VI Blind alleys
In my opinion these topics are not worth discussing, or even bold print, but people often ask about them, and many people are uncertain what to think of them, so I discuss them briefly.
A Ancient astronauts, UFOs, and ETsIn the book Chariots of the Gods, Eric von Daniken (1984. New York: Berkley Pub. Co.) says the concept of God came from the impression made by astronauts who visited the earth in ancient times.
Von Daniken’s evidence is very unconvincing. For example, he explains ovals in ancient carvings as flying saucers. This is not the only possible meaning of ovals.
This is all based on the assumption that religion is nothing more than the concept of God. This does not explain many things that are described in ch. 6.
No one has yet proven that extraterrestrials, or ETs, exist. Many people say, “But don’t many people say they have seen them?” Hugh Ross says in a tape that all people he has heard who have seen ETs have also had experience of contact with spirits, so it seems that what they have seen is not real ETs but is evil spirits. ETs and their “flying saucers” display many unphysical capabilities, and have never left a single verified material object behind.
Do ETs exist? I do not know, but I do know that if they exist they were created by God, and did not evolve; see the discussion of evolution in ch. 6, II. The Bible does not say God created people elsewhere, nor does it say that He did not. But if He did, could they also have sinned? If they did, did Jesus need to go die for them too? The Bible says Jesus died only once (Romans 6:10; Hebrews 7:27; 9:26, 28; 10:10; I Peter 3:18). Could Jesus go to people in another world and tell them He died for them here? It is of course possible, but that seems unfair to them, testing their faith much more than ours, since He died in a real time and place here in our world. So it is not impossible that there are ETs elsewhere, but there seems to be no reason to think so, and many reasons to doubt it.
B Quantum mechanics and free willSome people say that the uncertainty principle can be used to explain how we can have free will which is not predetermined by natural laws.
The physical meaning of the uncertainty principle is still uncertain and the subject of ongoing discussion, so it is not possible to be certain that it can be applied to human thought processes. But merely asking this question implies the assumption that all aspects of human thought and behavior are purely a product of material brain cells and their interactions, therefore we must find a scientific explanation for it. If we do not make this assumption, then there is no problem to solve. Even if we could apply the uncertainty principle in this way, it would still mean that our thought is meaningless, random, and impersonal; it is not certain that it would allow for meaningful free will. Personality, thought, and free will are not simply a scientific phenomenon. See V, A, 2.
C Quantum mechanics and Eastern religionsThe two best-known books presenting of this viewpoint are The Tao of Physics, by Fritjof Capra, 1984. New York: Bantam, and The Dancing Wuli Masters, Gary Zukav, 1984. New York: Bantam. “Wuli” is Mandarin Chinese for physics. These two authors feel there are many similarities between modern physics and Taoism and other Eastern religions.
I have not read these books. But I know that they are not accepted by the physics community in general as a correct interpretation of modern physics. As already mentioned in connection with the uncertainty principle, there is no consensus on a correct interpretation. I do not know how correct these two authors’ interpretation of Eastern religions is; Eastern religions vary widely, and so do interpretations of them. These authors have picked one particular interpretation each for modern physics and Eastern religions. So their assumptions, facts, and logic all are arguable at best, therefore their conclusions are far from certain. Even if it were possible to prove some parallels that indicate Eastern religions have some supernatural aspects, this does not prove they are true or are from the one true God. Refer to the discussion of other religions in ch. 3, VI.
D Einstein’s relativity and ethical relativismSome people extend science’s theory of relativity to say that everything is relative, so there is no absolute moral truth or religious truth. Moral relativism was discussed earlier in this chapter.
Einstein himself opposed this application of his theory. He originally called his theory “invariant theory,” emphasizing that it shows how the laws of physics are invariant, not dependent on the observer. His objective was to rewrite the laws of physics in such a way that they are the same in all reference frames. This sounds like it is more absolute than relative.
It is interesting that very few people think that the overwhelming pattern of orderliness of the physical world might suggest there are laws in the spiritual world. But when something in physics seems to suggest support for ethical relativism, many people are quick to apply it. Any correlation between such different realms must be considered carefully. Whatever basis there is for correlation, it seems to me that physical orderliness might tell us something about the spiritual world, as I suggest in ch. 3, II, B.
E Christianity and ecological damageLynn White’s article and Theodor Roszak’s book (see above, beginning of this chapter) say that because Christianity teaches that God gave the world to us to use, therefore we have abused it, and produced the ecological crisis. Therefore the ecological crisis is Christianity’s fault, and Christian teaching is bad.
