Posts Tagged ‘Debate’

The Ham/Nye Debate: Why I Don’t Care

February 7, 2014

So why did I not even bother watching the big debate? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Awhile back, I first heard the news about how Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis was going to debate Bill Nye, the Science Guy. I had great frustration as soon as I heard about the debate. On Facebook after the debate, someone in apologetics I know posted asking who won. My pick obviously didn’t win, and that was the meteor shower that should have come through and knocked the satellites broadcasting it out of the sky or else the winter snowstorm that could have cancelled the whole event. I replied that I don’t know who won, but I’m sure the loser was everyone on the planet.

Yet a few people did ask me what I thought about it and wasn’t I excited about this debate. Therefore, I figured I’d write something so that those who want to know my opinion on the whole matter could see what it is and why that I hold it.

As readers know, I am an old-earth creationist. I do not hold hostility towards YEC. My ministry partner is a YEC. More importantly, my wife is a YEC. What I have a problem with is a dogmatic YEC. I in fact have just as much a problem with a dogmatic OEC. Someone is not more or less of a Christian because of their views on the age of the Earth. There are people who love Jesus more than I do who are YEC. There are people who love him more than I do who are OEC.

Having said that, part of the problem those of us who are OEC have to overcome is constantly having it be assumed that if we’re Christians, then that means that we believe in a young Earth and we don’t. Too often, YEC is presented as the biblical model. As readers know, I happen to think John Walton has the right model. My review of his book on the topic can be found here and my interview with him can be found here.

I also have another viewpoint that can be considered different from a number of Christians and that is that I do not consider the question of evolution important to Christian truth. That does not mean the question is unimportant in itself, but if you want to know if Christianity is true or not, you do not need to ask if evolution is true or not. Now if matter is all there is, then of course Christianity is not true, but because evolution is true, it does not necessitate that matter is all that there is.

In my own work, I refuse to speak on evolution as evolution and my reasoning for doing such is quite simple. I am no scientist. If evolution is to be critiqued, I believe it should be critiqued scientifically. I do not possess the necessary study and/or credentials to do that. If I fault the new atheists for speaking on philosophy, history, biblical studies, etc. without proper background and/or study, then I will follow the same pattern.

For those who do wish to critique evolution, there is no reason to bring Scripture into it. The claim of evolution is a scientific claim and if it falls, it will fall on a scientific basis. I have no problem with people critiquing evolution. I hold no position on the matter simply because I could not scientifically defend or deny evolutionary theory. It is the same reason I do not use Craig’s Kalam argument for the origin of the universe. I am not a scientist and it is not my language. I will stick to the metaphysical arguments instead.

So when I see the Ham/Nye debate, I see the perpetuating of a stereotype that I do not want perpetuated. I see it being made as again, science vs. the Bible and if you hold to the Bible, well you have to hold to a young-earth.

When we are trying to get people to become Christians, our goal should not be to get them to a viewpoint on the origins of old creation but rather on new creation. We want to get them to the risen Jesus and not to a 10,000 year old Earth. Suppose that someone believes in evolutionary theory and a 4.5. billion year old Earth, but also believes Jesus is the risen Lord. Such a person is in the Kingdom. No doubt about it.

Now on the other hand, suppose there is someone, perhaps a Jew, who will stand with Ken Ham and say that the Earth is indeed 10,000 years old and macroevolutionary theory is a fairy tale. Suppose also that this person being a Jew and not Messianic denies that Jesus is the risen Lord. Such a person is not in the Kingdom. No doubt about it.

So which one should we be emphasizing and getting people to realize the most? The age of the Earth and a stance on evolution, or should it be that we are getting them to recognize that Jesus is the risen Lord?

What we do too often is tell atheists that if you want to be a Christian, then you must deny what you are certain of by the sciences. What we also do is tell Christians that if you want to be a follower of Christ, you must believe that the Earth is 10,000 years old. Both positions I am sure will keep people away from the Kingdom.

It is my hope not that Christians will embrace evolution as I do not care about that, but that they will realize that it doesn’t matter and the ultimate hope is to realize that Jesus is the risen Lord of the universe. If you are someone who is capable of presenting every argument you can for the Earth being young, but you are unable to make an argument that Jesus is the risen Lord, then you have made a mistake somewhere along the way.

It is because it feeds a debate then that I do not support in any way that I refused to watch the Ham/Nye debate and so far, no one has given me any reason why I should.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Debate Synopsis

September 10, 2013

How do I think last night went? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I had my debate last night with Matthew Ferguson. For those who want to listen to it, a link can be found here. It was certainly an interesting debate and a fast one.

I do think the numerous people who listened in and the many who have given good compliments and good ideas on how I can improve on a performance they already thought was well done. Such is an important aspect of doing any endeavor like this. There will be much time to study and review and look back.

I also will be writing when I get done with the current series that I am on more on the debate as there were several aspects that due to time restraints, I did not get to cover. As is the case with any debate, there are also aspects that need to be explained in a fuller sense and what better forum to do so than on my own personal blog?

