Is C.S. Lewis' Liar, Lord or Lunatic an Unsound Argument?

By Justin Taylor, The Gospel Coalition.

C. S. Lewis popularized the argument that Jesus was either a liar or a lunatic or the Lord. But, as Kyle Barton has shown, he didn’t invent it.

In the mid-nineteenth century the Scottish Christian preacher “Rabbi” John Duncan (1796-1870) formulated what he called a “trilemma.” In Colloquia Peripatetica (p. 109) we see Duncan’s argument from 1859-1860, with my numbering added:

Christ either [1] deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or [2] He was Himself deluded and self-deceived, or [3] He was Divine. There is no getting out of this trilemma. It is inexorable.

In 1936, Watchman Nee made a similar argument in his book, Normal Christian Faith. A person who claims to be God must belong to one of three categories:

First, If he claims to be God and yet fact is not, he has to be a madman or a lunatic.

Second, if he is neither God nor a lunatic, he has to be a liar, deceiving others by his lie. 

Third, if he is neither of these, he must be God.

You can only choose one of the three possibilities.

If you do not believe that he is God, you have to consider him a madman.

If you cannot take him for either of the two, you have to take him for a liar.

There is no need for us to prove if Jesus of Nazareth is God or not. All we have to do is find out if He is a lunatic or a liar. If He is neither, He must be the Son of God.

 

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Christian Boy vs a Godly Man

Blog post written by Melissa Applebee - My Sweet Jesus

Yes, yes, I get it.

“He says He’s a Christian.”

“He has a favorite Bible verse.”

“He goes to church.”

I’ve heard it all.

It’s a hard realization to come to. I know.

But is he a Christian boy or a Godly man?

After some extensive Pinterest-quote scanning, I have distinguished some differences between the two.

Does he say that God is his number one? Or does he actually love God more than you?

Can he recite Bible verses? Or does he live them out?

Is he going to church? Or is he being the church?

Is he merely respecting your purity? Or is he protecting your purity?

Is he leading you closer to only himself? Or is he leading you closer to God?

Does he say, “I’m praying for you.”? Or does he pray with you?

Do you see Jesus in him?

 

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Did the Early Church Invent the Divinity of Jesus Over a Long Period of Time?

By the Wintery Knight

How early is the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus?

When I answer this question, I only want to use the earliest, most reliable sources – so I can defend them on historical grounds using the standard rules of historiography.

The 4 sources that I would use are as follows:

  • The early creed in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, and 1 Corinthians 1
  • A passage in Philippians 2
  • Two passages from Mark, the earliest gospel
  • A passage from Q, which is an early source of Matthew and Luke

So let’s see the passages.

 

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Was Paul Beheaded in Rome?

By Sean McDowell - Professor @ Biola University

The traditional view is that Paul was beheaded in Rome during the reign of Nero AD 64-67. In my recent book The Fate of the Apostles, I make the case that the apostles were all willing to suffer and die for their faith. While the evidence for individual apostles varies, there is very good historical reason to believe that Paul died as a martyr in the mid to late 60s.

While Scripture does not specifically mention Paul’s martyrdom, there are hints in both the book of Acts and 2 Timothy 4:6-8 that Paul knew his death was imminent.[1] Extra biblically, there is evidence from 1 Clement 5:5-7 (c. AD 95-96) where the writer describes Paul as suffering tremendously for his faith and then being “set free from this world and transported up to the holy place, having become the greatest example of endurance.” While details regarding the manner of his fate are lacking, the immediate context strongly implies that Clement was setting up Paul as an example of martyrdom. Other early evidences for the martyrdom of Paul can be found in Ignatius (Letter to the Ephesians 12:2), Polycarp (Letter to the Philippians 9:1-2), Dionysius of Corinth (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2.25.4), Irenaeus (Against Heresies 3.1.1), The Acts of Paul, and Tertullian (Scorpiace 15:5-6).

The early, consistent, and unanimous testimony is that Paul died as a martyr. But what about the claim he was beheaded? Can this part of the traditional account be trusted?