Any good thing can be, and often is, misused, but this does not mean that the thing itself should be rejected: food, telephone, automobile, marriage, etc. Christianity has been misused. Its teaching, if seen fully and clearly, gives no license for abuse of our world. In fact, it forbids abuse. It says that the world is God’s, not ours, only entrusted to us for a while (see above, sec. II). Also, Christianity does not encourage a lifestyle of waste, greed, and unrestrained consumption.
The problem is in human nature, which is selfish and shortsighted. People easily accept Christian teaching that encourages them to modify their environment to their immediate benefit, but refuse to let Christian teaching reform their nature.
Why is Christianity the focus of such criticisms? How well do other religions and philosophies treat the environment? In India, Hinduism has produced the pitiful sacred cows, and a caste system society. Hinduism says sacred cows may be your own reincarnated ancestor, so you do not dare kill them, but neither does anyone feed them, so they are just half-starved wild animals, running everywhere, eating up much food that people need, and increasing the amount of suffering. Rats are in a similar position. It is estimated that half of India’s badly-needed food production is lost to these uncontrolled pests. You also are not supposed to kill mosquitoes that carry contagious diseases. Why is there so little criticism of the damage this teaching has caused to the environment, and to the lives of India’s vast population?
Fatalistic religions hinder people from reducing suffering caused by disease, famine, flood, etc. They even make people feel it’s no use being careful when working, driving, studying, etc., because they believe that everything that happens is already predetermined and unchangeable no matter what we do. It short-circuits their comprehension of simple cause and effect. Accidents are considered to be due to a bad fate, not carelessness. This ignorant and irresponsible outlook has killed hundreds of millions of people. Why is there so little criticism of this fact?
F Joshua’s long dayThe Book of Joshua (10:12-14) says that one day the Israelite army was fighting someone else, and they were afraid that after dark the enemy soldiers would escape. So Joshua prayed that God would give them more daytime so they could completely defeat the enemy. As a result the sun stopped in the sky for a day. Conservative Christians believe this means that the earth stopped turning.
At the end of the 1970’s, many Christian publications were circulating the story that America’s NASA computer discovered that the earth had missed one turn long ago, and that this confirmed the story in the Bible, Joshua 10:12-14. Also, in 1890, C. A. L. Totten of Yale University published a book, Joshua’s Long Day and the Dial of Ahaz, in which he calculated that a day was missing in ancient times. It was republished in 1968 by Destiny Publishers, Merrimac, Massachusetts 01860, with an enthusiastic foreword by Howard B. Rand, adding his own article further developing the theory. Unfortunately this story was again being circulated in 1998 on the internet.
In the late 70’s Moody Bible Institute’s “Moody Monthly” magazine editors felt a responsibility to confirm such material before circulating it. They attempted to confirm the NASA story, but could find no evidence. NASA denied the story. Actually, the story is impossible; if the earth did miss a turn, how could we tell? Is there a little counter at the Earth’s poles clicking off the rotations?
Totten in 1890 made many very doubtful assumptions about the time and positions of the creation of the sun, moon, and earth, and also about the meaning of the account in Joshua. He claims it means Joshua saw the moon near the sun in the daytime sky, which is unlikely.
We conservative, Bible-believing Christians love to hear that the Bible has been confirmed. But miracle stories like Joshua’s long day cannot possibly have scientific confirmation, and Christians who spread foolish stories like this as confirmation of the Bible are actually bringing disgrace on the Bible.
One common objection to this story is that if the earth stopped turning it would disrupt the whole solar system and the earth’s oceans and atmosphere. This is a ridiculous objection. First, the story only requires the earth to stop turning, not stop traveling in its orbit, so there need be no disruption of the other planets. Second, if God chose to stop the earth and is able to do so, He would not foolishly forget, nor be unable, to take care of the oceans and atmosphere, and even the solar system if necessary.
There is some question whether the story in Joshua really means the sun stopped in the sky to give longer daylight. One alternative translation is that the sun was made cooler, probably by a cloud, so the army did not suffer from so much heat. So this whole long-day controversy may be the result of a mistaken translation.
G Where did Cain get his wife?These may seem like unrelated questions, but they have related answers. They are based on a partial acceptance of the Bible account, but a refusal to really accept the entire Biblical story. Accepting only half the story of course leads to contradiction, but that only tells something about the person who asks such questions, not about the story in the Bible.
