Apologeet.nl

The World Can Use Some Apologists

Posts Tagged / Apologetics

Debating Atheists?

Why I don’t Debate Atheists

Why I don’t debate atheists? Well, that statement is not entirely true because, so now and then, I do respond on their remarks. However, I try to avoid these endless debates on forums, YouTube and other online platforms. You see, it is often a quite different situation if you meet someone in person, and it turns out that this person identifies himself as an atheist. For some reason, the conversations are much more respectful if you can look each other in the eyes. Or that might be because I look impressive…

Angry People on Both Sides

Christians

I guess my stance is mostly about online debates. I used to be an un-believer. I wouldn’t classify myself as an atheist back then. I think the term agnostic is more suitable. I remember how fiery I was when I finally became a Christian. One day I went along with an evangelist. He used to go to the pubs on Friday night. He was the real deal, and I wanted to see how he did.

One evening we came across a group of young men who used to be my friends. As my friend the evangelist started his plea, they started to mock him. They were very disrespectful, and he didn’t say anything about it. No worries! I was there to save the day. I looked my old mates in the eyes, lifted my fist and told them to listen or else…

It worked! They listened to the whole story. Later I told my friend that I thought that the whole episode was a success. He laughed and said that I might consider changing my tactic. Back then I thought that there was no need to change. If people don’t want to listen, you just make them to.

Making people listen can quickly become a goal in itself. The sincere Christian might have a hard time not trying to force the Gospel up someone’s throat. I mean, we really want that guy or lady to be saved right? Maybe you can spook them into Christianity. Tell them about hell, that worked for me! But than it might come as a surprise that Jesus’ warnings about hell were mostly discussed among His own followers. Jesus didn’t seem to preach fire and brimstone all the time.

Okay, how about trying to outwit the other with smart arguments. With the Christian world-view we have logic on our side, so debunking all the arguments launched by atheists seems to be the way. Only, now we seem to forget that most unbelievers are just not easily convinced by arguments that seem to take the supernatural in account. Even if the supernatural isn’t even part of the argument, many just know that in the end you try to convince them about God anyway.

Yes, I know! It can be very frustrating to know you have logic on your side, but the other just doesn’t want to grab it. Oh, those dumb atheists! Are they purposely dumb? Or are they just born that way? Oops, you see what happens? You became angry, and maybe even confused.

Atheists

But how about people who call themselves atheist? Are the any better? Well, honestly? I think many atheists, especially the typical YouTube atheist, are much more nasty and angry in online debates than most Christians. They yell, they make up all sorts of names for us, they blaspheme the name of Jesus, and they treat others like rubbish. Not all of them! I have been blessed with some very nice and respectful discussions in the past.

But, just recently one person commented on one of my videos. I’ll pick some of the words from that comment: brainwashing, trojan horse of irrelevance, gobblygook, spiritual enslavement, maniacal control freak-ridden pseudoreligions.

You have to hand it to him or her, it is very creative. But, really? How much effort will it cost me to respond on all these accusations? And I don’t think it will result in anything else than an even angrier person. The writer will probably shout, with Caps-Lock on, that he is not angry! Okay, if this is the way you normally respond, I do not want to see you angry… Better not discussing these topics with you than.

Emotional

Actually, I believe that apologetics is in the first place a great tool to help Christians grow in their faith. I’ll come back to that later.

Angry Christians

First, I think I need to address the emotional side of this issue. I do understand why Christian get angry. Many of us just don’t understand why others are willingly ignorant while showing them all the signs and arguments for a creating God.

2 Peter 3:3-5

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.

That’s right, the Bible says that many unbelievers are willingly ignorant, purposely dumb. Oh boy, I can see all the angry comments already, that is going to be fun to read!

Angry Atheists

But, why this emotional responds. Why would they scoff the way they do? I know, the topic of God vs. atheism can be very emotional, but you will not find comparable insults on the Christian side. Why then are so many atheists so angry?

Atheists often like to say that they just don’t believe in God. However, if they really were unbelievers they should live their lives as if God did not exist, right? You see, I don’t believe in the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. Many children have heard this story, and they loved it. They fantasised about it, and re-enacted the story in the garden. But I know it is a fairytale, it is not real. But I am not going to write books called The end of Jack and the giant, Jack’s giant is Not Great, or The Beanstalk Delusion.

The urge to fight this hard against Christianity seems to reveal a certain anger towards God; they behave like they are at war with God. Bitterness sounds through the titles of their book, the titles of their videos, their discussion and what not. Yes,you can hear their bitterness through their nasty insults in the comment section under Christian videos.

But I also think they become so angry because they are not used to having their sophisticated reasons revealed as they are, not as sophisticated as they think they are. Just look at the responses when the famous spokesmen of atheism lose in debates against people like William Lane Craig, John Lennox, Norm Geisler, Frank Turek etc.

As soon as the atheist community feels that their fighter lost, they are quick to say that they weren’t in shape, he didn’t prepare well enough, he made a fool out of himself etc. No, they would have answered differently! Like they, the all-knowing YouTube atheists, are more knowledgeable than those heavyweights on stage. Don’t get me wrong, there might be a few very intellectual atheists roaming the internet, but the fast majority haven’t studied the topics as deeply as these men. They are prepared big time when they step into that arena with a Christian apologist. So, don’t pretend you would have done much better.

