Answering Bright Atheists [1]

 
theglobaldispatch.com

By Spencer D Gear

Some prominent Australians have identified themselves as atheists. These include Australia’s 21st Governor-General and federal minister in Gough Whitlam’s Labor government, Bill Hayden.  He refused to swear on the Bible when he became Governor-General in 1989.  Atheism is alive and well to the point that while I was surfing the Internet recently, I came across this link to a fellow promoting that he is legally ordained as an atheist with the Universal Life Church.

To put it simply, an atheist is a person who does not believe in the existence of God. How many atheists are there in the world?  In a 1991 worldwide poll, it was found that 4.4% of the world’s population were atheists.[3] However, if we add the figure of “non-religious,” the highest figure rises to about 20% of the world population, or about 1.2 billion people.[4] Most of these would be agnostic – they are not sure about whether God exists.  According to the International Bulletin of Missionary Research by David B. Barrett & Todd M. Johnson, the estimated number of atheists worldwide in mid-2005 was 151,548,000 and the numbers are decreasing.[5]

This should not cause Christians to become complacent.  There is a group of atheists making its presence felt on the Internet.  I encountered a couple of them recently, making their views known on a Christian forum.  They called themselves, “Brights” (see also, The Brights) and one of them claimed that he was a person whose worldview was entirely naturalistic, with no room for the mystical or supernatural.  They have as much right to be debating on the Internet as I have as an evangelical Christian who is committed to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This gospel presents Jesus Christ as the one and only way to eternal life (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) but I found these atheists to be just as one-eyed with their views.  I’ll share some of my interaction with Frank (not his real name).

The kinds of questions raised by Frank point to a need for Christian teaching in our churches that seems not to have received high priority for everyday believers in the part of Australia where I live.  This ministry was critical to the survival of the early church and there is an urgent call for it today.  I’m speaking of the theological discipline of apologetics – a defence of the Christian faith. 

First Peter 3:15-16 calls all of us: “In your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience” (ESV).  “A defense” (ESV, NASB) is translated by the KJV and NIV as “an answer.”  This is too weak a translation as the original Greek, “apologia,” refers to a defence before a judge in the court (as in Acts 22:1; 25:16).  This is the responsibility of every believer to defend his or her case as to what this hope in Christ means. This is everyone’s responsibility when unbelievers and believers question the basis of our faith. 

After the death of the twelve apostles, those who defended the Christian faith (apologists) had a prominent ministry in the church.  These names may not be as well-known today as Frank Peretti, Rick Warren, James Dobson and Tim LaHaye, but the Lord provided the ministry gift of the apologist to expose secular thinking and defend the Christian faith in those early centuries. 

I’m speaking of  Christian leaders in the first five centuries of the church such as: Justin Martyr, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, Tertullian, Origen and Augustine.  With the exception of  St. Augustine, most of these are not well known in today’s church, but they exercised critical ministries in a hostile pagan world for the early church.

Justin Martyr (from André Thevet)

Justin Martyr

Tertullian of Carthage (from André Thevet)

Tertullian

Augustine of Hippo (from André Thevet)

St Augustine

As apologists, they had positive and negative ministries through their writings.  “Negatively, they sought to refute the false charges of atheism, cannibalism, incest, indolence, and anti-social action” of their pagan neighbours and writers.  “They also developed a positive, constructive approach by showing that in contrast to Christianity, Judaism, pagan religions and state worship were foolish and sinful.”[6]

These people were obedient to the apostle Peter’s call to persecuted believers in first century culture (1 Pt. 3:15).

We of the West continue to live in antagonistic cultures to Christian claims.  Today the ministry of the apologist is sorely needed.  Recently I engaged in some apologetic response swith Frank, a Bright.  The name, “Bright,” in referring to atheists, seems to be derived from the time of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, 17th –18th  centuries.  It was an intellectual revolution that attempted to exclude faith from cultural influence.  It marked the birth of secularism.

Frank’s pointed questions are deserving of a considered response.

A.  An atheist’s good questions

This is my summary of Frank’s concerns.  They need good answers of defense:

1. If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-merciful and all-good, why would He allow people to live and die without the opportunity of salvation?
2. Why isn’t God’s word available universally?
3. Frank does not believe in free will.
4. Wouldn’t it be fair for God to allow people to choose Him (and not be coerced) by allowing the Gospel to be available to everyone?
5. There are many people who live and die without hearing your Gospel.
6. If the only way to salvation is through Christ, how is it merciful or good for God not to make salvation available to all people?
7. Frank lives in a country where the Word of God is available to him.  He has rejected it and objects to the Christian claim that he faces eternal damnation after death, merely because he has not accepted Jesus as his Saviour.
8. How is eternal damnation for unbelievers “all-merciful”?
9. Why is accepting God’s Word necessary when he can get into heaven another way?

I attempted to address one of these questions.

B. Why would God allow people to live and die without the opportunity of salvation?

Thoughtful Christians have often asked this another way, “Are the unevangelised lost?”  Or, “What happens to those who have never heard the Gospel?”  This applies to those who lived before and after Christ.  How will the person who has no Bible translation and no missionaries be exposed to the gospel message that will lead to salvation?  Or, are they forever lost without the Gospel?  If so, is this fair of God?

There is something critical that we need to understand.

1. We deserve nothing from God

Before the fall of the human race into sin, God warned Adam:

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17).

There is nothing complicated here.  The future of the human race depended on one and only one divine prohibition.  Adam had only one divine command to remember at this point of the human race, but the command was serious with “the strongest form of prohibition,” evidenced by the translation, “You must not eat.”  The penalty was: “dying you shall die,” which means that you shall “certainly die.”[7]

This at once raises the question, “Why was this penalty not carried out as threatened?”  We answer: “It was; if the Biblical concept of dying is kept in mind, as it unfolds itself ever more clearly from age to age.” Dying is separation from God.  That separation occurred the very moment when man by his disobedience broke the bond of love.  If physical death ultimately closes the experience, that is not the most serious aspect of the whole affair.  The more serious is the inner spiritual separation.[8]

Since God writes the laws of the universe, when Adam disobeyed God by eating of the fruit, human beings (Adam as our representative) immediately entered the world of death – separation from God, including physical death.
Why couldn’t God have changed his mind as some theological liberals want to contend?  If God did an about-turn on this threatened punishment, he would be like a fickle parent who gives severe threats to his children and then does a flip-flop when he is faced with the child’s consequences.  God is not like that.  What he says he means!

We are assured that God’s nature is unchangeable: “You [God] remain the same, and your years will never end” (Ps. 102:27); “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed” (Mal. 3:6).  Isaiah 46:9-11 states it powerfully:

I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please. . .
What I have said, that will I bring about;
what I have planned, that will I do.

You can depend absolutely on what God says.  He will not change his mind.  Since God warned Adam that sinning would amount to the consequence of separation from God, that is exactly what happened when Eve disobeyed by listening to and obeying the serpent’s temptation, “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4).  God’s consequences followed.

Therefore, we deserve nothing other than eternal separation from God.  God could have allowed all human beings to go on their wilful way and be separated from God forever.  This would mean that all people would be damned because of the sinful choice by Adam and Eve as our representatives.  If God had chosen to save nobody from all of humanity, he would be completely just and nobody would complain about his unfairness.

If [God] had decided to save only five human beings out of the entire human race, that would have been much more than justice: it would have been a great demonstration of mercy and grace.  If he had decided to save only one hundred out of the whole human race, it would have been an amazing demonstration of mercy and love.  But God in fact has chosen to do much more than that.  He has decided to redeem out of sinful mankind a great multitude, whom no man can number, “from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).  This is incalculable mercy and love, far beyond our comprehension.  It is all undeserved favor: it is all of grace.[9]

In God’s justice, he did not change the punishment when Adam and Eve sinned.  However, in his mercy, grace and love, he provided a way for people “from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” to be saved.  God promised this Saviour in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

How does that work out with people who have never ever heard the Gospel?

2.  Some foundational truths

Before we examine how God reaches out to the people who have never heard the gospel, we need to nail down some fundamental teaching about God’s view of salvation for any people.

a. All people are in a sinful, lost condition

The Bible is clear that all people are sinful from conception (Ps. 51:5) and that all people are “by nature objects of [God’s] wrath” (Eph. 2:3).  Rom. 5:12 confirms that “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”

b. The lost are damned forever

One of the best known portions of Scripture confirms the eternal condition of those who do not believe (put their trust) in Jesus Christ:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:16-18 ESV).

c. There is only one Saviour

God’s word is clear that there is no salvation apart from Christ’s work of redemption.  Jesus said, “”I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  When the apostle Peter preached before the Council, he declared concerning Jesus: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  Paul, the apostle, affirmed this: “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5).

These verses confirm that there is only one way to be saved and that is through faith in Jesus Christ (see also John 3:16, 18; 5:24; Rom. 10:9ff).  The Bible holds only one view – salvation from sin is found in nobody other than faith in Jesus Christ.

So, where does that leave the ungodly who have never heard of Christ’s salvation?

For the heathen who do not have access to the Word of God or a Christian missionary proclaiming the good news, the situation is: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:20 TNIV).  Their conscience also bears witness, either accusing or excusing them (Rom. 2:15). What have they done with this light that they have received? 

3.  Eternity in their hearts

There’s a fascinating verse that appears in a rather neglected book of the Bible,  Ecclesiastes 3:11, that provides a window into God’s view of the unevangelised: “God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (NLT).  What does it mean that God has placed eternity into a person’s heart (inner being)?

Don Richardson wrote a provocative non-fiction book back in 1981, Eternity in their Hearts: Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures throughout the World.[10] He examined cultures and histories from around the world and presented testimonies of missionaries who went into pagan cultures.  This book showed how God had been active amongst unreached, unevangelised people groups.

Richardson provided evidence of God’s action amongst these unreached peoples, pointing towards redemption.  Many of these people had been prepared for the Gospel’s entrance.  This book provides remarkable evidence for people like me who grieve over the answer to this question: “What about those who have never heard the Gospel, whether that be in the Old Testament era, or after Christ?”

Current world population is 6.35 billion people as I type in August 2005.[11] The population of unreached people groups is about 2.5 billion people.  This means that 39.4% of the world’s population groups have not been reached with the Gospel of Christ.[12]

In his first chapter, Richardson gives the story behind the altar “to the unknown god” that the apostle Paul found when he went to the Areopagus in Athens, told in Acts 17:23.  Richardson’s chapter also tells the stories of other biblical examples of God’s evidence and action amongst pagans (Canaanites, Melchizedek – see Hebrews 7, Genesis 14, Psalm 110).

The story is told of the Incas and their renewal under Pachacutec,  the builder of the mountain fortress Machu Picchu, who believed in a triune creator.  Pachacutec (aka Pachacuti) attempted to direct his people to the worship of Viracocha, the creator.  However, much of his time was spent in building temples to Inti, the Inca sun god.  This happened before his renewal.  Unfortunately he limited the worship of Viracocha (God) to the upper classes.  Nevertheless, there was evidence among unbelievers of seeking after the worship of the creator God.

Richardson tells of the Santal people of India who had legends about being reconciled to Thakur Jiu, who was the “genuine God” in Santal.  It was not surprising that these people were enraptured with the Gospel message when it reach them through missionaries, Lars Skrefsrud and Hans Borrenson, in 1867.[13]
Now to a response.

C.  A reply to Frank

You raised a number of thought-provoking matters for me as a Christian believer.  I’ll only tackle one of your issues. You ask: “If god is all-knowing, all-merciful, all-good, and all-powerful (and I may have left out some “alls”), why does s/he permit some humans to live and die without an opportunity to be saved? Why is god’s word not universally available? . . .  many humans live and die without ever having heard of the Bible, Jesus Christ, or christianity. Are they saved anyway?”

It seems to me that you need to consider the following:

Your statement here assumes too much.  From a finite human perspective, your explanation seems as though it sinks the Christian ship, that God has not revealed himself to all human beings.  But when I check God’s view I find something quite different.   Take a look at the Book of Romans 1:18-20:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (ESV).

Based on God’s revelation of himself in the natural world, he states that we are “without excuse.”  I find this world replete with intelligent design, behind which is the Intelligent Designer.  When I look at the plan of my human eye, right down to the design of the universe, I am overwhelmed by the nature of the Intelligent Designer behind it.

