We Are Almost There: A Call to Prepare for Another Historic Battle

By Penn-Noble

We’ve been through a lot in the United States of America. As a country, I am thankful that we have been so successful in fighting many of the different evils that we have been guilty of over the years.

We put slavery to rest in the 1800s. Nowadays, neither the government nor your average citizen sympathizes with holding people captive as slaves, which is a massive victory that we should celebrate.

While it’s unfortunate that racism is still a part of society, we have to admit that we have made tremendous progress in fighting it. Indeed, segregation laws were put to rest decades ago, and now much of the hostility between people of different skin colors has melted away.

Women have had their voting rights recognized by the government and are allowed to make of their lives as they please.

Workers are getting the rights and safety precautions they need while performing labor.

We have accomplished a lot and have done away with much evil. However, we’re not finished yet.

We are on the brink of yet another fight against evil that will change the United States forever. It is something so momentous that we dare not miss it. For the first time in decades, the 1973 decision concerning Roe v. Wade will be overturned, and that, I believe, is worth our attention.

Let’s not think that this will mean the end of abortion. Not at all. Abortion will still be present after Roe v. Wade. However, it will be less common, as it is likely that twenty-six states will ban abortion altogether.

I guarantee you that once this Supreme Court decision is made, the debate will flare up like never before. This is our chance to defend human life. I want to issue a challenge to all who are pro-life: Get ready.

Get ready to defend human life in the womb. Educate yourself and train yourself to be able to respond to those who defend abortion. Consult the best resources. Together, I believe we can make this the beginning of a new fight against infanticide (abortion) and accomplish things we never have before.

I believe that together, we put abortion in the same category as women’s inability to vote and slavery. Meaning that it will be in the past. Every abortion that happens will be in the minority, but the government and most citizens will see it as the horrible thing that it really is.

If you want some resources to help prepare you to talk with pro-choice advocates, here is a good place to start:

One of My Greatest Blessings: A Tribute to My Mother

By Lane Noble

“Never take for granted having a godly mother.” –Donald Penn

It would take multiple libraries to be able to properly honor my mother in writing. However, since this is a blog post, I will do my best to do it in this small space I have here on the internet.

My grandfather once reminded me never to take for granted the fact that I have a godly mother. He said that in the context of missing his own mother, who went to be with the Lord many decades ago.

I want to take this time to honor my mother. Mom, there is so much to thank you for, but here are five specifically that I want to mention.

5. Introducing me to movie and TV classics.

John Casey is a hero of mine thanks to you mom. Nuff’ said.

4. Fighting for me.

My mom always fought for me in this dark world. Growing up, things weren’t always easy for me, and a lot of times I faced challenges that no kid should face. None of that mattered, however, cause my mom was one of my biggest advocates. She wanted my brother and I to flourish, and she stopped at nothing to make sure that happened. For that, I am so grateful.

3. Encouraging me to think for myself.

Mom always taught me to be discerning, especially when it comes to hearing messages that are in direct or indirect conflict with Scripture. She taught us never to underestimate the value of wisdom, and that, I think, is a gift that can too easily be taken for granted. If your mother gave you this gift, thank her for it, because it is precious.

2. Instilling my love for creativity.

My mom actually has quite a bit of art work saved at our house. She’s a phenomenal artist. This has come in very handy with her teaching job, as much of the artwork that she uses in her class is hers.

However, she’s not just a great artist. She’s a great writer, poet, and yes, she even has an entrepreneurial spirit. She passed these passions on to my brother and I.

I’ll admit, I’m not the greatest illustrator in the world, but my brother can draw like he’s been doing it for decades. He clearly gets that from my mom. I inherited the writing side of things. This is why this blog exists, and it’s the reason that I am writing books and, currently, writing the story for an upcoming escape room here in our home town.

Mom always fueled this love for creativity in my brother and I. She would give us ideas, praise our creative work, critique it where needed, and made us into the artists we are. I can’t thank her enough for this.

5. Giving me the foundation of my faith.

My mom have to me the best gift you could give any child. She told me that I was created and loved by God, and that God had originally created everything perfect. She told me that that all ended when our first parents, Adam and Eve, rebelled against God and we followed suit. She told me that Jesus came to make things right with God by dying on the cross to take the punishment for our rebellion and being raised from the dead.

My mom (and my dad) laid the foundation for my faith. They pointed me to God, and what a hopeless life this would have been if they hadn’t done so.

Mom, you pointed me to God, and now I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good. Now you, me, my brother, and dad, will get to live with Him in eternal glory. What a story for our family!

I love you mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

Responding to Online Skeptics: Is Suzie Ignorant?

By Penn-Noble

In this installment of “Responding to Online Skeptics,” I’m going to be responding to a YouTube video put out by the channel “The Thinking Atheist.” Run by Seth Andrews, this is a channel dedicated to advocating for secularism and criticizing religion. Especially Christianity.

Despite the name of the channel, I have to say that I do not believe that the arguments in this video are very well thought through. You can watch the full video for yourself here. I will be commenting on this video line by line to show you exactly what I mean. The videos words are italicized:

This is the story of Suzie. Suzie believed in Jesus, and Jesus is the light of the world. Before each meal, Suzie would thank Jesus for the food someone else bred, slaughtered, harvested, canned, prepared, cooked, and presented. No food would be eaten until it was properly blessed.

Is Suzie not allowed to thank God by implication for those who prepared the food she eats? Biblically speaking, Adam and Even harvested and prepared their own food, but they were still thankful to God for it. Thankfulness to God for our food does not in any way abase the efforts of the people who prepared it. In fact, I’ve heard many Christians pray “Thank you for this food and the hands that prepared it.” I see no poor logic in thanking God for food.

Before bedtime, Suzie would pray for Jesus to heal the sick, comfort the afflicted, and ease the suffering in the world. Of course, when Suzie awoke, the world’s problems were still there. But somehow, it was all a part of God’s divine plan.

I’ve been studying the Bible for almost twenty years at this point and I’ve never once read that God would immediately ease the suffering in the world. Actually, Jesus said the world would continue to be full of suffering until He comes back to restore everything to perfection. (Matthew 24:6-13) This is not to say that there aren’t instances when God eases people’s suffering. It is to say that, biblically speaking, God doesn’t always alleviate suffering. That’s consistent with what we see in nature.

One more point before we move on: if not knowing why God allows suffering in the world is your best assault on the mounds of archeological evidence confirming the Bible and the sophisticated scholarship that has been done within the field of philosophy of religion, I think you’re going to want to do some more research on the topic of God’s existence. When there’s as much evidence as there is for the Bible, the problem of evil should then become a question about God, not an argument against God.

