Christianity—Is It Really True?

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In this book, veteran Pepperdine University professor of theology Ron Highfield makes the case for the truth of Christianity and defends it from attack. But so do many other books. Why do we need another? Because there are also plenty of books that deny Christianity’s truth, attack it in new ways and from almost every conceivable angle! Hence the work of Christian evidences and apologetics is never done. Christian truth does not change, but contemporary culture and thought change almost daily. To communicate effectively with our contemporaries we must listen to them, come to understand their most basic beliefs and values and learn how to explain Christian faith to them in ways they can understand. This task is not easy to accomplish, and there is no shortage of failed attempts. Indeed, the Christian cause suffers almost as much from its friends as it does from its enemies. Many efforts to support and defend Christianity have done as much damage as good and created as much doubt as confidence in the Christian faith. Some arguments for Christianity overstate their case and understate the force of objections. Others try to prove too many things. Good thinkers from the time of Socrates until today know that making bad arguments in favor of a good cause is worse than silence. This book is full of good arguments.


Table of Contents

Preface……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1

PART ONE The Rules for a Christian………………………………………………………… 5

1 Understanding the Question…………………………………………………………………… 7

2 Pursuing a Huge Question……………………………………………………………………. 11

3 Which “Christianity” Is True?………………………………………………………………….. 13

4 What Is “Truth” Anyway?……………………………………………………………………….. 17

5 Who Bears the Burden of Proof?……………………………………………………………. 21

6 Christian Belief: Knowledge, Faith, Opinion or
Just Wishful Thinking?…………………………………………………………………….. 25

7 Is Christian Belief a Decision or a Conclusion?………………………………………… 29

PART TWO  Four Decision Points…………………………………………………………… 33

8 The Primal Choice: Dead Matter or Living Mind…………………………………….. 35

9 The Miracle of Atheism: Turning Matter into Mind………………………………….. 39

10 Atheism’s Leap of Faith………………………………………………………………………… 43

11 God, Matter and Other Minds……………………………………………………………… 47

12 Time for Decision…………………………………………………………………………………. 51

13 Is God or Humanity the Supreme Being?……………………………………………. 55

14 An Impersonal God?…………………………………………………………………………… 59

15 “I’m Spiritual but Not Religious”………………………………………………………….. 63

16 Is God the Mind and Conscience of Nature?………………………………………… 67

17 The Limits of Reason and Divine Revelation…………………………………………. 71

18 Who Is God? Is There a Way to Know?…………………………………………………. 75

19 Christian Faith: Outsider Versus Insider Views…………………………………….. 79

20 Moving into Faith—Rational and Responsible?…………………………………….. 83

21 The Resurrection of Jesus: The Event that Changes Everything…………….. 87

22 The Resurrection of Jesus: What It Means…………………………………………….. 91

23 “Who Is This?” The Resurrection of Jesus as the Answer………………………… 95

24 The Damascus Road Revelation and Paul’s Gospel………………………………. 99

25 The Case for the Resurrection: Some Advice for Apologists…………………. 103

26 Jesus Is Risen—History’s Probability and Love’s Certainty!………………….. 107

27 “This I Know, For the Bible Tells Me So”……………………………………………… 111

28 Making Sense of Christianity’s Many Teachings…………………………………. 115

29 What About the Bible? An Autobiographical Reflection……………………… 119

30 The Decision That Makes a Thousand Unanswered
Questions Superfluous (Or at Least Not So Urgent)………………………… 123

PART THREE From Evidences to Apologetics…………………………………….. 127

31 No, My Friends, Christianity Is Not for Everyone…………………………………. 129

32 Is Christianity an Investment Strategy or Decisive Act?……………………….. 131

33 Those Arrogant, Obnoxious Christians!……………………………………………… 135

34 “Why Hasn’t Jesus Returned?”…………………………………………………………. 139

35 When Is “Evil” Truly Evil?…………………………………………………………………… 143

36 Does the Presence of Evil Prove There Is No God?………………………………. 147

37 Evil Is Not a Thing!…………………………………………………………………………….. 151

38 The Real Problem of Evil……………………………………………………………………. 155

39 The Rhetorical Argument from Evil…………………………………………………….. 159

40 Can Science Show There Is No God?…………………………………………………. 163

41 God Is Not Just a Mathematician!………………………………………………………. 167

42 Creation or Big Bang?………………………………………………………………………. 171

43 Does Evolution of The Species Defeat Christian Belief?……………………….. 175

44 Is Christianity Morally Offensive?……………………………………………………….. 181

45 The Sins of Christians: Evidence for Christianity’s Immorality?……………. 183

46 Abortion, Gender, and Same-Sex Unions:
How to Talk about Them and How Not…………………………………………….. 187

47 “Liberal Christianity”—Neither Liberal nor Christian!………………………….. 195

48 Why I Find “Liberal Christianity” So Boring………………………………………. 201

BIBLIOGRAPHY  209


Endorsements

”This book carefully approaches the points related to Christianity as if talking to a non-believer who is will to discuss but also deeply committed to his side. It is very solid foundation for good discussions.”

—Carolyn Smith

 ”I appreciated the author’s approach to the question of the validity of Christianity. The chapters are short and well organized under three major headings…The heart of his argument, is indeed the heartbeat of Christianity: the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. In fact, I found his arguments so compelling I used them as a spring board to a sermon on dealing with doubts. He helped me understand that faith is based on second-hand information, or in other words: we are dependent upon others who claim to have first hand knowledge..”

—Byron Fike


About the Author

Ron Highfield (PhD, Rice University) is Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University, Malibu, California. He is the author of Great is the Lord: Theology for the Praise of God (Eerdmans, 2008), God, Freedom & Human Dignity: Embracing a God-Centered Identity in a Me-Centured Culture (Intervarsity Press, 2013), The Faithful Creator: Affirming Creation and Providence in an Age of Anxiety (Intervarsity Press, 2015), Four Views on Women and Church Leadership, and a contributor to Four Views on Divine Providence (Zondervan, 2011).


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