Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rational Wiki - "Refutation" of Proof that God Exists (Sye Ten Bruggencate) - Refuted

Someone shared this with me as an attempted refutation to Sye's Proof that God exists (

Epic fail... (The link was given incorrectly, and later fixed up - but the fail will forever remain thanks to my screen shot below.)

After the link was fixed and I got to the actual page Essay: Refutation of Proof that God Exists I had to laugh again when I saw who wrote it - An American Nihilist - a nihilist believes everything is pointless - so in attempting to argue against anything they are refuting themselves and abandoning their nihilism.

This reminds me of the nihilist who tried to debate Sye and had to abandon his nihilism in order to do so. ( In that debate the nihilist, whose YouTube name is Realistic Nihilist promised to change his YouTube name because he admitted that he was being inconsistent in trying to debate Christians while calling himself a nihilist. However, I've noticed that he still is posting videos on YouTube with the same YouTube name.

My Refutation of the 'Refutation' by 'An American Nihilist' (Same Rational Wiki link as above)

//My (An American Nihilist's) position, as a Wikipedia Nihilist, is that 'absolute truth' doesn't really exist,//

If you really were a nihilist and really believed that life is pointless, then what’s the point in arguing about anything? Absolute truth doesn’t exist? Is that absolutely true? You’ve refuted yourself in your first sentence. If there is no absolute truth then why bother writing or arguing any further as nothing you say is true and it’s all just your own subjective opinion – so why should anyone listen to it?

// as any time we perceive objective reality we are creating our own subjective reality due to the very nature of perception//

So because we can never perceive the true reality of things such as money – you may as well give all your money to me because it doesn’t really exist!

// — although i do accept that some things are so universal to the human experience that they are practically 'absolute truths' — so i'm kind of at a loss on which one to select.//

You’re at a loss because you’re lost and your worldview is self-refuting and contradictory.

//The introduction here is just standard Christian apologetics and lies,//

Poisoning the well fallacy and arbitrary assertions.

 //although i thought this was pretty good: "Not only can the existence of God be proven, denying the proof undermines rational thought". So, what? All seculars are irrational and stupid? Does this also apply to all non-Christians as well?//

You are living proof of what happens when one denies God, as your thinking is irrational and foolish. You call yourself a nihilist and yet here you are arguing – your life is one big contradiction. Yes, this applies to all non-Christians as without God it’s impossible to justify any knowledge – unless you are all knowing, or have revelation from the One who is, you could be wrong about everything you think you know, and you have no way of knowing that your reasoning is valid other than using your reasoning to validate that your reasoning is valid – which is viciously circular.  

//I don't know for certain, but i think people who picked this option [absolute truth does not exist] would say that the only absolute truth is that there are no other absolute truths.//

Which is absurd and contradictory nonsense. It’s absolutely true that absolute truth exists and the only reason you’re trying to deny it is because you’re trying to deny the one true source of ultimate truth – God.

//Besides, there can be people who don't really believe in absolute truth, but aren't absolute about it; //

Again – more absolute nonsense. Is it true that there is no truth? Even without the word absolute it’s still nonsense.

//the site creator seems obsessed with black-and-white dichotomies.//

Is that absolutely true? Aren’t you obsessed with making a black and white dichotomy between what Sye has said which you believe is false, and what you’re saying which you believe is true? You obviously feel obsessed about it enough to try and write a rebuttal against it and put it online. I’d call that pretty obsessive behaviour especially from someone calling themselves a nihilist.

//Okay, i know that the type of people who picked this option would answer to the second question 'i don't know' again.//

And the website confronts those kinds of people with the absurdity of what they think they believe (Absolute truth does not exist) by asking them – Is that absolutely true?

//Yes, people who have better things to worry about than 'absolute truth' or who simply aren't philosophically-disposed are like little children, worthy of your condescension.//

Finally you are making some sense! (This is in response to the fact that if you click on ‘I don’t care if absolute truth exists’ Sye's website takes you to the Disney website. Is it absolutely true that Sye is being condescending? Is it absolutely morally wrong to be condescending? Sye would probably call it pointing out the foolishness of denying God. If a person doesn’t care about truth then they may as well go to Disney – eat drink and be merry. But one day they’ll die and realise they’ve been fools.

