Apologetics Posts

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To clean out my favorite posts list in the sidebar, I'm removing five apologetics posts and then adding this post. Two of these are in my top 15 list, so I don't think entries shunted to being linked from posts that are themselves in the list of favorite posts are necessarily not as good as the ones in the sidebar list directly. It reflects more which of the older posts can easily be grouped.

So here are six of my favorite posts on apologetics.

Matthew's Use of Scripture challenges a common misunderstanding of how Matthew uses scripture quotations. According to the misunderstanding, Matthew takes verses out of context and misapplies them consistently. Once it's clear what he's really doing, people who make such claims seem to be just applying modern standards to a classical author, ignoring how someone in his context steeped in Old Testament theology would see it.

The Gospel of John and Historicity takes on another common view in contemporary biblical studies, that John had a loose attitude toward history and therefore can't be trusted to give reliable information about the Jesus whom his gosel purports to be about.

Presuppositionalist Apologetics discusses a model for defending the faith common among Reformed thinkers that I think is both unwarranted and ineffective by its very nature (but especially so in a postmodern generation). The post explains why.

Many people assert that arguments from the Bible based on the Bible are circular. Trying to show that the Bible is inspired by God merely because it says so would be an example of this. I do think there's an argument for Christianity based on a thorough understanding of the Bible, and I present it in Does the Bible Count as Evidence for Christianity?

Theistic Explanations is a defense of arguments for the existence of God based on seeing God's existence as a hypothesis that serves to explain something we observe or are perfectly within our rights to believe is true. Some argue that the hypothesis of God's existence, by its very nature, can't serve as an explanation, and I think that misunderstands the whole argument.

Coming out of a discussion of Pascal's Wager, Atheists' Epistemic Obligations wonders whether atheists aren't just unjustified in believing that there can't be a God but may even have an obligation to pursue a path of investigating the religious life to see if there's something those who experience it know that others can't know.

For the sake of keeping similar topics together, some posts originally in Some Early Favorite Posts are now linked here instead. They all have somew relevance to apologetics. Here they are:

Recent feminist reasons for traditional gender roles? looks at the progression in feminist thought that in some ways confirms more traditional views about gender roles (and particularly the biblical ones) rather than undermining it as most feminists tend to think.

A Silly Six-Day Shibboleth and a Pet Peeve for Both Sides looks at those who insist on taking Genesis 1 as describing six 24-hour periods of creation, using the same timescale we now have. I argue that it's a silly view to use as a test for orthodoxy, since there are plenty of other ways to read the text that are consistent with seeing the Bible as authoritative, infallible, and inerrant. My main point is to say that both sides of the debate are misusing the term 'literal'. All views, even ones I'm not sure are orthodox, are still reading the passage literally.

God and Morality containts notes from a talk I gave at a conference. It addressed some philosophical questions about God's relation to morality. Does morality make sense without God? What do we make of the various theories that try to explain morality in naturalistic terms? If God is the basis of morality, how is that supposed to work? Plato raised problems that give reason not to want to express it simply in terms of God's will.

The Science of Love responds to some scientists' conclusions that love is nothing more than a chemical addiction. I think the research they base their conclusion on actually shows something more like what Christians have long distinguished as real love, infatuation, and lust (though I think far fewer cases of the first category exist than most people think; I think most marriages are based on infatuation, which is why they don't last).

Update 11-24-04: I'm adding two more posts to simplify the Favorite Posts list a little more to make room for newer posts.

Authorship of Pastoral Epistles considers the almost-orthodoxy now in contemporary biblical studies that Paul didn't really write the epistles to Timothy and Titus that certainly seem to make the claim that Paul did write them. I argue that the scholarly orthodoxy is wrong, and we have no good reason not to believe Paul wrote them.

Intelligent Design looks at a number of issues related to contemporary arguments for the existence of God based on the appearance of design, the relation of such arguments to evolution, and some ridiculous claims made by both sides of the debate.

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