquisition, pogroms, bigotry, hate crimes, etc. are a blight on Christianity. Yet the fact that they are done in the name of Christ does not prove that they are caused by him. However, given the extremely negative freight carried by the word "crusade," esp. for Muslims and Jews, this is a word we may do well to avoid altogether.
  • "So many have been killed for religion!" -- True, many have been killed in religious wars, but atheistic and anti-Christian governments kill, too. In the 20th century alone, over 100 million perished at the hands of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Amin, Pol Pot, et al. If faith is dangerous, then unbelief is even more perilous.
  • "Religion causes wars." -- Among the complex causes of war, political / economic struggle lies at the core, not religion. (Although religion provides a nice justification.)
  • "God is violent, especially in the Old Testament." -- God is equally peaceful / retributive in both testaments. Further, whereas the OT regulated violence, the NT forbids it (Matt 5; Rom 12). Christianity isn’t political (Eph 6:12). For more, please listen to my podcast The God of the Old Testament.


In the last two months of the year I will be attending multiple conferences (my "continuing education"), as well as working on a couple of new books and preparing the January daily podcasts on Proverbs. Please become a member of the site to gain access to all 31 Proverbs podcasts, as well as all 10,000 pages of the website, so that you may begin 2016 with strategy and determination. And if you're not a subscriber, click here (then scroll down) to receive the newsletter.

Yours in Him,
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