Laws of logic

//What do you mean by "exist"? I think that logic is a human (or intelligent being) construction,//

If logic is just a human construction – i.e. man-made convention then would it be possible for the world to exist and not exist at the same time and in the same way BEFORE human beings existed? If logic is just man-made then that would mean that illogical things would have been possible before we existed – which is absurd and shows that logic is not just man-made but is a part of the way the universe operates and a reflection of how God thinks.

// a way to look at the world and make choices -- logic doesn't actually exist as a 'thing', although it is material since it's based in our thoughts, which are electrochemicals or whatever.//

Our brain is material therefore logic is just material? That doesn’t make any sense.

 //And i think you want physics if you're talking about things only appearing in one place at a time.//

Here I'm assuming you're referring to quantum physics, which some erroneously believe has shown that contradictory or illogical things have been observed. I've written about that kind of nonsense in my blog post Quantum Madness. It's interesting that it's the non-Christian that is appealing to illogical things being possible.

//Not only that,'s invocation of the laws of formal logic conflates them with the logical absolutes and, although these two concepts are related, they are not equivalent. The logical absolutes -- the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction, and the law of excluded middle -- are descriptive statements about the fundamental nature of the reality we perceive. The logical absolutes are used to form the foundation of the "laws of formal logic", a set of prescriptive rules about what logic can or can not do. (ie. the logical fallacies)//

So logic is just descriptive and not prescriptive? If logic isn’t prescriptive of how we should think then why do you expect us to listen to you attempting to use a logical and reasoned argument? (Although most of what you’re saying is illogical). If logic is not absolute then I can contradict you and you can’t complain. So I’m glad to hear that you DO accept that the laws of logic (such as the law of non-contradiction) ARE absolute laws!

//Just because a person doesn't believe in logic, however stupid that may be, does not mean they don't believe in any sort of structure at all, and that every random thing now applies to them.//

Yes, it is stupid to not believe in logic, and if you don’t believe in absolute laws of logic then to expect other people to be logical is to be inconsistent. No one in reality can live as if logic doesn’t exist.

Laws of Mathematics

//Again, what does 'exist' mean here? Just like with logic, I think that math is a human construct, a way to understand the world, and not really either immaterial magickz or a material 'thing'. And you don't have to appeal to 'a universal law of mathematics' to disagree with someone else's 'interpretation' of math.//

I don’t know why you keep asking what the word exists means. It means “to have being or reality / to be / to be actual rather than possible” (Colins English Dictionary). If mathematics is a human construct then would it be possible for 2+2 to equal 5, before human beings existed? If there are no laws of mathematics that are universal then upon what basis do you disagree with anyone if they do bad math?

Laws of Science

// Wait, so what exactly is the difference between the 'Laws of Science' and the 'Laws of Logic'? All you're doing is creating your own arbitrary, poorly-explained categories of 'laws' you made up.//

There isn’t a huge difference in the nature of the laws of logic, mathematics, and science in terms of the conceptual and universal nature of these laws, which is why Sye has not included Mathematics and Science in his updated website. But there is nothing arbitrary or poorly explained about them. Perhaps you just don’t understand them.

Absolute Moral Laws

// This is where your argument really starts to fall apart. Even though I did have some relatively minor philosophical qualms with your earlier statements, they were basically agreeable -- but this is just stupid, and you don't even attempt to justify it.//

Is it absolutely true that it falls apart and that it’s stupid?

//Yes, that's how to make a convincing proof: blindly assert things.//

Blind assertions are exactly what you’re making right now. Proof and persuasion are two different things. Just because you aren’t persuaded that the proof is convincing doesn’t mean that it’s an invalid proof. This moral section is a section that a lot of skeptics and atheists get hung up on, and so Sye has removed it from his updated website and kept the proof focused on truth and logic.

