Many atheists and agnostics say that there is no such thing as absolute morals. I tend to disagree, as do most Christians. Here is how the argument typically goes:
CHRISTIAN: We know what we are supposed to do because God set forth moral law in the Bible. That means that morals are clearly defined in God's word and we are to abide by what has been set forth.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems with the non-believer's argument that, if you consider the following points, will show that it is more believable that moral law comes from God and is absolute rather than a societal relative moral law.
MORALITY ISN'T RELATIVE UNLESS YOU'RE WILLING TO ADMIT THAT SOCIETALLY-DEFINED BAD ACTIONS ARE JUST AS MORAL AS SOCIETALLY-DEFINED GOOD ACTIONS.
OUTLIERS OF RELATIVE MORALS
As mentioned before, the non-believer will typically argue that morals must be relative because people in different societies and those who lived in different time periods thought it was perfectly find to do what they were doing.
That was actually an argument given at the Nuremberg Trials where Nazis were held accountable for killing millions of Jews and other non-arians. One of the defense lawyers said that those involved said they were doing what they were told to do and that no one had the right to tell Nazis that they couldn't do what they did.
But one things many forget are the outliers in these situations. For example, think of the several non-Jewish residents who helped Jewish people they had employed or who had employed them. There are so many stories involving those who knew that what was happening was wrong, and they chose to risk their lives to help.
The same with slavery and segregation. So many people who were largely unaffected by slavery, mainly whites who could have gone on letting it happen, took a stand to say "this person, even though he has darker skin than mine, is worth just as much as I am. I will fight for them."
These outliers go to show there are two sides to this coin. There are people who say society formed their morals and people who know that there is some higher moral law that they answer to.
Can you really live it out?
So many people claim that morals are relative, but they can't live it out. If you talk to a non-believer, odds are they are very kind and intelligent people with a goal in life to help others or leave a positive mark on the world. You of course don't need God to have morals, but you can't explain morals without God.
Think of it this way: You come up to a grandmother with a walker who is trying to cross the street. You have a couple of options. You can help her across, you can ignore her, or you can do something terrible like steal from her or knock her over in the middle of the street and leave her there.
Most everyone, aside from perhaps a sociopath or psychopath would either let her cross on her own or help her. But, by saying that morals are relative, you are saying that no matter what someone choses to do, you can't really argue with it because there is no certainty of morally right or wrong actions. You get to decide what is moral. If someone knocks the granny over and steals her rent money, that is equally as moral as helping her across the street.
Can you really live that out?
Morals in the Bible
Moral law is found everywhere in the Bible. One of the greatest examples of moral law are the 10 Commandments which cover the basics.
Basically, don't kill, don't have affairs, don't steal, don't disrespect or hurt your parents. I and most others, including non-believers, would say that refraining from stealing and killing and so on is morally right. Biblical stories like Cane and Abel cover murder and others like Achen who stole from Jericho.
Other moral issues in the Bible include disrespecting your parents, adultery, incest, and so on.
Most non-believers claim it is morally right because they wouldn't want it done to them.
But so what? Just because you don't do it doesn't mean someone else won't. When someone steals from you or kills your relative, would you say "I wouldn't want it done to me so that was wrong?" No, you would want justice because you place innate value on human life, which is another issue I will cover in a future blog.
Just as much so, you would never have someone steal something or kill your loved one and say "well, it's OK because morality is relative. Most people wouldn't do that, so you can't say that morality is relative if you aren't living like it is. That's intellectual dishonesty.
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LEGAL: All photos are my own or taken from Pixabay, a creative commons website that requires no attribution for photo use.
The modern church is full of people who will tell you that being angry is wrong. Anger, a natural human feeling, is most commonly caused by someone wronging you. While I disagree that anger is always wrong, I do agree that there are times when being angry isn't OK.
For example, we tend to become pretty angry when someone points out our flaws. This is a natural defense we are all born with. It stinks to be called to the floor for what we've done wrong, and we've all been called to the floor for something or other.
I've always been a pretty stubborn person, and I admittedly get angry when I shouldn't. But, I've found that recently, more often than not, I get angry when people do things that contradict the Bible. I get angry when people accuse others of things without knowing the full situation. I get angry when people consistently try to use the church their own gain and personal agenda. I'm sure you get angry at these things, too.
When someone tells me that being angry is always wrong, I always want to point them to one particular verse in the Bible, although there are several that back up this claim. Here is the verse:
"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath."
"And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again." - Mark 8:31
"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day."
"Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again."
Fulfilled prophesy (historically corroborated by Bible)
"And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." - Mark 13:1-2
A change in the lives of the disciples
The men were sorely afraid of dying for Jesus or alongside Him, so they denied Him and betrayed Him until He was risen again. After this, we see a huge change in the disciples. They begin fervently preaching Jesus' message to people in places that didn't believe in God. This subsequently cost them their lives. Here are some of the apostles and how they were killed.
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Simon Peter was crucified upside down so that his death would not be the equal to that of Jesus.
Andrew was tied to a cross so he would suffer a longer, more painful death. He preached to passersby as he died.
James (son of Zebedee) was executed "by the sword" (beheaded) after an accuser pointed out he was preaching about Jesus. The accuser repented and converted and was executed alongside James.
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Unfortunately, Satan is still working. In this post, I will give you a short recap of the serpent's exchange with Eve in the book of Genesis. Next I will clarify why the church identifies the serpent as Satan. Lastly, I will show you what tactics Satan used to tempt Eve and how they're still being used today.
A SUMMATION OF THE SERPENT'S EXCHANGE
"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Genesis 2:16-17
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Genesis 3:1
Eve, who did initially tell the serpent that God said the couple couldn't eat or touch the fruit of the tree without dying, saw that it was good for fruit, nice to look at, and would maker her wise, so she feeds it to her husband. After eating, they both realize they are naked and hide from God.
FOR THE SERPENT
WHY THE SERPENT IS THE DEVIL
1. The serpent is described in Genesis 3:1 as "subtile." The dictionary defines this word as "clever or dexterous." Here are a few more verses about Satan that parallel with this description:
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." II Corinthians 4:4
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour..." I Peter 5:8
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Revelation 12:9
"And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you. Amen." Romans 16:20
We know that Satan was once an angel, so he would likely have the same abilities as that angels have.
THE DEVILS TACTICS IN THE GARDEN AND
HOW HE USES THEM NOW
PURSUIT OF WISDOM/POWER
IN THE GARDEN
Satan tells Eve that God won't let her die if she eats the fruit. He continues on to say that God just doesn't want Eve or Adam eating the fruit because they will become "as gods" and that their eyes would be opened.
IN MODERN TIMES
People are always willing to step on whoever they need to to come to power. We also see a sort of abandonment from logic when people get too wrapped up in pursuing wisdom and other forms of information.
MISINTERPRETING GOD'S WORD
IN THE GARDEN
This is pretty interesting, and I never caught it in the Biblical narrative until recently. If you look closely at Genesis 2:17 and Genesis 3:3, you will see discrepancies.
Even though God says eating of the tree will result in death, Eve says eating or even touching it will lead to death. This is a misinterpretation of God's word (or ignoring what He said entirely).
This is partially an assumption. We don't know if Adam tells Eve this afterward to deter her from touching the fruit, but it is clearly not what God says.
This happens so often. People scour the Bible for a verse that fits their narrative while ignoring the context of the passage they are reading from.
For example, when Trump instituted the temporary ban on "illegal" immigrants, people quoted Leviticus 19:33 which says we should not mistreat a foreigner in our land. However, if they were to read further in Leviticus 19:34, they would learn that the Bible says foreigners living among us should be treated as our native-born. This includes taxation and following the legal pathways to reside in the country legally.
NEGATING GOD'S WORD
IN THE GARDEN
The serpent tells the woman "Ye shall not surely die (Genesis 3:4). This goes directly against what God actually says in Genesis 2:17 when He says "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Satan negates the words of God to Eve.
IN MODERN TIMES
There are thousands who are influenced by the Devil to negate God's word. Other religions, mainly Islam, allege that the gospels do not expose the real Jesus. The Devil, in my opinion, influences people to believe a man born 500 years after Christ instead of his disciples and their companions who wrote the gospels.
PLACING BLAME ON OTHERS
IN THE GARDEN
The story makes it clear that no one wants to take the fall for eating the fruit. When Adam is questioned, he says "the woman thou gavest me (Genesis 3:12) gave him the fruit. While this is true, Adam likely had never seen the fruit before as he was not allowed to eat it. There is no suggestion that he even questioned it.
Eve places the blame on the serpent saying he "beguiled me" and I ate. While Eve takes blame for eating it initially, she also blames the serpent. Although it is clear the serpent is partially to blame, the decision to eat was made by both Adam and Eve.
IN MODERN TIMES
We consistently see examples of people refusing to take the blame for something they had a hand in causing. It is important for every responsible party to step up and take the blame for whatever it is they did wrong.
For example, say two children are throwing ball outside. One child says "I bet you can't throw it at the house without missing the windows." If the other takes the bet and breaks the window, there are two people to blame. Although it was the child who threw the ball who broke the window, the other "beguiled" him to do so as well.
PLACING BLAME ON GOD
IN THE GARDEN
This one is up to a bit of interpretation, but it seems plain to me that Adam blames God, in a way, for this exchange.
In Genesis 3:12, Adam says "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat."
Why did Adam have to identify Eve as "the woman THOU gavest me?" If we understand Genesis correctly, Eve was the only woman on Earth. Why didn't he just blame Eve?
IN MODERN TIMES
Ever since the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, more and more people blame God for His lack of intervention in tragedies like these.
People blame God when they don't get the diagnosis they want, when their loved ones pass away, and so on. There is no doubt that the Devil plays advocate in this. We see this in Job when Job's friends try to say God is to blame and that Job wasn't up to God's standards when we know that Satan was responsible for Job's woes.
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Many non-believers also subscribe to the misconception that there is no reference of Jesus outside of the Bible and its gospels. They may be disappointed to learn, however, that some of the world’s most famous atheists and agnostics do believe that Jesus lived and died after being crucified on the cross.
“Jesus’ death as a consequence of crucifixion is indisputable.”
“Jesus did exist, whether
Gary Habermas, a New Testament scholar and philosopher of religion, has identified more than 39 pieces of evidence outside of the Bible that identifies Jesus.
I’ll go over some of those sources, but first I want to share with you why these sources are relevant.
HOW HISTORICAL EVIDENCE JUSTIFIES HISTORICAL PEOPLE
While some pieces of physical evidence have emerged, and is considered historical evidence, a lot of what we know about someone, including their thoughts, feelings, the way they lived, and even the way they looked is preserved in writings and art work.
Here is my argument: if pictures and writings are good enough to justify the lives of countless historical figures like Caesar, it should be good enough to justify that Jesus was a real man who lived and walked on the Earth.
If we had only examples of someone’s existence from a text within the religion, I could understand why atheists deny that Christ was a real person. However, that is simply not the case.
I urge you to open your mind as you read these things. Remember that much of what we have learned about Julius Caesar, who is taught as a real historical figure, relies on information gathered from his accounts of the Gallic Wars, speeches of Cicero, and more. If it is good enough to justify his existence, it should be good enough to justify the existence of Jesus.
NON-CHRISTIAN SOURCES WHO WROTE ABOUT JESUS
TACITUS (PAGAN, 56-120 A.D.)
Known for his examination of historical documents, Tacitus is considered one of the most reliable ancient historians. In his “Annals” of 116 A.D., he explains that Emperor Nero blamed Christians for a fire in Rome.
“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”
It is important to know that Tacitus would have been a hostile secularist, meaning he didn’t like Jesus or the Christians. Why would he bother writing about Jesus if he didn’t care about Him? He wrote this to preserve the information associated with Nero’s punishment of the Christians.
PLINY THE YOUNGER (PAGAN, 61-113 A.D.)
Pliny the Younger explained in a letter to Trajan, the Roman Emperor of the time, that Christians were singing praises to Christ "as a God." This seems to indicate that he was in fact a man that actually lived and walked.
“They (the Christians) were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food—but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.”
Not only do we find reference to Jesus here, we also find the teachings of Jesus (and God). These include parts of the 10 Commandments which tells followers of God not to steel, bear false witness, and more.
JOSEPHUS (JEW, 31-101 A.D.)
Perhaps the closest account to Jesus' death, Josephus makes reference to Jesus. Some scholars agree that his quote may have been enhanced by Christians at one point, but there is still ample information after removing Christian embellishments.
“Now around this time lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was a worker of amazing deeds and was a teacher of people who gladly accept the truth. He won over both many Jews and many Greeks. Pilate, when he heard him accused by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, (but) those who had first loved him did not cease (doing so). To this day the tribe of Christians named after him has not disappeared” (This neutral reconstruction follows closely the one proposed by John Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: The Roots of the Problem and the Person).
In this text, Josephus hits on Jesus' miracles, His life, and His followers.
MORE SOURCES ON JESUS
The first step in accepting Jesus is realizing He was a real man. This should be ample evidence. I will discuss proof of Jesus' divinity in a later blog. I hope you enjoyed reading a little about the non-Christian proof for the historical Jesus.