Why I, Personally, do not Debate Atheists?

So why am I not going to use apologetics in debates with atheists? Well, the first reason is very simple. I just don’t have the knowledge to respond very quickly on all the questions they launch. I practice apologetics as a hobby. That means that I do not have the time to do the amounts of research needed to successfully debate. There are very good apologists out there who are privileged enough to spend many hours studying all the different topics. I rather leave it to them, who I consider to be much smarter on these topics than I am.

Why I use Apologetics

However, I do feel knowledgeable enough to make videos like these, and to preach, and educate. Why? Because preparing a video, sermon or a study can be done in parts. I do not have to have add-hoc answers, I can prepare myself over the course of days or even a week. I thus rather use my talents to help the Church of Christ grow.

I came across this explanation of apologetics:

Apologetics is the systematic and logical defence of Christianity against its detractors and unbelievers backed up by evidence showing its credibility.i

I know the invitations in the Bible that say you need to try to convince people. But there are even more texts that say that we need to help each others to grow in the faith. Our young people need to see why we believe what we believe. They need to be able to relate it to the surrounding things. That way they can adopt the Christian faith with intellectual and rational honesty, rigor, and certainty.

GobblyGook

Did I just say ‘young people’? Yes, that is because the older Christians don’t have much trouble right? Well, wrong! I actually found that many older Christians aren’t that stable in their faith as the like you to believe. What they do master though, is appearance. Many older Christians are just not willing to change much about their lifestyles. Becoming an atheist isn’t relevant for them because that would mean they lose their social activities. Then, a teenager or someone in his twenties comes by with questions, and they just tell them that faith is a mystery, they shouldn’t try to rationalise faith etc. And that is just what my atheist friend would call gobblygook.

Throughout the centuries we have seen many attacks towards Christianity. We even see many within Church who proclaim a different Gospel than that of the first apostles. I get to see first hand what happens when Churches are undereducated. In the South-West of Madagascar there are many small churches. Many believers there can’t read and write. They have little knowledge of the Bible. Now, they get a visit from a well-trained Muslim, and he tells them that his prophet is the promised comforter as mentioned by Jesus.

John 14:16

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.

I hope you know how to answer this. Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, who came 40 days after His ascension. But these poor Christians have no answer and are quickly lured into Islam. Where are the apologists in those regions?

Young Christians

And now I look at you! Who me? You might wonder. Yes, what is your position? Are you going to spend all your time debating angry unwilling people, because you hope that they tell you the truth when they say they try to gain more knowledge and information about your faith. I forgot were I read this. The question was why atheists always want to debate. And answer that received most likes was because they love to learn.

But you are not called to satisfy their needs. If they want to learn, they can go to the library. You are called to be the light and salt in this world. You might know this text in Matthew 5:13-16

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

To be a Christian is not a synonym of being a wimpy guy or girl. We have enough cry-babies already, Christians who hold to a wishy-washy Gospel and have no idea how to live accordingly let alone how to defend it. In the West most Christians should be able to familiarise themselves with their doctrines. So, why is this not happening? Laziness? Not pressed enough? Not shocked enough when more than half of the youth in church actually leaves the faith of their parents behind them? I have no idea. And that bothers me big time.

But what I do know is that your position doesn’t need to be like that. The Church is in need of strong men and women who can lead and train others. We still need many, well-trained, missionaries or evangelists here on Madagascar. Christians who are not afraid of confronting false teachers, who are not afraid of correcting those Muslim preachers. Christians who like to come with me to visit the biggest witchdoctor of our area… Fun guaranteed!

Anyway, I would like to challenge you to really become the salt and light Jesus was talking about. Try and see whether you can find a good Bible-school in your area. Maybe an evening school, I’ve done that for five years and I loved it.

Outro

Okay, I’ll leave it at this. I think I will do the next video on the importance of apologetics. I already touched a little on that topic in this one, but there are many more good reasons to train yourself as being an apologists. But that has to wait for the next one. For now, just let me know your thoughts in the comment section of this video. I love to hear from you.

I also want to thank all of you who subscribed to my channel. On YouTube I’ve got something like 1800 subscribers, and on Odysee I already have around 5000. Which is amazing! Let’s see whether we can reach more people with the Good News of Jesus Christ by growing even bigger.

Maybe, you can add some more Christian flavour to the Odysee sauce by starting your won Christian channel. You can use my invitation in the description to get started, and we will both receive some free LBC!

In the description of this video you’ll find ways to support me, and I’ll place a link to the Dutch and English transcript of this video.



As always, thank you for watching,

God bless you and we see each other in the next video!


i Livermore, D. J., School of Jewish & Biblical Studies, Introduction to Apologetics, [internet] http://www.hadavar.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Apologetics-1-Introduction.pdf, (accessed 21-05-2022), p.6.

Dangerous Stuff! [2]

The Unsafe Position of an Apologist Part 2

Apologetics is the branch of Christian theology that deals with the defence and establishment of the Christian faith. An apologist uses logic, evidence, scripture, and wisdom when dealing with opposition, challenges and questions. An apologist loves to gain knowledge in a multitude of subjects like biblical theology, logical fallacies, Scripture itself, cults, philosophy, false religions, and so on and so forth.

