The War on Science

  • The March 2015 issue of National Geographic has a cover story titled, “The War On Science”. In the story Creationists and advocates of Intelligent Design are cited as examples of groups that are supposedly at war with science.
  • Describing Creationists and I.D. proponents as being at war with science, however, is a gross caricature. Both of these groups have a profound appreciation for science.
  • The problem with this article is that National Geographic is defining “science” in such a way that they equate it with Naturalistic-Darwinian evolution. Thus, if you disagree with Naturalistic-Darwinian evolution, you are anti-science.
  • The truth, however, is one doesn’t need to embrace Naturalistic-Darwinian evolution to have a genuine respect for science or to be an accomplished scientist. This is evidenced by the reality of numerous prominent scientists throughout history who believed in Divine creation (ex. Pasteur, Mendel, Linnaeus).
  • True science examines evidence through observation and experimentation; and Creationists and I.D. advocates have the same scientific evidence as Naturalistic-Darwinian evolutionists.
  • The real issue is not the evidence, but how you interpret the evidence. Evidence itself is neutral, but we must recognize that our interpretations of the evidence are not.
  • Everyone interprets evidence through a particular worldview. National Geographic is philosophically committed to a Naturalistic-Darwinian worldview that cannot allow for the possibility of a Divine Designer.
  • In claiming their philosophical worldview as “science”, National Geographic confuses the public into thinking that Creationists and I.D. proponents are at war with science. This is simply untrue and does a disservice to legitimate scientific inquiry and debate.
  • The question that National Geographic should be asking if they are genuinely concerned with the pursuit of true knowledge is this, “Which philosophical worldview makes the most sense in light of the observable scientific evidence?”

For more information on the importance of worldviews in relation to the origins debate, please check out Dr. Carlson’s DVD lecture titled, Evolution vs. Creation available in our online store.

Starting Apologetic Conversations Without Sounding Confrontational

  • Recently a young man asked me, “How do I share my faith with someone who disagrees with me without sounding confrontational?” The following tips will help you open doors to productive apologetic conversations.
  • Begin the conversation with a question such as, “I’m interested in what you believe about (insert topic). Would you mind telling me more about your views on this?”
  • If they’re willing to do so, listen respectfully to your discussion partner and acknowledge your appreciation for their openness in sharing with you.
  • Next, politely note that you recognized some differences between their beliefs and yours. For example, “I found it interesting that you said you believe (insert topic). That’s a different perspective on this issue from what I hold.”
  • At this point your conversation partner may ask you to share more about your beliefs with them. If so, go for it. However, it they don’t, you might say something like, “Isn’t it interesting how we can both believe something about (insert topic) to be true, yet at the same time have such different perspectives?”
  • Having introduced this logical tension, you can follow up with, “You know, with our respective beliefs on this issue being so different, we can’t both be right.”
  • Now you have a great opportunity to take your conversation to the next level apologetically, try saying something like, “Personally, I don’t want to believe something that isn’t true. Maybe we should explore this topic more together?  Would you be open to discussing our respective beliefs further with me and examining why we each believe what we believe?”
  • Hopefully your conversation partner will be open to your proposal. However, even if they’re not, at the very least you’ve planted a seed that might compel them to think more about what they believe and why.
  • Notice, throughout this whole process you’ve been able to direct the conversation respectfully and without sounding confrontational. By engaging in apologetic conversations in this manner you can earn people’s trust and hopefully more opportunities to share with them in the future.

For more helpful witnessing tips, please check out the book, Apologetics For A New Generation, available in our online store.

Big Picture Apologetic Conversations

  • The following three “Big Picture” questions can provide a helpful framework for your future apologetic conversations. By keeping your discussions centered on these three questions you can more readily direct your conversations to the ultimate goal of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Is there a God? This is the foundational question. Is there a Creator or are men and women simply accidents evolved out of slimy algae? This question can open doors to highlighting the significant differences between a Theistic and Atheistic worldview.
  • Has God spoken? If there is a Creator, has this God revealed anything to us about His nature, human nature, His plans and purposes for creation, etc.? This second question can open up some good opportunities to discuss the many reasons for believing that God has revealed truth, both in the Bible and in the person of Jesus Christ.
  • If there is a God, and if He’s spoken, will we trust Him and obey? This third question is really the heart of the matter. If we have good reasons for believing in a God who has revealed truth, then we can point out for people that our only appropriate response is to trust and obey.

For more helpful tips on engaging in apologetic conversations, please check out The Apologetics Study Bible For Students, available in our online store.

