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.