There is coming a day when all of God’s people’s suffering will be eliminated and the fullness of joy will be restored. God has not simply left us to suffer. If you would like a more developed view on this argument, Tim Keller does a wonderful job of unpacking it in this video.

When Suzie got sick, she prayed for healing. Then she paid a doctor, took prescription medication, and took weeks to recover naturally.

This technically falls into the same category as the last argument made. God does not always heal miraculously. People, including Christians, get sick and have to recover naturally because we live in a broken and sin-cursed world. This isn’t to say that we can’t pray for healing, or pray for wisdom on the part of medical professionals, or that treatments will work. However, it’s not as if this is expected to happen every time.

One may argue that this is evidence that God isn’t there. It actually proves nothing. The fact of the matter is that we know how God works by reading the Bible, and what we observe is consistent with what we know about the nature and character of God and, as I mentioned before, we have plenty of other evidence for God’s existence, so, at the end of the day, this argument falls apart.

When Suzie was confused, she prayed for answers. When her ears picked up no audible reply, she simply guessed and called it divine inspiration.

There are very few instances in the New Testament where one prays for answers and directly receives them. Rather, we’re encouraged to pray for wisdom. (James 1:5) God’s ultimate goal for us is for us to grow in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) One way for us to grow in holiness is for us to grow in wisdom. I’ve seen this to be true in my own life and the lives of others. As with most of the examples in this video, this argument puts expectations on God that He never promised to fulfill.

When Suzie’s mother was in a car accident, Suzie thank God that her mom was only horribly injured and not killed immediately. Suzie then prayed to Jesus for healing and then paid thousands of dollars to trained medical personnel.

We technically already covered this argument earlier. I should mention that the Bible advocates for medical treatment. Luke, who wrote the books of Luke and Acts, was actually a doctor. You may also remember that in the parable of the good samaritan, the good samaritan, in fulfilling the command of loving his neighbor as himself, took his enemy to the doctor and paid for it himself. Jesus also makes reference to a physician when He said: “Those who are healthy have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) It’s worth thinking about.

Suzie went to church thanking Jesus for being so good when the pastor was suddenly gunned down by a crazed madman during a sermon about divine protection.

Anyone who preaches a sermon on divine protection has probably never read Matthew 24:9, where Jesus said that we would likely not receive said divine protection. There are very few instances of that in the New Testament, and there have been very few instances in other times of history. Most of Jesus’ apostles were murdered. It’s a part of living in this broken world. Once again, this is a strawman argument.

The rest of the video is made up of basically the same arguments. You can go back and watch it for yourself if you would like to see what they say. There is one more point that I would like to touch on with this video, however. At both the beginning and end of the video, they state mockingly that “Jesus is the light of the world.” What does it mean for Jesus to be the light of the world?

A great place to start with answering this question is by asking what the purpose of light is. Where would you need light? Do you need it out on a soccer field at one in the afternoon? No, you wouldn’t. You only need light where darkness is potentially present, right? I usually only flick on the lights in my bedroom when it gets dark outside. You might only use a flashlight if you have no other source of light to light your path. In the same way, as this video correctly pointed out, this world is a dark place in more ways than one. There are diseases, famines, natural disasters, etc. It’s also dark because of all of the injustices in the world. Injustice is so prevalent, that we see new ones every single day. So much for humanity being inherently good. Jesus came to be a light in this dark world.

However, if that’s the case, why does God seem so silent and distant when all of this suffering takes place?

It’s because Jesus being the light of the world doesn’t entail Jesus bringing immediate relief to the suffering we see all around us. That doesn’t mean that Jesus hasn’t done that. Jesus healed diseases and disabilities while He was on Earth. However, Jesus ultimately came to give us hope in the midst of suffering. There is coming a day when Jesus will return and He will make all things right. Every injustice will be corrected, every loss will be compensated, and every tear will be wiped away. (Revelation 21:4)

He also came to actually do justice. Jesus’ death and resurrection were Him taking the punishment for our rebellion against Him and for every wrongdoing we have ever committed. Every lie told, every instance of theft, and yes, even every murder can be forgiven because Jesus has taken the punishment for those sins on the cross.

The fact of the matter is that we do not deserve anything better than we’re getting. Yet, God has done justice on the cross, and justice will be done when He comes again, and all evil is officially punished, and creation is restored to what it was originally supposed to be: a perfect paradise in a perfect community dwelling with a perfect God.

I’m afraid to say that the arguments presented here are not substantive. This debate isn’t as simple as the makers of this video would have you believe. I would encourage further investigation and a deeper consideration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: that Christ was crucified and raised from the dead for the forgiveness of our sins and to put us back into a right relationship between ourselves and God.

It is my prayer that the makers of this video will be saved and come to see the light of the glory of Christ.

Responding to Online Skeptics: Is the Babylon Bee Promoting Bigotry?

By Penn-Noble

This post is the first of the new Responding to Online Atheists series. This is a series dedicated to examining and lovingly responding to claims by secular skeptics of the Bible.

On March 21, Kevin Davis, writing for Only Sky, wrote a blog post entitled The Babylon Bee Chooses Misgendering as its hill to die on.* You can find the link to the blog post here.

The blog post was a response to the recent feud between the Christian satire site, The Babylon Bee, and Twitter. The Bee was banned from Twitter after posting a satirical article from their website naming Rachel Levine, the United States Assistant Secretary for Health who also identifies as transgender, the Babylon Bee’s “man of the year.”* Twitter, of course, has a policy against misgendering people, and since Levine identifies as a woman, this went against their terms of use.

The Bee was informed by Twitter that their account was suspended and that it would be reactivated in twelve hours if they would just delete the post. The Babylon Bee refused to do so, making it clear that they did not want to vindicate Twitter’s stance on gender and sexuality.

What do we make of this? Kevin Davis makes the argument that this is a form of bigotry. Not only bigotry but money-making bigotry. Is this true? Is the Babylon Bee morally wrong in this situation?

Let’s take a look at the logic of this blog post written by Kevin Davis. Towards the end of his opening paragraph, he says, “The Babylon Bee is Christianity’s non-funny version of The Onion, a satire site that tries to convince us that conservatives can be humorous, but all-too-often publishes thinly veiled bigotry—especially aimed at transgender people.”

I want to zero in on the first problem with Davis’ blog post, and that’s his use of the word “bigotry.” Now don’t get angry and click away yet. Hear me out. I can make my point with an easy thought experiment.

The scientific consensus that gender and sex are separate and that one can change their sex and/or gender identity is a fairly recent phenomenon. The idea of changing one’s gender identity is not even a century old, and it wasn’t until within the last decade that most of the country even knew what the word transgender or transexual means. That means that the LGBTQ+ movement is, understandably so, still trying to convince the whole of society of this reality. Its gaining traction, but it is still a work in progress.