In fact, it is one reason that I have not been doing much writing here on the front of the historical Jesus. I have not wanted to share any cards that I had, a number of which I can add the opportunity to use did not come up last night.

Overall, I am pleased with how I did. I really last night cannot think of any persuasive argument that I saw on the other side. As I am expecting, there will be people who will be supporting what I said and people who will be supporting what my opponent said. It is my hope that this will in fact inspire people on both sides to do further research into the subject matter.

My approach is also a unique one and I plan to hammer it out further in my future in working on my Master’s at North West and then eventually a PH.D.. My argument has a minimal facts approach, but I much more prefer as well to look at the idea of Jesus from a social science perspective in the climate of an honor-shame society. (As we’ll see later, this is why a comparison to Mormonism really misses the mark.)

Many people spoke to me afterwards about how this by and large depended on Carrier’s arguments. Yes. That will be looked at as well as we move further along. My thanks does still extend to everyone who was a part of the endeavor as well. I also realize this could be the first debate of many. It might be that there will be a round two perhaps three or four years or so down the line. If we both continue on our studies, I do not doubt that our paths will cross again.

So when I get done with my series on sexual ethics, readers can expect that I will be coming back to this and devoting more time to subjects I’ve been wanting to write about for the past couple of months anyway. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Debate 9/9/2013

September 9, 2013

What’s coming up today on Deeper Waters? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

It’s not so much what’s coming up today, but what is coming up tonight? Tonight I have a teleconference debate with Matthew Ferguson of Adversus Apologetica. Ferguson is pretty popular amongst internet skeptics and definitely is highly impressed with Richard Carrier.

This makes the whole situation far more interesting in my opinion. Whereas I think Ferguson sees himself as following in the footsteps of Carrier, I see myself as following in the footsteps of Mike Licona. As those who keep up with debates will know, Carrier and Licona have had their debates as well so this is in a way a look at what those next in line could have to say.

The topic will be if it’s reasonable or not to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. (In case you’re keeping score at home, I will be arguing that yes, it is.) Ferguson and I did have some back and forth with blog posts, but I have declined to write more on the topic of what we were discussing because simply being one who grew up a good gamer, and still has proficiency in that area, (Something my wife laments every time we try to play a Mario game together) I prefer to not play all my cards at once.

The past couple of months have been time spent with much interacting with podcasts and reading the works of highly credentialed scholars. I believe that this research will be more than sufficient to help me establish a strong case tonight.

I ask that my readers of this blog be listening and praying for me as well. If you can’t listen for some reason now, there will be a way to listen later as it is being recorded. In either case, please do be in prayer. As far as I’m concerned, this is also about spreading the Kingdom of God and presenting the reasonableness of the Christian faith to those who might be open.

It is my hopes that at least one person would be open to consider the evidence and give it another look tonight. At the same time, I want them to take a good look before they sign on the dotted line. I have often said that I do not want to go out into the world and make converts. Jesus never told us to do that. I want to make disciples. Disciples will follow a Luke 14 pattern and count the cost first and decide if they think Jesus is worth a lifelong commitment or not.

Anyway, here is what you can find on the Facebook page for the debate.

“Is there historical evidence that Jesus was resurrected from the dead? Based on what is available to us, is there more reason to believe in the resurrection or to doubt it? Matthew will be affirming the position: “It is more reasonable to doubt that Jesus resurrected from the dead.” And Nick will be affirming the position: “It is more reasonable to believe that Jesus resurrected from the dead.”

The debate is being sponsored by the UCI Secular Student Alliance and the UCI Ratio Christi chapter. Neither club is endorsing a particular candidate’s position.

Listen live via teleconference: 1.559.546.1301 access code: 116676#

Matthew is a Ph.D. graduate student in Classics at the University of California, Irvine. His research interests include Greek and Latin historiography, ancient biography, and the Early Roman Empire. In addition to his graduate work, Matthew runs a blog named Celsus (located at the URL adversusapologetica.wordpress.com), where he writes about issues of philosophy and early Christianity from an atheist and naturalist perspective. Matthew has written several posts on Celsus about the resurrection of Jesus, which range in their content from the problem of miracles and the historical method, Jesus’ empty tomb, and natural explanations for the origins of Christianity.

Nick Peters is a graduate of Johnson University preparing to study at North West University in South Africa to earn his Master’s in NT. He runs the blog Deeper Waters, (located at the URL DeeperWaters.wordpress.com) and hosts the Deeper Waters Podcast through BlogTalkRadio. A diagnosed Aspie, he and his wife Allie, also an Aspie, reside in Corryton and have been married for over three years. They have one cat named Shiro.”

The debate starts at 7 PM EST and will last for two hours.

I thank everyone who has helped me in preparation for this debate. I also want to thank everyone who has supported me along the way too and took the time to answer questions that I’ve had through all my years of studying. I want to thank my family for their support to me and I definitely want to thank my loving wife Allie for being the encourager who is always my biggest cheerleader.

And last of all and most important, thanks to my God who has allowed me to serve in His Kingdom, something that is both honoring and humbling. May tonight’s performance glorify Him and not me.

The link to the Facebook page can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters