Does morality based in evolution make sense?

Breezy Brie on Morals

image from  http://dailyatheistquote.com/atheist-quotes/2013/01/18/breezy-brie-on-morals/

Several years ago I attended a debate about between an atheist and a Christian about Intelligent Design.  The two participants were Michael Ruse and William Dembski.  Part of the debate included whether or not there were moral absolutes.

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Who gets to make the rules? Searching for the basis of morality.

Photo copyright 2011 by J Ronald Lee
Photo copyright 2011 by J Ronald Lee 

During college I was introduced to the game shown in the picture above.  Some of the guys that lived on my dorm floor would have regular Axis and Allies game nights.  Each game would take about thirty minutes to set up and playing the game took a minimum of four or five hours. I  now play this game from time to time with my sons, and when we do we have a great time because we all understand how the game works and we each follow the rules.

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Start an apologetics conversation – Are people basically good or basically evil?

 

image courtesy of Ariane Middel via flickr.com
image courtesy of Ariane Middel via flickr.com

Not long ago, I attended a mandatory employees’ conference.  This conference emphasized the investigative arm of the law enforcement agency for which I work.  Much of the material dealt with violent crimes people commit against one another.  At the end of the two-day event, I was emotionally spent.  Continue reading

Staying on topic. How the Christian apologist should be like an expert witness.

photo courtesty Jared Cherup via flickr.com
photo courtesy Jared Cherup via flickr.com

 

In a prior post I listed several skills an expert witness must develop in order to be effective while testifying in court.  I believe those same skills will serve the Christian apologist well when they are engaged in conversations with people who are asking questions about their faith. Continue reading

Communicating well, without the fancy language

As someone  progresses through a career or academic field of study, there is a jargon that is learned and used in speaking with people in the same field.  For example, in my sons’ Trail Life USA troop, there are several dads that work in the information technology field.  Many times when they “talk shop” I am lost as to what they are even saying.  They share a common lingo, complete with acronyms and abbreviations that I am not familiar with.

This is true in my professional field as well.  Working as a forensic scientist, there is a language that is spoken within the lab that is foreign to those that aren’t familiar with the field.  One of the most critical aspects of being an effective forensic scientist is courtroom testimony.  The witness must be able to explain to the judge, jury and lawyers what is done in the lab without using specialized scientific terminology.  This is a skill that young forensic scientists work on as part of their training.

The Christian apologist is no different.  Being that apologetics is a part of theology, there are many words and terms that are likely unknown or misunderstood when used in theological discussions.  Typically, the apologist should not use such words because they will make communication more difficult because of the unknown terms.

Words such as justification, sanctification, propitiation.  Ontology, teleology, cosmology.  Even words that are used in everyday language have specific meanings within Christianity that need to be clearly explained when speaking with the skeptic or the critic.  Evil, righteousness, sin, the church.  The apologist must be aware that their language, their theological Christian jargon, may itself be a barrier to explaining the simple aspects of the gospel of Jesus.

I have yet to find anyone who truly likes others who are arrogant and prideful.  An apologist who is concerned with sounding educated by using big words and philosophical terms may be perceived as a “know-it-all” or as showing off.  When sharing the gospel, let’s use words that everyone in the conversation can understand, and leave the fancy language for when we are “talking shop” with one another.

An expert witness knows which questions to anticipate. So should the apologist.

Girls in Conversation - by University of Exeter

There are many situations in which a person knows they will be required to answer questions.

  • Students have exams.
  • Job seekers have interviews.
  • Presidential candidates have debates.
  • Head coaches have press conferences.
  • Witnesses have direct and cross examination.

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Prepared to be an expert witness…for Jesus

photo courtesy Surrey County Council News via flickr.com
photo courtesy Surrey County Council News via flickr.com

In my career as a forensic scientist, I enjoy testifying in court more than any other part of the job. While many of my colleagues prefer to not testify, I love it.

The reasons are simple:

1. It gets me out of my normal, comfortable environment at the lab.

2. I have the opportunity to educate people (attorneys, judge, jury).

3. I don’t know what is going to be asked, so I must be ready to quickly think through unusual questions before answering them.

As with most other skills, becoming an effective witness takes time and practice.  I spend many hours working with young forensic scientists during their training. In addition to teaching them how to perform laboratory tests, I help them develop the skills that they will need when called to court to testify about the cases they have worked. As a part of their testimony training, they are trained to:

1. Anticipate which questions are going to be asked, and have prepared answers for those.

2. Answer the questions using words that will make sense to the judge, jury and attorneys.

3. Answer the question asked, without adding commentary or other extra information.

4. Maintain the same respectful demeanor, no matter what question is asked or how the attorneys may act toward you.

5. Be able to quickly think through an unanticipated question and give a meaningful response.

6. Be ready to say “I don’t know.”

An effective Christian apologist shares the same traits as an effective expert witness.  The apologist should be an expert witness for Jesus.  The forensic scientist explains the work they performed in the lab and their conclusions based on that work.  Likewise, the apologist explains the work Jesus has done in the world and defends their conclusions based on that work.

In future posts, I will expand on each of the six points above and explain how all Christians can be better prepared to share the reason for their hope in Jesus.


Have you ever been asked to give the reasons for your faith in Jesus?  Were you caught off guard because you weren’t prepared?