Here is a hypothetical situation for you to consider: What if the ideas that gender is a social construct and that one can legitimately change their gender or sex were disproven scientifically? How would that alter your outlook on life? My guess is that you probably wouldn’t have any hatred for those who identified themselves as transgender, just as you do not hate those who believe that their personalities are determined by the alignment of the stars in the sky. I know people that actually believe that being a Libra determines their personality. Do I hate them? No. I just refuse to acknowledge something that is not true.

That is how people like me and the folks over at the Babylon Bee see this issue. Refusing to acknowledge what I believe to be a pseudoscientific reality* that crept into academia via pressure from lobbyists and activist groups* does not qualify me as a bigot. (By the way, if you would like to consult the resources that lead us to these conclusions, I’ll list them in the footnotes.)* It simply means I have a different view of the world. I have a view of the world that stems from my own research and critical analysis.

This is where the feud with Twitter comes in. Davis writes in his blog post, “Not shockingly, Dillon is using this situation to try to grow The Babylon Bee’s revenue. He’s now encouraging those who support this brand of bigotry to become paid subscribers to the site so that the Bee doesn’t need to promote articles on Twitter…After all, nothing sells right now like fake persecution…”

We’ve already dispelled the bigotry myth, so let’s take that factor out of the equation. If a Christians cannot express their beliefs without punitive measures being taken, it would be a misnomer to call it persecution, but it certainly is wrongful religious discrimination, and I and many others are rightly concerned about it.

On top of this, we’ve noticed the problem getting worse. Christians are increasingly becoming unallowed to express their views. Although it’s not just Christians. Anyone who disagrees with the church of leftism must be silenced in the name of “justice,” despite whether or not justice is even part of the situation. It would seem that evidence and reason have been tossed out the window.

Now I know the atheist mind and what it will likely say next: “But haven’t Christians been doing those very things for years? Why are you all of the sudden concerned about logic, science, and facts?” It’s because major communications mediums that you claim aren’t discriminating against Christians have been misinforming the public and zeroing in on fringe cases of so-called “alt-right” religious zealots to feed secular confirmation biases of what evangelicals are really like. Even atheist journalist Dan Harris in his book Ten Percent Happier admits that when he was meeting evangelicals all over the world as a journalist in the religion department at ABC News, his views of what evangelical Christians given to him by society were altered dramatically.*

Most Christians haven’t been trying to destroy science or keep their kids from learning it. They aren’t trying to suppress free speech or anything of that nature. They simply believe that the Bible isn’t in conflict with science and that it can be verified as a reliable book. Anything that disagrees with this verifiable book should be called into question, but not shut down altogether. Sure, here and there there are groups of Christians who have radical beliefs based on unbiblical ideas, but they don’t represent the majority of Christians. On top of that, no Christian is perfect, and they aren’t always going to have a logical answer to logical questions. However, that does not mean that Christians are “anti-science” or “anti-free speech.”

Furthermore, when have two wrongs ever made a right? Why are secularists all of the sudden allowed to censor free speech and scientific data? Isn’t the best way to create a better world through the free expression of ideas? I thought that’s what secularism was supposed to be all about.

There we have it. The Babylon Bee is having what they believe to be reasonable views on gender and sexuality censored by one of the most prominent communication mediums out there. Contrary to the insulated echo chambers of secular thought, this view held by the Bee is not symptomatic of a deep-seated hatred for transgender people. It is merely their opinion that they have done their research on. Furthermore, they do need money to survive, and clearly, they can’t depend on Twitter to make it. That’s why they have to depend on paid subscribers for their money. I think the lesson that we can take away from this is to actually listen to one another’s perspectives on this, instead of just assuming that anyone who disagrees with us is, as Davis says, exhibiting “thinly veiled bigotry.”

I hope we can have better conversations on this topic in the future.

Footnotes:

* Only Sky The Babylon Bee chooses misgendering as its Twitter hill to die on March 21, 2022 Kevin Davis Only Sky Media LLC. https://onlysky.media/kdavis/the-babylon-bee-chooses-misgendering-as-its-twitter-hill-to-die-on/

*The Babylon Bee The Babylon Bee’s Man of The Year Is Rachel Levine. March 15, 2022. Babylonbee.com. The Babylon Bee. https://babylonbee.com/news/the-babylon-bees-man-of-the-year-is-rachel-levine.

*Chief among these groups are the Human Rights Campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center, GLAD, and Black Lives Matter.

*These are the two books that were most persuasive for me: Morrison, Steve. Born this Way: Making sense of science, the Bible, and same-sex attraction. Sydney, New South Wales. Matthias Media. June 5, 2017, and Welch, Ed. Homosexuality: Speaking the Truth in Love. Phillipsburg, New Jersey. P and R Publishing. October 9, 2000

*Harris, Dan. Ten Percent Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, And Found Self-Help That Actually Works-A True Story. New York City. Dey Street Books. December 30, 2014. I also recommend the book Biased: A CBS Insider Explains How the Media Distorts the News for more information on how religious people, in general, are misrepresented in the media.

The Jugtip Letters (Part 2): The Deadly Lie

By Lane Noble

My dear Murdrid,

I must say that I am thoroughly disappointed in your naivete. Even the least competent of tempters would have known better than to make the mistake that you have made! I should say I’m a little hesitant to give you any more wisdom if you’re going to be this stupid!

What gets me the most is that you don’t even know what you’ve done wrong! I should not even have to spell this out for you! However, since I care both for you and for our cause, I will explain your grave mistake.

First of all, you have to keep in mind that your assignment is a Christian. Never mind the fact that they are only in middle school. Do you really think that the Enemy will let the age of your convert get in the way of His plans for the young man? My boy, I thought I taught you better than that!

As a child of the Enemy, your assignment will, despite their age, inevitably be tempted to seek guidance and discipleship from a mentor. Remember in my last letter I told you that discipleship is exactly what should not happen? You claim that there was nothing that you could do to stop him. Yet you did not even try to stop him!

There are times, especially when your assignment is a child of the Enemy, where you will not be able to prevent discipleship. That’s to be expected, and it can be excused. However, just because it is difficult to stifle a Christian’s spiritual “growth” does not mean that it is impossible!

Your assignment in particular was worried about his habit of masturbation and wanted to seek guidance on how to get it under control. My dear Murdrid, your assignment is only twelve years old. All you had to do was whisper to him that if anyone knew of his sexual sin, then he would be judged, or worse, alienated from everyone that knew of it. What would his youth minister say if he confessed such sin after becoming a Christian? That would have made him think twice about coming to the youth minister.

Furthermore, even if your attempts had failed, you still could have conferred with the tempter of the boy’s youth minister about butchering the whole conversation. Yet you did nothing but panic and write me a stupid letter about how you did not know what to do. Even the most incompetent of tempters would have known what to do in that situation.

