Stokes was an engineer before he studied philosophy under intellectual heavyweights Wolterstorff and Plantinga. His previous book, A Shot of Faith (to the Head), expertly navigated deep philosophical and scientific waters to help readers get an understandable grasp of the rationality of theistic belief. His new book, How to be an Atheist, encourages skeptics to be more skeptical about the certainty of their skeptical beliefs. It sounds like an interesting read.
https://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/scre.png312635Jasonhttps://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.pngJason2016-03-19 11:17:392017-10-10 19:04:04An Interview on “How to Be an Atheist”
Welcome to the final instalment in my series on why thinking matters greatly in the life of the Christian. In part 1 of the series, we looked at the spiritual malnourishment that Christians put themselves through to avoid the ‘lifeless endeavour’ that is theology (or, putting-God-in-a-box-ology). We learnt that the Bible creates a vital link between thinking and spiritual health. Part 2 expanded this intellectual famine out into the watching world – theologically starved Christians do not tend to provide a stimulating case for belief. And now, in part 3, we face the consequence of these two errors.
To put it bluntly– thinking matters because not thinking dishonours God and is therefore, a sin. Few professing Christians would be comfortable with the idea of bringing God’s name into disrepute, yet fewer seem to have made the connection between glorifying God (making Him look great) and engaging in the life of the mind.
A disdain for thinking in the Christian life is not merely a spiritual boo-boo, but a brazen refusal to live and love God in the way that He has prescribed. When Jesus stated that the greatest commandment is to love God with all one’s heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37) he was in effect saying, “Love me with all of your being. Love me in all the ways I have created you.” Never—in Jesus’ mind or in Scripture—is there a splitting of head and heart; they are always meant to go together. 1
Christians (and humanity in general) tend to concentrate on the activity of their hearts and hands – on what they are feeling and doing. We are hard-coded doers. Value is rarely attributed to thoughts or beliefs, but rather to desires and deeds. Few think about their thinking. What I have aimed to achieve in writing these articles is not for Christians to forsake the pursuit of devoted hearts and generous hands, but for the correct paradigm to be restored. Truth enters through the gateway of the mind, is accepted, believed and treasured, and then the rest of the body follows suit, instinctively obeying. This is demonstrated with the following adage:
Removing or rearranging any component in this progression will cause the whole thing to collapse. Only with all three in the correct order is the Christian able to live in a way that brings glory to God’s name. The very fact that God ordained His words of eternal life to be written down in a physical book shows us that He first aims to take our minds as willing captives before wooing the rest of our being.
Just like every other sin, Christian anti-intellectualism brings shame to God’s name and is worthy of punishment. We can’t blame our lack of thinking on our culture, our brains, or just try to pretend it isn’t important. The Bible is clear and it will not alter its wording for you. The natural response here should be to mourn.
However, there is one more glaring similarity to all other sins – it is not beyond the all-encompassing reach of Jesus Christ. When Jesus died on that cross, he bore the punishment for every sin that his people had and would commit, including the sin of anti-intellectualism. I don’t know about you, but that glorious gift of grace makes me want to exercise my intellect so I can learn even a touch more about this beautiful God who saves.
1. “The Church Needs Philosophers and Philosophers Need the Church” Paul Gould, The Gospel
philosophers-need-the-church), accessed on 11 October 2014
2. This wee maxim has been borrowed from David Murray’s blog of the same name.
https://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.png00Cody Knoxhttps://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.pngCody Knox2014-11-07 11:15:132017-10-10 19:49:35Thinking matters - Shame on His Name
N. T. Wright recently spoke at St Andrews University on the trustworthiness of the New Testament. The message was a part of the James Gregory lectures, a series of public talks by eminent national and international speakers on a wide range of contemporary issues in science and religion.
https://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.png00Jasonhttps://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.pngJason2014-02-28 14:36:472017-10-10 19:04:04Can a Scientist Trust the New Testament? by N. T. Wright
Michael Horton recently sat down and answered five of the most common apologetics questions people get when they share their faith with their friends and family. Horton is a professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Westminster Seminary California, co-host of White Horse Inn and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine.
https://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.png00Jasonhttps://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.pngJason2014-02-26 13:19:412017-10-10 19:04:04Michael Horton addresses common questions about the Christian faith
Our church is currently doing a class on evangelism and we recently worked through some of the things necessary to keep in mind when sharing our faith. It was a useful talk and especially relevant to what we do as apologists (maybe even more so).
Dickson is the director of the Centre for Public Christianity and Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University. You can check out more of CPX’s videos on their vimeo channel or on their website.
https://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/question.png6363Jasonhttps://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.pngJason2013-03-11 12:38:082017-10-10 19:04:05The New Atheists' Questionable Knowledge of History
Christian apologist Sean McDowell and skeptic Michael Shermer discuss whether theism or atheism better explains morality and the universe. McDowell is a great communicator and the videos are a good introduction to the issues involved in the debate. The conversation was hosted by Cross Examination, a show produced by The Salvation Army to stimulate thinking and discussion.
https://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.png00Jasonhttps://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.pngJason2013-03-09 16:25:302017-10-10 19:04:05Sean McDowell and Michael Shermer talk about the Fine-Tuning of the Universe, Objective Morality, and the Evidence for God
The theme at the Ligonier National Conference conference this year was standing for the truth of God’s Word. At the conference, Ravi Zacharias gave a message on the resurrection, discussing it’s context, why it matters, and what it means for us today. You can listen or view the rest of the conference talks at Ligonier.org.
https://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.png00Jasonhttps://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.pngJason2013-03-07 20:18:252017-10-10 19:04:05Ravi Zacharias on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
The full video archive of Dr William Lane Craig’s speaking engagements from the Reasonable Faith UK Tour has been posted on YouTube. Every debate, lecture, Q&A session, and conference discussion is online and presented in chronological order. That’s almost twenty hours of solid apologetic content.
https://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.png00Jasonhttps://thinkingmatters.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Logo-White-Smol.pngJason2013-03-07 19:25:492017-10-10 19:04:05The Complete Video Archive of the Reasonable Faith UK Tour
If God is good, why is there evil and suffering? How can we reconcile the existence of evil with a good, powerful and omniscient God? In this clear and enlightening presentation Amy discusses the various reasons why it is reasonable to believe that God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing the evil we see in the world.
Amy works for Stand to Reason (http://www.str.org) by contributing to their online content, blogging and responding to apologetics questions sent to Stand to Reason. She has an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University.
This presentation was recorded at Thinking Matters Tauranga (New Zealand) as part of a 10 day speaking tour of New Zealand with Brett Kunkle (Stand to Reason) and Jay Watts (Life Training Institute) in September 2012. This presentation comes from the full NZ Tour DVD set (includes 9 sessions by Brett, Amy and Jay) which will be available shortly from Thinking Matters for NZ$60 (freight free in NZ). Keep an eye on the blog for news of its availability.
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Thinking Matters is a ministry encouraging New Zealand Christians to explore WHAT they believe and WHY they believe it, so they can engage culture and present the Christian faith both gracefully and persuasively.
We do this through training in apologetics, worldview, culture, and evangelism.