But how about a little humility, a loving heart, compassion for the lost? When I became I Christian somewhere in 1994, many were wearing these wristbands with the letter WWJD. What Would Jesus Do? I am not sure whether this is still cool to wear, but I do know that in some cases it is a good reminder. Jesus, the Son of God. He knew the Scriptures as no other. He knew what was in someone’s heart… Still, He was humble enough to wash the feet of His own students. Stinky, filthy feet… Are we prepared to lay aside our hard-earned knowledge and ‘lower’ ourselves in the hopes that the other might be saved?

But there are more dangers for the apologist to watch out for. This is part 2. Let’s take a look at these stinky feet, shall we?

#6 – The Arrogance that is Built on Knowledge and is not Matched with Humility

When I was still a schoolboy we had a little saying:

The more you learn, the more you know. The more you know, the more you forget. The more you forget, the less you know. So if learning means that you will know less, why should you learn anything than?

Back then I thought this to be awfully clever. What did I know as a nine-year-old! However, I think I was more or less on the right track. Let me rephrase this saying:

The more you learn, the more you know. The more you know, the more you discover there is more to learn. The more you discover there is more to learn, the more you know how little you know. So if learning means that you find out that you know very little, it means that a little humility is in order.

You see, I think I know quite a lot about my faith. Also, I have studied the Bible pretty deep, and I continue doing that. We have lived in a very remote village on Madagascar. There I found out even more things about the Christian way of living. Yes, it seems that I am pretty knowledgeable. But! When I go on the internet, when I talk with other people. Even with my own kids! I often find out that my knowledge isn’t infinite at all.

More often than not, I don’t even get to use that knowledge in my talks with the un-reached people. Doing my work as a missionary is, in my opinion, mostly about compassion. I need to humble myself when I go to that poor family who only lives of 75 Euro-cents per day. They don’t need a ‘know it all.’ They need someone who is humble enough to be with them, to listen to their stories, and to share the simplicity of the Gospel. It is humbling when they offer some food from the same plate as they are using.

Paul wanted to go to the Corinthians. Apparently they had some trouble with puffed up people. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:21

What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

He could have disciplined them with all his knowledge and lots of talk, but he preferred to go to them with meekness and love.

#7 – Rather Technical Accuracy Instead of Correcting with a Loving Heart

You go to the Bible study group, cell group, Sunday morning service, and you hear somebody talking about the Bible. The whole talk was pretty spot on… Except that one thing! Let’s say the person quoted one Bible verse out of context, or even worse, he cited a Bible verse, but he used the word ‘care’ instead of ‘love.’

Obviously you are going to correct this error! Forget about the whole message, let’s correct this person here and right now! Not being hindered by the idea the that brother or sister might have had a slip of the tongue, you step up as being the saviour of technical accuracy.

So, to help you, I’ll read a passage from Amplified Bible. Yes, I know many will have issues with this kind of translations and that exactly why I will quote it nonetheless! Deal with it! And try to get the message instead of focussing on the accuracy of the translation.

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

But we [the apostles] behaved gently when we were among you, like a devoted mother tenderly caring for her own children. Having such a deep affection for you, we were delighted to share with you not only God’s good news but also our own lives, because you had become so very dear to us.

Do we have sincere affections for those around us? Are we willing to share our lives with them? Or do we rather jump into the conversation like a bull in a china shop?

#8 – Decisive and Condemnatory Attitude

Being critical isn’t a problem in itself.

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

But being decisive for the sake of being just that… Well, it is kind of awkward isn’t it? Why would you go to a Bible-study group with an attitude of being critical all the time. Why sit down and listening to the preacher, while in the back of your mind you try to find any error in his message.

This is not what Paul had in mind! In the verses before verse 21, Paul says that we need to live a life of thanksgiving, a life filled with prayer. He said that we should listen to the Holy Spirit and that we should listen to those who receive prophecies. We should listen to their message and see whether is the word of God, and whether it applies to our own lives.

Condemning others isn’t difficult either. You just sit down in your save house, on your comfortable sofa, and watch what others are trying to do to build God’s kingdom. It is so easy to find error and to shove someone away as being heretical. No worries! As long as you stay seated in your lazy sofa, you won’t get mud on your shoes.

I see other missionaries come to Madagascar. The only speak English and French. That’s enough they say. Many Malagasy don’t even understand French, let alone English. But okay, I grant them that the Malagasy language is very hard to learn. Now, these missionaries go out to an area with a lot of high-tech material. They preach the Gospel, get translated, and see many answering to the good news of salvation. Then the leave again with enough to write about in their exiting newsletters.

I am not at all convinced that these methods work that well as they say in their newsletters. Preaching the Gospel and living with the people are hard work. It is about getting your feet dirty. But hey! I look at these other missionaries. I talk with them and many seem to have their hearts in the right place. Am I the appointed one who can condemn their work, their spending of money? Instead, I try to have personal talks with them. I share my experiences and I pray for them.

