Is There a Better Way to Persuade EC Skeptics?

(Christy Hemphill) #21

It is now, because people keep using it. :slight_smile: Language evolution right before your eyes, folks.

Here’s the graph of when this mutation emerged in the population.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #22

Now now, Christy. We all know that language evolution doesn’t happen. After all, there are some researchers who disagree with using the word “language.” QED!

[Edit: Although, I suppose we could admit that Linguistic Microevolution like this is an observed fact. It’s just that pesky Linguistic Macroevolution that doesn’t exist…]


I guess this site has been around a while too and many theologians with brilliant views that I am very late to many parties. But as of now, this N.T Wright is my favorite. I can’t stop watching all of his videos.


(Christy Hemphill) #24

He is addictive like that. You should read the book Surprised by Hope. It’s a personal favorite of mine. Nothing to do with science really, just good exegesis and theological thoughts.

(Freddy Magnanimous) #25

In what way do Christians overcome their sinfulness? It seems we’re all stuck with the same evolved nature whether we’re Christian or not. So how does this play out for the believer and the nonbeliever?


The only way to overcome sinfulness is through the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus who was a human, needed the Holy Spirit to help Him overcome sin for His entire life.

Since we can’t do this or fail to do this, we now need to rely on the justification of Jesus. We no longer need to overcome sin, Jesus overcame it for us, and is our high priest who mediates for us to God since we can’t. Though we are able to now have the Holy Spirit living inside us, who can help us avoid more sin than one without. But at this point we are avoiding sin to honor the father, not to gain any other status or reward or access to heaven. That comes only through Jesus.

(Carl W. Treleaven) #27

I don’t believe any human, Christian or non-Christian, ever can overcome his/her own sinfulness on his/her own. That’s the reason to be a Christian. In other words, all humans face this condition. Christians simply acknowledge that they cannot overcome sin on their own and seek Christ as the way to overcome it. The response of non-Christians can be divided into two broad groups: 1) those who adhere to other religious beliefs, and who usually subscribe to the idea that if one follows a particular set of practices (e.g., prayer, fasting, giving alms, worshipping God) that they can somehow overcome shortcomings through various “works”; and 2) non-Christians who believe that mankind is somehow perfectible, and how task as humans is to attempt to improve ourselves.

(Freddy Magnanimous) #28

At least these people are trying to improve. Can these be fruitful paths to take? Or do they lead to hell?

(Richard Wright) #29

There’s only one way to heaven according to Jesus:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

(Colin Cooper) #30

Christians in the US who oppose evolution or other scientific theories appear not to understand the difference between science and faith.

Natural reason and divine faith are not at odds (indeed I view them as complementary, I am a Christian) but they are very different means of pursuing knowledge based upon distinct “methods”.

What distinguishes science from faith is falsifiability, empiricism and the ability to make testable predictions. This is the fundamental difference between science and other belief systems: that a scientist can predict something in advance (we don’t know whether its true or not), then when we make an experiment and its confirmed, that then gives us reason to believe it.

Since you raised it first, let’s consider a paradigmatic example - one among many - from the Theory of Evolution to illustrate this. Darwin was fascinated by orchid pollination strategies and actually discovered a special kind of orchid known as Angraecum sesquipedale. It had an uncharacteristically long pipe-like “nectar reservoir”.

Now, on the basis of this discovery Darwinpredicted the existence of an insect with a proboscis that would be able to get “in there” and retrieve the deeply-hidden nectar.

And not long after, biologists found one -exactly as he had predicted. So the theory of the mutual evolution of pollinators and plants successfully made the prediction that if there was a plant that could only be pollinated in this way, there must be some insect that did it. And this is what you call a “testable prediction” in science.

Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, likewise, has made innumerable correct predictions - from the gravitational bending of light to the time dilation measured by our GPS phones.

There is no such experiment you can point to that could reasonably test the existence of the Holy Trinity or the Virgin Birth - because they are articles of “faith”, contingent upon the premise that they derive not from natural reason (as with science or philosophy) but from divine revelation pertaining to truths beyond the threshold of science or physical laws bounded by spacetime.

(Phil) #31

Good thoughts, though I think that rather than lack of understanding, it is a matter of their particular interpretation of scripture being a priori, and all that follows must conform to it.

Welcome to the forum! We look forward to getting to know you better and your contributions to the community. Now if you would just take a visitors card and fill it out, and put it in the plate when we take up the offering…oops, wrong community.

(Freddy Magnanimous) #32

It’s odd God made one’s geographic location a leading factor in determining one’s religious beliefs and by extension their eternal destiny.

(Richard Wright) #33

Is that comment meant to be taken as that you truly think that God is, “odd” (what you really mean is, “unfair”)? Or that you think I’m misinterpreting the passage?