//One other glaring, and intentional, fallacy makes is to equivocate the adjective "absolute", which means 'never changing', with the adjective "objective", which means 'independent of subjective experience'. A person who claims that a particular moral statement is absolutely true is saying that it is true, and will always be so. Saying that the same moral statement is objectively true means that it is true regardless of what a conscious being thinks about it. These are two distinct claims which, needless to say, create a massive burden of proof.//

Is it absolutely true that he has equivocated? I don’t see any equivocation going on. If you doubt that absolute morality exists you put yourself into a terrible dilemma. If you can’t accept that rape and child molestation are absolutely morally wrong then I feel sorry for you, and more than that I wouldn’t want you near any females or children.

//This is stupid, because the categories of 'right' and 'wrong' don't objectively exist, so they question of whether it could "ever be right" isn't valid in an objective sense. //

Is it absolutely true that the categories of right and wrong don’t objectively exist? It’s nonsensical to posit that there is no objective right and wrong.

//Furthermore, the wording is confusing, since, in my mind, 'objective' means outside of human opinion, and 'absolute' means that it's always wrong in either a subjective or objective sense, with regards to morality. In my opinion, yes, there can be almost no justification for molesting children -- but the universe doesn't care.//

So after all of the philosophizing you’ve agreed that there can be no justification for molesting children – which is contradicting what you’ve said earlier about there being no objective right or wrong. As for the universe not caring – that’s a sad statement to make, although the universe isn’t a personal entity so it’s not capable of caring – that’s the fallacy of reification. But God does care, as do most people. 

//Yep, pretty much.//

This comment is in response to Sye saying that without objective morality it all just becomes personal preference. A sad state of affairs.

//The one which has the power to exert itself. Yeah, that sucks, but it's just the way things are.//

So might is right? It might be the way things are in your worldview, but it’s not the way it always is and certainly isn’t the way it should be.

//What would stop us from doing that?//

(This is in response to "If someone with enough power happened to like rape and molestation, what right would we have to impose our morality on him?")

What would stop you having the right to impose your subjective morality onto a rapist or molester? The fact that you don’t believe in objective absolute morality exists.

// – I might not like it?//

(This comment is in response to "What would be wrong with the person, or society, with the power imposing their morality on you?")

So what? If you don’t like something then that’s your problem because you’ve abandoned absolute morality. So what if one bit of stardust bumps into another bit of stardust? What one bit of stardust likes or dislikes is irrelevant in your worldview.

//- Because we don't like them?//

(In response to "Why do we condemn the Nazi society for following their self-imposed morals?")

Again – so what? If someone puts you in a concentration camp for no reason I’m sure you’d be pretty keen to complain that it was objectively wrong.

// - You seem to have trouble understanding "no objective morality".//

(In response to "Why did the Nazi society not have the right to break from the tradition of morality in western civilizations?")

And you seem to have trouble being consistent in your thinking. You also don’t seem to be able to answer this question. Was Nazi Germany objectively morally wrong to murder millions of Jews? I’m guessing that you’d say that it was ok – but I’m sure you wouldn’t think that if you were a Jew.

//(link goes to dictionary definition)  - sub·jec·tive səbˈjektiv/adjective:  1.   based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.//

So it’s all just based on personal feelings? If someone feels like hurting you I’m pretty sure you aren’t going to continue to think that.

//  - "We", as in 'people who agree with me'?//

(In response to "If morality was up to society, that sentence would never make sense, but we know that morality is beyond societies and such a proposition is possible." )

'We' as in people with common sense.

//Thank you for telling me how i truly feel and act. Remember that condescension and blind assertion thing from earlier?//

Your feelings about the matter are not relevant to the question of whether or not absolute morality exists. On the one hand you deny absolute morality, but then you talk as if there is something morally wrong with condescension – can’t you see the contradiction? Criminals usually think that judges are condescending in their judgements too. Not that you are necessarily a criminal, but by God’s standards you are guilty of breaking God’s Law.

The nature of Laws

//Or i've been railroaded into choosing the path you want me to take. You know, whichever.//

In your heart you know that absolute truth and laws exist, but because you are trying to suppress the truth about God your worldview has become contradictory and absurd. Criminals might complain about being railroaded into jail and have a hard time seeing the truth too.