I will not be surprised when our father fires you from this position and potentially punishes you for your idiocy. You will probably have to repeat your training, and you will be given a much more boring assignment. You’ll probably be given a militant atheist. They do the vast majority of the work. Especially as adults. All you have to do is counter all the truth that they come across, which is no difficult task.

Remember this pivotal truth Murdrid. If you take nothing else away from this letter, do take this away: All human beings are broken, and the key to “fixing” that brokenness is honesty with both the Enemy and with another Christian. If you want to counter the process of repentance, all you need to do is to make your assignment think that they are too broken to be fixed and that if they were to ever come forward with their struggles, they would be rejected and alienated from those they want to be liked by and respected by.

Pride and fear are your greatest weapons in these situations. Do not ever forget that.

I must say that I cannot believe I even had to write this letter. You had an opportunity handed to you and you blew it.

Let me know if you get reassigned and what I can do to support you.

Your dear and disappointed uncle,

Jugtip

The Jugtip Letters (Part 1): The Unknown Target

By Lane Noble

The Jugtip Letters are a series of fictional blog posts that imitate C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters.” Jugtip, a senior demon, mentors his nephew Murdrid, in how best to tempt humans towards sin and detract glory from God.

My dear Murdrid,

I’m delighted to hear that your training went very well, and I couldn’t be more proud. To be honest, you remind me of myself in my days as a junior tempter. I was just as ambitious and diligent as you were at mastering the craft of seducing humans away from the Enemy.

I want to take a moment and write a word of encouragement to you regarding your first assignment. I know that in your last letter you expressed discouragement at the fact that you were given a Christian. Admittedly, those are more difficult to deal with, because the Enemy doesn’t let go of His children.

You have also expressed concern over the fact that your assignment is a student at a Christian middle school. What I wouldn’t give for such an assignment! I don’t think you realize just how enjoyable of an experience this will be for you.

You see Murdrid, it is always best for Christians to believe that our most deviant work is done outside of church walls. Yet, our hold on the culture has much to do with what happens inside the walls of a church.

Why is this the case? It is because in order to keep a culture in darkness, you have to blow out the lights. Healthy churches that are faithful to the Enemy serve as lights to an otherwise dark world. If a culture is going to be won over, the church must become defective.

The same is true of Christian academic institutions. The truth of the matter is that being a student at a Christian school can be a quite damning experience if certain habits and attitudes are cultivated.

You can turn a Christian school into a death trap in just two simple steps:

The first is to cut out what strengthens Christians the most: discipleship. Discipleship is our greatest threat when it comes to the growth of the church, that is, the universal church.

The truth of the matter is that ministers and this includes youth ministers, are constantly rating how well they are carrying out what the Enemy has called them to do. Therefore, they naturally prioritize based on spiritual “maturity.” They usually ask themselves if there is any fruit in the lives of the students that they are ministering to.

That said, and you’ll want to confer with whoever is assigned to the boy’s church leaders, it needs to be made sure that it is emphasized in those leaders’ minds that they don’t prioritize him. Let them assume that he is already being disciples by his school teachers and the staff at school. Let them believe that, because he is being taught the Bible, he doesn’t need quite as much discipleship as the others. Let them assume that he will be okay and that it’s those that don’t hear the Bible quite as much that need to be disciples.

Passivity is often our greatest weapon against the Enemy. You’ll find that, if all else fails, you can always count on it.

The second step towards success depends on a well-known secret amongst us tempters. Ironically, it’s also a well-known secret amongst many humans, but it is not acknowledged enough by them for that to be a serious concern.

The secret is this: Christian schools are filled with more false converts than people realize.

In your particular instance, I would say about half of your assignment’s teachers are legitimate children of the Enemy, and approximately ten percent of the students are. Without discipleship, there won’t be much for your assignment to draw on to do effective spiritual warfare against the temptations that he will have to face. With the help of the other tempters, you can successfully create a culture that is practically anti-Christian.

Here is the most humorous part of all: The vast majority of the students are going to know this, but they will never say it! They will know that they are not glorifying the Enemy at school. They will not even care! They will be worshipping their appetites instead of our Enemy, but will not acknowledge that reality out loud, and that is ultimately what we want.

As a result of this delightful series of events, students will graduate from the school and go onto adulthood, and one of two things will happen: Most of the students will either use the fraudulent faith other their teachers and classmates as an excuse to walk away from the church, or those who are true Christians will go out into the world with not much to fight, as our Enemy would put it, “the good fight of faith” with. Thus, they will not be effective “witnesses” for the Enemy, and they will not win many false converts.

It is likely that your particular assignment will realize what he’s missing by the time he graduates high school, but there are ways to effectively deal with that when the time comes. For now, just implement the wisdom that I have imparted to you, and you have my word that chaos and disorder will ensue in the world.

I believe that you will have a greater impact than you think.

Let me know how everything goes.

Your beloved uncle,

Jugtip

The Heart of the Free Speech Debate

By Lane Noble

The past five years have brought many structural changes to the “free speech debate.” I use that language carefully and intentionally because for many years, debates over free speech and the nature of individual rights to free speech have taken many different forms.

In many cases, the debate hasn’t centered on whether or not individuals have the right to free speech, but rather to what extent free speech should be protected. We know that the Bill of Rights promises to protect our freedom of speech in the United States, but past judicial rulings have made it clear that there are exceptions to this rule.

For example, slander, or publicly ruining someone’s reputation, is not considered a protected form of speech under the Bill of Rights. There’s also the famous example of the prohibition of shouting “Fire!” in a theater just to see how people respond.

In the United States, where I live, this brings us to a common thread that we see time and time again in this experiment of ordered liberty. It’s a question that haunts all three branches of the government at both the federal and state level. The question is this: How do we weigh safety and liberty in our civilization?

It’s an important question because one of the primary responsibilities is to maintain order in civilization. Yet, we know very well from both the Bible and world history that, as Lord Acton famously stated: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

We know then that power is dangerous for any human being to possess, and of course, our Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the U.S. government were designed with this fact in mind. The very idea of the separation of powers was born out of the idea that those who hold such power in our society need to be held accountable.

Yet we also know that in order to keep citizens safe and to even maintain this country we have to lend the government at least some power. The government needs to be able to enforce laws, such as the prohibition of murder, or the prohibition of theft, and to prosecute in instances of sexual abuse.

The fact that we even need to explicitly outlaw murder just goes to show that we need to take the issue of safety versus liberty very seriously.

In light of this, let’s take a look at what the “free speech debate” looks like now, why it is that way, and, hopefully, postulate a solution.

Where are we?

Currently, the debate over free speech is very heated, and when you look at the arguments that are made themselves, it is easy to see why it is so.

