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Other Worldviews

Is Jesus the only way to God? (Video)

There are many different ways people answer this question, but it doesn’t mean that all answers are correct. Just like other areas of study, we should seek the truth and anything that contradicts the truth is false. Religious truth is no different. As you can see in the picture below, each worldview gives a different response when discussion what is wrong with humanity and its cure, and each answer contradicts another. So, how can we answer this important question while understanding different worldviews and arriving at the truth? Can we say that Jesus is the only way to God? I am convinced that we can. Watch this video and find out!

Screen Shot 2017-08-14 at 12.07.19 PM

 

If you are interested in me speaking at your church or youth group, click on the Endorsements & Speaking page, look through the speaking topics or suggest your own, and contact me at contact@coffeehousequestions.com. I am happy to help in any way I can. God bless!

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World Religions: Are they all true?

I had the opportunity to speak to a group of students on the topic of world religions this past Friday. I wanted them to have an understanding of objective truth, how to respond to relativism/religious pluralism, and then be able to ask questions to distinguish between religious claims. I hope you enjoy watching!

If you are interested in me speaking at your church or youth group, click on the Endorsements & Speaking page, look through the speaking topics or suggest your own, and contact me at contact@coffeehousequestions.com. I am happy to help in any way I can. God bless!

Understanding The Meaning Of Life From Different Worldviews (Podcast)

I received this questions by text last week.

I’ve just been told that the purpose to life is to procreate. That all our actions boil to one meaning alone and that is ensure the succession of our lineage. I’ve brought to the table the topic of meaning and have been countered with the belief that meaning is only chemicals and that we merely assign meaning and have discovered good and bad merely because if affects our survival. How would you respond to this worldview?

Listen to my response here and comment below on how you would respond!

Here are the videos/podcast that I mentioned in the podcast.

  1. Understanding Objections From The Correct Worldview
  2. Sam Harris on free will being an illusion
  3. Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss on free will

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Listen to the Coffeehouse Questions radio show on Active Reliance Radio every Wednesday from 4:30-5 PM PT. This broadcast is also being live streamed every Wednesday on Facebook Live at 5 PM PT immediately following the radio show.

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Can Christians claim to have the One, True God?

You don’t have to spend very much time interacting with atheists on the internet before you hear this objection: “There are almost 5,000 gods being worshiped by humans, but don’t worry… only yours is right.” The picture above was sent to me on Twitter last week in response to my blog about God’s hiddenness. There are other very popular forms of this argument. Richard Dawkins claims that Christians are atheists when it comes to Zeus, Thor, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and many others. Dawkins just goes one god further than the Christian. So the claim is either than I’m an atheist when it comes to 4,999 gods or that I’m dumb for claiming to have truth when I reject so many other options.

The reason this argument is so popular on the internet is that it is easy. It fits into a 140 characters for Twitter and can easily be turned into a meme. Here are examples I found from a very quick search on Twitter.

“There have been nearly 3000 Gods so far but only yours actually exists. The others are silly made up nonsense. But not yours. Yours is real.”

“there are thousands of religions practices. thousands of gods worshiped. but don’t worry. yours is the only right one.”

“30,000 religions and 5000 versions of Christianity and only ‘yours’ is the right one-you are a joke.”

“Roughly 4200 religions in the world; and only yours is the right one? You must be a genius and everyone else is dumb to not pick yours.”

This objection also works well because a good response can’t fit on Twitter or a meme (like most good responses or argument), and so it seems like the Christian is left without an answer. If you try to answer on Twitter, you are most likely going to get another short objection. Instead of giving you a short Twitter response,  I will hopefully help you understand this objection. This will help you see that there is a response and that the is just a bad, popular level objection. There’s nothing to worry about for the Christian.

Let’s start by applying the same logic of this objection to other scenarios to see if it even makes sense. The basic idea of this argument is that since different people believe different things, it is unreasonable to think that you are right. If a married couple does their finances and comes to two different conclusions on how much money is in their bank, does that mean they can’t know the truth? No, it means that either both are wrong or one is right and the other is wrong. Disagreement doesn’t lead to the absence of truth. A person can have the truth in a world of contrary beliefs.

The second idea I see with this objection is that Christians are basically atheists because they reject thousands of other gods. Does that follow? Is a married man basically a bachelor because he isn’t married to thousands of other women? To say that I am an atheist when it come to Zeus and Thor is like saying a married man is a bachelor when it comes to women other than his wife. The difference between a bachelor and a married man is the difference between a theist and an atheist. You would never say a married man is a bachelor for every other woman. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to say that a Christian is an atheist to every other God.

lineupImagine looking at a police lineup and telling the officer that person #4 committed the crime. What would you say if the officer responded by saying, “There are four other possible suspects… but only your guy is the right one-you’re a joke.” I don’t think you would say “Good point officer, I guess we are done here.” If this objection worked, defense attorneys could win every trial by saying “Roughly 7 billion people in the world; and only yours is the right one? You must be a genius and everyone else is dumb to not pick yours.” There’s a reason we don’t see this objection being used with police or in court.

The reason we don’t see these situations in court is that we base the innocence or guilt of a suspect on evidence. We know that not all suspects are the same, and in the same way, not all gods are the same. If there is positive evidence that a certain person committed a crime, then we have good reason to rule out all other possible suspects. We don’t use the possibility of other suspects to say that we can’t know who committed the crime. If that were true, no one would go to jail. If we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one person is guilty, then other possible suspects are innocent. In the same way, I am convinced that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Christian God exists.