// Or are they another option that isn't part of this false dichotomy (when you say "material", i assume you mean 'tangible things').//

Are the laws of logic material or immaterial? It’s not a false dichotomy. There are only 2 choices. You can’t touch, taste, or smell concepts like laws of logic.

//Just because they're abstract doesn't mean they aren't based in matter.//

See question above about the possibility of absurd things before brains existed.

// Yeah, I've already said what's wrong with this. Next.//

Is it absolutely true that you’ve already dealt with this?

//I'm going to say that they're [laws of logic etc] universal for any remotely-practical purpose, but technically subjective in a sense.//

Are laws of logic universal or not? Your answer is vague and contradictory.

//"Perfectly alright" [to come up with their own laws of logic etc] according to whom?//

According to your absurd worldview and anyone else that denies absolute truth and absolute laws of logic. I can contradict you and you’ve got no logical grounds to complain.


Think about it – if there are no absolute laws then everyone can do whatever they want and you can’t complain about it.

//Well, yeah, that is the problem of inherent subjectivity.//

It’s only a problem for people like you who deny absolute laws of morality and logic.

//Resolved in an objective sense, maybe, but we could settle matters based on consensus.//

If the consensus of people in the world decided that God exists then would that make it true? I’m sure you’d say no to that and once again expose the arbitrary and inconsistent double standards you live by.

// I'm not sure what you mean by this, but I do agree that there could be differences in perception already and there's no way to determine who's 'right', albeit there's also no real way to determine there's a difference at all. I mean, you can't really communicate what the color red looks like to you.//

I really wonder if you’ve thought carefully at all about these things. Are you right when you say that there’s no way to determine who is right? Just because it’s difficult to communicate what a hundred dollar bill looks like to you, does that mean that it does not objectively exist and therefore you’re happy to send me your hundred dollar bills?

//Maybe that's because we've been taught that what we perceive as two, when's what we perceive as added with itself, becomes what we perceive as four. Everyone agrees with 2+2+4, but theoretically, as unlikely as it is, any of those components could vary in the mind of each person.//

So now here we have the skeptic arguing that 2 and 2 might not actually equal 4. That’s the kind of nonsense it takes to deny God. You begin to deny objective reality.

// -Not necessarily -- I'm a sci-fi fan.//

(In response to "You would not accept that child molestation would be right anywhere in the universe." )

Again – keep this guy away from children.

//Ideally, I'd change my idea of what a 'logical contradiction' is.//

Nonsense. If you are happy with logical contradictions then I can contradict you and you’ve got no grounds to complain.

//I base my life on the probability of them [absolute laws] being the same.//

So now you are appealing to the absolute law of probability? I thought you didn’t believe in absolute laws? What’s your basis for the law of probability staying the same in the future? The uniformity of nature and laws makes sense with God but not without Him.

//Yeah, this patronizing (changing things up with synonyms!) paragraph at the end of each of these is getting pretty damn annoying.//

He’s not being patronizing, but according to your worldview is it absolutely morally wrong to be patronizing?

//There's no real way to know [that absolute laws exist], but based upon what science has discovered about the past and predicted about the future, and Occam's razor, I'd wager they aren't.//

Do you know that there is no way to know? Is it absolutely true?

//No, it's simple probability [that laws of logic etc will not change] and not needlessly worrying yourself with theoreticals. I could believe that 6-7=8 could eventually become true and still wake up thinking it equals -1.//

You’re looking at the past to determine that the future will be like the past – but this is begging the question. You have no rational reason for the future being like the past in your worldview but live by blind faith. In contrast for the Christian we know that the laws of logic and other laws will remain uniform and constant in the future because God has promised to uphold the universe in a consistent way.

//Did i say "railroading" yet?//

Yes, and it’s only happening because your thinking is inconsistent between how you live your life and what you profess to believe.