There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground when it comes to this debate. In other words, there are only two sides to it. That’s not to say that this is a partisan issue. People who have the exact same political affiliations do disagree on this issue, which, as I’ll argue later, is one of the many reasons that this debate is so interesting.

When it comes to looking at this debate, you have two central, opposing, arguments, and, as you’ll see later, none of them address the other. The two arguments are:

  1. Free speech is essential for a society to develop and grow intellectually, ethically, and economically. Therefore, we should protect free speech.
  2. Free speech does not include hate speech or speech that incities violence. Therefore, it is necessary to censor at least some speech.

Having looked at these two opposing arguments, it is easy to see now why we haven’t made any headway in this debate.

The Heart of the Debate

The key to understanding the free speech controversy and finding a potential solution to it comes not from looking at what the two arguments say, but at what they do not say.

Let’s look at the two opposing arguments once more.

  1. Free speech is essential for a society to develop and grow intellectually, ethically, and economically. Therefore, we should allow free speech.
  2. Free speech does not include hate speech or speech that incities violence. Therefore it is necessary to censor at least some speech.

Now, let’s look at what they are not saying.

Argument #1 is not saying that hate speech and speech that intentionally incites violence should not be censored.

Argument #2 is not defining exactly what they mean by hate speech and speech that incites violence.

With that in mind, we can see the heart of the issue.

The problem isn’t that we disagree on free speech. The problem is that we do not disagree on free speech.

Then one might reasonably ask, “What are we debating then if we’re not debating on free speech?”

The disagreement is over the definitions of hate speech and violence.

For example, let’s take the violence issue. For those who are not in favor of free speech, any speech that could potentially cause violence is worth censoring. Even if a speaker never intended violence to take place as a result of their speech.

The problem is that it’s almost impossible to anticipate when this will happen. While it is predictable in many cases, almost anything that is said could have some negative impact. However, in many of those cases, the positives outweigh the negatives.

Without free speech, the scientific disciplines would not be possible, and thus we wouldn’t have all of the amazing knowledge and technology that we have today. It can be easily argued that one of the reasons that the U.S. has been one of the leaders in technological innovation is because of the protection of free speech. However, does the fact that science gave us weapons outweigh the many other benefits of science? In fact, this is just a small sampling of all of the amazing benefits of science that far outweigh the negative consequences of science:

An HIV vaccine.

A COVID-19 vaccine.

A meningitis vaccine.

The ability to save the lives of cancer patients.

The ability to save the life of someone with a ruptured appendix.

The ability to provide clean water to millions upon millions of people.

Improved psychiatric treatment.

The ability to predict and prepare for dangerous weather.

The knowledge of how to protect ourselves from blood-borne pathogens.

Technology that allows us to communicate safely during a pandemic.

The knowledge of how to facilitate proper child development.

The knowledge of how to stay in good physical health.

The invention of motor vehicles that are able to get quickly get us to hospitals for proper medical treatment.

Cell phones allow us to call people on the side of the road in case of emergencies.

The ability to safely preserve food for future consumption.

The ability to disseminate medication quickly throughout the world.

Communications technology is able to quickly inform the public of impending or a current crisis.

Pain-killing medication.

The ability to read this blog post as well as many others.

All of the above benefits as well as many others are made possible through the process of science, and the process of science is only possible through, you guessed it, free speech.

We know now that the benefits of free speech outweigh the negative consequences. We should also note that there are other very effective ways to restrict the negative consequences as a result of free speech. In fact, the free exchange of ideas is what makes moral progress possible, which in turn mitigates the negative consequences that occur as a result of free speech.

Now, what about hate speech? Well, it’s worth noting the restriction and allowance of hate speech requires everyone on both sides of the debate to walk a thin line. Unless, of course, tyranny is the end goal. However, my guess is that that’s not the intention of most who participate in the free speech discussion.

As mentioned earlier, there are forms of hate speech that are restricted in the United States. Slander, for instance, is prohibited. Libel, or the ruining of someone’s reputation through writing, is also not protected by the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

I think the topic of what counts as hate speech and what doesn’t is a conversation worth having in our society. The fact of the matter is that the civil rights movement wasn’t that long ago, and there are still issues of discrimination and hate speech that needs to be ironed out. Having removed the political obstacles of making our society more equal, I think we are finally ready to hash out the implications of our society’s embrace of social equality.

That said, I’m concerned with how many who do not favor free speech define “hate speech.” What I believe is actually happening is that free speech is being defined as speech that doesn’t agree with someone’s political agenda.

This is where things tend to become a “left ” versus “right” issue. Here is what everyone needs to understand about the debate over free speech, and if you take nothing away from this blog post, please take this away: the “political left” sincerely but falsely believes that the average person on the “political right” is for racism and sexism.

Let me speak directly to both sides of the political spectrum for a moment. I’ll talk directly to the right first and then I’ll talk to the left.

If you are on the political right, if you are going to convince the left that you have the right to speak your mind, you have to at least try to convince them that you’re not racist or sexist. I’m serious. They genuinely believe this.

Let’s say that you’re a college student and your school was hosting an event for a Ku Klux Klan member to speak on why they believe black people are inferior to white people. Would you stand for that? Probably note. I certainly wouldn’t. I detest racism and I don’t want it to have a platform at my college or university.

The problem is that many on the left see conservative speeches at colleges and universities in the exact same way. Racism and/or sexism having a platform at my school? Why would they stand for it?

This is where conservatives need to come in and have compassion and patience with people on the left. They actually believe that you are a racist and a sexist. You know that it’s patently absurd, but they don’t. Therefore, have compassion for them and be patient with them, and do your best to convince them that you’re not a racist or a sexist. If it doesn’t work, then that’s on them. There’s nothing that you can do about it, and hopefully, the more reasonable people who are on the “political left” will see that and understand you better.

Now, let me speak to people on the left. Let me just take a moment to say that I am with you. I don’t want hate speech to have a platform. Especially at public institutions. I believe it shouldn’t have a platform at all. That said, I am concerned about how you define hate speech. You see, most right-wing voters aren’t actually, or at the very least don’t intend to be, racist or sexist. They want to promote peace and love just as much as you do. They’ve been trying to tell you this all along, and I urge you to see things from their perspective. If we do this, we can make so much moral and intellectual progress, and make the world a safer place to live.

Conclusion

I think it’s safe to conclude that the debate over free speech, for the most part, as been a result of a misunderstanding between two diametrically opposed party, and the roots of the conflict run decades deep.

I ultimately think it’s going to be up to those who are in favor of free speech to compassionately and patiently correct our cohorts who are against it about their perception of us. We need to show them the rational way of doing things. We need to lead by example. Anger isn’t going to solve anything. It’s only going to reinforce false stereotypes. It is ultimately going to be through breaking those stereotypes that we overcome this stalemate that we have reached in the United States of America, and really the west in general.

Ultimately, it will be the freedom to listen to and the freedom to express different ideas that will help us make progress in society. Let’s work together to achieve this goal.

Footnotes:

*It may be worth noting here that I think we too often allow the media to get away with libel. Many lives have been ruined as a result of high-price media coverage. I think that discussing the ways in which we can hold the media accountable to these laws without suppressing necessary free speech is a worthy endeavor.

How to Survive Grief: What I’ve Learned from the Greatest Tragedy of My Life

By Lane Noble

I pulled into the church parking lot, feeling more depressed than I had in a long time. I didn’t know how to deal with the emotions I was struggling with, how long I would be struggling with them, or even if I would make it through the day without becoming psychotic. All I knew was that I shouldn’t be alone. I couldn’t be. I couldn’t stay in my own head.

I finally broke down into tears, got out of the car, crossed the parking lot, and rang the doorbell of East Frankfort Baptist Church. Our church secretary answered the door, saw immediately what was going on, and brought me in.

I was brought into pastor Kyle’s office and given a box of tissues, and I just said, “I don’t know if I can do this.” Up until that week in early October, I had never faced the kind of psychologically disturbing and emotionally turbulent grief that so many experience every day in this broken, sin-cursed world. That week, on Monday, October 4, 2021, I had lost my grandfather.

Death took on a new meaning for me that week. It went from being a serious reality to a horrendous hallmark of the kind of world that we live in. Although grandad was never infected with COVID-19, the idea that there were people out there losing loved ones to this disease motivated me even more to slow the spread of it. I began to develop an even deeper hatred for death than I had before.

While I hadn’t known truly disturbing grief until only a few weeks ago, I had always believed that when such grief struck that I would have the right tools to handle it. I knew that it would hurt for awhile and that it would be extremely difficult, but I also thought that I would be able to heal more easily with coping techniques that I had learned. This just goes to show how little I knew about just how overwhelming, distressing, and debilitating grief and bereavement are.

Don’t get me wrong, I was acquainted with grief, but I had never gotten to know it at the level that I had a few weeks ago. While coping strategies did play a crucial role in recovering from the emotional distress that I experienced, they didn’t do what I was depending on them to do.

It’s difficult to truly know how to deal with grief until it arises. The horrible nature of it doesn’t quite hit us until we go through it. To rub some more salt in the wound, twenty-first century western society has forgotten how to grieve properly

In light of this, I would like to share some thoughts on what I’ve learned about grief since the worst day of my life took place. I didn’t come up with all of these insights by myself. Most of these are lessons that my wise and loving church family and friends helped me discover.

A Word of Wisdom to Those Who Haven’t Fully Experienced Grief Yet

Unless Jesus comes back prior to such a tragedy happening, every single person reading this will have to go through the grieving process. Thankfully, many people reading this are likely not going through that process right now. I would encourage you, even thought you may not even be near a crisis (something which you can’t really know for sure), I urge you to prepare for suffering before it comes. That doesn’t mean to obsess over it. I just mean to have a plan in place. Here are some questions to ask yourself to prepare for a season of suffering.

  1. How am I doing spiritually? Do I meditate upon and regularly remind myself of the promises of God?
  2. Do I have reliable people I can reach out to during a time of intense suffering?
  3. Do I have people in my life who can give me wise, godly counsel that I can take to heart when grieving?
  4. Am I taking care of my own mental health now so as to make it less vulnerable when tragedy strikes?
  5. How can I be there for my loved ones who are also grieving this loss?

These are just some things to think about. Again, I would caution against obsessing over these questions, but I would encourage you to at least have an answer, even if it’s a vague or ambiguous answer, to all of these questions. When the time comes to grieve, you may find that you need a different answer to these questions. That’s totally fine if that’s the case. Just make sure that you don’t neglect the wisdom that I’m about to give next.

This next part is for both who haven’t been through tragedy yet and for those who have. If you’re currently in the midst of tragedy, don’t panic. Let’s turn to the Word of God for answers, because it does indeed have answers (2 Timothy 3:16).

Here are three lessons that I’ve learned for surviving grief:

Lesson #1: You’re likely not going to see a light at the end of the tunnel for awhile, but you will

Some of you likely don’t believe that sentence. “You mean I’m actually going to feel better? How is that even possible?” Some may even feel guilty at the thought of feeling that kind of hope. Some may even believe that such hope wasn’t meant for them. How could they possibly learn to live a happy life without their loved one? Perhaps that’s true for others, but certainly there’s no way that that could possibly be true for them.

Take a deep breath. Listen to me. It is true for you, and it is completely okay for you to have trouble accepting that right now.

Here’s is a freeing and shocking truth for those who are going through the grief process: You’re going to go through a period of time where it’s going to feel impossible to move forward, but you will move forward. The key here is to remind yourself of that even though it feels like you can’t accept that fact.

It’s very much akin to being in a dark room where everything is pitch black, and you can’t see a single thing, but you’re told that there is a one hundred percent chance that you will be able to find the light switch on the opposite end. No one knows how long that will take you, but you have to remind yourself that there is a one hundred percent chance that you will find that light switch.

To add some more shock to the situation, you will not only heal from the emotional turmoil that your grief has caused you, but you can and will find joy and peace beyond what you understand right now. Like I said, you probably don’t feel like you’re capable of believing that right now. That’s okay. Use your intellect to assure your skeptical emotions until your emotions one day, perhaps, a long time from now, accept them. Jesus offers the promise of joy and peace beyond what we can comprehend. That’s a promise. Your emotions likely won’t believe it, but preach it to your emotions anyway. It will happen. I promise you.

I believe that this is at least part of what the Bible meant in Hebrews 11:1 when the writer of the book of Hebrews says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” We can now put faith into practice. God will heal us. It’s okay if you don’t know how and when, but I promise you that He will. If you want assurance of that, the Bible is littered with stories of terrible tragedy where God healed the victims. Trust that promise, even if every fiber of your being wants to reject it. You’ll see what I mean eventually.

Lesson #2: It’s okay to be vulnerable.

When you lose someone you loved deeply, it’s likely going to feel like every breath you take is a chore. In light of this, you’re going to feel very vulnerable, and that’s okay.

You need people that you can be vulnerable with during this time. Good friends, family, and/or mentors.

Grieving with the family may be helpful, but you’ll likely want to reach out to people who love you who are not grieving as well. This way they can make sure that you’re taking care of yourself, even when you don’t feel like it.

This is one of the most important points I can emphasize. Reaching out to others that you trust is essential. There are very few things that you have to do while grieving. Reaching out to others is one of those that you have to do when you can. Which leads me to the next one…

3. Do the Few Essentials

Like I said above, there are very few things that you actually need to be doing when you are going the the process of grieving, but there still are things that are necessary for you to do. This is a small list of those things:

1. Pray

2. Read your Bible

3. Consistently reach out to loved ones who can support you during this difficult time.

4. Eat

5. Exercise (even if it’s just a ten minute walk a day. Do at least a little bit.)

6. Get enough sleep (to the best of your ability)

Be patient with yourself if you don’t manage to do all of these perfectly. The best thing to remember is to take care of yourself. You will regret it later on if you don’t.

Final Encouragement

I would not wish this kind of bereavement on anyone. It would be an understatement to say the the grieving process is excruciatingly painful.

It’s also worth noting that everyone grieves differently. You often hear about the “stages of grief.” That model is sort of misleading. The process of grief doesn’t always, or usually, happen in a set of neat, orderly stages on a specific time table that is generally true for everyone.

The major point is this: you will heal. Right now, it’s likely that every fiber of your being will refuse to believe it, but keep saying it to yourself and keep going until, eventually, you do.

Most importantly, preach the Gospel of Christ to yourself over and over and over again. Preach to yourself that Jesus conquered death at His death and resurrection and that He will take this broken world and make it new. You now know from first hand experience that this is a very broken world. Preach to yourself the fact that Jesus will make all things new and restore His creation. The indignity of death will be no more. All evil will be punished in the just fires of damnation and God will do justice. God will leave no evil unhandled. Be sure if that.

God will make all things new. Swallow that pill. Even if you regurgitate it. Swallow it again. Keep preaching it to yourself until you come to believe it and love it, because you will.

Jesus has conquered death and will make all things new

How Serious Should We Be About Abortion?

By Lane Noble

I can’t think of a better time to write this message that I have on my mind on the abortion debate. After all, we do seem to be at a crossroads when it comes to the issue of abortion because of the new law that Texas has passed concerning abortions in the state of Texas, and the Supreme Court’s response to that law.

I don’t think that there’s very many people out there with a neutral position on this topic. It’s probably one of the most controversial. One of the difficult aspects of it is that it reaches beyond just politics. Politics is involved because of the legislation involved. However, this is a social justice issue, and both sides of this debate make the claim that the other side has unjust intentions in mind. On the one hand, you have a side who claims that the right to a woman’s autonomy is being threatened. On the others side of the debate you have people claiming that a push for legal infanticide has been occurring since the nineteen-seventies.

Now, as of the time of this writing, I’ve only been around for almost twenty-three years. I wasn’t there when Roe v. Wade was passed. I was only a baby when President Bill Clinton legalized partial birth abortion. I was just learning how to read when President George W. Bush passed a twenty-week abortion ban. I jumped in on this conversation probably when I was about thirteen or fourteen and, from what I’ve seen, this debate hasn’t gained much substance since it first began.

In fact, and I try to avoid this kind of talk because I think it can exhibit too much pride, but I do think this holds true in this case, that many of the most prominent arguments in this debate should not survive a fourth grade education.

For example, one of the pro-life arguments that I’m not a huge fan of is this: “What if we had aborted Einstein, or Mother Theresa, or Thomas Edison, or Martin Luther King Jr.?” However, one could just as easily respond with, “What if we had aborted Hitler or Mussolini?” The argument can go both ways. Our actions have consequences no matter what, both good and bad. It seems a bit irrelevant to the conversation.

Another example on the pro-choice side would be, “You’re a man. You don’t know what it’s like to be pregnant. Therefore, you have no right to tell women what they can’t do with their bodies.” There’s actually a couple of problems with this argument. First, there are so many pro-life women out there that it makes that argument irrelevant. In fact, this is just a small sample of the many pro-life organizations led by and/or founded by women:

Feminists for Life

Secular Pro-Life

Democrats for Life of America

Pro-Life San Fransisco

Pro-Woman, Pro-Life

National Coalition for Life and Peace

Crisis Pregnancy Center Online

The Feminism and Nonviolence Studies Association

Florida Right to Life

Students for Life

American Life League

Americans United for Life

Oregon Right to Life

Virginia Society for Human Life

Delaware Pro-Life Coalition

March for Life

South Carolina Citizens for Life1

There’s way more organizations than these that fit into this category, but I don’t have the time nor the room to place them all here. You get the idea.

The third reason that this argument doesn’t work is because most pro-life advocates believe that abortion is murder, and murder is wrong no matter who commits it. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong for men to tell women they shouldn’t murder their own children, it would be wrong if they didn’t.

If you flipped the situation around, and men were capable of getting pregnant but women weren’t, it would still be morally permissible for women to condemn abortion even if they didn’t know what it was like to be pregnant.

It’s odd then, isn’t it, that everyone believes that this topic is so serious, and yet very few people seem not to be taking the time to construct an argument that we can take seriously.

As a biblical Christian, I take it very seriously, because I believe that what we are talking about here is the difference between life and death. It is. We are talking about the murder, emphasis on that word, of a human child.

This post is an attempt to help biblically-minded Christians to take this seriously. We have an opportunity to not just put an end to a particular injustice in the world, but to witness to future generations.

What do I mean by this?

Sit back and think for a moment about the various justice issues that the church, especially in the United States, has had to confront: slavery, racism, ethnocentrism, sexism, etc. etc. In every one of these issues, there were churches that supported these and who didn’t support these.

Yet, our current, unbelieving cohorts in the generations that live today always seem to justify their unbelief based on the churches that did support these injustices. They will say, “Why did God’s people support such injustice?” It happens all the time.

The same thing is happening with abortion. I want future generations to look back and recognize that the church of Jesus Christ does not support abortion. I believe that future generations, both Democrat and Republican, will look back on the abortion industry in horror, and be thankful that the practice is condemned in their day and age, just as many other injustices are in our life time.

I know that some of my readers are going to be upset that I compared abortion to such injustices such as slavery and sexism, as if they were on the same playing field. There’s a difference between somebody who is owned and mistreated their entire lives and somebody who was just killed in the womb. That may be, but that doesn’t mean abortion is not injustice and that future generations won’t look back at it in horror. Surely the fact that women weren’t allowed to vote wasn’t as horrendous as slavery, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t horrendous that they couldn’t.

I fear that our society is so severely miseducated on the topic of abortion, even people within Christ’s church, that we have placed it on the back burner. The fact of the matter is that abortion is murder. It is infanticide, and, for some reason, infanticide only horrifies us when the children are completely outside of the womb.2 This should be evident to anyone who has studied human development.

Make no mistake, I am not saying that there is no forgiveness for those who have had abortions or even those who have worked in the abortion industry. I am saying that this is an injustice that needs to end. Those who have participated in it can and should receive mercy. As biblical Christians, we should love everyone who works in the abortion industry, and we should love those who have had abortions, and we pray that they would all come to Christ for His forgiveness and be saved into His kingdom. 1 John 1:9 says that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

God is a God of love and justice. Let us put this on display as we as Christians seek to end the injustice of abortion.