The World’s Different Views of God

  • Within religious and philosophical thinking there are a number of different concepts of God found in our world today. Some of the most common are these.
  • Atheism says there is no God.
  • Agnosticism says there may be a God, but we can’t know for sure.
  • Deism says there is a God who started the universe, but this God is now distant and unknowable.
  • Theism says there is a single God who is knowable, either personally or through revelation.
  • Pantheism says that everything is God and God is an impersonal force.
  • Panentheism says there is a God who is distinct from the universe, but the universe exists within God or as an extension of God.
  • Polytheism says there are many finite gods.
  • Animism says there are many finite gods who spiritually indwell the natural world.

For more information on these differing concepts of God, please check out The Apologetics Study Bible for Students, available in our online store.

The Magi of the Nativity Story

  • Have you ever wondered about the Magi who are written about in the Nativity story (Matthew 2:1-12)? Who were they? Why were they looking for the Christ-child? How’d they know when and where to look for him?
  • The Magi, or wise men, were a priestly caste in the ancient world that often served as advisors to kings and emperors. They were sought out for their knowledge of astronomy and astrology, as well as their supposed ability to foretell the future and discern the meaning of dreams and visions.
  • The Magi of the Nativity story were possibly from Babylon; and if so, they were likely influenced by the teachings of the biblical prophet Daniel, who a few hundred years earlier was the chief of the wise men of the Babylonian empire (Daniel 2:47-48).
  • Through the influence of Daniel the Magi would have been familiar with the Old Testament and its 300+ prophecies pointing to the coming of the Messiah; and from the text of Matthew 2 it’s apparent that these Magi believed the promises of God’s word and intended to worship the coming King of the Jews.
  • The Magi were likely watching the heavens looking for a sign of the Messiah’s arrival as a result of exposure to Balaam’s prophecy in Numbers 24:17, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.”
  • The Magi would have even known the general timeframe of the Messiah’s arrival as a result of Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 9:25, that the Messiah would appear 483 years after the decree to allow the Jews to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.
  • While we can’t say for sure who the Magi were, the above possibilities are likely based on the clues we’re given in Scripture. What we can say for sure is these Magi truly were “wise men” in recognizing and worshipping the God who took on flesh to become the Savior of the world.

For more information on the biblical prophecies of the Messiah, please check out Dr. Carlson’s lecture, The Bible: Is it the Word of God? available in CD or MP3 in our online store.

How to Recognize that You’re Probably in a Cult

  • You follow an individual or organization that claims to be the modern day prophet of God or voice of God on earth.
  • You claim to believe the Bible, but you have additional, newer revelations that take precedence over the Bible.
  • You believe the Bible has been corrupted, cannot be trusted, or can only be properly translated and interpreted by your prophet or organization.
  • You deny that the one true God exists eternally as three independent persons.
  • You believe in more than one God.
  • You deny that Jesus Christ is the eternal God who came to earth both fully God and fully man.
  • You deny that total and complete salvation is found in Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the cross and is offered freely to all as a gift of grace.
  • You believe that salvation requires more than faith in Jesus, but must be earned by doing good works or by proving your worthiness to God.
  • You deny the existence of conscious, eternal punishment in favor of annihilation, reincarnation, or universal salvation.
  • You believe that you can personally experience divinity, by becoming one with the divine, or by ultimately becoming a god yourself.

For more information on recognizing and responding to the cults, please check out Dr. Carlson’s book, Fast Facts On False Teachings, available in our online store.

The Teachings of Christian Science

  • The religion of Christian Science is best understood as being a Pseudo-Christian cult. That is, it uses Christian terminology, but it is inconsistent with historic, biblical Christianity.
  • Christian Science denies the triune God of the Bible and instead promotes a pantheistic God who is all good and all in all. The trinity of Christian Science consists of three ethical principles- life, truth, and love.
  • According to Christian Science Jesus was only human, while Christ was the spiritual ideal of God. Christian Scientists believe that matter is an illusion and so the human Jesus was also an illusion.
  • Christian Science denies the personal nature of the Holy Spirit. Instead, it teaches that Christian Science is the Holy Spirit, the unfolding revelation of the mind of God.
  • Christian Science teaches that humanity’s basic problem is the error of believing the material world is real. Since all is God and God is only good, the Christ of Christian Science came to free humanity from our false beliefs in concepts like sickness, death, and sin. Jesus showed us how to live in harmony with the Divine.
  • The religion of Christian Science is another example of why all teachings that claim to be Divinely inspired must ultimately be weighed against the standard of God’s infallible and unchanging word, the Bible (1 John 4:1-3).