//So, people who don't agree with you are irrational lunatics? Well, lock me up in a mental asylum then.//

No, people who deny God aren’t necessarily lunatics, but they are irrational and unable to prove that they aren’t actually insane. How do you know that your reasoning is valid? In order to validate your reasoning you have to employ your reasoning, which is viciously circular. People who are insane generally don’t know they are insane – and if they are incapable of doing valid reasoning then it would be impossible for them to know. So how do you know that right now you aren’t strapped to a bed in mental asylum imagining everything in your life? Your job and friends could all just be part of that illusion. In contrast, Christians know that we aren’t living in an illusory world because we are made in the image of God and God would not lie to us. The proof that God exists is not based on our own fallible reasoning, but on the revelation of God – a public revelation that is available for everyone to examine in the Bible. Revelation from God is the only way to escape the viciously circular argument of using your reasoning to validate that your reasoning is valid.

//Just because you reference the Bible does not make your false dichotomy any less stupid and fallacious.//

How do you know that? How do you know your reasoning is valid? The Bible must be true, because if it weren’t nothing could be true – and you yourself confirm that by denying that absolute truth exists.

//Well, since the Bible asserted it it must be true!//

Is circular reasoning absolutely fallacious in your worldview? You deny absolute laws of logic remember. You also deny absolute truth. You have a double standard – you complain about circular reasoning that Sye is supposedly doing, but have no problem with using your reasoning to validate your reasoning being valid. And as I just mentioned, the Christian circle is not a simple circle – it escapes circularity by revelation from God.

//Should I even bother to ask "why the Christian god"?//

Because there are no other gods. (See my other blog post What about other gods?)

//"The Proof that God exists is that without Him you couldn't prove anything." - Just because you assert something in a large typeface does not make it truer.//

Is it absolutely true that the proof is not true? You deny absolute truth remember – which means that you can’t prove anything to be true – which is exactly what the proof says.

// The author of, Sye ten Bruggencate (STB) defends his presuppositionalist worldview by speaking at great length about "the nature of god", what he does not realize is that when he does this he is actually borrowing from a naturalistic worldview to make such statements.//

This is an arbitrary assertion. No, you are borrowing from the Christian worldview in order to argue anything.

// As most Christians do, STB ascribes to the infiniteness of his god but for a "thing" to have a nature it must have a relationship to something else and for there to be "something else" the "thing" must have limits. Infinity precludes nature. Furthermore, humans can only distinguish, and conceive of "things" via their limits and their natures. A statement of 'nature' is an extrapolation of a particular limit (physical, temporal etc.) of one thing in relation to a particular limit of something else. A "thing" that is infinite is indistinguishable from a "thing" that does not exist. Indeed, it is necessarily impossible for a human being to conceive of an infinite "thing" (ie. god).//

Sounds like waffle and nonsense to me. Just because you can’t fully comprehend God doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.

// Have you given a reason yet why a god -- and more specifically, your narrow version of a god -- must have made these "universal, immaterial, unchanging laws"?//

Because there are no other gods. (See same link as above)

//So, in other words, "because I said so". Gotcha.//

The proof is valid not because Sye says so but because God is true and without Him nothing can be true.

// was very careful to conjugate the word "proof" as a noun and not as a verb. At no point does the site explicitly indicate that it will, "provide evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth", it says it will provide "a proof". One definition of the word "proof" is 'the act of testing or making trial of anything; test; trial: to put a thing to the proof.' By simply operating under the assumption that the Christian god exists and seeing whether or not anybody can navigate through your bullsh*t technically is "a proof". Just another in a long line of equivocations.//

Proof does not equal persuasion. Is it absolutely true that Sye has equivocated? How do you know that your reasoning is valid?

//An immaterial, intangible being from an ancient book of nonsensical myths is as obvious as the gas necessary for human life. Yes.//

Ancient or old does not mean untrue – that’s a logical fallacy. If that were the case then 2 and 2 being 4 should be rejected on the basis that it’s been around for too long. As for nonsensical myths – that’s an arbitrary assertion and unargued philosophical bias. Yes, it is foolish to argue against God in the same way that it’s foolish to argue that air doesn’t exist.

//I'm pretty damn sure i've said "condescending" before. Hm...//

Nothing condescending about speaking the truth in love. Those who have the truth and share it can often be mistaken for being arrogant.

//No, I took issue with your explanations of the universe and gave my own explanation. Stop fucking thinking everyone will agree with you, you horrible DM.//

Your explanations make absolutely no sense, and your anger expressed here shows that the real issue is not intellectual but psychological. You don’t want to know God because you hate him.

//Instead of believing a magical non-answer on blind faith, having reasonable faith that science, based on its past record, will provide answers like it already has for many, many of life's questions? No, they're not really very similar.//

Christianity is not a blind faith, but the only rational worldview that makes sense of reasoning. In contrast you have faith – blind faith in science. Science is based on induction and assumes that the future will be like the past. But why is this the case? Why is the universe operating in a uniform way? Your worldview has no answer for this, but at the core of your worldview is fallacious circular reasoning related to your reasoning and the uniformity of nature.

//You got me: i'm an atheist because i like porn and not having to go to church on Sundays.//

Your attempt at sarcasm betrays the true state of your heart. You don’t want to know God because you love your sin and don’t want to submit your life to God. You are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness as it says in Romans 1. I urge you (and any professed unbelievers reading this) to repent and to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. He can save you, starting with redeemed reasoning now.

The Argument from Courts of Law

Col. Jessep (Jack Nicholson): You want answers?
Kaffee (Tom Cruise): I think I'm entitled to.
Col. Jessep (Jack Nicholson): *You want answers?*
Kaffee (Tom Cruise): *I want the truth!*
Col. Jessep (Jack Nicholson): *You can't handle the truth!*

(Famous court scene from the movie ‘A Few Good Men’)

Recently I had to testify in a high court as a witness to an assault. I took an oath on the Bible to tell the truth, and presented my evidence before a judge and jury. At the end of the trial the offenders were found guilty.

The fact that we still swear on the Bible in court is a reminder of the biblical origins of western society, and of our court system that goes all the way back to Moses who would judge over disputes.
Nowadays swearing on the Bible is optional, and if you prefer you can just “affirm” that you will tell the truth. Although this carries the same legal obligations, and perjury is a serious offense, why not lie if there is no God to be morally accountable to and you think you can ‘get away with it’?  (See Argument from Moral Laws)

In high court trials the evidence is presented and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. This kind of system helps protect the innocent. However, it also means that sometimes the guilty go free, especially if they have enough money to hire top lawyers, who can bring in a bit of doubt here and there.

I used to think that I had to try and prove the existence of God in a similar way in order to convince unbelievers. I would lay out the evidence and show that the case for God is provable beyond reasonable doubt. (This is called an evidential approach – e.g. See ‘Evidence that Demands a Verdict’ by Josh McDowell). But the skeptics would always raise enough points that would bring in a bit of doubt, and feel off the hook in their unbelief because there are grounds for reasonable doubt in their minds.

However, when we take an evidential approach the evidence is being presented to the unbeliever and this is making them the judge. They are the ones holding the scales and judging whether or not they accept the evidence for God. If we present evidence to an unbeliever who rejects the existence of God we are allowing them to put God on trial. But in the Bible who do we see putting Jesus on trial? Pontius Pilate! And if he didn’t repent he isn't going to heaven.

When I watched Sye Ten Bruggencate's movie 'How to Answer the Fool' I was really shocked to hear a TV clip from Rick Warren (one of America's mega-church pastors) saying that non-christians should "try Jesus" and give Him a 60 day trial. (See this video @ 32-33 minutes.)

There are even popular movies like God's Not Dead that are putting God on trial. (See the same video as above @ 33-34 minutes)
Nowhere in the Bible does it say we should try God. The Bible commands us to repent and submit to God. God is not on trial – the professed unbeliever is the one on trial. And when the professed unbeliever’s worldview is put on trial we find that their worldview leads to foolishness and absurdity. (See - The Argument from Self-refuting Worldviews).