Footnotes:

  1. Some of these organizations, but not all, were found in “Pro-Life Feminist Organizations” Indiana University Northwest https://www.iun.edu/women-and-gender-studies/related-information/pro-life.htm
  2. In some cases, the baby is killed while it’s being born during what is known as a “partial birth abortion.” This is another aspect of the argument for abortion that I do not understand, as the baby is clearly alive and fully developed enough for life outside of the womb.

Coming Soon: Blogging Through “Letting Go of God” by Julia Sweeney

By Lane Noble

I’ve been wanting to blog through a book for awhile now, and I think that I have now found the time to do it. It’s a lot easier to just read through a book and think through it yourself. However, I’ve benefited quite a bit from commenting on various works. Thus far I have commented mainly on YouTube videos.

There is a lot of work that goes into writing commentaries on simpler works such as YouTube videos and other blog posts, which makes it even more difficult to do one on a book.

I’m going to try to release one post a week on this. I’m very excited to be interacting with this work as it tells the story of Julia Sweeney’s long journey of moving from Catholicism to atheism. It really is a fascinating audiobook (I don’t think a physical copy exists), because Julia’s journey from being a devout Catholic to being an atheist doesn’t exactly go the way most stories do. In fact, she dabbles in many different religions, trying to find out the truth about the world and how she should live her life. She also makes some a lot of critiques of the Bible as she studied it in her church.

While Julia’s story is rather unique, I believe that what she thinks and feels in de-conversion story rings true to a lot of people today. I think that as Christians can gain a lot of insight from her story and what she has to say. Particularly insightful is the way that she interacts with the Bible and the way that she tries to resolve the questions that she runs in to.

Are the arguments against God’s existence found in the book substantive? I don’t think that most of them are. Most of the arguments against God’s existence given by any atheist aren’t. Although she does raise some pretty good questions that I think deserve thoughtful answers. The fact is that there are an increasing number of people going through the same thought processes that Julia went through on her journey, and it’s worth exploring so that we can help those in our churches that are, as the phrase goes, “deconstructing” their faith right now.

We as Christians should and can be ready to give a defense of our faith. I believe that thinking through this book can help us.

Check back next week with the first installment of my commmentary on Julia Sweeney’s Letting Go of God.

Why We Need to Promote More Women in Christian Apologetics

By Lane Noble

Apologetics can be defined as presenting a rational defense of the Christian faith. The field has truly grown over the years. Not only has there been more work done in the academic arena of apologetics, but accessibility to apologetics information has grown significantly.

This kind of growth is something that we need to promote. The more we promote it, the more people will hear a reasoned defense of the Christian faith and the more the gospel will spread. At the very least, people’s plausibility structures, or what people are willing to entertain as possible, will expand to at least include the possibility of Christianity.

If we’re going to do this, however, we have to realize that, while secularism is growing, it is also changing. With the belief that this life is all there is, there is a growing push to make this world a better place. Obviously, we as Christians can applaud the idea of making the word a better place and, where possible, we should join secular humanists in that mission, without, of course, adopting a secular humanist philosophy.

With that said, one of the major pushes, one that I think Christians can get behind, is a push for gender equality, which is a value that the Bible most certainly promotes. (Galatians 3:28) However, over the years, the western church has distorted that value and made Christianity look like a “white man’s religion.” This is why many critical theorists and what are known as “social justice warriors” see Christianity as oppressive.

While we know that the claim that Christianity is an inherently oppressive religion doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, the fact of the matter is that it is up to us as Christians to prove them wrong. We know that because they are actively avoiding belief in a Creator and coming to faith in Christ, they aren’t going to do the work necessary to fairly evaluate Christianity. Thus, we need to go to them, and make it easy for them to see us living the way we ought to be living, so that they will be interested in at least taking the gospel message seriously.

Right now, as diversity seems to be increasingly important to a secular audience, we need to make sure that women are visible in the field of apologetics, so that Christianity is not perceived as merely a “white man’s religion.” By doing this, we expose that phrase “white man’s religion” for what it really is: a false excuse not to take Christianity and its truth claims seriously.

Now, this is not to discredit men in apologetics. There are so many male apologists out there that have done wonderful work in the field of apologetics that I’m grateful for. What we want is for people to see that the gospel of Christ is for everyone.

With that said, if you want to familiarize yourself with some women in apologetics, here are some of the best women apologists that I know of to familiarize yourself with. We don’t just want to learn from and refer to people from anyone. We want biblically-minded, wise, and intelligent Christians. Here is just a sampling of women like that to get started, in no particular order:

Dr. Alisa Childers

Patricia Engler

Dr. Georgia Purdom

Dr. Avery Foley

Dr. Elizabeth Jackson

Karina Altman

Dr. Esther Meek

These women, to say the least, are geniuses. They do fantastic work in the places that God has put them. For example, Dr. Esther Meek is a seasoned academic philosopher, and she does a phenomenal job at handling some of the most difficult questions in philosophy. Patricia Engler is amazing when it comes to practical ways of thinking through objections to Christianity and witnessing to people in a secular culture. Dr. Georgia Purdom has excellent insight into the creation versus evolution debate. Definitely check out all of the women that I’ve mentioned in this list. Karina Altman mostly writes articles and gives talks for Answers in Genesis, so what you find from her may be limited, but she is still worth reading and listening to.

I should mention another reason that we need more women in apologetics, and that’s because we need more female mouthpieces to speak out against abortion. This is not to say that men can’t do this, and that there aren’t women out there doing so effectively, but, as the pro-choice movement has made clear, they hate it when men try to convince people that abortion is wrong. While this is fallacious thinking on the part of the pro-choice movement, and we should point this out, it is worth having more women speak on this issue in order to get past that obstacle in the minds o most pro-choice advocates. It is often the case that we have to work with fallacious thinking if we’re going to reach those that don’t care to give God’s Word a fair hearing.

In conclusion, I am grateful for the growing number of women in the field of apologetics. I hope that we will see even more in the future, and that the gospel will spread to the ends of the Earth because of it.

Listen to Me and Keith Stout on “Diverse Unity”

Jesus prayed before His death this before He died in John 17:20-21, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (ESV) Jesus took unity so seriously that He prayed this before He was crucified. If Jesus took it this seriously, then so should we.

On Diverse Unity, we seek to understand how Christians can pursue obedience to this commandment. In a world full of different ideas, we have a responsibility to sift through them and to stay united under the one message that unites us: Christ crucified and raised from the dead for the forgiveness of our sins.

Check us out! Available wherever you get your podcasts.