Posts Tagged ‘Apologetics Study Bible for Students’

APOLSTUDYBIBLESTUDENTSMy previous posts in the Updated CSB Apologetics Study Bible for Students included my article on the problem of evil and the Crusades. Today’s post includes my article about the objection that religious beliefs are merely reflections of where one was raised.

The Apologetics Study Bible for Students provides answers to many of these perplexing questions from the Crusades, religious plurality, and the problem of evil along with many other resources and features helpful for any student or adult.

Here is the article:

“Don’t Religious Beliefs Just Reflect Where One Was Raised?”:

Are religious beliefs just a reflection of where one was raised? It’s hard not to notice that people who grow up in India almost always become Hindus and people raised in Saudi Arabia usually become Muslims. Likewise, most Christians accept Christianity because their parents were Christians. Since a person’s religious beliefs most often reflect the dominant religious beliefs of the region in which they were born, many people conclude that all religions are just cultural expressions. In this view, religious beliefs are not the result of reason, evidence, or the movement of God in a person’s life. Rather, religion is just a product of the way you were raised. There are two significant problems with this theory.

First, the origin of a belief does not determine whether or not it’s true. Each truth claim (and hence, each religion) must be weighed independently of questions about its origin. We examine how it matches up to things like history, logic, and data from science. If the belief stands up to examination, it does not matter how you came to hold it. For instance, what if a lunatic told you how to get to New York City? The man believes many wrong things about himself and the world, but if his directions succeed in getting you to the “Big Apple,” you can be sure that his belief about the route to New York was correct. It does not matter that he is certifiably crazy. Your belief originated with a crazy man, yet the crazy man knew the truth.

Second, the skeptical view described above says your surroundings determine your beliefs, and yet this theory cannot explain religious conversions in which a person chooses against their upbringing. Every day all across the world, many thousands of people convert from one religious belief to another. If religious beliefs merely reflect where one was raised, this would not happen. The reality of religious conversion shows that religious beliefs are more than the result of upbringing. People change their religion because they come to question their inherited religious beliefs, examine the beliefs of other religions, and thus choose to reject their cultural influences and upbringing and the beliefs that come with them. The most impressive historical example of this is the spread of Christianity. The Christian faith began as a tiny group of Jews huddled in Jerusalem, but then spread all across the world, traversing many cultures and languages, as people examined the case for Christianity and came to believe it was true.

In conclusion, where you were raised does have an obvious impact on your religious beliefs, but evidence proves that this can be overcome when people reconsider their beliefs in light of evidence and argumentation. While most people’s religious beliefs reflect where they were raised, they still have the freedom and responsibility to consider the evidence and claims of their religion. Christianity excels when people take the time to seriously explore

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In 2008 Broadman & Holman first released the Apologetics Study Bible.  Two years later they produced the Apologetics Study Bible for Students selling well over 100,000 copies. Features of this Study Bible included:

APOLSTUDYBIBLESTUDENTS

 “Twisted Scriptures” explanations, “Bones & Dirt” archaeology meets apologetics, “Tactics” against common anti-Christian arguments, and“Personal Stories” of how God has worked in real lives.  It did so well they are releasing a new updated edition.  I had the honor of writing three articles for the first release and they are rolling them over in the new updated edition.  They are:

1. “Why Does God Allow Evil?”

2. What About the Crusades?”

3. “Don’t Religious Beliefs Just Reflect Where One Was Raised?”

I guess you can say I wrote the Bible (just kidding), but I am releasing my articles for the next several weeks for preview.  If you know of any students, this would be an excellent resource for them.  The new edition includes updates such as:

  1. Articles have been updated.
  2. Authors went through each of their articles and improved them substantially.
  3. 12 new articles on “hot” topics like tattoos, euthanasia, transgenderism, Islamic Jihad, religious freedom, singleness, race, and more.
  4. Each of the special features (Bones & Dirt, Tactics, Twisted Scriptures, Stories, and Fast Facts) have been expanded with 5-10 more articles.

Here is the first article I wrote for the Apologetics Study Bible for Students (they apparently gave me the hard questions):

“Why Does God Allow Evil?”

“In December 2, 2015, a mass shooting by two terrorists killed fourteen people in California’s Inland Regional Center. Years earlier, in 2012, a gunman forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut: he shot twenty first graders and six adults.

From shootings like these to natural disasters that level communities, we regularly hear about or even experience the effects of sin and evil in the world. This leads many to ask, “If God can prevent such massacres and destruction, why doesn’t he?” That people routinely ask this question implies the widely held conviction that an all-powerful and all-good God would choose to destroy all evil. How could he possibly allow evil to exist?

Many suppose that the existence of evil disproves God’s existence. But the human ability to recognize evil is actually a good reason to believe in a Creator. If there was no God, there would be no objective, universal standard by which to measure good and evil. Since, however, all humans agree that the two are distinct, there must be an independent, eternal standard by which we ground moral convictions.

Nonetheless, some philosophers claim that the existence of evil is logically incompatible with the existence of the all-good, all-powerful God described in Scripture. If God exists, the theory goes, evil cannot. If evil exists, God cannot. God and evil, like square circles, are logically contradictory and thus cannot coexist. But few philosophers think this argument successful. In fact, even philosophically-informed atheists acknowledge the weakness of this view. After all, it is logically possible that God, though all-powerful and all-knowing, has a good reason for allowing evil to exist. For instance, evil’s presence ensures the preservation of human free will. If we have genuine freedom, then we have the possibility of choosing to do evil rather than good. God is certainly powerful enough to prevent us from doing evil, but he would be taking away our free will by doing so. He cannot force us to always choose the good, because being made to choose the good would mean that we are not free.

There are other reasons God could allow evil to occur. For instance, coping with the effects of evil in the world often contributes to the development of virtues such as empathy, patience, and trust in Jesus as Savior. Without the ability to choose and exercise free will or the opportunity to develop virtue, our lives would be shallow and without love; we could not truly love one another or love God. We would essentially be robots lacking the ability to have a relationship with God, and loving relationship with us is the very thing God desires.

Though it is reasonable for God and evil to coexist, some say the presence of so much evil makes it difficult to believe in God. However, this is a subjective judgment. How much evil is too much? Who but God can say? We are all troubled by evil, but God has dealt evil a fatal blow through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”