Using humour and scientific facts, New Jersey native Frank Turek gave the audience at the Apologetics Canada Conference 2017 some practical ways to defend their faith.
Turek revived material from his book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist for the presentation in Abbottsford, B.C. last month. He started by telling the audience that about 75 percent of kids raised in Christian homes would walk away from the faith.
“There are a number of reasons for this, but one of the reasons is intellectually they don’t know why Christianity is true,” Turek said. But it doesn’t have to be that way, he claimed.
“You only need to answer four questions in the affirmative to show that Christianity is true.”
According to Turek those four questions are as follows:
- Does truth exist?
- Does God exist?
- Are miracles real?
- Is the New Testament reliable?
Many skeptics will claim that there is no truth or that it is all relative but those statements are self-defeating, Turek explained.
“If someone says ‘there is no truth’ you should say ‘Is that true?’ Is it true that there is no truth? Because if it is true that there is no truth then the claim that there is no truth can’t be true and it claims to be true.”
To back up his second answer, that there is indeed a God, Turek used the cosmological, design and moral arguments.
He said the cosmological and design arguments have already been backed up with scientific evidence.
“In fact, the evidence for the big bang is so good you even have atheists admitting it,” Turek told the audience. “Stephen Hawking, the most famous physicist in the world today, is an atheist. He says ‘Today almost everyone now believes that the universe and time itself had a beginning at the big bang.’”
However, Hawkins has come up with a different explanation for the beginning of the universe.
“He fails,” Turek said, “but he is admitting the data. What is the data? That space, time and matter had a beginning out of nothing.”
The scientific evidence for design was the second evidence for God that Turek used, particularly the fine-tuning of the universe.
“If you change the expansion rate that infinitesimal amount from the very beginning there is no universe,” Turek said. “You can’t make any evolutionary argument for this; you can’t say the expansion rate evolved to this point. Why? Because these are the initial conditions for the universe.
“It seems to me the same spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, personal, intelligent being that created the universe is the same being that created the expansion rate to be precisely what it is,” he said, and added that the complexity of human development from conception to death demonstrated there was design behind it all.
His final argument to prove the existence of God was the objective moral argument.
“It says if there is one thing morally wrong out there – just one, like say it is wrong to torture babies for fun or it is wrong to sexually abuse children – then there has to be a God. There has to be a standard beyond humanity,” Turek explained.
“If there is no standard beyond humanity everything is a matter of opinion. The holocaust, sexual abuse, rape, slavery – all a matter of opinion.”
When it came to the question of miracles, Turek told the audience that the greatest miracle was the creation of the universe from nothing, which has scientific evidence behind it.
“The greatest miracle in the Bible is the first verse: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. If that verse is true every other verse is at least possible.”
He explained to the audience that miracles were God’s way of getting our attention.
“That is a sign from God that what the person is saying is true. That is what miracles are used for.”
He also said that they needed to be rare, which is why many people have never seen one.
“You shouldn’t expect to see a lot of miracles,” he said. “If miracles were occurring routinely they wouldn’t get out attention to say, ‘Ah, this is from God.’
“Imagine if people rose from the dead routinely. What would the resurrection of Christ mean? You go to somebody and you go, ‘Jesus rose from the dead for your sins’ and the guy goes, ‘So what? Uncle Earl just rose from the dead two weeks ago.’”
Turek wrapped up his presentation by pointing to a few of the arguments for the reliability of the New Testament: embarrassing stories and martyrdom.
“There are embarrassing stories in the text that they never would have invented if they were making this up.” He said some of those were when Jesus called Peter Satan or when Peter promised to never deny Jesus then did so three times. He also questioned why the stories of Jesus being called demon-possessed or a drunkard were included in the text. Most telling of all, according to Turek, was the admittance that the disciples ran away from the crucifixion and hid while the women were the ones that found the resurrected Jesus.
“A woman’s testimony was not considered on par with that of a man. So, if you are making up the New Testament story you would only have the men be the eyewitnesses. Yet, all four Gospels say the women were the first witnesses, which is telling us what? They really were. They would never invent this.”
Turek also pointed to the torture and death of those closest to Jesus to confirm the truth of the New Testament.
“They never recanted under pressure. Why would they do this?” he asked.
“You see, many people will die for a lie they think is the truth. Nobody will die for a lie they know is a lie. The New Testament writers were in a position to know whether it was lie or not and they went to their deaths anyway. You can’t get better evidence than that unless you were there yourself.”
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