And whom was he afraid of when God banished him (Gen. 4:14)? Who populated the city he built (4:17)? And could people have really lived so long, 900 years or more, in the early chapters of the Bible?
The Bible story says that God created Adam and Eve, and that He considered all He created to be good. This would include being free of genetic flaws. These flaws only began to appear later, as mutations occurred and accumulated. Genesis 5:4 says Adam had other sons and daughters, probably quite a few. So Cain could marry one of his sisters, with negligible danger of genetic diseases as a result. The prohibition against marrying close relatives (Lev. 18:6-18) came long afterwards in the time of Moses, as people recognized the growing occurrence of birth defects which resulted from such marriages.
This also explains whom Cain was afraid of, and who lived in his city. We can only guess how many other children his parents had produced by the time of this incident, and before long grand-children began appearing. Death was a still-unknown phenomenon. Cain didn’t have to be a mathematical genius or use a supercomputer to figure out that at the rate things were going there would soon be lots of people around.
This lack of genetic flaws also explains the longer life-spans of early generations recorded in Genesis. Some Christians have speculated that the length of the year or the day, or the method of counting, was different, but I do not think such explanations are necessary. The account can be taken to mean exactly what it says.
Some people have heard that the Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing, so that days are now longer than they used to be, so they ask whether this explains why life-spans were once counted as longer than now. There are at least two fatal problems with this proposal. First, the rate of slowing is so tiny that it only becomes significant over hundreds of millions of years, not a few thousand. This is discussed in connection with recent creation in ch. 7, because it is related to the rate at which the Moon is receding from the Earth. Second, this would not at all change the length of the year, which is the unit in which life-spans were and are measured.
We do not know why our lifetime is as limited as it is. It is a subject of very active medical research. Our bodies do not wear out, they simply stop repairing themselves. There is a timer somewhere that is preset to turn off. The question is not why pre-Flood lifetimes were so long, but why ours are so short.
The recorded life-spans in the Bible declined rapidly after the Flood. There is much overconfident speculation in some Christian circles about what connection this may have to do with changes in the environment and diet at that time, but what those changes were, if any, and what physical effects they had is impossible to know at present. It does definitely seem implied that there was a deliberate God-ordained connection between the Flood and the decline in life-span. The reason for the Flood was that people had become evil and violent. When we look at the degree of evil that develops in some people’s lives in a few short decades, we scarcely dare imagine the depths to which depravity could descend if allowed to develop for up to 900 years! It is a mercy that our lives are so much shortened from such numbers. By the time of Moses around 1400 BC, he said in Psalm 90:10 that “The length of our days is seventy years,” his own life-span of 120 being noted as exceptional and miraculous.
H Why is Christmas celebrated on Dec. 25, and our calendar apparently numbered a few years incorrectly if it is supposed to count from the birth of Christ?This is entirely attributable to traditions developed after the Bible was written, and does not indicate any error in the Biblical account. The observation of Christmas is not taught in the Bible, but neither is it forbidden. The month and day of Christ’s birth is not known, therefore any day can be chosen if we wish to commemorate it. Late December is the time of the winter solstice, which was a prominent festival in Roman times. Christians began taking advantage of this time when everyone else was busy and distracted, so that they also could hold an activity without attracting attention and persecution.
The numbering of our years was established by the Roman Catholic Church in the middle ages. On the basis of modern information about the dates of Herod and other rulers mentioned in the story, it seems that they made a slight miscalculation. Jesus probably was born between 6 and 4 BC. This also has no connection with the accuracy of the Bible itself.
Conclusion: What have we accomplished so far?
We have spent two chapters discussing common logical and scientific criticisms of Biblical Christian faith, and have proposed various responses to these questions. Christians should not use these replies in anger to prove that other people are wrong, but in kindness and patience to help people think clearly, and realize that life without God is very lonely and empty. After seemingly fruitless discussions of issues such as these, some Christians blame themselves when others fail to understand and accept Biblical teaching. There very well may be flaws in our presentation which hinder others’ understanding and acceptance; we must be willing to be corrected and instructed. But we cannot hope that these answers will generally result in instant acceptance of the Bible and of Jesus’ offer of salvation.