The reasonable person makes a conclusion based on the evidence, and this is why it is reasonable to conclude that I do have the truth in a world of different beliefs. There is very good evidence that God exists. I won’t get into that evidence here, but I barely scratched the surface of examining the evidence when I wrote my blog Is Belief in God a Rational Position? These are just three of over a dozen arguments for His existence. A big difference that atheists, who present this objection, fail to recognize is that Thor, Zeus, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster are all gods inside the universe. The Christian God exists outside the universe and is the creator of all physical things. We are talking about very different categories.

 

 

6 Keys When Talking With Jehovah’s Witnesses

What should you know when talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses?

It can get hot in the Dominican Republic, I mean really hot! Because of the heat, many churches have their Sunday service in the evening. When I first started attending a church that met in the evening, I took the opportunity to sleep in a little longer, read, and relax in the morning. After a few weeks I realized that a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses would walk by my house almost every Sunday morning. When I was out on my front porch, they would stop to talk. If I wasn’t out on my front porch, they would walk by without stopping, so I started eating my breakfast and reading on my front porch. If they came by, I would invite them for a discussion, and if they didn’t stop by, I would enjoy the cool morning air before it got hot. I soon met an elderly couple that wanted to return to my house the following week and start a Bible study with me; I gladly accepted. We began meeting almost every week to discuss Bible topics. It was through these discussions (which are still going on), and reading books about how to share with Jehovah’s Witnesses, that I learned these 6 important things.

1. Be kind and welcoming.
There were times while growing up that I would tell the JWs that I didn’t want to talk and close the door. I didn’t know what they believed and I didn’t know how to have that conversation. I then realized that these are people that need Jesus and they want to talk to me. If they want to talk to you, then you should want to talk to them. You don’t have to go looking for people to share your faith with. They are coming to you! If you are too busy to talk at that moment, see if they want to come back another day. They will almost always say yes. When they come, offer them something to drink and share the love of Jesus with them. Telling them about how they are wrong never seems to be the correct solution.

2. Keep meeting with them as long as they are willing to meet with you.
If they are willing to come to your house then I think you should continue meeting. I heard that the average Morman who becomes a Christian takes 4-6 years to convert. I assume that Jehovah’s Witnesses are close to the same. If they become a Christian, they will most likely be outcast from their family and friends; separated from everything they know. It is a big decision so don’t stop talking to them because they don’t change their mind after one meeting. Give them time to process what you are saying and keep welcoming them back as long as they are willing.

3. Be prepared
It’s easy to start talking about something that we don’t know much about. When we start to “shoot from the hip” we become less effective. The great Christian philosopher and debater, William Lane Craig, says the best way he prepares for a debate is understand the points of the other side and to have a response for everything possible. Know what they are likely to say and know how to respond. He says the worst debates are when his opponent brings up something he is not ready for and he has to go from memory. If one of the brightest minds in Christian Apologetics doesn’t like to rely on his memory, then neither should we. Most JWs are taught how to respond to your comments; they are prepared. Now you can’t be prepared for everything, so my strategy has always been to choose a topic for the following week. This will give you a week to prepare yourself. No matter how the conversation goes, I try to stick to my notes. Find one point that you can be prepared to talk about for the first day if they randomly come to my house. I always start with an argument based on John 1:3 which I will discuss below, but every following meeting I do my best to be prepared to defend a certain issue of Christianity from all angles.

4. Stay on important points.
There are many things that may seem interesting, but really aren’t that important. I feel that when we are speaking to a person of a different religion, we need to see what makes the two religions different and discuss those issues. The biggest difference between Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christians is our view of Jesus. Since Jesus is the foundation to Christian faith and our way to salvation, I choose to focus on Him. Who was Jesus? Is he eternal or created? Is he God or a god? Other important topics are the Holy Spirit and how we are saved. In my months of meetings we have not talked about much else. I believe that this is the major deciding line between Christians and JWs. If you can show that Jesus is God then you have made a huge stride forward. Now you may get curious and ask about random topics and that is fine. What I’m saying is that we should focus the core of our discussion on major issues. We can’t both be correct.

5. Be willing to listen

This is simple. No one wants to talk to someone that doesn’t even listen to them. Make sure you listen carefully. This will help you better understand why they think the way they do and help you ask better questions. Asking good questions will challenge them to think more deeply about their beliefs. It’s not all about winning an argument but about having a peaceful discussion and helping them see the truth.

6. Stay away from John 1:1

Now by this I mean at least in the beginning. I got this idea from Greg Koukl and I really liked it. There were two different times that I sat down with JWs and discussed John 1:1 before reading Greg Koukl’s book Faith Is Not Wishing. The problem with discussing John 1:1 is that most likely you don’t know Greek and neither does the JW that you are talking with. Hours can be spent looking at the Greek and discussing the correct translation of “God” or “a god”. Most of the time you don’t get very far. Rather than having this discussion on Greek translations, which most likely neither of you are experts in, use verses that are translated the same way in your version as well as theirs. This will eliminate one obstacle right from the beginning.

Following basic rules of logic, John 1:3 creates a problem for them. They believe that first God created Jesus and then Jesus created the rest of creation. However, in the New World Translation (the version used by JWs) John 1:3 says, “All things came into existence through him (Jesus), and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.” Based on this verse, it is impossible that Jesus came into existence, because he is the cause for everything that exists. If God created Jesus first then he would be one thing that came into existence apart from him; making this verse not true. The other option is that Jesus would have had to create himself. Since something that begins to exist cannot cause itself to exist but needs a prior cause, it shows that Jesus has to be uncaused and is therefore the eternal God. Also, Isaiah 44:24 in the NWT says, “I am Jehovah, who made everything. I stretched out the heavens by myself, and I spread out the earth. Who was with me?” How can Jesus be the creator if Jehovah created everything by himself? The only way that Jesus can be the creator and not contradict this verse is if Jesus is Jehovah.

Don’t be nervous the next time Jehovah’s Witnesses come to your house. Be friendly and be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in you.

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