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Is the Cold-Case Christianity Approach a Gimmick or a Valuable Filter?

J. Warner Wallace - Cold Case Christianity

I was humbled to have the opportunity to teach my first class at Biola last week. Seventy-four graduate students and seminar attendees were present for seventeen hours of instruction over two days. They were attentive, eager and accepting. I am definitely not your typical university professor (although I have two graduate degrees), but I hoped to provide these students with valuable new skills. I am the author of a popular level book aimed at laypeople. As a result, many serious students of apologetics were hesitant to read Cold-Case Christianity because they suspected it was little more than a gimmick; an effort to spin the same old material from yet another superficial angle.

I really hadn’t anticipated this reaction prior to the publication of the book. Many people I respect had already endorsed the work (and even had a hand in its editing). People like Craig Hazen, J.P. Moreland and Paul Copan were incredibly helpful and instructive. I hoped the book would offer several new skills, and I wanted to show how these sills could be applied to the case for Christianity. Once people actually read the book and started to examine the approach I offered, some of their initial skepticism subsided.

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The Number ONE Sign Your Kids are Just Borrowing Your Faith

(And Not Developing Their Own)  By Natasha Crain

The other day something reminded me of the popular 1993 book, “The Celestine Prophecy” (anyone remember that?). “The Celestine Prophecy” is a fiction book that discusses ideas rooted in New Age spirituality. The book sold 20 million copies and practically spawned its own cult-like religion, with groups popping up all over the country to study the insights and apply them to life.

I discovered this book when I was fresh out of high school and was enamored by it. The insights were exciting (“there’s a reason for every apparent coincidence!”) and it proposed interesting ideas about spirituality that seemed totally plausible to my young mind. I couldn’t stop talking about it. I told all my friends about it. I started paying attention to how the nine insights in the book applied to my life. I suddenly felt life was more meaningful.

The problem? I was a “Christian” but it never even occurred to me that these New Age ideas should have been immediately rendered false by the beliefs I claimed to have. My faith was so shallow that the first exciting philosophy I encountered after high school swept me off my feet – without so much as an inkling that it was in conflict with everything I had been taught.

When I randomly remembered this book last week, I marveled at how I had developed such a shallow faith, despite the fact I had gone to church for 18 years and grew up surrounded by family members who deeply loved the Lord.

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How Communism Almost Killed the Second Thanksgiving

How Property Rights and Prayer Saved the Day

By - Dante Witt -  The Stream 

Mayflower Survivors.jpg

We’ve all heard some version of the story of Thanksgiving, whether as a story of pilgrim gratitude toward helpful Indians or gratitude for God’s providential care. But there’s more to the story: communism.

If you’ve forgotten your history lessons, here is a quick review: the first year after the Mayflower landed was a hard one. Only half of the Puritans who had originally set out from England survived, and when the ship arrived at Plymouth, many of the pilgrims fell ill and died. Those who survived found that their Old World farming methods did not work as well in the New World as they had hoped. They could not grow enough food to survive.

But when all seemed lost, an English-speaking Indian named Squanto arrived and taught them to fertilize their corn with fish, and taught them other life saving techniques such as stream-fishing, growing pumpkins and hunting beaver. Squanto, likely a baptized Catholic, also helped the pilgrims to secure a peace treaty with nearby Indians.

Grateful to God for their deliverance from death, the Puritan leader William Bradford declared a day of thanksgiving, and invited Squanto’s adopted tribe the Wampanoags to celebrate with them. It was a huge success. The Wampanoags enjoyed the celebration so much, they stayed for three days.

Now here’s the part of the story you may not know. Unfortunately, the pilgrims’ troubles were not over. Although Squanto’s farming techniques worked better than their old ones, the pilgrims still could not produce enough food. Was it bad luck? Bad soil? No. The Mayflower pilgrims were part of a joint stock company which stipulated that the pilgrims would pool their resources, and receive a share of the profit.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE BLOG POST!   This is an excellent article!!!