Jesus Himself faced many questions and criticisms, and answered them. We believe that Jesus’ answers, and His behavior and attitude, were flawless. Some who heard were sincerely seeking the truth, and when they heard and were satisfied they became believers in Jesus. But others were committed to a position irreconcilable with Jesus’ claims, and therefore were His enemies. They acknowledged that He had effectively silenced all who criticized Him, but their response was not faith but a plan to murder Him in the cruelest way ever devised. (See ch. 3, V.) We can hope for no better response from those with whom we discuss such questions: some will believe, some will not, in fact may become more hostile, and of course they can give lots of valid-sounding reasons why they are not convinced. At this point, the discussion has gone as far as it can for now.
I hope that this discussion has removed some unnecessary roadblocks in the way of an honest seeker of the truth.
This completes the summary of atheists’ attempted general attacks on religious faith. Ch. 6 and 7 discuss more specific factual and scientific problems. If these criticisms were conclusive, it would prove religious faith in general, or at least Christian faith in particular, is false. The failure of these attacks does not prove religious faith is all true, or even partly true, though its ability to survive their attacks raises its credibility tremendously. But we need positive support before we have a basis for real confidence in the existence of the spiritual realm in general and the God of the Bible in particular. That is the subject of ch. 6.
I have learned much from many helpful books by Christians on the subjects discussed in this chapter and earlier ones. The ones written before the mid-70s were helpful to me in my own consideration of Christian faith, described briefly in the Introduction. Most of the older books in this list are now out of print, or reprinted by a different publisher; I make no claim that all the following is the latest information, just the copy I happen to have on hand. There seems to be a huge surge in excellent new writing in the late 90s. Even the following long list is nowhere near complete.
I have read most, but not all, of the following. I have at least skimmed them briefly, or seen frequent references to them in other books. I do not endorse everything in all of them, but I at least agree with their basic viewpoint, and consider their comments helpful in clarifying issues. They contain references to much more material. They are listed alphabetically by author. See also books listed in ch. 6, II, on creation/evolution, ch. 6, III, D on the internal unity of the Bible, ch. 6, III, H on Jesus’ life and resurrection, and at the end of ch. 7 on the origin and age of the universe.
Christian Belief in a Postmodern World, The Full Wealth of Conviction, Diogenes Allen. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox, 1989. ISBN 0-8042-0625-2. Describes how recent developments in philosophy and theology have reopened people’s minds to the acceptance of religious faith.
Christianity and Comparative Religion, J. N. D. Anderson. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1970. ISBN 0-87784-477-1
If I Really Believe, Why Do I Have These Doubts? Lynn Anderson. West Monroe, Louisiana: Howard Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-58229-117-9
Principles of Biblical Interpretation, L. Berkhof. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1950. ISBN 0-8010-0549-3. Old but still a classic.
I’m Glad You Asked, In-depth answers to difficult questions about Christianity, Kenneth Boa & Larry Moody. Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press, Victor Books, 1982. ISBN 0-88207-354-0. I have known about this book for years but just now actually looked at it, and wish I had read it years earlier. It is thorough, logical, and full of diagrams.
The Foundation of Biblical Authority, ed. James Montgomery Boice. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1978. ISBN 0-310-21521-8
Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father’s Questions about Christianity, Dr. Gregory A Boyd & Edward K. Boyd. Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books, Scripture Press, 1994. ISBN 1-56476-244-0
C. S. Lewis & Francis Schaeffer, Lessons for a New Century from the Most Influential Apologists of Our Time, Scott R. Burson & Jerry L. Walls. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1998. ISBN 0-8308-1935-5
Philosophy and the Christian Faith, an introduction to the main thinkers and schools of thought from the middle ages to the present day, Colin Brown. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1968. ISBN 0-87784-712-6. A venerable classic.
Christianity and Western Thought, Colin Brown. England: InterVarsity, 1990. ISBN 0-85111-763-5. Brown is still alive and well!
Clash of Worlds, David Burnett. England: MARC. ISBN 1-85424-107-9
Dawning of the Pagan Moon, David Burnett. England: MARC, 1991. An analysis of current Western paganism, which is filling the vacuum left by the rejection of Christianity.
Science & Christianity: Four Views, ed. Richard F. Carlson. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity 2000. ISBN 0-8308-2262-3. All five contributors are Christians; the issue is not whether to believe the Bible, but how to interpret it. The views are creationism, independence, qualified agreement, and partnership. All contributors also comment on the others.
Exegetical Fallacies, D. A. Carson. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, 1984. A leading Bible scholar points out errors commonly committed by Christians in Bible interpretation.
