The Skeptical Christian: An Overview

20 February 2006

The notion that Christianity is based on a “leap of faith” rather than an intellectual commitment of mind and soul to God is widespread in today’s culture. Christians are unable to provide a rational defense of their faith, and nonbelievers are convinced that religion is something only for the gullible and weak-minded. At The Skeptical Christian, these problems are addressed head on. Christianity is NOT a worldview for the weak-minded and it is NOT based on a blind leap of faith.

The Skeptical Christian was designed with discussion in mind. Any article on this site can be commented on, and any suggestions, critiques, or alternative perspectives on any of the writings are welcomed and encouraged. Feel free to participate in the discussion of these important topics.


This site is separated into several sections. In “Theism,” rational arguments are used to establish a foundation for belief in God. Some important articles here include The Cosmological Argument, and Defining God. For a treatment on the foundation of “faith” in God, see Personal Experiences. This section also includes articles on the importance of religion and worldview for every individual. Some good treatments include The Argument from the Meaning of Life and Pascal’s Suggestion.

In the “Atheism” section, arguments against Christianity and the existence of God are criticized. This includes an extensive analysis of the The Problem of Evil. Another important argument, The Argument from Nonbelief is addressed in this section. Many people claim that it is unproductive to claim that God is the cause of some phenomenon, and this common argument is considered in the article, The God-of-the-Gaps. The claim that Christianity in general and Christians in particular are responsible for great evil is shown to be a non-argument in the essay Evil Christianity.

The “Refutation” section consists of responses to a variety of non-Christian writings, both scholarly and popular. Many of these articles are helpful supplements to other writings on this site; for example, the Rebuttal of Plugaru reinforces some concepts defended in the Argument from Nonbelief and the Rebuttal of Martin strengthens the arguments found in the Problem of Evil.

The “Library” includes over 50 book reviews, including material that is pro-Christian, anti-Christian, and neutral. For some solid Christian apologetics, check out Scaling the Secular City and Reasonable Faith. Some interesting non-Christian readings include Atheism: The Case against God and What is Atheism?. Two great debates are God? and Jesus’ Resurrection.

In the “Debates” section there are debates and discussions with non-Christians. I have an ongoing correspondence with Brian Holtz, as well as catalogs of several past debates. This section also contains links to several forum discussions in which I participated significantly.

The “Ethics” section contains articles discussing important moral issues of our day. This section currently has an article on the moral status of abortion. This section will be expanded quite a bit in the near future.

Finally, I have added a “Media” section, where I will post video projects and audio files of talks that I have given. Check out the ACTS Videos for a sample of these upcoming projects.

Building the Case for Theism:


*Natural Theology

Cosmological Argument

- Defining God

*Importance of Religion

Argument from the Meaning of Life

- Pascal’s Suggestion

- The Quest for God

- My Reasons for Apologetics

*Meaning of Faith

Personal Experiences

- Why I am a Skeptical Christian

*Other

Arguments Christians Should not Use

Answering Atheist Arguments:


*Primary Atheist Arguments

The Problem of Evil

- The Argument from Nonbelief

*Secondary Arguments

The God-of-the-Gaps

- The Necessity of Extraordinary Evidence

- The Evolution of Belief?

- The Argument from Multiple Deities

- The Argument from the History of Science

- The Argument from Miracle Impossibility

- Evil Christianity

- The Cult of Christianity

The Refutation Station:

*Scholarly Article Refutations

Rebuttal of Michael Martin (Problem of Evil)

- Rebuttal of Michael Martin (The Gap in Theistic Arguments)

- Rebuttal of Horia Plugaru (Argument from Nonbelief)

*Other Refutations

Dawkins’ Central Argument

Rebuttal of Jeffrey Jay Lowder

- Response to Tony Sharp

- Rebuttal of Ethical Atheist

- Rebuttal of Lee Salisbury

*Refutation Series

  • Defense of the Cosmological Argument Includes:

    -(1)Refutation of Michael Martin
    -(2)Refutation of Dan Barker
    -(3)Refutation of John Mackie



    * Rebuttals of the Problem of Evil Includes:

    -(1)Refutation of George H. Smith

    *Debate Reviews

    Craig vs. Ehrman (Jesus’ Resurrection)

    Craig vs. Washington (God’s Existence)

    Correspondence


    *Debates

    Debate with Brian Holtz
    Debate with Gareth Nelson
    Debate with ‘Logic’
    Debate with Tony Sharp

    *Forum Discussions


    Evidence that God Exists
    Cosmological Argument Debate (Hosted at Ethical Atheist)
    Why Should I Be a Christian? (Hosted at TheologyWeb)
    God’s Existence (Hosted at TheologyWeb)

    Abortion
    Atheism, Theism, and Abortion (Hosted at TheologyWeb)
    Abortion Discussion (Hosted at Ethical Atheist)
    Abortion Discussion (Hosted at TheologyWeb)
    When Does Life Begin? (Hosted at TheologyWeb)
    Abortion Rant (Hosted at TheologyWeb)
    Is the Fetus a Person? (Hosted at TheologyWeb)

    Article Discussions
    My Reasons for Apologetics (Hosted at TheologyWeb)
    The Argument from Nonbelief (Hosted at TheologyWeb)

    Other
    Life, Death, And Punishment (Hosted at Ethical Atheist)

    Ethics

    The Immorality of Abortion

    Separation of Church and State

    Embryonic Stem Cell Research

    Is Birth Control a Sin?