God isn’t unfair, I’m sure He’ll judge people who have never had a real chance to know the gospel similarly to how He judged people before Christ (who were outside of the law).

Of course, that is different from those who reject Christ:

There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. (John 12:48)

(Freddy Magnanimous) #34

These are the possibilities as I see them:

  1. The fortune or misfortune of being raised in a certain region of the world will not be a factor in one’s eternal destiny. God has some other criterion for salvation (i.e. it’s not necessarily about whether one comes to believe or reject Christianity).

  2. Professing Jesus as lord and savior is the only way to get into heaven. In this case, one’s geography does indeed play a major role in getting into heaven (e.g. your odds are not good if you’re raised in Somalia).

At first I thought you believed (2) professing Jesus as lord and savior is the only way to get to heaven. But from this post, I gather that you think there are other ways to get in (1).

If only those who come to believe Christianity is true get into heaven, then I would say, as I think you agree, this is unfair. As a result of cultural influence, people raised in Japan, Iran, and Cambodia today, for example, would be virtually absent in heaven (but heavily represented in hell). This definitely seems unfair. But I take it you don’t believe people’s geography will be responsible for landing them in heaven or hell.

I think what logically follows is that what one’s religion is here on earth is not what counts.

If country of origin does not impede salvation… If salvation is equally accessible to everybody… If individuals from Japan, Iran, and Cambodia, for example, are as likely as anybody else to get into heaven, then, statistically, all nations will be represented about equally in heaven (and hell for that matter). But what follows is that one’s religion on earth is not really what matters. God has some other criteria that supersedes one’s beliefs on earth.

This seems problematic for Christian theology. And I think this is why theologians like William Lane Craig bar this possibility. He proposes a third option: God prearranged when and where everyone was born, so that anyone who would accept the gospel, was born in a time and place that allowed for conversion to Christianity (i.e. all the Hindus in India and the Buddhists in Cambodia go to hell when they die, just as the pre-Columbus Native Americans went to hell. None of these people would have believed, regardless of when and where they were born).

(Curtis Henderson) #35

To be completely forthright, I haven’t read his work. Do you know where he wrote this?

(Steve Schaffner) #36

This is one of those ideas that doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t know what it means for “me” to have been born as a Cambodian Buddhist, since if I’d been born that way I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t even be very similar to me.

(Freddy Magnanimous) #37

I’ve heard him discuss it on various podcasts. Here’s a transcript to one

(Freddy Magnanimous) #38

I agree. That’s why I think a theological system in which one’s eternal destiny is a function of coming to the correct beliefs is a little absurd.

(Richard Wright) #39

Hello Freddy,

The answers to these types of questions depend on your theology, and that depends to a large extent on your spiritual background - for instance, what you believe a Christian is and is expected of them. I’ll tell you what I don’t believe, that to be saved that we, “accept Christ”. That is 19th century Americanized Christianity, and there is no record of anyone believing that until that time.

For me, if that what’s Craig said, then it’s totally wrong and anti-Christian. For one, he (and your post) seems to assume that everyone in the West (besides to those confess to other faiths) are saved. That simply isn’t true, according to anyone’s definition of a Christian. Jesus Himself said few will be saved:

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14)

We, as disciples, which is what a Christian is biblically (“The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch” - Acts 11:26), are to make disciples all over the world (Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…" - Matthew 28:18-20a). Craig isn’t God - and we don’t write off whole continents of as full of people who are incapable to responding to the gospel. Anyone can respond to the gospel. It’s not up to us to judge anyone one person, never mind millions, as incapable of becoming a Christian. Our duty is to obey Jesus’ commission. Not everyone has to go overseas, but churches that profess the true gospel will be sending people everywhere to save the lost (for me that includes my own neighborhood). It’s due to gross sin of, “the church” over centuries that so many areas have a Christian minority. Instead of making disciples around the world they were building cathedrals or what not. It’s up to us as followers of Christ to obey Jesus’ command to allow as many as possible to hear the message and have a chance at being saved.

That said, there is still a judgement of unbelievers that, if they haven’t rejected Christ, will be fair, based on my faith in a fair God.

(Jay Johnson) #40

True. But one’s destiny is not determined by having the correct beliefs stored in the memory banks. As Jesus himself said, “Why do you call me Lord, yet do not do what I say?” Your destiny is determined by the direction of your life. Actions, as they say, speak louder than words. This is the consistent message of Christ and of his apostles. Nevertheless, there are many Christians who believe the absurd position that you rightly mock. Many of these will find themselves in the position that Jesus also predicted, hearing those fateful words: “Depart from me. I never knew ye …”