How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil, D. A. Carson. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, and Leicester, England: IVP, 1990. ISBN 0-85110-950-0
The Gagging of God, Christianity Confronts Pluralism, D. A. Carson. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1996. ISBN 0-310-47910-X
Christianity on Trial, Colin Chapman. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 1975. ISBN 8423-0246-8. Compares many kinds of faith.
A Reasonable Faith, The Case for Christianity in a Secular World, Tony Campolo. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1983. ISBN0-8499-3040-5
“True for You, But Not For Me” Deflating the slogans that leave Christians speechless, Paul Copan. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House, 1998. ISBN 0-7642-2091-8
East to Eden? Religion and the dynamics of social change, Charles Corwin. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1972. ISBN 0-8028-1444-1. Discusses India, China, and Japan as examples.
The Challenge of Postmodernism, An Evangelical Assessment, ed. David S. Dockery. Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books, Bridgepoint, 1995. ISBN 1-56476-410-9
When Heaven Is Silent, Live by Faith, Not by Sight. How God Ministers to Us Through the Challenges of Life, Ronald Dunn. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994. ISBN 0-8407-4895-7
Christian Apologetics in a World Community, William Dyrness. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity 1983. ISBN 0-87784-399-6. Meeting the challenge of other faiths.
A Step Further, Joni Eareckson. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1978. ISBN 0-31023971-0. Paralyzed in a swimming accident, she discusses the reasons for suffering.
Evangelical Interpretation, Perspectives on Hermeneutical Issues, Millard J. Erickson. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1993. ISBN 0-8010-3220-2
Despair, a Moment or a Way of Life? An existential quest for hope,
C. Stephen Evans. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1971. ISBN 0-877840-699-5
he Quest for Faith, C. Stephen Evans. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1986. ISBN 0-877840-511-5. Choosing a faith and answering objections to Christianity.
Why Believe? C. Stephen Evans.
When Skeptics Ask, Norman Geisler. Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press, 1990. ISBN 0-89693-766-6
When Critics Ask, Norman Geisler, Thomas Howe. Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press, 1992. ISBN 0-89693-698-8
Miracles and the Modern Mind, Norman L. Geisler. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1992. ISBN 0-8010-3847-2
Inerrancy, ed. Norman L. Geisler. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1980. ISBN 0-310-39281-0
Runaway World, Michael Green. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1968
Truth Decay, Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism, Douglas Groothuis. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 2000. ISBN 0-8308-2228-3
The Dust of Death, Os Guinness. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1973. ISBN 0-87784-911-0. A huge, scholarly study of the collapse of post-Christian Western culture.
In Two Minds, the dilemma of doubt and how to resolve it, Os Guinness. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1976. ISBN 0-87784-771-1
The Book that Speaks for Itself, Robert M. Horn. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1969. ISBN 0-85110-345-6
The Challenge of Religious Studies, Kenneth G. Howkins. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1972. ISBN 0-87784-714-2
The Galileo Connection: Resolving Conflicts Between Science & the Bible, Charles E. Hummel. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1986. Very helpful, drawing valuable principles from the most infamous church-science confrontation in history.
Science, Life, and Christian Belief, A survey of contemporary issues, Malcolm A. Jeeves & R. J. Berry. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, 1998. ISBN 0-8010-2226-6. Both authors are professional scientists, and Christians.
The Psychology of Biblical Interpretation, Cedric B. Johnson. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1983. He discusses no scientific issues in particular, but points out principles that are relevant to all such issues. The book has gone virtually unnoticed by evangelicals, probably because what it says seems dangerous, but Johnson argues against liberal abuses, calling on Bible-believers to incorporate the facts into a healthy, balanced approach to the Bible. I think it deserves attention.
Reason in the Balance, The case against naturalism in science, law, & education, Phillip E Johnson. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1995. ISBN 0-8308-1610-10. The law professor remains on the warpath after his first book criticizing Darwinism (ch. 6, II), applying his experience in constitutional law to the claim that naturalism has become the established religion of the US government.
Objections Sustained, Subversive Essays on Evolution, Law, and Culture, Phillip E. Johnson. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1998. ISBN 0-8308-1941-X. A collection of Johnson’s published articles. Some is specifically critical of Darwinian evolution, so is relevant to ch. 6, II.
The Wedge of Truth, Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism, Phillip E. Johnson. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 2000. ISBN 0-8308-2267-4
Creation and the History of Science, Christopher Kaiser. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans. 1991. ISBN 0-551-02035-0
The Case for Christianity, C. S. Lewis. New York: Collier Books, Macmillan, 1989, first pub. 1943. ISBN 0-02-086750-6
Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis. New York: Macmillan, 1943, 45, 52. A classic for several generations, discussing what is really the basic essential message of the Bible.