    The Library:


    *Christian Apologetics

    Reasonable Faith (William Lane Craig)

    - Scaling the Secular City (J.P. Moreland)

    - The Son Rises (William Lane Craig)

    - The Impossible Faith (J.P. Holding)

    - The Dawkins Delusion? (Alister McGrath)

    - Simply Christian (N.T. Wright)

    - Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis)

    - The Great Divorce (C.S. Lewis)

    - The Abolition of Man (C.S. Lewis)

    - A Grief Observed (C.S. Lewis)

    - The Problem of Pain (C.S. Lewis)

    - The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis)

    - The Holiness of God (R.C. Sproul)

    - The Historical Jesus (Gary Habermas)

    - Know Why you Believe (Paul Little)

    - The Language of God (Francis Collins)

    - The Only Wise God (William Lane Craig)

    - The Universe Next Door (James Sire)

    - The Case for Christ (Lee Strobel)

    - The Case for Faith (Lee Strobel)

    - The Case for a Creator (Lee Strobel)

    - The Kalam Cosmological Argument (William Lane Craig)

    *Atheist Literature

    Atheism: The Case against God (George Smith)

    - Why Atheism? (George Smith)

    - What is Atheism? (Douglas Krueger)

    - Letter to a Christian Nation (Sam Harris)

    - The End of Faith (Sam Harris)

    - The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins)

    - Breaking the Spell (Daniel Dennett)

    - God: The Failed Hypothesis (Victor Stenger)

    - God is Not Great (Christopher Hitchens)

    - Losing Faith in Faith (Dan Barker)

    *Debates

    Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment? (Craig vs. Ludemann)

    - Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? (Craig vs. Crossan)

    - Resurrected? (Habermas vs. Flew)

    - God? (Craig vs. Sinnott-Armstrong)

    - Does God Exist? (Moreland vs. Neilsen)

    - Does God Exist? (Craig vs. Flew)

    - Theism, atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology (Craig vs. Q. Smith)

    *Other

    The Last Three Minutes (Paul Davies)

    - The Theory of Everything (Stephen Hawking)

    - God and Design (Neil Manson et al.)

    - Darwin’s Black Box (Michael Behe)

    - Four Views on Hell (William Crockett, John Walvoord, Zachary Hayes, Clark Pinnock)

    - What About Those Who Have Never Heard? (John Sanders, Gabriel Fackre, and Ronald Nash)

    - Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Paul Nelson, John Mark Reynolds, Robert Newman, and Howard Van Til)

    - Divine Foreknowledge: 4 Views (Paul Helm, William Lane Craig, David Hunt, Greg Boyd)

    - Reason and Religious Belief (William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach, David Basinger, Michael Peterson)

    *Full Critiques

    What is Atheism? (Doug Krueger)
    Atheism: The Case against God (George A. Smith)

    Media


    -The ACTS videos






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    1. kyle deming this better be kyle deming from mich. i just got lukes graduation letter and so i started trying to find you or luke. thank god for google..well my aim name is lilvanila516 and if this isnt my cousin just act like you didnt get this

      colleen


      Colleen Cribbs    May 12, 04:20 PM    #
    2. This looks like a good site except we have little information as to the source of this information, mainly of who is compiling it.


      — Joel    Jan 6, 12:42 PM    #
    3. I love the site!!

      God bless


      — Par    Jan 12, 11:49 AM    #
    4. What an excellent repository of apologetic info! But even better is the notion of Christian skepticism – an all too rare specimen.


      Steve    Oct 25, 03:01 PM    #
    5. Your Home Page introduction reads:

      20 February 2006

      The notion that Christianity is based on a “leap of faith” rather than an intellectual commitment of mind and soul to God is widespread in today’s culture. Christians are unable to provide a rational defense of their faith, and nonbelievers are convinced that religion is something only for the gullible and weak-minded. At The Skeptical Christian, these problems are addressed head on. Christianity is NOT a worldview for the weak-minded and it is NOT based on a blind leap of faith.

      My argument is that it is a leap of faith rather than an intellectual commitment of mind and soul to God.

      As a believer in Christ, your introduction is incorrect. You cannot accept Christ as your Saviour via “an intellectual commitment”. My point is that ‘A Decision To Believe Is Not Belief’. Your new found Christianity in the beginning at least, is indeed a leap of faith. That is why Christ said “of such is the kingdom of heaven” when he spoke about our childlike acceptance of Him. Children have an unprecedented faith that their parents will feed, shelter and look after them. They come to a better understanding of that love and support as they mature but in the beginning at least, it is a “blind leap of faith”.

