Love Your Atheist Neighbor Part 8: Secular Common Sense 1

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Atheism 0 Comments

Atheists tend to be my crowd because they are forthright and not afraid or embarrassed to talk about religion. In fact, they usually have pretty strong feelings about religion. One common sentiment is that religion is just dumb. It’s dumb, they say, to believe in an invisible force that interacts very selectively with the world — that blesses Americans with jobs …

Love Your Atheist Neighbor Part 7: Science and Faith 2

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Atheism 0 Comments

In my last post I noted that atheists tend to set faith and science against each other by characterizing faith as subjective and feelings-based, and the Bible and its miracle claims as issuing from a pre-scientific era prone to superstition and myth-making. Science, by contrast, is based on facts, on objective observation of repeatable phenomenon. It excludes the miraculous. My …

Love Your Atheist Neighbor Part 5: Discern the Rhetoric

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Atheism 0 Comments

When it comes to dialogue about the existence of God and other big questions of life, atheists have a built-in rhetorical advantage over Christians. They can draw at will from a well-stocked inventory of put-downs, insults and slander to cast believers in a negative light. No need to engage in substantive argumentation; smack will serve just fine. Obviously this disappointing …

Love Your Atheist Neighbor Part 4: Evolution as a Basis for Ethics?

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Atheism 7 Comments

Last week I asked whether feeling could be an adequate basis for ethics (moral obligation). My atheist professor friend thinks that evolution has given a high percentage of the population a feeling of empathy toward others, which leads to treating others with kindness and respect. Such treatment is commendable but evolution also seems to have produced feelings of hatred toward others, …

Love Your Atheist Neighbor Part 3: Ethics Based on Feeling

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Atheism 0 Comments

Recently I asked an atheist philosophy professor at a respected university this question: In a strictly material world, what is your basis for ethics (moral obligation)? He replied, “A high percentage of human beings share a common feeling of empathy for their neighbor. This commonality forms a basis for treating others with kindness and respect.” “Ethics based on feeling,” I said. “Correct. I’m not even …

Love Your Atheist Neighbor Part 2: Don’t Strike Back

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Atheism 3 Comments

One of the currents winding its way through the church these days is that atheists don’t deserve our love and that we should treat them in the same manner they treat us, whether good or bad. Thus, we allow them to determine our behavior. If atheists are respectful and kind, so are we. If not, we’re not. But a different current winds its way through the New …

Love Your Atheist Neighbor Part 1: But How?

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Atheism 0 Comments

Over the past year I’ve been engaged in intense conversation with two atheists who are friends with each other. One is a professor at a private college. The other is a former pastor who discarded his unsupported faith for the evidence-based naturalism* he currently embraces. This trialogue comes at a strategic time for me. At the coming Urbana 15 Convention, I’m slated to lead …

Is Christianity Trustworthy? Part 5b: Church History

Rick Mattson Apologetics 0 Comments

In my last post I asked the question of what sort of god would allow the early church, filled as it was with flawed human beings, to work out its own basic beliefs. Looking back we rightly ask, Is this process trustworthy?” Were mistakes made? Did the early church get the following “big rocks” correct? Doctrine of the Trinity Books …

Is Christianity Trustworthy? Part 5a: Church History

Rick Mattson Apologetics 0 Comments

As I read about major events in the life of the early church, I’m struck by how human everything is. Yes, perhaps there is an invisible divine hand at work behind the scenes. But on the surface,  God seems to have allowed flawed human beings the privilege of figuring out a lot of major stuff. Quite often it’s not a …