I read in the January 1994 issue of National Geographic: “Several hundred billion spinning stars revolve around the center of the Milky Way galaxy.  Midway out its arms, stars—including our sun—move at about 500,000 miles per hour, taking 250 million years to make a single circuit.”[14] That is only one galaxy.  How many galaxies are there in the universe?  When I examine the enormity and design of the cosmos I see what God means.  This is light from God (about himself) from creation.  What have we done with it?

This all-loving, all-knowing magnificent Creator, Lord and Saviour of the universe has declared that on the basis of general revelation in the world around us, all people “are without excuse” before Him.   Neither you nor I writes the laws of the universe (we only discover them), but the God who made us declares without equivocation that all of us will face Him, but we will not be excused for not knowing God.  He’s the absolutely just God.  Of God, the Rock, it is stated,  “All his ways are justice.  A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he” (Deut. 32:4 ESV).
There will be no lawyers or judicial decisions that fake the evidence when we face Him.  On the basis of God’s evidence, we stand defenceless before Him.  What have all these human beings done with the light that God has already provided?

I want to pick up a point that I would like you to ponder.  You stated, “I am a Bright.  Specifically, I’m an atheist.”  For you to affirm a universal negative that God does not exist (atheism), you have to look behind every nook and cranny on Mars, Jupiter, Neptune, etc., and under every leaf of the cane fields, avocado trees and macadamia nut trees, wild carrots and thistles in the yards, in my region, plus everywhere else in the universe – all at the same time.

I find atheism to be an absurd position.  You need the omniscience (all-knowledge) of God himself to be able to assert such a universal negative view.  I consider atheism to be illogical on these grounds.

I note that former British philosophical atheist, Antony Flew, has become a theist.  He told Christian philosopher & apologist, Gary Habermas, “I don’t believe in the God of any revelatory system, although I am open to that.  But it seems to me that the case for an Aristotlean God who has the characteristics of power and also intelligence is now much stronger than it ever was before.”[15] The New York Times (16 April 2010) reported, “Antony Flew, Philosopher and Ex-Atheist, Dies at 87” (died 8 April 2010, Reading, England).

French atheistic novelist and philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre, wrote: “The idea that a transcendent, creator God does not exist is fairly unique to this [20th] century.  If there is no infinite, personal, creator-God who transcends His creation then there is no infinite reference point which can give meaning to the particulars of life.  Man is alone, there is only the cosmos, and man’s consciousness of himself.”[16]

Sartre rejected the infinite reference point but Jesus claimed this infinite reference point as God.  When I consider the Intelligent Design in the universe, history, archaeology, Old Testament and New Testament prophecy, the manuscript evidence that affirms the integrity of the Scriptures, the logical consistency of the Christian world and life view, and the lives changed through an encounter with the living Christ, I have not been able to find a serious contender – and certainly not in atheism.

However, Jesus did say, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). 

Sounds to me, Frank, that you have chosen the gate that is wide to destruction.  To do that, you have suppressed the truth that God has revealed in creation. 

Thank you for considering these matters.

D.  Frank’s atheistic reply

How does an atheist respond to a theist like me who quoted Romans 1:18-20, showing that all human being “are without excuse” before God when it comes to knowledge of God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature” as these “have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made”?

Frank began his reply by telling that when he checked “god’s view,” he could interpret it many ways and that the many different religious beliefs confirm his view.  Please notice what he did.  Even though he quoted the Romans passage that I gave him, he did not deal with the content of this passage but used a customary diversionary tactic.

This is how I responded:

You have scuttled our prospects of having a rational conversation with your using logical fallacies.  Here you have erected a straw man by drawing a false picture of my argument.  Your use of the straw man here is enough to show me your attempt to get away from the exact content of my post. 

His response was primarily imposing his agenda of atheistic naturalism, with no possibility of supernatural intervention.  He spoke of other Christians and me as “CF denizens,” ie. Christian fundamentalist aliens.
At one point Frank wrote, “But I understand your basic point that I am over-assuming when I say that there are people who live their whole lives without being exposed to god.”

