Grace and Love Essential for Apologetics

Deconversion stories from Evangelical Christianity are a staple of New Atheist propaganda. Many of these stories are moving and reveal a painful personal history. They can have significant influence on leading people away from the faith, especially when they involve the story of a family member of someone prominent in Christian ministry. One such story is told here. One can easily sympathize with the pain and struggle clearly shown.

I cannot comment on the young woman’s family life, since I have no personal knowledge of it. This post should not be construed as a comment or judgment about her or her family.  I have no reason to doubt that her struggles with faith are and were sincere.  However, I can say this. In 30 years of doing and teaching apologetics I have almost never seen anyone who converts or deconverts because of purely intellectual motives. Most of the time people change worldviews when for personal and emotional reasons, their old view is no longer seen to be working for them. While intellectual issues play a part, usually they are far outweighed by emotional factors. The particular question she raises that derailed her faith, concerning the question of morality and sin in the Bible, can be reasonably answered from a strictly intellectual standpoint. But I doubt that this is, or was, the main issue. I suspect there is more to this story than what she is telling us.  But, regardless it raises some issues that Christian apologists ought to consider. Continue reading

The Gay War Against Your Religious Freedom

I have long been suspicious of conspiracy theories. I have usually been skeptical of alarmist statements, meant to stir up emotional reactions. That is one of the reasons that I have tried to give the benefit of the doubt as to the good intentions of those whom I would view as political opponents. Hence I have for some time held out hope that defenders of same sex marriage would show that they are truly tolerant and publicly state their support for the civil rights of those who cannot, because of deeply and sincerely held religious and moral beliefs, agree with or participate in activities that support their lifestyle. That hope has now been dashed, after viewing a program called Gay USA on the Freespeech Network today.

I watched as James Esseks, head of the ACLU effort to legalize same sex marriage, indicated in an interview that he did not approve of any legal exemption for religious believers in the law as regarding issues of sexual orientation. Continue reading

Intial Thoughts on Today’s Supreme Court Ruling

Today the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturned a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act which restricted federal benefits to opposite gender couples.  It also refused to allow the democratically voted Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in California to stand.  Here are my initial thoughts.

The tragedy here is multi-fold.  There are many reasons for concern here, not the least of which is the inevitable trampling on the religious freedom and civil rights of those of us who cannot, in good conscience, participate in acts that show approval of homosexuality as morally acceptable.  Continue reading

Moving In

I decided to make a new start at keeping a blog.   I also decided to switch to Word Press.  It seems to be a simpler and more stable platform for the long term than Nucleus.  I think it will make my efforts more productive.  So let’s get started with some ground rules for participation.

I would like for this blog to be a place for open and productive discussion, where topics can be debated in a friendly manner. Now, this does not mean that tough and forceful statements may not be made, but attacks should be reserved primarily for ideas rather than people. In any case, it seems like a good idea to establish some ground rules for comments. So here goes.

Blog Rules

Be respectful. Ideas may be challenged and mocked – but generally speaking, people should not be the subject of ridicule. If you make a generalization about someone or something, be ready to back it up.

The same goes for snarky and sarcastic comments. Use them sparingly and be prepared to support any assertions or accusations with hard facts and evidence.

You are a guest here. Please behave like you are a guest in my home.

No profanity. Period. Violators will be banned.

No flaming. No personal attacks – except in extraordinary circumstances.

Refrain from name calling. Labels applied to people should be supported by facts.

Stay on topic. Off topic comments will be deleted.

You must be a member to comment. This means I know who you are and how to get in touch with you. Anonymous comments will not be allowed except in rare, special cases.

It’s my blog. While I will strive to be fair, I will determine when someone crosses the line. If I decide to break the rules, it’s my prerogative. If I make comments on your blog I will strive to follow the same rules. If you don’t like the rules here, you are free to go elsewhere.

Comments will be disabled on some posts. At times I will want to make a statement about something, or share a link, that for whatever reasons I deem appropriate, will not be open for discussion.

I reserve the right to terminate a discussion thread at any time; My work load is heavy and my time is limited. My failure to respond in all cases is not an indication of surrender. In some cases, I am reserving material for book projects and articles I am working on.

Have fun! This is the most important rule.