In order to put a worldview on trial we need to do an internal critique of the worldview as a whole and look for inconsistencies. (This kind of approach is called presuppositional because it looks at what beliefs the person presupposes at a foundational level.) If we were to put atheism on trial what would some of the issues be?  Atheists believe that in the beginning there was nothing, and nothing exploded and created everything. How can something come from nothing? A miracle? (atheists aren’t allowed to appeal to divine intervention!) How can order come from an explosion? Where did the matter come from that exploded in the first place?

As the trial of the atheist’s worldview continued we could look at inconsistencies between what the atheist said they believe and how they actually live their lives. Atheists live as if we all have dignity and show love to their loved ones, and get angry at injustices, but how does that make any sense if we are all just bunches of chemicals or rearranged pond scum? Atheists believe that ultimately we evolved by chance from exploded stars that became stardust that somehow formed the Earth and eventually somehow lead to our evolution. So if we are just stardust – who cares if one bunch of stardust bumps into another bunch of stardust?

 Militant Atheist vs. Jeff Durbin at the Reason Rally

The fact of the matter is that everyone believes in God, but they suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1). People don’t need evidence to know that there is a God – they already know it but are willfully ignorant and self-deceived. If you are reading this and have not repented from your sins and submitted your life to Jesus Christ I urge you to do so. Don’t keep putting it off, because no one knows when their time will come. God loves you so much, and wants you to live the way He intended – in relationship with Him, and giving glory to Him.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Is it Wrong for Christians to Argue?

Is it wrong for Christians to argue? I ask this question because I've found that many Christians are anti apologetics because they think that Christians should never argue. It's true that the Bible says we should not quarrel:

"Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful." (2 Timothy 2:23-24)

So does this mean we should never argue? Should Christians strive for "peace at any price." No - not at all. Peace at any price is not biblical, although it has become common these days in our politically correct culture. I think too that some cultures avoid arguments more than others. I've noticed that in my home country of New Zealand in general we tend to strive to avoid any kinds of disagreements over contentious issues. It is good to be considerate of other people - however this fearful attitude could be a major reason why many Christians never share their faith and even fewer speak against social or cultural evils such as abortion.

When we look at the Bible, Jesus, the Apostles and the early church, they were not afraid to boldly proclaim the gospel or to speak against sin. Jesus often offended those who opposed him, especially the Pharisees. 

The Apostle Paul in particular epitomizes the bold proclamation of the gospel by the early Christians. Read the book of Acts and you'll see that the Christians were willing to risk their lives to take the good news of Jesus into the public arena. 

"Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.   But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.  This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord." (Acts 19:8-10)

"For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah." (Acts 18:28)

In Acts 17 we see clearly Paul's twofold approach - reasoning in the synagogue, and also in the marketplace daily:

"So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.  A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection." (Acts 17:17-18)

In modern day terms I see this as relating to preaching the gospel in churches, and out on the streets. The marketplaces nowadays are the shopping areas and parks where people gather, but they are also places like the internet, as well as people's living rooms through TV and movies etc.

If we are going to see the world impacted radically for Jesus Christians need to actively be taking the gospel to the lost and reaching and impacting the spheres of influence with the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

By all means, do friendship evangelism - but in order to see real impact we also need to be actively reaching out.

In relation to this it's interesting to see that around the world street preaching seems to be regaining popularity amongst evangelists. We are seeing a new generation of street evangelists preaching on the streets, and taking videos of their preaching and uploading it to the internet - just type in 'street preaching' into YouTube and you'll see what I mean. (Of course some people do it better than others).

Another example of an argument in the Bible is with the Apostle Paul and Barnabas - who had such a sharp disagreement that they parted ways. This is recorded in Acts 15:36-41:

"Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,  but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.  They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,  but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.  He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches."

On another occasion Paul and Peter (also called Cephas) disagreed and argued over to what extent the Gentiles should adopt Jewish customs:

"But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly wrong." (Galatians 2:11)

(For more on this see:

In summary - it's not wrong for Christians to argue when it is done in love and humility - we should boldly preach the gospel and hold fast to the truth of God's Word - but do this with love and in the spirit of Jesus who was both loving and bold.

Further Reading / Research:
(Because of the high importance of this topic it's become a rather long list!)