God in the Dock, Essays on Theology and Ethics, C. S. Lewis, ed Walter Hooper. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1970. ISBN 0-8028-1456-5
Miracles, A Preliminary Study, C. S. Lewis. New York: Macmillan, 1947
The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis. New York: Macmillan, 1962. Reprinted in New York: Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, 1996. ISBN 0-684-82383-7
Christian Reflections, C. S. Lewis, ed. Walter Hooper. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1967. A collection of fascinating essays. Also published in England as Fern-seed and Elephants.
Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims, Gordon R. Lewis. Chicago: Moody, 1976. ISBN 0-80242-8592-2. Studies different ways Christians try to prove Christianity is true, concluding most ways are inadequate but advocating a way which combines several approaches.
God and Nature, David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers. Berkeley: Univ. of California, 1986. ISBN 0-520-05692-2. The history of the relationship of science and Christianity.
The Clockwork Image, Donald MacKay. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1974. ISBN 0-87784-557-3. Discusses materialism, determinism, and meaning in science.
Know Why You Believe, Paul E. Little. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, revised ed. 1968, third edition 1988. ISBN 0-8308-1218-0
The Death of Truth, What’s Wrong with Multiculturalism, the rejection of reason, and the new postmodern diversity, ed Dennis McCallum. Minneapolis: Bethany, 1996. ISBN 1-55661-724-0
Evidence That Demands a Verdict, historical evidences for the Christian faith, Josh McDowell. Campus Crusade, 1972
More Evidence That Demands a Verdict, historical evidences for the Christian scriptures, Josh McDowell. Campus Crusade, 1975
Answers to Tough Questions Skeptics Ask about the Christian Faith, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart. San Bernardino, CA.: Here’s Life Publishers, 1980. ISBN 0-918956-65-X
Prophecy, Fact or Fiction? Daniel in the Critics’ Den, Josh McDowell. Campus Crusade, 1981. ISBN 0-918956-99-4
A Ready Defense, the best of Josh McDowell, Over 60 vital “lines of defense” for Christianity topically arranged for easy reference, compiled by Bill Wilson. San Bernardino: Here’s Life, 1990. ISBN 0-89840-281-6
The New Tolerance, How a cultural movement threatens to destroy you, your faith, and your children, Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale, 1998. ISBN 0-8423-7088-9
A Passion for Truth, The Intellectual Coherence of Evangelicalism, Alister McGrath. Downer’s Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1996. ISBN 0-8308-1866-9
Know the Truth, Rev. ed. A handbook of Christian belief, Bruce Milne. Downer’s Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1982, 98. ISBN 0-8308-1793-X. Includes comments and responses to current trends in society and philosophy.
History and Christianity, John Warwick Montgomery. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1964, 65. ISBN 0-87784-437-2
Christianity for the Tough-Minded, Essays written by a group of young scholars who are totally convinced that a spiritual commitment is intellectually defensible, ed. John Warwick Montgomery. Minneapolis: Bethany, 1973. ISBN 0-87123-076-3
How do we know there is a God? and other questions inappropriate in polite society, John Warwick Montgomery. Minneapolis: Dimension Books, Bethany, 1973. ISBN 0-87123-221-9
Evidence for Faith, Deciding the God Question, ed. John Warwick Montgomery. Dallas: Word, Probe Books, 1991. ISBN 0-945241-15-1. Papers from the Cornell Symposium on Evidential Apologetics, 1986. Discusses what kinds of evidence there are, and what it does and does not prove.
Scaling the Secular City, J. P. Moreland. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1987. ISBN 0-8010-6222-5
Christianity and the Nature of Science, J. P. Moreland. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1989. ISBN 0-8010-6249-7
Making Sense of It All: Pascal and the Meaning of Life, Thomas V. Morris. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1992. ISBN 0-8028-0652-X. Blaise Pascal was one of the giants of 17th-century science and philosophy, and a devout Christian. Much of his thought is never out of date.