Listen to this story in Luke 9:49-50

And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

And then in line with this Paul says in Romans 14:4

Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

#9 – Causing Unnecessary Strife

I became a Christian somewhere in 1994. I went to a small church with maybe around 40 members. None of them felt equipped enough to lead Bible-studies. So instead, they invited two brothers from another town. It was not secret that these two had different opinions about the second coming of Christ. We either go through the tribulation or we are going to be raptured away before that time.

I always said that we will probably have to go through the 7 years before Christ is coming back. It is a bit like the Wager of Pascal. If I am right, I am prepared for the worst. If I am wrong… Well, happy day!!

These two brothers were very knowledgeable. I considered them to be the most smart people I knew back then. Still, they couldn’t resist pulling each other down on this issue. They never came together as they prepared different studies and sermons. But somewhere during their talks they just had to say something about the other, without actually calling the other’s name. No, but everybody knew to who the were referring.

It caused division in that, already small, group. It was a very unpleasant atmosphere to be in as a young Christian.

Proverbs 20:3

It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: But every fool will be meddling.

Strife can develop when a difference of opinion becomes the priority in a relationship. Strife is always accompanied by pride and an unteachable spirit in one or both parties.

#10 – Argumentative Lifestyle

I love teenagers! I do. I have three of them and the fourth one is starting to become one as well. But what are teenagers good at? Right, constantly arguing about every single rule you give them. It doesn’t really matter what the rule is about. As soon as the word ‘rule’ falls, they are right on top of it. And again, I love that phase. It is the time they learn to think for themselves. The time in which they are actually wrestling with all the lessons you’ve laid out before them. And you know what? Normally, this time will pass, and if you did your job well they will acknowledge it… One way or the other.

But, we, as adult apologists, are no teenagers any more right? They older we get, the more we understand that others might be right so now and then as well. Life is not about arguing all the time.

2 Timothy 2:14 (NIV)

Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.

And now listen to what Paul says two verses further in verse 16

Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.

The Church of Christ needs more loving and considerate people. Whether we like it or not! We belong to each other, we are brothers and sisters…

Bonus!

Now that last Bible verse seems to call out just another issue! So, here a bonus for us all.

Until, now I mostly looked at these dangers with an emphasis on the Church right? But Paul says that we should “avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” And isn’t this just exactly what we can see around us? Some are so occupied with discussing, debating and learning, that they forget they need to be still so now and then as well.

I like to study. So much, that I quite often listen to atheistic chatter. I just want to know their arguments. And honestly, occasionally they seem to have a point. Yes, sometimes I listen to them and have a hard time to debunk their ideas. What do I do? Do I indulge myself in that chat with the risk of becoming more and more ungodly myself, or do I withdraw to seek the Lord?

Salomo knew what to do.

Proverbs 13:20

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: But a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Let’s be wise and surround ourselves with wise people who love the Lord God.

God urges you to surround yourselves with wise people and to

Ephesians 5:18b-21

[…] be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Outro

These were the dangers I came up with. If you didn’t see the first part I would suggest doing that as well. You’ll find the link in the description of this video. I am sure you can come up with even more dangers, I would like to read about them in the comments. Remember! I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You’ll find a link to that channel in the description of this video.

In the same description you’ll find ways to support me, and I’ll place a link to the transcript of this video. I always try to make the transcript available in Dutch and English.

If you want to start your own channel on Odysee you can use my invitation in the description, and we will both receive some free LBC!

As always, thank you for watching,

God bless you and we see each other in the next video!

Dangerous Stuff! [1]

The Unsafe Position of an Apologist Part 1


I love apologetics. Apologetics is the branch of Christian theology that deals with the defence and establishment of the Christian faith. An apologist uses logic, evidence, scripture, and wisdom when dealing with opposition, challenges and questions.

But there are serious dangers when it comes to apologetics. An apologist can come across as being arrogant, the dreaded ‘know it all’ in house groups or on the internet. And trust me! It is not hard to actually fall into that trap. After all, an apologist loves to gain knowledge in a multitude of subjects like biblical theology, logical fallacies, Scripture itself, cults, philosophy, false religions, and so on and so forth. So yes, many apologists will have to bite their tongue of when they hear strange and unbiblical ideas… But often they do not bite hard enough because they can’t resist correcting the surrounding people.

But there are more dangers lurking around the corner. I am going to do this video in two parts of each 5 dangers. This is part 1. Let’s take a look at these monsters, shall we?

#1 – Apologetics Before all

How much time do we spend just talking with the Lord? Are we reading the Bible because we want to get closer to God. Do we want to get to know Him better or are we mostly trying to gain more ammunition for our battles? In everything we do, we need to put Christ on the first place. He ought to be on our throne, not our books or our knowledge.

Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Matthew 6:33

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

#2 – The Enemy Attitude

Are those critics and atheists on social media your enemy? Do we need to defeat them in every debate? Oh boy! Those nasty atheists. Sure enough, they are on their way to hell.

But hold on a minute. Isn’t that just the case? Aren’t those unbelievers lost? Shouldn’t we show compassion for their lost souls? God Himself looks at these people and is

2 Peter 3:9

[…] not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Jesus walked with his disciples through a town. He stopped, looked up into a tree, and spoke to a man who had climbed it to see Jesus as he passed by. The man was a notorious sinner, he was a hated tax collector. The type of guy who in greed had betrayed his own people.