For more information on Christian Science please check out Dr. Carlson’s lecture titled, Christian Science and Unity available in CD or MP3 in our online store.

The Mormon Church’s Admission of Joseph Smith’s Polygamy

  • Recently the Mormon Church publically admitted for the first time that the founder of their religion, Joseph Smith, had upwards of 40 wives. Theologically this is a devastating admission.
  • First, this admission reveals the changing nature of Mormon doctrine. While Mormons officially deny the practice of polygamy today (since Mormon President Woodruff’s revelation of 1890), it is clear that it was once widely condoned and practiced in their Church history. In fact, in Doctrine & Covenants- Section 132 the Mormon god revealed to Joseph Smith that polygamy was to be “a new and everlasting covenant”.
  • Second, this admission reveals the changing nature of the Mormon god. It should be no surprise that Mormon doctrine can change when the god of Mormonism is himself a mutable, changeable being. In fact, according to Mormons, father-god was once a mortal man who, through the Law of Eternal Progression, gradually evolved to become a god himself. The mutable god of Mormonism continues to give revelation to the Church today, and as we see in regards to marriage, his revelations can change.
  • Third, this admission is yet another demonstration that Mormonism is not true, biblical Christianity. The God of the Bible is unchanging and eternal (Mal. 3:6; Ps. 90:2); and because of God’s unchanging nature, true biblical revelation and doctrine also does not change (Jude 3). For example, God’s position on marriage has remained consistent since the creation of humanity (Gen. 1:26-31; Gen. 2: 18-25; Mt. 19:4-6).
  • Mormonism claims to be the true and restored Church of Jesus Christ. However, the changing nature of their god and doctrine prove that Mormonism is inconsistent with historic, biblical Christianity.

For more information on Mormonism, please check out Dr. Carlson’s book, Fast Facts On False Teachings, available in our online store.

Naming the Enemy (Satan)

  • In Ephesians 6:12 God’s word declares that the Christian’s ultimate battle “is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
  • Among these spiritual forces of evil the Bible makes clear that there is a chief figure, Satan, who seeks to oppose the work of God and His people. Throughout Scripture this evil being is given a variety of names.
  • The name “Satan” is a Hebrew word which means, “the adversary”. This name is also used in biblical Greek meaning, “adversary or opponent” (Matthew 16:21-23).
  • Satan has also been known in church history as “Lucifer”, a reference to his pre-fall name as an angel of God. The name Lucifer is not actually recorded in the Bible, but was a Latin Vulgate translation of the Hebrew word, “Helel ben-shahar”, which means, “son of the morning” (Isaiah 14:12).
  • Satan is also identified as “Beelzebub”, the prince of demons (Matthew 12:22-32). Beelzebub is the Greek form of the Hebrew word “Baal-Zebub”, which means, “the lord of the flies”. The Israelites used this word as a form of ridicule against the Canaanites’ false god, Baal.
  • The term, “the Devil” is another common name for Satan. This term comes from the Greek word “Diabolos”, which means, “adversary, false accuser, or slanderer” (Matthew 4).
  • Regardless of the name used, Satan has ultimately been defeated by the cross of Christ (Colossians 2:15). His days are numbered and one day God will rid the Cosmos of Satan for all eternity (Revelation 20:10).

For more information on Satan and all the Bible’s teachings on him, please check out The Apologetics Study Bible for Students, available in our online store.

The Crusades

  • In recent days with the spread of Islamic extremism around the world, some have argued that Christianity has its own history of violence and they point to examples like the Crusades as evidence.
  • The Crusades, however, which took place roughly 1,000 years ago, were very different from the Islamic extremism we see today and throughout history.
  • First, the Crusades began as a reactionary response to Muslim aggression throughout N. Africa and the Middle East. The first 300 years of Islamic history was marked by military conquest and expansion, much of which was directed against Christians and Jews. Were it not for the Crusades, the Western World would not know the freedom and democracy we are blessed with today.
  • Second, while historical examples of injustice and atrocities can be found in the Crusades, it’s important to remember that not everything done in the name of Christ or by so-called “Christians” is truly representative of the way of Jesus. When it comes to Islamic extremism however, we find numerous Koranic justifications for killing infidels and we see in the example of Mohammed a lifestyle of warfare and violence directed against his enemies.
  • Third, the ultimate truth of Christianity isn’t diminished by examples of injustices carried out during the Crusades. While those are sad chapters in history, the truth of Christianity is based on the historical reality of the person of Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the grave. Jesus and his teachings are the standard by which Christianity should be judged.

For more information on the Crusades, Christianity, and Islam please check out the Apologetics Study Bible for Students, available in our online store.