Faith and Reason, Searching for a Rational Faith, Ronald H. Nash. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1988. ISBN 0-310-29401-0
The Evidence of Prophecy, Fulfilled Prediction as a Testimony to the Truth of Christianity, ed. Robert C. Newman. Hatfield, Pennsylvania: Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, 1988. ISBN 944788-98-X
Between Faith and Criticism, Evangelicals, Scholarship, and the Bible in America, Mark A. Noll. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, 1986. ISBN 0-8010-6785-5
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Mark A. Noll. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1994. ISBN 0-8028-3715-8. Also Leicester, England: InterVarsity. 0-85111-148-3
“Fundamentalism” and the Word of God, J. I. Packer. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1958
The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy, Nancy R. Pearcey, Charles B. Thaxton. Wheaton, Illinois: Good News, Crossway Books, 1994. ISBN 0-89107-766-9. Shows from history that science grew out of, and is based on, Christianity, not atheism. A classic by two outstanding authors.
Ring of Truth, J. B. Phillips. New York: Macmillan, 1967
Christian Apologetics in the Postmodern World, ed Timothy R. Phillips & Dennis L Okholm. Donwers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1995. ISBN 0-8308-1860-X
A Defense of Biblical Infallibility, Clark H. Pinnock. Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1967
Set Forth Your Case, Clark Pinnock. Nutley, NJ: The Craig Press, 1967
Reason to Believe, Richard L. Purtill. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1974. ISBN 0-8028-1567-7. Emphasizes philosophical issues, beginning with responses to many common objections to faith, then presenting positive reasons for believing.
St. Paul, the traveller and the Roman Citizen, William M. Ramsay. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, reprinted 1962. ISBN 0-8010-7613-7. Originally published by Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1897. A classic by one of the founders of archaeology, who became a believer himself as a result of his research.
Philosophy of Science, The Natural Sciences in Christian Perspective, Del Ratzsch. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press USA, 1986. ISBN 0-87784-344-9. An insightful and entertaining introduction, on which my ch. 2 is based.
The Population of Heaven, A Biblical Response to the Inclusivist Position on Who Will Be Saved, Ramesh P. Richard. Chicago: Moody, 1994. ISBN 0-8024-3946-2. Many good points on inclusivism, but ends up a little closer to exclusivism than I do; sees no options in between.
Escape from Reason, Francis Schaeffer. And many more books, in several editions, finally published as a set.
Is the Bible True? How Modern Debates and Discoveries Affirm the Essence of the Scriptures, Jeffery L. Sheler. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. ISBN 0-06-067542-X. An excellent non-technical summary of many lines of evidence, including the final developments of the Bible Code theory.
Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation, ed Moises Silva. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1996. ISBN 0-310-20828-9. Contains six books combined: Has the Church Misread the Bible?, Moises Silva, 1987; Literary Approaches to Biblical Interpretation, Tremper Longman III, 1987; God, Language, and Scripture, Moises Silva, 1990; The Art of Biblical History, V. Philips Long, 1994; Science and Hermeneutics, Vern S Poythress, 1988; The Study of Theology, Richard A Muller, 1991.
Arguing with God, a Christian examination of the problem of evil, Hugh Silvester. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1971. ISBN 0-87784-350-3
Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways the Cults Misread the Bible, James W. Sire. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1980. ISBN 0-87784-611-1
The Universe Next Door, James W. Sire. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, second edition 1988. ISBN 0-8308-1220-2. A catalog of world views and how to choose.
Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All? James W. Sire. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1994. ISBN 0-8308-1397-7
Hypocrisy, Moral Fraud and Other Vices, James S. Spiegel. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, 1999. ISBN 0-8010-6046-X
Classical Apologetics, R. C. Sproul, John Gerstner, and Arthur Lindsley. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1984. ISBN 0-310-44951-0. Different ways Christians try to prove Christianity is true. The authors intend to revive the primary philosophical arguments used in the past to prove the existence of God by logic alone, probably unsuccessfully, but the book is stimulating and entertaining.
Surprised by Suffering: discover your loving Father’s call to endure suffering, R. C. Sproul. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale, 1988. ISBN 0-8423-6624-5
Not a Chance, The myth of chance in modern science and cosmology, R. C. Sproul. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, 1994. ISBN 0-8010-5852-X. Emphasizes the philosophical, not scientific, principles involved in the claim that laws and chance have left God unemployed.
Now, That’s a Good Question! One of today’s most sought-after theologians answers more than 300 frequently asked questions about life and faith. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale, 1996. ISBN 0-8423-4711-9
If there’s a God, why are there atheists? Why atheists believe in unbelief, R. C. Sproul. Orlando, Florida: Ligonier Ministries, 1997. Revision of the book published as The Psychology of Atheism by Bethany House, then by Tyndale under the current title. ISBN 0-8423-1565-9
Basic Christianity, John R. W. Stott. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 2nd ed. 1971. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997. ISBN 0-8028-1189-2. A classic for several generations.