That’s not what I said at all.  My quoting from Romans ch. 1 stated clearly, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.”  This applies to all people everywhere – including you, Frank.  This is your use of a fallacy again. [Frank referred to the remote tribesman who has no opportunity to hear of anything like Christianity.  He begged to differ with the biblical evidence that god’s existence is clearly apparent in the universe and is sufficient to alert any person of the existence of God.]

In speaking of the knowledge of God in creation, you stated: “Even if it’s true, you seem to be implying that mere recognition of some vaguely defined, ‘higher (supernatural) power’ is sufficient for salvation, as opposed to getting and embracing the christian message. Am I right on this?” 

Dead wrong, Frank!  This is not “mere recognition” of  “some vaguely defined, ‘higher (supernatural) power.’”  What God provides in evidence from creation means that you, me and everybody else in the world stands “without excuse” before the Creator and Sustainer of the world.  Does it provide eternal salvation?  No!  But it provides us with evidence to pursue God.

But what do you, Frank, and all other God-haters and God-rejectors do with this evidence?  Exactly as Romans 1 states: “who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”  I’m not pointing the finger only at you (I was like it at one time) but it is a tragedy that from God’s view, you are responsible for your own blindness to God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature.”  How?  By your suppressing God’s truth through your unrighteous living.  That’s stating it as God sees it.  I hope you realise what you are doing before it is too late. 

If I used Frank’s tactics in my Rostrum debating club, my supervisors would immediately cry, ‘Foul’, and my results would be zilch!

Peter, another Bright atheist, gave his reasons for why Frank responded as he did.  Speaking for myself, although he assumed Frank and other Brights would agree, he considers the Bible as a set of man-made stories being used to explain various aspects of a growing religion. “It is riddled with flaws and inaccuracies, and is not seen to be in any way divinely inspired. To quote from the bible to argue the point that God has revealed himself to all human beings immediately stops rational discussion from occurring.”

E.  A learning experience

1. I consider that there is an urgent need for apologetics to return to its place in biblical teaching and equipping in the local church.  The young of today are the Internet generation.  If they visit chat rooms and www forums, they will encounter agnostics, sceptics and hard-headed atheists.  Frank was of the latter category.    My response to Peter was: “You have demonstrated to me again how your position is dogmatically bigoted against evidence. Unless the evidence is your kind of evidence, you won’t listen to me.”

2. Frank was so committed to his atheistic worldview that he would not consider anything outside his naturalistic framework.  Don’t be conned by the idea that Christian evangelicals are the only ones who are fixed in their agendas.  I found as much one-eyed intolerance to beliefs among these atheists as I have ever found among evangelicals committed to the inerrancy of Scripture.  I am one of the latter group.

Monochrome head-and-left-shoulder photo portrait of 50-year-old Lewis

C. S. Lewis, courtesy Wikipedia

3. Should we persist with defending the faith among hard-headed atheists like Frank who do not want to be evangelised but claim that they desire to find out how Christians think?  The temptation is that we should not “cast our pearls before swine.”  But I am reminded of C. S. Lewis, the once hard-headed atheist before he submitted to Christ.  Lewis later wrote: “If Christianity is untrue, then no honest man will want to believe it, however helpful it might be: if it is true, every honest man will want to believe it, even if it gives him no help at all.”[17]

4. When the rules of debate are rigged, it’s very difficult to have a rational conversation.  Frank did this through his use of logical fallacies.[18] Too many Christians I know use this kind of methodology as well.  A logical fallacy is used when someone arrives at an incorrect conclusion through faulty reasoning.  However, some instructors in debating recommend the use of logical fallacies as a technique of debate (see “Logical Fallacies and the Art of Debate”).[19]

It is virtually impossible to have a reasonable discussion when somebody engages in techniques such as attacking the character of a person (ad hominem), creating a version of my story that is not correct (straw man, which Frank used).  Frank also used a stacking the deck fallacy, which means that he ignored evidence that disproved his point and only used examples supporting his anti-supernaturalism.  How did he do this?  He refused to consider the Scriptures because he contended that they were “full of contradictions and errors.”  I could not have a continuing conversation when he refused to consider all of the evidence for Christianity.  Imagine being trained to be criminal lawyer but you were refused access to knowledge of the criminal code!