Jesus didn’t start a fiery debate. Telling the man how stupid he was. No, instead He decided to have dinner at the man’s place, He together with His 12 disciples The man also invited all his tax collector friends. Not long after, the man, who we now know as Zacchaeus, believed in Jesus and was ready to repent of his sinful deeds. He gave everybody he had cheated on back their goods and even more.

All this without a harsh and argumentative attitude. Jesus was compassionate, and so should we.

#3 – Yearning for Victory

This one ties in with the one we just discussed. Are our discussions aimed at victory rather than seeing people be saved by Christ? Not many are brave enough to just stop a discussion. We are afraid that the other party announces victory. But why do we have this desire for victory over the conversion of souls? Why do we think it is more important to come out of the debate as the number one? Sometimes it is just better to stop and pray. Tell the other that it is not very likely that you come to the same conclusions, but that you love him or her nonetheless. I know, that sounds wimpy! But who cares? It is his or her soul you want to reach, right?

Proverbs 16:21

The wise in heart shall be called prudent: And the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

James 1:19

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath

#4 – The Not So Smart Brother Syndrome

Seeing fellow Christians as opponents when they don’t agree with you over secondary issues. It is very easy to withdraw in our bunker with like-minded brothers and sisters. That other brother is just not smart enough to understand your view on the theology around certain topics.

Years ago, I regularly had contact with a brother on the other side of the planet. He, too, loved apologetics. One day we had a nice online chat about evangelism. He actually though it to be wrong that some famous Christians used a lot of money on buildings like huge replicas of the Ark of Noah. I said that they at least try something to evoke the interest of people. I mean, doing nothing is very little right?

Anyway, as the chat continued I wanted to make my point clear by another example. I told him about a brother who went to the supermarket and bought some bottles of beer. Armed with these bottles he visited the homeless in our city. He sat down and offered them a beer while he started to share the Gospel. Now, I didn’t want to say that this was such a good idea to do! All I wanted to say was that this specific brother at least tried something to reach these people. He tried something while most other Christians in our town didn’t even come close to these people.

I pity the moment I mentioned this example. My online friend was very quick in condemning the approach. Not a word of understanding, not a shred of sympathy towards my attempt to explain a totally different issue. No, the word ‘beer’ didn’t leave his mind. That was the trigger word. Whether I agreed with the approach… I said that I used the example to explain that people sometimes make weird jumps in order to do something. Well, apparently I agreed with giving alcohol to homeless people. No, I said, better not! But, dumb as I could be, I said that drinking alcohol can be accepted in one culture and not in the other. Anyway, long story short. My online friend demanded my repentance. Repent of this wicked and sinful idea!! I said that there was nothing to repent for as I never agreed with the whole alcohol giving thing in the first place. Repent! Right now!

Later, I found our little chat in an article about using alcohol. My words were used to show all the God-fearing Christians that there are people who call themselves Christian but refuse to repent from such ideas. Apparently I was the typical ‘not so smart as the other’ guy.

I know, alcohol is a hot topic among many. So is the rapture, gifts of the Holy Spirit, women in church etc. But honestly, I don’t need you to agree with me on these matters. I have great friends, brothers and sisters who wholeheartedly disagree with me on some topics! But we love each-other dearly. Why? Because we know that Christ saved us. Jesus died for us on the cross, and He rose again on the third day. He is the Saviour of the world, and He brought us together as brothers and sisters.

Psalm 133:1

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!

Our brother and sisters are not our opponents when they don’t agree with us over debatable issues!

#5 – The Elect

What do you do when the other brother doesn’t seem to be on the same page as you are. Right! You withdraw yourself from his company, and you try to find as many like-minded as possible! Then, when you found them, you can drink coffee after the service with them. You can have your own private Bible studies with them… Yes, you can even sit next to each-other every Sunday morning.

I don’t think I’ll have to explain that such isolation isn’t very smart, right? Just because we seem to know more about certain topics, doesn’t make us elite or superior to the other.

Romans 12:16

Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Outro

These are the first five dangers I came up with. I would like to name five more in part 2.

I would like to read your ideas about this topic. Let me know in the comments below. Remember! I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You’ll find a link to that channel in the description of this video.

In the same description you’ll find ways to support me, and I’ll place a link to the transcript of this video. I always try to make the transcript available in Dutch and English.

If you want to start your own channel on Odysee you can use my invitation in the description, and we will both receive some free LBC!

As always, thank you for watching,

God bless you and we see each other in the next video!

Atheist’s Opinion – Again the Wager

Atheist Experience 30-03-2008i

This wager thingy was still on my mind when I came across a YouTube channel called the ‘Atheist Experience.’ This channel is already running 13 years, so you could say that these guys are pretty experienced in them being atheistic and all.

One of the faces of this channel is mister Matt Dillahunty, please forgive me if I mispronounce his name. Somewhere in 2008 they tackled the Wager of Blaise Pascal. I think it will be fun and educational to skip through this video and see whether Dillahunty has some good points or not.

I am going to use this video not to ‘destroy’ these guys, but more to see if we, as Christians, can learn something. And to learn something you need to be prepared to get your feet dirty, right?