The Case for Faith, A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity, Lee Strobel. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000. ISBN 0-310-23469-7
The Bible, The Living Word of Revelation, ed. Merrill C. Tenney. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, Contemporary Evangelical Perspectives, 1968
Biblical Hermeneutics, A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments. Milton S. Terry. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan. Re-printed 1974, written in the late 19th century.
Can I Trust the Bible?, ed. Howard F. Vos. Chicago: Moody, 1963
Genesis and Archaeology, Howard F. Vos. Chicago: Moody, 1963
The Paradox of Pain, A. E. Wilder-Smith. Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw, 1971. ISBN 0-87788-667-9
Christianity Challenges the University, ed. Peter Wilkes. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1981. ISBN 0-87784-474-7
Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud, Philip Yancey. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000. ISBN 0-310-51781-8. Yancey does ask them aloud: Is God unfair? silent? hidden? He tells the stories of real people whose experiences spurred him to write the book. Anything by Yancey is both thoughtful and moving.
Reaching for the Invisible God, What Can You Expect to Find? Philip Yancey. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000. ISBN 0-310-23531-6.
A Shattered Visage, The Real Face of Atheism, Ravi Zacharias. Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1990. ISBN 0-943497-20-5
Can Man Live Without God, Ravi Zacharias. Dallas: Word, 1994. ISBN 0-8499-3943-7. This is a brilliant summary of the consequences of antitheistic philosophy, and the basis of Christian belief. It contains insightful summaries of crucial points in philosophy, and application to real life.
Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message, Ravi Zacharias. Nashville: Word, 2000. ISBN 0-8499-1437-X. Also published in a simplified Youth Edition, with Kevin Johnson, 0-8499-4217-9. Dr. Zacharias grew up in India, and has extensive direct experience of the other religions with which he compares the message of Jesus Christ.
This is of course only a small sample from a vast
literature on the subject. It omits major works by many others. Many of
these books contain far larger bibliographies.
An extensive source of scholarly material on the Bible, and religions in general, is the Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, P. O. Box 423, Hatfield, Pennsylvania 19440-0423. www.ibri.org
And then there are periodicals, which I will not try to list. One which I have read for years, and probably is the source of some of my comments on theology and evangelism, is Evangelical Missions Quarterly. The other main source of ideas is the American Scientific Affiliation’s quarterly Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith. P. O. Box 668, Ipwsich, MA 01938-0668. Email email@example.com; website http://www.asa3.org
Books against Christianity:
A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, 2 vol., Andrew Dickson White, Appleton, 1896, reprinted by Dover, New York. A catalog of Christians’ scientific blunders, which popularized the “warfare” concept.
Why I Am not a Christian, Bertrand Russell
Wisdom of the West, Bertrand Russell. London: Rathbone, 1959. Later Doubleday, then Fawcett. This book is not specifically anti-Christian, but the author was an atheist, so he was no supporter of religious faith, Christian or otherwise. The book is mostly extremely insightful and objective.
the Passover Plot, a new interpretation of the life and death of Jesus, Hugh J. Schonfield. New York: Bantam, 1965
Those Incredible Christians, Hugh J. Schonfield. New York: Bantam, 1968
Where the Wasteland Ends, Theodor Roszak. New York: Doubleday, 1973. He says that because Christianity teaches that God gave us the world to use, we in Western societies have assumed the right to misuse it, producing the ecological crisis.
The Case Against Christianity, Michael Martin. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991
Farewell to God, Charles Templeton. Toronto: McLelland and Stewart, 1996
And one article:
“The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”, Lynn White, Jr. 1967. Science 155, 1203-7. Blames the influence of Christian teaching for damage to the environment.
There are of course countless other anti-Christian books. It is not really necessary to list more of them; it is impossible to avoid extensive contact with them.
There are anti-Christian periodicals: American Atheist, Skeptical Inquirer, Free Inquiry, and others. These also devote their attention to debunking many other beliefs, many of which Christians would agree in debunking.
General sources on astronomy and physics:
Sky & Telescope magazine, Sky Publishing Corp.
Physics Today magazine, American Institute of Physics
Astronomy texts, such as those by George Abell, Eric Chaisson, William Kauffman, Jay Pasachoff, Michael Seeds, and Micheal Zeilik (from Abell to Zeilik!)