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Conversational Apologetics


To understand and know them. Pointed Questions ... The Khmer Rouge killed people if they didn't like them, if didn't work hard ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Conversational Apologetics

Conversational Apologetics
  • The Problem of Evil Part 1

Conversational Apologetics
  • Open Questions
  • To understand and know them
  • Pointed Questions
  • To remove the roof of their irrational
  • Explain the Gospel
  • Only when asked
  • Nurture The Relationship
  • Help unbelievers grow towards Christ
  • Help believers to grow IN Christ

Explain the Gospel
  • Use whatever method youre comfortable with to
    share the Gospel
  • Way of the Master
  • D.E.
  • Joes Crabshack, back of the napkin, homegrown

  • What if they ask me a hard question?
  • Such as
  • How could God allow the Tsunami?
  • Where was God on 9-11?
  • Was Katrina part of Gods Plan?
  • How could a loving God allow my mother to die
    when I was 8 years old?

The Problem of Evil
  • If God is all powerful, He can prevent evil.
  • If God is all loving, He abhors evil and wishes
    to prevent it.
  • Evil Exists
  • Therefore, God cannot be all powerful or all

The Problem of Evil
  • If God cannot prevent evil, He is not
  • If He is powerful enough to prevent evil, but
    chooses not to, He is not all-good.
  • In fact, He is a monster

David Hume's challenge 'If God is able to
something about evil and suffering yet chooses
not to then God is malevolent. If God cannot do
anything about evil and suffering then God is
The Problem of Evil
  • The most powerful argument against the Christian
    God ever devised.
  • First articulated by Epicurus (d. 270BC)
  • Argued that the existence of evil disproved the
    existence of the gods
  • Mark Twain
  • "If there is a God, he is a malign thug.
  • And we must not shrink from it

The Heads of Corpses
  • I was questioned in a prison in Region 4 before
    being brought to Tuol Sleng. I did nothing
    treasonable. So I had nothing to admit. Then they
    tortured me with electricity. The first time I
    was sitting in a chair, but later I fell out of
    the chair and went unconscious. When I regained
    consciousness, they threw water on my face so
    that they could go on with their interrogation.

Van Nath went on to say, I saw prisoners lying
dead in the room where I was being kept at Tuol
Sleng and young people were kicking the heads of
the corpses frivolously for fun.
Babies, children, adults and the elderly were
killed everywhere. The Khmer Rouge killed people
if they didnt like them, if didnt work hard
enough, if they were educated, if they came from
different ethnic groups, or if they showed
sympathy when their family members were taken
away to be killed. All were killed without
reason. Dith Pran, The Killing Fields
Two to three million people died in the killing
fields an estimated 30 of the Cambodian
The Evil that Lies in My Heart
  • A soviet torturer in the Gulag was quoted as
    saying, I thank God, in whom I dont believe,
    that I have been allowed to live to this day that
    I may fully express the evil that lies in my

The total documentable deaths in the system of
corrective-labor camps and colonies from 1930 to
1956 amount to 1,606,748, including political and
common prisoners note that this does not include
more than 800,000 executions of
"counterrevolutionaries" during the period of the
"Great Terror", since they were mostly conducted
outside the camp system and were accounted for
Where is God Now?
The SS seemed more preoccupied, more disturbed
than usual. To hang a young boy in front of
thousands of spectators was no light matter. The
head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were
on the child. He was lividly pale, almost calm,
biting his lips. The gallows threw its shadow
over him. This time the camp executioner refused
to act as executioner. Three SS replaced him.
The victims mounted together onto the chairs. The
three necks were placed at the same moment within
the nooses. "Long live Liberty!" cried the two
adults. But the child was silent."Where is God?
Where is He?" someone behind me asked. At a
sign from the head of the camp, the three chairs
tipped over.Total silence throughout the camp.
On the horizon, the sun was setting. "Bare your
heads!" yelled the head of the camp. His voice
was raucous. We were weeping. "Cover your heads!"
Then the march past began. The two adults were
no longer alive. But the third rope was still
moving being so light, the child was still
alive... For more than half an hour he stayed
there, struggling between life and death, dying
in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look
him full in the face. He was still alive when I
passed in front of him. Behind me I heard the
same man asking "Where is God now?" And I hear
a voice within me answer him "Were is he? Here
He is - He is hanging here on this gallows. . .
" Elie Wiesel Night
Answering the Problem of Evil
  • Theodicy
  • Derived from two Greek words (theos, God, and
    dike, justice)
  • The justification of the goodness and
    righteousness of God in the face of the evil in
    the world.