00:30 – 00:50

So yes, Pascal’s Wager basically says that if the believer loses, he has lost nothing. But if the Atheist loses, he ends up in misery. But, now mister Matt Dillahunty is switching very quickly to the idea that the Wager directly talks about the Christian versus the Atheist. I’ll grant him that Pascal might have had the Christian world – view in mind, but he never framed it like that.

00:50 – 00:59

Okay, now mister Dillahunty says, and with him most Atheists, that it is a false dichotomy fallacy. That means that you only get two options to choose from, while there might be more. Dillahunty backs his statement by naming possible religions who all have their own hells and heavens. If you look at it this way, you might say that the Bet isn’t as simple as ‘either your for us or against us.’ Now, we as Christians know of course that Jesus gave us this two – fold idea. Your either for Jesus or against Him, Matthew 12:30.

He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

So, what would happen if we changed the Wager slightly and say: Either the supernatural world exists or not. That would include the possibility of other religions. But now we do not have the guarantee of a nice outcome if such a world exists. This is because we all of a sudden need to know what would happen after death. In Christianity the outcome seems to be a bit more straightforward, at least for the Christian.

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father […]

John 20:29

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

This is why I prefer not to use the Wager too quickly. And when I use it, I normally do this after I gave all the other arguments in favour of the Biblical God. You need to make sure that someone’s thought – process tells him that, if the supernatural world exists, the God of the Bible must be the most logical explanation. As soon as someone accepts the idea that the Biblical God as the best explanation, you can give him or her the Wager.

01:00 – 01:16

If the believer loses the bet, he loses nothing. And of course Dillahunty corrects this statement. However, he tackles this in a way I don’t agree on. You see, as a Christian I would say that following Christ should cost me my entire life. Jesus said that we have to give up our lives in order to follow Him.

Luke 9:23 – 25

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

As far as that concerned I do agree with Dillahunty, but! Yes, there is a big but! Dillahunty is referring to believing, worship, and spending money. He says that all those endeavours are wasted if God doesn’t exist. Now, this is ludicrous of course. I am a bit surprised that he actually uses these example because I think he should know better. There are so many studies that actually point out that worshipping makes a person feel happier than his non – worshipping counterpart.ii

But also, many Christians give money to good organisations. In history, Christians build hospitals and the played a huge role in abolishing slavery. Nowadays, Christians are spending time and money in many countries where living conditions are really poor. Most Christians do that because they want to obey the Lord in loving their neighbours. And honestly, helping out in poor countries does come with a price. Mostly, the people who go to these countries do not come back rich. And please, do not come after me with examples of those hypocrites who put all the money in their own pockets… We, sincere Christians, hate that just as much as you do.

Anyway, I wouldn’t see these altruistic actions as wasted. Mister Dillahunty should be aware that he only has the freedom he enjoys because believers established these laws a long time ago. And they did it because they loved the Lord God as commanded in both the Old and New Testament.

Luke 10:27

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

You also might like to read an article I have written about this: Why Mission Matters – Seen From a Secular Viewpoint.iii

01:16 – 01:30

Okay, I’ve al ready gone through that right? First try to show that the Biblical God is the most logical explanation before you move on.

01:30 – 01:41

Well, this was rather predictable. Many Atheists say this. As I al ready said in the previous video, Atheists like to treat ‘belief’ as a talent. Some have the talent to believe while others do not. Like the tennis players at Wimbleton. These people have a real talent to hit that ball while I can’t even hit it one out of ten. I am not talented like there are.

But I truly believe that we can’t say this about believing in God. Now, I am a bit lazy so I’ll just show you what I said in the last video:

As said, Pascal wasn’t very fond about the traditional form of apologetics. He knew full well that many un – believers just don’t want to believe in a higher being.

Romans 1:18 – 20

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

This idea is known in the philosophical world as Doxastic Voluntarism and says that people choose their own beliefs. People have a certain amount of control over what they believe,

Pascal did not come up with this idea to enlighten to so – called intelligent people. No, he basically wanted to give a reason to believe without first having to dig through all sorts of arguments.

If you are unable to believe, it is because of your passions since reason impels you to believe and yet you cannot do so. Concentrate then not on convincing yourself by multiplying proofs of God’s existence but by diminishing your passions. You want to find faith, and you do not know the road. You want to be cured of unbelief, and you ask for the remedy: learn from those who were once bound like you and who now wager all they have.

01:41 – 01:51

He right! God isn’t silly. He knows full well what’s going on in the heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 – 10

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart […]

This is why the Wager isn’t meant to be the end station but rather a starting point. How can you investigate something if you don’t want to believe it in the first place. You’ll first have to start believing that the thing you are exploring is there to be explored.

01:51 – 02:12

Yes, I know that this man wants to debate all sorts of topics. And he is pretty good at it as well! Nevertheless, cutting the conversation because someone brings up the Wager is a bit weird. Up until now he brought many objections against the Wager, some of which I agree, some a bit off – track and some I would label as silly. Don’t cut someone off like that! It can be seen as an offer of weakness. But even more, you can just tell people you’re not going to answer. That’s okay!

But, here is a little thought buzzing through my mind. Can it be that Atheists hate this argument because their conscience is nagging about it?