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By Gabrielle Isaac Allison
Gabrielle is a Christian Apologist and writer hoping to share the gospel with anyone willing to hear it.
I too struggled with this fact when I was trying to understand God. Why would someone believe in a text that has differing accounts of Jesus’ life? Which one is right? Are all of them right? That can’t be right.
In an attempt to understand why so many believed that the gospels were all correct about Jesus, I turned to J. Warner Wallace’s “Cold Case Christianity.” Wallace is the apologist that perhaps helped me most, second only to Lee Strobel who I identified with as a journalist.
Wallace is a now retired cold case detective and was a pretty hardcore atheist in his day. He set out to find out if the Bible was accurate by examining the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) as witness accounts of the life of Jesus.
In law enforcement, witnesses are known to have different stories. These different stories can then be patched together to help find the criminal. If you’ve ever watched crime shows like Criminal Minds or Law and Order, you will know that witnesses and suspects are separated from one another so they don’t have time to “get their story straight.”
The truth is, for every piece of the story, new information comes to light. There are several reasons why someone might not report that they saw or heard something.
Matthew 26:67-68 says:
“Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and other smote him with the palms of their hands, Saying Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?”
But it all makes sense when you read Luke 22:63-64.
“And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?”
Does this mean that the writer intentionally left out the details in the story to mislead future readers? Think back to the example given of witness testimony in criminal cases. Perhaps the disciple or writer who was present at this time was turned away from Jesus or just entering a crowded room where he couldn’t see Jesus. Maybe he looked away after the tormenters spat in his face.
This is only one of several examples of this kind of “witness testimony patching” you find in the Gospels. Another is found in the feeding of the 5,000 when Jesus asks Philip, a secondary character and not one of the more talked about disciples, where He could get food to feed the 5,000 in the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of Luke, it is revealed that Philip was from the area, so he would have known where the best place to get food would have been.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all agreed on Jesus' ministry, death on the cross, and resurrection. They all seemingly identify Him as God in the flesh and agree that He performed great works during his ministry.
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With the guidance of God and family, I remained pretty faithful to this routine. However, like many Americans today, it all changed when I went off to college.
College was pretty simple for me after I established what it was I wanted to do with my life. I started out as a chemistry major with a minor in Forensic Science. Obsessed with crime television shows, I was determined to become the next Olivia Benson.
But God had other plans. My classes were stressing me out. I didn’t think it was possible for me to continue in the field, so, after wrestling with options, I chose to pursue my degree in Mass Communication.
During my time in college, I was a part of the One Voice Gospel Choir. I swear it was the only thing that kept me remotely in tune with God. Although I enjoyed meeting twice a week to sing with my fellow choir members, it became about who got the solos and what I could do with my voice that might make someone squall. It wasn’t about God anymore.
When I graduated in 2015, I worked for a newspaper in North Carolina’s most dangerous city. Being around all of that crime, betrayal, and hate really does a number on someone, especially if they’ve walked away from God.
Around the time I switched jobs to my current one, I realized that I wasn’t happy. That I was living in fear of things I had no control over. I realized I didn’t have hope. I remember talking to my mom about it, and she said I needed to get into a permanent church where I was living, a 3-hour drive from her.
So, I asked my boyfriend and now husband if we could attend a church within walking distance to our home. We heard the kids outside playing. The joy I heard was something I felt all too alien to. We still attend the church today.
"I wish I could say it was that easy. That I walked into church and everything changed. I had developed a sort of anger at God. There was so much I thought he’d taken away from me. To help me understand, I turned to Christian apologetics. My world was never the same."
There are a lot of apologetic theories I can't wait to write about in this section of my blog. I really feel that there is a lot that apologetics can offer us in such a logic- and technology-based society. If even one person reads information on Christian apologetics and is swayed even slightly, I'll know it is for a good purpose.
Apologetics helped me to see the facts behind the life and the death of Jesus, which most atheist scholars believe really happened. As said by Christian apologist Frank Turek, "I don't have enough faith to be an atheist."
Here are a few Christian apologetic videos I love!
askcliffe | Cliffe Knechtle
Acts17Apologist | David Wood
- Admit to God that you are a sinner
(Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23).
- Repent, turning away from your sin
(Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:9).
- Believe that Jesus is God's Son and accept God's gift of forgiveness from sin
(Romans 5:8; Acts 4:12; John 3:16; John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:11-13).
- Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord
HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do:
Ann Marie Ruby
Give Me An Answer
J. Warner Wallace
Turn The Other Cheek