Famous Theodicies
  • Augustine (d. 430AD).
  • Free will defense
  • Evil is not a thing, but the absence of good.
    (e.g., darkness is not a thing, it is the
    absence of light).
  • Luther (d. 1546)
  • God is not to be justified, but man. To assert
    the problem of evil is, itself, to declare mans
  • Calvin (d. 1564)
  • For God's will is so much the highest rule of
    righteousness that whatever He wills, by the very
    fact that He wills it, must be considered
    righteous. When, therefore, one asks why God has
    so willed you are seeking something greater and
    higher than God's will, which cannot be found."

Greg Bahnsens Theodicy
  • 1948 - 1995
  • Student of Cornelius Van Til, the father of
    presuppositional apologetics
  • M.A. and Th.M from Westminster Theological
  • PhD in Philosophy from the University of Southern

Presuppositional Apologetics The non-believer
is on trial
Evil must be Taken Seriously
  • by both sides.
  • Acts of cruelty naturally evoke feelings of
    outrage and moral indignation
  • not only in the believer, but in the unbeliever
    as well.
  • This point is crucial and must not be disregarded
    when we defend the faith.

Evil as a Logical Problem
  • It is important to realize that the Problem of
    Evil is really a charge of logical inconsistency
    in the Christian worldview.
  • The Law of Non-Contradiction
  • Something cannot be A and Not-A at the same time
    and in the same way.
  • The existence of the God of the Bible is
    contradicted by the existence of evil.
  • Therefore, we cannot simply offer evidence for
    the good God has done, nor suggest that the good
    outweighs the bad.

For Whom is Evil a Problem?
  • Two Premises about the God of the Bible
  • God is All-Powerful
  • God is Good
  • One Premise that contradicts the other two
  • Evil Exists
  • For the contradiction to exist, all three
    premises must be regarded as true.

For Whom is Evil a Problem?
  • Atheists think that their worldview does not
    suffer from this contraction because they do not
    believe in God (the first two premises).
  • But their argument succeeds only if the third
    premise is true not only in the Christian
    worldview, but in their own.

For Whom is Evil a Problem?
  • If evil did not really exist, there would be no
    contradiction to the Christian worldview.
  • So, does evil exist?
  • Christian answer Of course!
  • Atheist answer Of course!
  • Which answer can be proven in a manner consistent
    with its worldview?

Evil and the God of the Bible
The foundation of the Christian and Jewish
worldviews is that a Transcendent Creator God,
whose character and will are the basis of a
universal standard of Good and Evil, has revealed
Himself in human history.
Evil and Atheisim?
  • In a world without God
  • There are no universals.
  • Universals Truths that transcend the human
  • Good and Evil are contingent concepts
  • They depend on humans to define them
  • Subjective
  • The New morality of the 1960s (and beyond)
  • Differing concepts of morality between cultures
  • The Atheist who assumes any universal, especially
    universal morality, is being inconsistent with
    his worldview!

Some Pointed Questions
  • What do you mean by good?
  • What standard do you use to determine what is
    good and what is evil?
  • How does that work in a universe in which there
    are no moral absolutes?

Atheistic Answers
  • Good is what causes the least suffering (or the
    most happiness).
  • Counter-argument In the Sudan, the government
    claims it is reducing starvation in the Muslim
    majority by killing Christians. Why is that
  • Good is determined by ones culture
  • Counter-argument The Nazi culture said it was
    moral to kill Jews. Why is that wrong?

Evil is a Big Problem
  • for the unbeliever!
  • In order to use the Problem of Evil against the
    Christian worldview, the atheist must be able to
    show that his judgments about the existence of
    evil are meaningful which is precisely what his
    unbelieving worldview is unable to do!

In a World Without God
All this doesnt matter. Humans are just another
animal bags of protoplasm. 35 million deaths
is just 35 million bags of weak protoplasm being
destroyed by stronger bags of protoplasm. In an
atheistic world, youd better be a strong bag
because neither good nor evil exist.
The Origin of Moral Outrage
  • Atheists feel moral outrage.
  • Indeed, the more seriously the atheist feels
    morally outraged, the better.
  • Where does their outrage come from, if their
    worldview cannot account for the existence of
  • The reality is Evil Exists!
  • Thus, the atheist is actually borrowing from
    our worldview when he or she feels moral outrage
    and uses the Problem of Evil to question Gods

Suppressing the Truth
  • For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
    against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of
    men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
    because that which is known about God is evident
    within them for God made it evident to them. For
    since the creation of the world His invisible
    attributes, His eternal power and divine nature,
    have been clearly seen, being understood through
    what has been made, so that they are without
    excuse. (Rom 118-20 NASB)

  • Why does the atheist feel morally outraged?
  • Because he lives in the real world.
  • Because he knows in his heart of hearts that
    evil exists.
  • He knows evil exists because he is a Divine
    image-bearer because God has revealed His Divine
    Nature (His Goodness) to all people, everywhere.
  • The very empathy and anger that he feels against
    wanton cruelty cries out that God exists, that
    God has set a standard of goodness and those who
    violate it deserve a righteous and final judgment.
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