Again, the anecdote that Peter Kreeft gave:

An atheist visited the great rabbi and philosopher Martin Buber and demanded that Buber prove the existence of God to him. Buber refused, and the atheist got up to leave in anger. As he left, Buber called after him, “But can you be sure there is no God?” That atheist wrote, forty years later, “I am still an atheist. But Buber’s question has haunted me every day of my life.” The Wager has just that haunting power.iv

That was Fun!

Well, that was fun! Interesting to here the arguments as given by Dillahunty. Throughout the years these arguments seem not to have changed much. Some arguments are valid, some are silly and some are wrong.

The trouble with programs like the ‘Atheist Experience’ is, in my opinion ,that the arguments follow up on each other in such a high pace that it becomes rather tedious to provide answers, or even to respond to them all. You’ll find that in everyday conversations as well. Someone starts with one question and your not even halfway answering, and they launch the next objection or question. Most of the time this means that the person you’re talking to isn’t really open to discuss the matter.

O well, this was my take on the objection as given by many Atheists. I am very curious about your ideas. Let me know in the comments below. Remember! I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You’ll find a link to that channel in the description of this video. This platform which based on a protocol called LBRY. Videos that are uploaded through the LBRY protocol are censorship free.

In the same description you’ll find ways to support me, and I’ll place a link to the transcript of this video. I always try to make the transcript available in Dutch and English.

If you want to start your own channel on Odysee you can use my invitation in the description, and we will both receive some free LBC!

As always, thank you for watching,

God bless you and we see each other in the next video!



Footnotes:

i https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9WRG4e taken from: The Atheist Experience 546 with Matt Dillahunty and Russell Glasser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEk8ZD0LntE

ii https://www.huffpost.com/entry/church-attendance-happy-pew-research-center_n_5c545b34e4b0bdf0e7daac7f

iii Why Mission Matters – Seen From a Secular Point of View:
https://www.apologeet.nl/en/faq/010_why-mission/

iv Peter Kreeft, The Argument from Pascal’s Wager, Texas A&M Veritas Forum – 1995, [internet] https://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/pascals-wager.htm, accessed 14-04-2022.

Pascal’s Wager

You Wanna Bet on it?

My kids love to climb trees. Overall, I’m okay with that, but I normally give them one very important but simple rule: You are not allowed to fall out! And whatta you know… They tend to break that one simple rule every time.

One day, one of them came running home and in a rather panicky voice he told me that his brother fell out of a very high tree. He told me that his brother was just lying on the ground and didn’t move. Now, I know that they sometimes have the tendency to exaggerate a bit. But what did I do? Exactly, I told my boy to show me the way and we both ran to his brother. I couldn’t take the change of him lying there and not getting proper help. When I arrived, I was relieved to see him smile and trying to climb again.

I took the change of going there for no good reason and loosing some time. Or maybe there was something wrong, and I could help him. But, imagine I didn’t go and found out later that he was hurt big time. That would have been a really dumb decision. No reasonable person can be or ever is in doubt in such cases. You just check up on your child!

What is the Wager?

Deciding whether to believe in God is a case like my example, argues Pascal. Blaise Pascal was a 17th century mathematician and philosophe. Pascal’s Wager or bet, is the most known part of his collection of notes known as the Pensées. With the Wager, Pascal tried to provide a compelling reason to believe in God based upon happiness and possible outcomes.

Pascal believed that God’s existence can’t be known without the Bible. He said that

if there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible […] We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is

and that

reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us […] According to reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.i

You might say that he didn’t really promoted apologetics based on evidence. Pascal was more the type of guy who wanted to stress the gains of belief.

The Wager basically say that if you bet on the existence of God, and He doesn’t exist, you’ve lost nothing. You could have lived your life in happiness, thinking you would go to heaven. But, if you bet on atheism, and it turned out God does exist, you’re in a pickle. The atheist also could have lived his life in happiness but that would end with the existence of God. So, what bet would be the most save one? Right, to bet on God.

Wanna Bet on it?

Many think that the Wager is a very poor argument to believe in God. Pascal, who himself was a very critical philosopher, thought it to be one of the strongest.

And honestly? I don’t think it is a good apologetical argument at all. But neither did Pascal. This Wager isn’t based on any evidence whatsoever. Many sceptics, atheists and the like hate this argument. They despise it as one of the dumbest things there is. Why is that you ask? Well, simply because many, Christians included, don’t understand why Pascal came up with this idea.

As said, Pascal wasn’t very fond about the traditional form of apologetics. He knew full well that many un-believers just don’t want to believe in a higher being.

Romans 1:18-20

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

This idea is known in the philosophical world as Doxastic Voluntarism and says that people choose their own beliefs. People have a certain amount of control over what they believe,

Pascal did not come up with this idea to enlighten to so-called intelligent people. No, he basically wanted to give a reason to believe without first having to dig through all sorts of arguments.

If you are unable to believe, it is because of your passions since reason impels you to believe and yet you cannot do so. Concentrate then not on convincing yourself by multiplying proofs of God’s existence but by diminishing your passions. You want to find faith, and you do not know the road. You want to be cured of unbelief, and you ask for the remedy: learn from those who were once bound like you and who now wager all they have.