5. This encounter confirmed my understanding of the unflinching bigotry of hard-headed atheism.  This is not the place for new Christians to be when they are not grounded in the faith, but, sadly, too many other Christians have faith without deep roots in the Scripture and are ill prepared for apologetic encounters.

6. Those who are engaged in this kind of apologetic ministry desperately need to have prayer intercessors.  If God could change the heart of a C. S. Lewis, he can do it again with the Franks and Peters from the atheistic establishment.
If God places it on your heart to be engaged in evangelistic discussions with non-Christians, whether they be Buddhist, Mormon, Muslim, secularist or atheist, Dean Halverson’s recommendations are on target:

blue-satin-arrow-small Be patient;
blue-satin-arrow-smallRead widely in the religion or worldview on which you are focusing, and
blue-satin-arrow-smallPray fervently.[20]


One of the leading defenders of the faith in the world today, William Lane Craig, provides this analysis:

Williamlanecraig.jpg

William Lane Craig, Apologist

Courtesy Wikipedia

“Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral.  As Christians, their minds are going to waste.  One result of this is an immature, superficial faith.…  As I speak in churches around the country  [USA], I continually meet parents whose children have left the faith  because there was no one in the church to answer their questions.  For the sake of our youth, we desperately need informed parents who are equipped to wrestle with the issues at an intellectual level.”  He quotes J. Gresham Machen of an earlier generation: “The church is perishing today through the lack of thinking, not through an excess of it.”[21]

 

The New York Times (16 April 2010) reported, “Antony Flew, Philosopher and Ex-Atheist, Dies at 87” (died 8 April 2010, Reading, England).

Bibliography

John Blanchard 2000, Does God Believe in Atheists?  Evangelical Press, Darlington, England.

E. E. Cairns 1981. Christianity through the Centuries. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

William Lane Craig 1994, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois

Norman L. Geisler 1999, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Wayne Grudem 1994, Systematic Theology, Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England.

H. C. Leupold 1942, Exposition of Genesis, vol. 1, Evangelical Press, London.

D. Richardson 1981, Eternity in Their Hearts: Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World, Regal Books, Ventura, Calif.

Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler (gen. eds.) 2003, Is Your Church Ready?  Motivating Leaders to Live an Apologetic Life, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler (gen. eds.), 2003, Who Made God? And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Notes:

3. John Blanchard (2000:18).
4. Adherents.com 2005, “Major Religions Ranked by Number of Adherents,” available from:  http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html#Nonreligious.
5. Center for the Study of Global Christianity, available from: http://www.globalchristianity.org/resources.htm.
6. Cairns (1981:105).
7. H. C. Leupold (1942:128).
8. Ibid.
9. Wayne Grudem (1994:403).
10. D. Richardson (1981).
11. See a world population meter at: http://www.ibiblio.org/lunarbin/worldpop.
12. Joshua Project 2005, available from: http://www.joshuaproject.net/index.php.
13. Berkana 2003, “Review: Eternity in their Hearts, by Don Richardson”, available from: “Christdot” at: http://christdot.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1715.
14. “Guide to the Milky Way,” p. 17.
15. G. Habermas  & A. Flew 2005, “My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew,” published in Philosophia Christi, Journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, Winter 2005, available at: http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/flew-interview.pdf.
16. J. P. Sartre n.d., cited in “CIM Briefing Papers: Existentialism”, available from:
http://www.fni.com/cim/briefing/exist.html.
17. C. S. Lewis, excerpted from his essay “Man or Rabbit”, from God In The Dock, cited in “The Skeptic’s Prayer,” available from:  http://shakinandshinin.org/TheSkepticsPrayer.html#(c).
18. For a description of logical fallacies, see, “A list of fallacious arguments,” available from: http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html#straw.
19. Available from: http://www.csun.edu/~dgw61315/fallacies.html#Introduction.
20. Dean C. Halverson, “Issues and Approaches in Working with Internationals,” in Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler (2003:146-147).
21. William Lane Craig (1994:xi-xv).

All people are without excuse.

To God Be the Glory!

 

Copyright (c) 2005 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 7 October 2015.

6pointGold-small6pointGold-small6pointGold-small6pointGold-small6pointGold-small6pointGold-small6pointGold-small