Enjoy This Distinctly Christian Holiday We Call Thanksgiving

By J.Warner Wallace - Cold Case Christianity

The pilgrims who came over from England in 1620 were, in many ways, ordinary men and women. Some of them were members of the English Separatist Church (a Puritan sect of Christianity). These Separatists originally fled England and sailed to Holland to escape the religious intolerance and oppression of their homeland. In their day, the Church and the State of England were one, and independent congregations who desired to explore their own, differing relationship with the Christian God were unable to practice their faith independent of the State Church. Separatists had come to the conclusion membership in the Church of England violated Biblical teaching. They fled their homeland so they could pursue God in a way they considered to be truer to the teaching of the Bible. This group successfully escaped religious persecution from the Church of England, but eventually became disenchanted with the Dutch way of life. They observed the lifestyles of those around them and believed they were in an ungodly land. So once again, they pushed on toward a new place where they could both worship the Biblical God of Christianity and live in a way honorable to this God.

The Mayflower held more than just the Separatist Puritans. The ship also contained other pilgrims who still remained loyal to the Church of England but came to the new world for economic reasons or because they sympathized with the Puritans in one way or another. But one thing was certain about everyone on the ship. Whether they were part of the Puritan group or simply along to assist them and make a new life for themselves, everyone shared a fervent and pervasive Protestant faith permeating all aspects of their lives. So, when the pilgrims made ground at Plymouth Rock on December 11th, 1620, they were also grounded in their faith as Christians. In less than a year, they suffered the loss of 46 of their original 102 members, but they never lost their faith.

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An Intro to Dismantling Alleged Discrepancies

By Gene Gosewehr - A Clear Lens

There is no shortage of atheist or agnostic blogs championing what they believe to be hundreds of contradictions contained within the Bible. It would seem as though Christians are either ignorant of the quantity and validity of these claims, or they’re just turning a blind eye in faith. But are these legitimate claims? Does the Bible really contain hundreds of legitimate contradictions? With this series; Dismantling Alleged Discrepancies, I hope to tackle some of the most commonly cited contradictions and, well, dismantle them.

Three months ago fellow Clear Lens writer Logan Judy posted his thoughts about a particular set of bad arguments against Christianity; Bible contradictions. Logan explained the general complaint that Christianity cannot be true because the Bible is full of contradictions. But then he postulated that the truth of Christianity does not rely on the Bible being free of contradictions. As Logan goes on to describe, this is indeed the case. But, we only arrive at that conclusion if we concede the point that the Bible is full of contradictions. But is that true? Were the original authors not inspired by the Holy Spirit and incapable of producing one cohesive work? Were the scribes copying the original letters so flippant in their work that anything past the original documents is untrustworthy? Are all of the complaints we hear from nonbelievers today about the accuracy of the Bible really grounded in sound reason? In the following months, those are the questions I would like to begin tackling on a case by case basis. But first…

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How to Unmask a Hardened Skeptic

By Robin Schumacher - Blogos

It's important to understand that the Bible advises against continually evangelizing certain people.

Jesus Himself warned about giving pearls to persons who not only destroy them, but then actually attack the giver with violence (Matt. 7:6). Christ also told His disciples to stop arguing with some of the Pharisees who were not interested in hearing the truth (Luke 15:14).

A Biblical term given to these people is one not used much today — scoffer. The Hebrew word means to scorn and mock, and an unwillingness to receive reproof. [1] In the New Testament, the Greek meaning is the same as the Hebrew, with the idea of despising the one giving advice also thrown in. [2]

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Six Things Evolution Doesn't Explain

By David Glass & Graham Veale from Saints & Skeptics

At a popular level, many people seem to think that evolution effectively disproves God’s existence. Certainly, it could be argued that evolution undermines design arguments based on the existence of intelligent life, although we have disputed that idea in a previous article. But the idea that evolution could achieve more than that and become an all-encompassing argument for atheism just doesn’t get off the ground at all.

