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How Do You Know You're Not Wrong?: Responding to Objections That Leave Christians Speechless Paperback – August 1, 2005
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From the Back Cover
"Hey, whatever works for you."
If you've recently tried to tell your friends about Jesus, this is surely a familiar phrase. Besides being familiar, such challenges from today's unbelievers are also frustrating. In fact, they can sometimes leave you speechless. So how do you respond?
Expert Christian apologist Paul Copan calls these objections "anti-truth claims." And he knows they're relevant-he's faced them over and over in his apologetics ministry on university campuses and in coffee shops across the country. In "How Do You Know You're Not Wrong?" he presents a collection of objections regarding reality, worldviews, and Christianity and thoroughly addresses each from a biblical standpoint. If you've ever been left lost for words when discussing matters of faith, this insightful book will give you the tools you need to confidently, lovingly, and effectively respond to colleagues, acquaintances, and friends.
"Paul Copan gives clear and illuminating answers in this lively and helpful book. I enthusiastically recommend it."-Stephen T. Davis, Claremont McKenna College
"Copan takes on some of the strongest challenges to Christian faith and responds to them with clarity, generosity, and laserlike logic."-Francis J. Beckwith, author, Relativism
Paul Copan (Ph.D., Marquette University) is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida and is author of "That's Just Your Interpretation" and "True for You, but Not for Me".
About the Author
Paul Copan (Ph.D., Marquette University) is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. He lives with his wife and five children in Florida.
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The third part, which mostly concerns Old Testament, was not as persuasive for me. I think the God-concept in the early part of the Old Testament reflects the cultural values of those times. Copan tries to make the Old Testament God look better than he/she is. I feel there is great change in the way God relates to human beings even in the Old Testament. This must reflect the human mind which was not ready for love. Perhaps this opinion reflects liberal theology, but that's what I think.
Being the third in a series, Copan has the freedom to deal with many of the side questions that were not covered in the first books. Get the other books if you want the basic questions, and do this one for the deeper and the side questions.
I thought the discussion on the mind-body problem was insightful, and Copan rightly fingers Descartes as main culprit in the miscommunication. The discussion in chapters 3-5 on the nature of scientism versus science was even better. We are not dealing with science (which is merely correlated data), but scientism (not only an assumed philosophical framework for managing data, but also an outlook on ethics, economics, politics, and includes a robust social-political-academic agenda).
On thing I would have liked so see in the discussion is Thomas Aquinas's statement in his Five Ways. Back in the 1200's, Aquinas pointed out that one possible argument against God was naturalism: "It is superfluous to suppose that what can be accounted for by a few principles has been produced by many. But it seems that everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God did not exist. For all natural things can be reduced to one principle which is nature."
His reply was not reductionism as used by Copan (53), but the obvious teleology in the world: "Since nature works for a determinate end under the direction of a higher agent, whatever is done by nature must needs be traced back to God, as to its first cause." Everyone believes in ecology or the "Circe of Life." Well, where did this come from? As he aaerts, if animals have rights, where did they come from?
I was let down with the discussion on Abraham. Isaac was an obvious symbol of Christ ("he received him in a figure" Heb. 11:17-19), but Copan never mentions this. His explanation is Jewish, but not Christian. Abraham was being taught a vital lesson: faith in the Atonement.
The section on the Fall of Adam was an eye-popper. Copan's view of the Fall of Adam is essentially the position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here are the data:
* "Our deeply sinful condition should be understood in terms of damage/consequences rather than guilt reckoned to all of us as the result of Adam's sin. Otherwise, what do we make of those who die in infancy or who are mentally retarded?" (202)
* (Quoting Gordon Lewis and Bruce Demarest) "None will suffer the execution of the penalty who not themselves responsibility sinned." (205)
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
* "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression." (Articles of Faith 2)
* "Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world." (Moses 6:54)
* "But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism! Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell. Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell." (Moroni 8:10-14)
* "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2:25)
In 1974, Truman Madsen wrote a paper called "Are Christians Mormon?" (BYU Studies, Vol. 15, No. 1, p.73). He showed that many churches are slowly modifying their doctrines. The shocking thing is that they are looking more and more like Mormonism. Maybe this idea needs to be revisited.
He wrote in the Introduction to this 2005 book, "In my previous writings, I've mentioned a basic threefold strategy for defending and dealing with objections to the Christian worldview. First of all, we can't escape the objectivity of truth and the REALITY, to which truth-claims correspond... Second, if... people see that truth and reality are inescapable, then we can deal with the next level---worldviews... Third, if theism is the best option among competing worldviews, then WHICH theistic option is the most viable---Judaism, Islam, or Christianity?... It's my hope that this material will encourage Christians in general, but particularly Christian students in high schools and universities ... who regularly face skeptical challenges to their faith." (Pg. 11-12)
He suggests, "the very strong evidence for near-death experiences (NDEs) or out-of-body experiences (OBEs) taking place suggests that body and soul are different substances. During a four-minute time period of being clinically dead, the late atheist philosopher A.J. Ayer was aware of an 'exceedingly bright and also very painful' red light. Ayer concluded that 'death does not put an end to consciousness.'" (Pg. 103; Ayer's article is included in Does God Exist?: A Believer and an Atheist Debate.)
He argues, "PETA engaged in a (false) advertising campaign claiming that 'Jesus was a vegetarian.' He wasn't. Besides eating lamb every year at Passover, he, being a good Galilean, certainly ate fish on a regular basis (cf. Luke 24:42-43). Jesus also helped some of his fishermen-disciples catch fish (Luke 5:1-9; John 21:1-12)---a legitimate livelihood. He also would provide fish for his disciples to eat (John 21:9, 13). He miraculously fed fish to over five thousand people on one occasion (Mark 6:33-44) and to over four thousand people on another occasion (Mark 8:1-9). The celebration at the return of the prodigal son in Luke 15 calls for a feast---a killing of the fatted calf---a portrayal of the fact that Jesus 'receives sinners and eats with them'..." (Pg. 126-127)
He states, "We should avoid referring to our 'nature' as 'sinful' (unless we clarify that 'nature' is being used in a philosophically IMPRECISE manner). God made human nature to be good---even though it has been deeply damaged by the fall. But because God has created human nature as good, it isn't INTRINSICALLY sinful. And if it were, then Jesus couldn't truly identify with human beings as the divine-human mediator, and therefore he couldn't bring about salvation for us." (Pg. 206)
This book deals with an entirely different range of objections than Copan's previous books, and it will be of keen interest to Christians studying apologetics.