      Blessings, Wally >


      Wally Bootsma    Mar 17, 12:34 PM    #
    6. Can’t subscribe to the newsletter! Just get this message:

      Program Error (Server Error 500)

      More information about this error may be available in the server error log and/or program error log.

      Dada Mail 2.10.15 error, please MAKE SURE that ’/home/youraccount/dada_files’ is a directory (NOT a file) and that Dada Mail has enough permissions to write into this directory: No such file or directory at mail.cgi line 6245


      RonH    Mar 21, 06:05 AM    #
    7. Yes Jesus never said faith was blind. The faith described in the Bible is a powerful thing of substance. Not to be used blindly.


      MIchael    Dec 12, 12:16 PM    #
    8. looks like an interesting site. looking forward to stopping by here a lot.

      just a suggestion: try to read & review some of bart ehrman’s books. saw your comments about him in one post. but i think you should go a little deeper with him as a historian of early christianity. we shouldn’t even talk about christian religion as such without taking a serious look at the very early history of the ‘jesus movement’ & all its complexity. — oh, & dude also has book out with his own take on the question of theodicy. check it out…

      and while i’m on a roll, 2 old books by a princeton philosophy prof named walter kaufmann that i’d love for you to read and respond to: ‘critique of religion and philosophy’ & ‘the faith of a heretic’. see especially the chapter ‘against theology’ in the 2nd. it’s public domain & on the internet archive site. thanks


      — todd    May 9, 08:00 PM    #
    9. I’ve only listened to one podcast, but his arguments in episode 20 are spurious. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to pick apart his thinking on miracles and the resurrection. He’s very articulate, but like all apologists, he offers one bad premise stacked upon another. Clearly, he’s preaching to the already converted. Once you’ve accepted the likelihood of a Christian god, then, sure, Christian miracles seem likely as well. But that doesn’t say much at all about the veracity of miracles. Like all attempts at using reason to demonstrate faith-based claims, one eventually must fall back on the mystery of faith. The early church fathers understood this. Christianity, once again, simply does not hold up under reasonable or scientific scrutiny. I would suggest reading “Atheism: the case against God” by George H. Smith.


      Kevin    May 21, 04:41 PM    #
    10. Todd,

      Thanks for the suggestions. I have actually already read Bart’s book on the problem of evil but I’ve been slacking on getting a book review posted. I’ll work on that and also be sure to read some more Ehrman material, as I know he is an important critic to respond to. I’ll also look into the other books. My reading list grows!

      Kevin,

      For the record, I have already read and reviewed, in-depth, Smith’s book. I appreciate your concern that I am stacking bad premises on top of another, but to be fair I have indeed tried to develop a reasonable case for the bare existence of God, and I refer back to these arguments when arguing for the plausibility of miracles.

      Also, many of the early Church Fathers believed that Christianity was a rational worldview that could be defended.

      Sincerely,

      Kyle.


      Kyle Deming    Jul 17, 08:14 PM    #
    11. This site is awesome! I can’t believe you started it when you were 16. I like how you, unlike many Christian sites, don’t try to defend a literal interpretaion of Genesis. Also, it’s good to know theres another Christian out there who thinks evolution and God are compatible.


      — T.j.    Oct 22, 12:12 PM    #
    12. I’ve left four comments on the evolution talk, number four


      Andrew Ryan    Nov 11, 11:55 PM    #
    13. I would like to invite you to BLOG on my new website: WorkoutforGOD. I would be able to promote you via your own page and of course link back to you. I am looking for educational content teaching the Truth about Christ in all different subject matters. I will give you editor access to the wordpress backend etc… Please contact me via email to find out more details. BTW – there will be a podcast associated to site… I hope to hear from you soon! Wolf


      Wolf Krammel    May 10, 03:01 AM    #
    14. @Kevin “I wouldn’t even know where to begin to pick apart his thinking on miracles and the resurrection. He’s very articulate, but like all apologists, he offers one bad premise stacked upon another. Clearly, he’s preaching to the already converted.”

      Love it when atheists do this. Absolutely marvelous. The only “defense” they can offer is to accuse apologists of “being dishonest” and “using bad arguments,” but they never specify how or why and offer justification for such claims. They just throw around the phrase “like all apologists” to sound like they have a point, when they really don’t have one at all.


      Carl    Oct 11, 11:51 AM    #
    15. I propose that you do a study of the statistics of debates between Christians and atheists for the last 50 years on the existence of God, and show how the number of debates in recent years like for the last five years has gone down or gone up.

      The number of debates going down is an indication that atheists are losing or exhausting their contrary arguments and can’t think up any more proofs worth debating from Christians, or the it is because Christians are more and more afraid to debate atheists.

      If the number of debates is going up, then it is an indication that both camps are still producing more proofs with Christians for God existing and more disproofs with atheists for God not existing.


      Susmariosep    Nov 20, 02:17 PM    #
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