Here we want to highlight some things that evolution doesn’t explain. The list could certainly be extended, but all six of the points listed are relevant to the existence of intelligent life. Of course, it will be obvious that evolution doesn’t explain most of these points (the first four) since it is not intended to, but it is still important to mention them because they highlight how incomplete evolution ison its own as an explanation for intelligent life. This is not a criticism of evolution, but is simply a matter of recognizing its limits. For those interested in how we think Christians should approach evolution see our article Debating Darwin.

For the Rest of the Article Click Here:  http://www.saintsandsceptics.org/six-things-evolution-doesnt-explain/

 

Addressing the Concerns of a Critic and the Case for Intelligent Design

By Dr. Fazale Rana, August 12, 2012 - Reasons to Believe

I don’t like to be criticized—not. one. bit. But if I am honest with myself, there is almost always some measure of validity to the critical comments directed my way.

As my friend, who is a pastor, once told me, “criticism is a gift.” If you are willing to address your identified shortcomings, you have the chance to become an even better version of yourself. This principle also applies to Christian apologetics: If you take criticisms seriously and adequately address them, your arguments for the Christian faith become that much more powerful.

Generally speaking, the reaction to my book The Cell’s Design has been positive. But there have been a few reviews that were less than stellar. Perhaps the most critical of all was a review written by microbiologist Frank Steiner for the Reports of the National Center for Science Education.

After careful reflection, I have come to conclude that many of the issues Steiner has with The Cell’s Design are unsubstantial and largely unfounded. Nevertheless, one point he raised has some merit. Fortunately, a recent discovery by researchers from Germany about the structure of the enzyme F1-F0-ATPase helps address Steiner’s point—and in doing so, actually strengthens my argument for the intelligent design of biochemical systems.

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Challenge: Believe Something for Which There is Absolutely NO Evidence.

By Jason Wisdom - Because it's True  7-21-14

In recent years, I have heard many atheists say that faith means believing something for which there is no evidence. Some have even suggested that faith means persisting in belief despite good evidence to the contrary. Even more alarming to me is the fact that I have recently interacted with a number of Christians who agree that faith is (at least primarily) about choosing to believe when there is no evidence. 

A lot has been said in recent months/years by Christian defender's of the faith on this matter, so I will not go into great philosophical depth here. If you want to hear a good exchange on the topic, I suggest listening to a recent debate between Peter Boghossian and Tim McGrew that you can find on the "Unbelievable" podcast. In this space, I simply want to offer a challenge and a few thoughts. Here is the challenge:

I challenge you to choose to believe something for which there is literally NO evidence. 

You can come up with your own example, but suppose I challenged you to believe that there was a pink elephant in your bedroom. Could you do it?

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Jesus vs Muhammad: 33 Striking Differences

By James Bishop, February 20, 2015 - Historical Jesus Studies

Introduction:

I think many will be surprised at just how divergent Jesus and Muhammad really were on just about every level of their existence. Because of the controversial teachings of Muhammad it is no wonder that 70% (IHRC) of the world’s refugees are Muslims attempting to flee Islamic theocracies. We also find that most of these Muslims are fleeing to traditionally Christian strong nations, and I believe this set of 33 differences will vividly illustrate why this is so. All that really needs to be done is to go straight to the very founder of each of the Christian and Islamic religions, that it the purpose of this blog article.

Just a brief side note, the first seven points are fleshed out more than the rest (points 8-33) as they needed more detailing and a fuller context, whereas points 8-33 are usually two or three sentences long as they are much easier to understand, and come straight from the Koranic, Biblical texts themselves.

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Seven Basic Elements of a Christian World View

There are seven primary aspects to understanding the Christian worldview (or any worldview for that matter), according to Christian philosopher James Sire. Each worldview, the Christian worldview included, must deal with the following issues:

  1. The ultimate reality of the universe
  2. The nature of the universe
  3. The nature of humanity
  4. The question of what happens to a person at death
  5. The basis of human knowing
  6. The basis of ethics
  7. The meaning of history

I have benefited from Sire’s works, especially his classic book on worldviews, The Universe Next Door. The following is a basic summation of Sire’s explanation of what he calls “basic Christian theism” on pp. 27-46 in The Universe Next Door.

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