Friday, October 07, 2011

Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch05

Today we continue with chapter five of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 5 study questions PDF, and summary:

[Audio Intro] - Dr. Groothuis introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 5 Study Questions] - PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] - Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Five: Distortions of the Christian Worldview - Or the God I Don't Believe In
(pages 95-116)

In the previous chapter, Groothuis presented a concise overview of the Christian worldview. In this chapter, he responds to some of the main distortions of Christianity.

First, he challenges the common accusation that Christianity is anti-intellectual and intellectually suicidal. He answers this by showing how the Christian view promotes rational investigation, logic, and reason. Second, he answers the oft-heard challenge that Christianity is at odds with science. He gives historical examples of scientists who were Christians, emphasizing their approach and contribution. In addition, he provides philosophical and scriptural reasons showing how Christianity provides a foundation and reason to do science.

Other distortions include the idea that Christianity is racist and promotes slavery, is sexist, homophobic, imperialistic, and anti-environmentalist. Each of these distortions are answered with a Christian view on each topic. Finally, the author provides a scriptural response to the challenge that the Christian view of the afterlife is unappealing and boring.

Notable quotes:
While some have pitted faith against reason, the Bible does not endorse blind leaps of faith in the dark but rather speaks of the knowledge of God gained through various rational means. Instead of a leap of faith, it commends a well-informed and volitional step of faith. (Christian Apologetics, p. 96) 
Real science arose only once: in Europe. China, Islam, India, and ancient Greece and Rome each had a highly developed alchemy. But only in Europe did alchemy develop into chemistry. By the same token, many societies developed elaborate systems of astrology, but only in Europe did astrology lead to astronomy. Why? [...] Christians developed science because they believed it could be done, and should be done. (Rodney Stark, Victory of Reason, p. 14, quoted on pp. 94-95)
Due to their popularity and the passion with which they are promoted, distorted accounts of Christianity keep many from pondering the genuine Christian message. But popularity and passion do not guarantee truth. This chapter has argued that Christianity can counter the caricatures raised against it. (Christian Apologetics, p. 116)  
  1. What do you think is the most common distortion of Christianity?
  2. Why aren't the holy wars in the Old Testament meant to be general principles for Christians?
  3. How do you think most people think of the Christian view of the afterlife?
Next week
Chapter Six: Truth Defined and Defended


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how many people are on the Kindle version, and I know this was mentioned before, but would you consider adding the Kindle locations for future study guide questions?


Anonymous said...

This was an excellent chapter covering several hot topics in one concise but thorough chapter. I'm sure I will be returning back to this one as a resource. One typo on question five, page 15- "use" should be "used".

Brian said...


Thanks for pointing out the type. I fixed it and the file has been updated.

Mark said...

The most common distortion of Christianity in my experience, from the repeated accusations listed (page 95/location 976), would be anti-intellectualism. Often a straw man of what faith is will be held up as justification for the position.

A close second would be the anti-science accusation, bolstered by secular education, specifically the interpretations and applications of Darwin's theories. The two apologetic responses (page 99/location 1014) of historical and philosophical/theological perspectives on the relationship between science and Christianity are lines of thinking that most have not investigated.

Brian said...


I have started adding kindle page locations. I will see if I can go back and add them to the first four chapters also.

The Atheist Missionary said...

Again, my sincere compliments to the author for an excellent exposition.

With respect to the critique of the "Christianity is sexist" strawman, I was left with the following questions:

1. Prof. Groothuis writes that Jesus had to be either a man or a woman. This begs at least three questions. Why couldn't Jesus have been born a hermaphrodite? Why does the Christian god permit hermaphrodites to be born? Why was Jesus not a female?

2. The best explanation I have heard as to why the Godhead is male was provided by Roman Catholic scholar Dr. Peter Kreeft in his lecture entitled Women and the Priesthood: I would be grateful to find out whether Prof. Groothuis has considered that explanation and where he departs.

3. I am really having a hard time reconciling this chapter with the myriad of Bible passages to the contrary. Here are just a couple:

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. 1 Corinthians 14: 34-35 (NIV)

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 1 Timothy 2:12 (KJV)

4. Why were there no female disciples?

5. Why are none of the books of the Bible written by women?

6. Finally, getting back to the theme of my opening question, Prof. Groothuis points out that God is not a sexual being. That is all well and good but didn't Jesus have male sex organs? If so, he must have had sexual urges and, if not, he wasn't fully human. If anyone could point me to an scholarly work in this area, I would be obliged because the New Testament is unhelpful in sheeding any light on it.

The Atheist Missionary said...

Mr. Auten, if you could explain how you get URLs for Bible verses automatically imbedded into comments, I would be grateful. That is VERY slick.

Brian said...

Try this:

Randy said...

Thanks for updating the study guides with Kindle locations--very helpful. Looking forward to the additional updates.

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