What is Apologetics?

Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word “apologetics” derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense or an answer given in reply. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply (apologia). The word appears 17 times in noun or verb form in the New Testament, and both the noun (apologia) and verb form (apologeomai) can be translated “defense” or “vindication” in every case.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Why Worship a God that has killed thousands upon thousands of people?

Introduction.

It has been a few weeks since my last posting. Things have changed with my job. I am still a "tent maker apologist" working a full time job in car sales. But with the changes in ownership and the increase in time, and demands, I have been in a "battle" to find that precious commodity we all desire. . .TIME.

The increase in schedule has me scrambling to find time for my responsibilities as a speaker, a teacher and a Ratio Christi Chapter Director. The increase in time and getting home later has challenged my energy to post blogs here on The Real Issue and the Christian Apologetics Alliance. Please pray for a change as you can see where my passion really lies.

My job helps take care of the responsibilities of taking care of my family and feeding needy women and children. . . Mine!  A good thing to all of this, is that my commitment to not stay quiet in sharing the gospel and engaging peoples' objections has not been squelched. Lately I have been involved in meeting other believers who are new to the employment where I work, and meeting folks open to discussing their views on life and values in light of the events of our culture and political arena.

I also have a boss who comes at life from a bankrupt worldview and is one who likes to see if he can stir things up and challenge my ethics and beliefs. One day he threw down, what he thought to be a tough question, but I was able to answer it. But the one about God being "a moral monster" reared its ugly head, with him, not too long ago. Some of us may have heard it put this way,

"God has killed more people than Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Sadam Hussein, Milosevic, Osama Bin Laden and Jim Jones combined. Why would you not follow them instead of God? Based on this standard, these monsters are compassionate compared to God."

Is this a tough question to answer? At face value it looks like a difficult challenge, but really it is not too hard when we seek to "defang" the question.

Let's Begin the Response.

Before I delve into giving a multi faceted answer, let me say that those who have committed some of the most heinous atrocities under a banner of "religion," and more specifically, "Christianity," cannot be dismissed. Many point to the Crusades and all the evils that came with it.

While this is a black-eye to "Christianity" at large, let me say that it is not what we read in the New Testament concerning Jesus' teachings. Jesus as the Founder, and Chief Cornerstone of the Christian Church also bore the title of "Prince of Peace." Not all who marched under the banner of Christianity "bore" His Name or pursued His character with integrity. We cannot dismiss this, nor can we escape the reality of this evil.

However, this assertion that "God has killed more" than say a Hitler, a Mussolini, or any other dictator or potentate is not really an honest one. Let me defend this by looking at a couple of scenarios.

A Dishonest Standard of Evaluation.

Whenever someone makes such a claim as this one, we have to ask from what framework is the challenger coming from? Is the person using an absolute moral standard rooted in an absolute Moral Lawgiver? Or are they using a standard that they believe to be absolute but based upon their own standard presuppositions? I would posit the latter. Someone making a bold assertion is skeptical to the existence of God and the worthiness of Him being an object of worship.

Taking the latter as the question's starting point, the skeptic must "smuggle" in Christian terms to make the objection. Since there is no absolute moral lawgiver, compassion for the atheist is merely grounded on random accidental cause and effect of chemicals and DNA dancing around to create an action of beneficence. But what stirs the conscience to do good or bad? This is a show stopper for the atheist.

But there is another point that needs to be made here about the charge against God. It is dishonest within the scope of historical facts.

Dishonest Under the Microscope of History.

The claim that "God has killed more people than Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Sadam Hussein, Milosevic, Osama Bin Laden and Jim Jones combined" is not an honest assertion in light of history. It is interesting that late atheist philosopher, Frederich Nietzsche made the claim that the twentieth century would be the bloodiest century due to the scientific and technological advances that made belief in God untenable. Considering God wishful thinking his atheism pushed him to reject the traditional moral values. Proclaiming that God was dead, moral and traditional values that dovetailed biblical values were considered. As a result he viewed existence as a struggle, and redefined "good" as a "will to power." This pursuit to power became the new absolute.

Those under a similar banner of thinking pursued power over their own people and the people of other nations. What was the result? The following chart shows the amount of loss of life just in the last century under a banner of “unbelief”:


Government Leader
Total Loss of Lives
Josef Stalin
42,672,000
Chiang Kai-shek
10,214,000
Mao Tse Tung
37,828,000
Vladimir Lenin 
4,017,000
Pol Pot
2,397,00
Hideki Tojo
3,990,000
Adolf Hitler 
20,946,000

Looking at this chart from R. J. Rummel’s work “Death by Government” I am not so convinced that religion and God are totally guilty of the countless lives that have been lost over the last century.  We see the events of the beginning of this century and things are not getting better.

Those who want to make this claim, need to do a better job in dealing with the historical past when it comes to atrocities and the loss of life. God is not the One who has killed more people, it has been man, and the numbers are there to prove it. Besides this claim made by the skeptic/atheist gives no numerical data when making the claim. That is another reason that this claim is dishonest.

Conclusion.

Sometimes claims made by skeptics might sound real tough to answer, when we look at them and the details behind them, they really are not all that hard to answer. What we need to do is listen to the objection or the accusation and then work it through, taking the fangs out of the challenge and then give a respectful but firm answer.

Also the problem of evil is really one of the best defenses for the existence of God. I look at this challenge as one of those objections that give clarity that it is more reasonable to believe that God exists. You have to have a standard of good in order to be able to say something is evil. You have to have a standard of some kind to say that someone is compassionate. The absurdity of this objection was the assumption that God was not compassionate and folks like Hitler and Mussolini were more compassionate than an invisible moral monster. If those guys were compassionate, I would hate to see what level of compassion was like with the other guys on the list. Are you scared yet? Or are you ready to bow before the Prince of Peace?

I have chose the latter, how about you?


1 comment:

Spinner 198 said...

I have to point out one thing. Although I am Christian, and believe God is justified in doing so, I think the claim made by the skeptics are referencing more things like Sodom and Gomorrah, the Flood and what not. As far as the total number of deaths caused by those, it is probably safe to say it exceeds that which the skeptics claim.

Once again though, I believe that God is justified to pass judgement onto us as we are sinners. Nineveh is a brilliant example of what happens when sinners repent; they are spared God's wrath, as all of his followers will be spared from hell and from the Armageddon that will come in the end of days.