Experts didn’t expect such a development but it appears the ranks of the “Nones” — people who identify with no religious denomination or following — are no longer increasing and a decline may even be ahead.
That’s the news from two recently completed massive studies, both of which are reported today by the Religion in Public (RIP) blog. In the first, Washington College Political Science Professor Melissa Deckman notes:
Tradition has it that all of the original surviving 11 disciples of Jesus died as martyrs while defending their claims that Christ had been resurrected on the third day after being crucified.
Thomas, the skeptical disciple (i.e. the “Doubting Thomas”) who refused to believe the resurrection until Jesus appeared to him and invited him to touch his crucifixion wounds, is believed to have taken the Gospel to India where he died as a martyr.
As Biola University Professor Sean McDowell explains in the following video, there is no independent corroboration for this tradition, but there is good historical evidence to support the conclusion that there is truth in the account:
This year marked the fifth in the past six that I have joined a devoted and talented team of nearly two dozen men and women who are present and former members of Friendship Baptist Church (FBC) in Sykesville, Md., on a week-long mission to Puebla, Mexico.
At the outset, let me be clear that my saying this is not “virtue signaling” on my part. That God led me for the first time to go on this mission trip in 2015 was in itself a miracle and concrete evidence of how radically He has transformed a previously selfish, booze-addicted and politics-obsessed egotist with a new heart and desire to love and serve Him, my family, fellow believers, and my neighbors. I get zero credit here, it’s all to His credit and glory.
A common objection heard from atheists, agnostics and other skeptics these days is that the God of the Old Testament was immoral because He allegedly endorsed such horrors as forced servitude, genocide and rape.
As RZIM’s Brandon Cleaver explained recently in a lengthy analysis of the issue, “slavery in the Bible was vastly different. First, according to many scholars, the Hebrew word (ebed or eved) that is often translated as slave in the Old Testament is more reasonably rendered as servant.
“Furthermore, slavery among the Hebrews in the Old Testament often occurred when individuals sold themselves into servanthood to pay off debt. Therefore, it was voluntary.”
In the following video, crossexamined.org’s Dr. Frank Turek makes that point and more in responding to a series of questions that taken together frame the argument that the God of the Bible is a moral monster:
China is not ranked on top of the 50 worst nations for persecuting Christians compiled by Open Doors USA, as that dubious distinction belongs to North Korea, followed close behind by Afghanistan.
But China is building a pervasive system of digital surveillance-based oppression that is presently aimed at the estimated 125 million Christians there, but which could easily be duplicated in other nations and used to silence anybody who disagrees with the regime in power.
It is not uncommon to hear the claim that human thoughts and choices are actually nothing more than the product of material processes of neurons acting and reacting within our physical brains.
Put another way, our minds are illusions. We only think we think of our own free will. As Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist and atheist advocate, put it in a 2011 interview with Britain’s The Guardian:
Critics and skeptics over the centuries have come up with a multitude of theories attempting to discount the claim that Jesus Christ rose from the dead three days after His death on the cross.
These theories fall into four primary categories:
Some sort of conspiracy.
He only appeared to have died.
Somebody moved His body without telling the disciples.
There were hallucinations.
In Part 2 of the Reasonable Faith video looking at the facts about the claim Jesus rose from the dead, each of these theories is addressed head-on and shown to be a less satisfactory explanation for the undisputed truth about the death of Jesus:
If you missed it, Part 1 was posted yesterday here on HillFaith. If you have questions about anything you heard in either video, please tell us about it in the comments.
Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallaces Responds to a great question during a recent conversation on the campus of Ohio State University
That question posed in the headline above is a commonplace criticism one often hears in the media, on campus, and in a wide range of public forums in America.
You saw a typical example of this sort of ad hominem on Sunday if you happen to have watched “Meet The Press” when NBC’s Chuck Todd read a letter-to-the-editor of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald claiming people who believe Noah’s Ark actually existed are typically Trump supporters.
But this isn’t a new argument, as J. Warner Wallace explains during a recent presentation at Ohio State University. In the process, he addresses these key questions: “Why do Christian believe in – and expect – an afterlife? Is our belief in Heaven and Hell based purely on the teaching of the Bible? Is there any other good reason to expect a life beyond the grave?”
It’s a truism in much of today’s ecumenical efforts that Christians worship the same deity that Muslims do because both are monotheistic, that is, they each contend there is one god, not many.
The reality is that there are profound differences between the essential concepts of God held by orthodox Christians and the two major branches of Muslim belief.
Philosopher William Lane Craig contends the Muslim concept of god is “morally defective” and explains why in this video by first describing the Christian concept:
“As the greatest conceivable being, a morally perfect being, God must be all-loving. And this is exactly what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that God loves sinners, His love is impartial, it is universal, it is unconditional,” Craig says.
“And this is a world of difference from the god of the Quaran. According to the Quaran, god does not love sinners. God in the Quaran only loves those who first love him,” Craig continues.
“So that his love rises no higher than the sort of love that Jesus said tax collectors and sinners exhibit. They love those that love them,” he said. “The Quaran says god does not love the very people that John 3:16 says that God love so much that He sent His only son to die for them.”
John Lennox is the famous and brilliant Oxford mathematician and Christian apologist. David Rubin is the famous and brilliant web radio host and child of a conservative Jewish home.
What on earth might two guys of such different backgrounds have to talk about for an hour? Well, what could be more important than the question that has been center stage in Western culture ever since Nietzsche declared that “God is dead.”
This is an hour-long conversation, but I hope you will get yourself a cup of java, sit down somewhere quiet and give this delightful, stimulating and instructive conversation between two really smart, funny and honest guys your attention on this first Saturday of December 2019.
If you work on Capitol Hill, you likely heard of Blaise Pascal somewhere along the way, most likely in a college course where he was dismissed as one of those “old white guys” who created the oppressive monster better known as “Western Civilization.”
But, as philosopher Kenneth Samples explains on Reflections, Pascal was not only a philosopher and a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, he was also a technological genius and a “Renaissance Man” of the first order.
Quarterback Nick Foles went from being Super Bowl MVP with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 to breaking his clavicle in his first game with the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this year.
To put Foles’ situation in a congressional staff context, imagine getting a big promotion from a good job on an important House staff to a bigger Senate slot that pays more and demands everything you’ve got.
Then a couple of weeks after starting, the chief of staff who hired you leaves and the new guy has his own favorite for the position you just took over. You can see where it’s going and it ain’t looking good.
So how do you react? Check out this video of Foles laying out his reactions for reporters to an injury that sidelined him at just about the worst possible time:
HITS Daily reports that West’s new album not only debuted in the top spot on the Top 50 Hits sales chart, it did so with more total sales than the all the other top five entries combined.
“Now that I’m in service to Christ, my job is to spread the gospel, to let people know what Jesus has done for me,” West said during a recent interview with Apple Music’s Zane Low.
“I’ve spread a lot of things. There was a time I was letting you know what high fashion had done for me. I was letting you know what the Hennessy had done for me. I was letting you know all these things but now I’m letting you know what Jesus has done for me,” he said.