Some atheists say that they just can’t believe. In other words, they think that ‘believing’ is something like a talent. Just like a professional football player who has that talent which not many have. You believe my words or not; you believe you are watching this video or not. It is a choice you can make. And I agree with Pascal, believing is an act.

And sure enough, just starting to believe or to admit that God exists is a good beginning to investigate more. If someone at least decided to believe that God is real he might be open for more. He might decide to finally listen and have faith.

Romans 10:17

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Agnosticism

Pascal did something very interesting with this argument. He actually showed the foolishness of agnosticism. Agnostics say they cannot know whether God exists or not. They tend to be very sceptical and do not want to commit themselves to reason. No, they think we shouldn’t bet at all but Pascal answers this by telling them that they have no choice, you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Embarked in what? In life. We are no spectators who are sitting in the stands of the stadium, watching all those poor earthlings struggling through life. No, everybody plays along, everybody needs to choose.

The agnostic view is totally unreasonable, because they too will one day face the reality of death. Simply saying that you don’t know what happens after death is one thing, but to leave the incident unquestioned is something the Bible would classify as foolishness.

Atheism

Agnosticism is an unreasonable and even an impossible viewpoint of life. Either God exists or He does not. This leaves us with only two viewpoints. Namely, atheism and theism. And as said, betting on the non-existence of God is a really dumb decision. Blaise said:

You have two things to lose: the true and the good; and two things to stake: your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to avoid: error and wretchedness. Since you must necessarily choose, your reason is no more affronted by choosing one rather than the other. That is one point cleared up. But your happiness? Let us weigh up the gain and the loss involved in calling heads that God exists. Let us assess the two cases: if you win, you win everything: if you lose, you lose nothing. Do not hesitate then: wager that he does exist.

Problems

Reason

I do not agree with Pascal’s idea that reason cannot help us decide whether God exists. Again Romans 1:19-20

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

Also, Jesus’ disciples used reason to preach the Gospel. Paul is known for his style of evangelising. He reasoned and argued with everyone who wanted to.

Acts 17:2

[In Thessalonica, Paul,] as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.

Peter even calls on us to give an answer to every man that asks you about your faith.

1 Peter 3:15

but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

Salvation

Another thing I have difficulty with, is the idea that those who bet on God are the lucky ones if He does exist—those waged on Him will enjoy unlimited happiness.

Pascal said:

If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.

James 2:19 says that belief in God is not automatically evidence of salvation and a right relationship with Him.

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Many religions believe in the existence of God, and there are also many secular people who will tell you that they believe that there must be a God. Still the Bible is crystal clear that everlasting life can only come by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and accepting His gift of salvation that comes from His death and resurrection. In other words, the Bible clearly says that we need to believe in God to begin with, but that we also need to accept His Son as Lord and Saviour.

But, to be fair on Pascal, I am not sure he meant to say that believing in God was enough. It might well be that he assumed that someone who believes also will take the next step by accepting Christ.

Concluding

I could go on talking about all the problems that can be found in the Wager. And trust me, there are many who have done that already. I might do a video on just that. Just about all the problems and objections that have been raised by un-believers.

But for now, I think it is enough to say that the Wager isn’t all bad. Peter Kreeft ended his article with the following anecdote:

An atheist visited the great rabbi and philosopher Martin Buber and demanded that Buber prove the existence of God to him. Buber refused, and the atheist got up to leave in anger. As he left, Buber called after him, “But can you be sure there is no God?” That atheist wrote, forty years later, “I am still an atheist. But Buber’s question has haunted me every day of my life.” The Wager has just that haunting power.ii

Well, that is just it, isn’t it? Many will just walk around, acting very content with them being atheistic, but in the meantime there is this irritating feeling of ‘what if?’

The Wager can also be very handy for us as Christians. I know there are some of you who never seem to have any trouble believing what you believe, but there are Christians who struggle so now and then. Sometimes good arguments just aren’t good enough. Sometimes the overwhelming evil in this world shakes your trust. And sometimes you just keep on doing dumb things, and you struggle to do the right thing. It makes you wonder… Is it all worth it? Then the Wager can be of a great help. Is it all worth it? Well, if God exists, definitely! If God doesn’t exist… Oh well, you will not even notice it by the time you die.

What do you think, are there any benefits or objections to the Wager? Let me know in the comment section of this video below! Remember! I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You’ll find a link to that channel in the description of this video. This platform which based on a protocol called LBRY. Videos that are uploaded through the LBRY protocol are censorship free.

In the same description you’ll find ways to support me, and I’ll place a link to the transcript of this video. I always try to make the transcript available in Dutch and English.

If you want to start your own channel on Odysee you can use my invitation in the description, and we will both receive some free LBC!

As always, thank you for watching,

God bless you and we see each other in the next video!


Footnotes

i Blaise Pascal, Pensées, (1623-1662), Trotter, W.F. (Trans.), Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Grand Rapids, MI, [internet] http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pascal/pensees.html, accessed 13-04-2022, pp. 38-39.

ii Peter Kreeft, The Argument from Pascal’s Wager, Texas A&M Veritas Forum – 1995, [internet] https://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/pascals-wager.htm, accessed 14-04-2022.

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