If you are interested in me speaking at your church or youth group, click on the Endorsements & Speaking page, look through the speaking topics or suggest your own, and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to help in any way I can. God bless!
Ryan Pauly is the founder and president of Think Well. He speaks around the country, hosts conversations on YouTube, and teaches Historical Christian Doctrine and Apologetics, Comparative Religions and Worldviews, and Philosophy of Ethics at a Southern California High School. He is field guide for the MAVEN immersive experiences and is a Stand to Reason affiliate. Ryan holds a Master's degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University, a certificate in science apologetics from the Reasons Institute, and is working on his doctorate in ministry from Talbot School of Theology. Ryan discusses a wide range of apologetics and cultural issues relating to students through writing, videos, speaking, podcast, and radio.
September 22, 2017 at 7:40 am
@1:05: “Do they actually think this God exists?” – Irrelevant question to your point. Either they do and they are trying to understand God or they don’t and they’re trying to understand you or show you’re wrong. If they don’t believe God exists, they are stepping into your worldview (one where God DOES exist) to make a point or understand further. Like a proof by contradiction.
@1:15: You move into “Why is killing people wrong?” – From a secular perspective, this is easily answered with empathy and compassion. But again, this is off point. The question is posed from a Christian worldview. Christians think killing is wrong. So why does God get to do it? And does it change anything if he’s loving?
@1:40: Ethical relativism, morality changes from person to person, consistent with atheist worldview. – In one sense, I agree. From the average Christian’s point of view and most apologists, if morality is not absolute, it’s relative. But I think this oversimplifies the distinction and leaves the listener with a false understanding. As with “meaning”, the difference is really absolute (or ultimate) vs. temporal. Take a course on secular morality. I realize yours was a short answer to a complicated question but this type of relativism is a poor representation of the morality of a thoughtful atheist. A good apologist will attack the stronger argument. It also doesn’t address the fact that God’s laws appear to be relative. One set in the OT for one people at one time. A different set for everyone else and for a later time.
@2:20: “Our culture doesn’t like murder today.” You discuss trying to get their view of morality – Again, this is irrelevant to the point. Christians say killing is wrong yet God not only does it but orders it. And he does this in the face of being called a loving God. That is the point.
@2:40: Why are you upset that God killed a couple of people? Let’s make the objection even stronger: What about Noah’s flood? – This doesn’t make the objection stronger. If God only ever killed one person for (what you’ll say in a moment) evil behavior, that is enough to accuse him. Simply adding bodies to this changes nothing. However, adding innocents to the equation (like babies alive at the time of the flood) would make a difference because then you have to come up with new “just so” stories to justify that.
@3:08: If God is loving he would get rid of all evil. – I would never argue something like this. It’s not up to me (atheists) to say what your God would do. You make the claim (“God is loving and the Bible says he killed some people.”). It’s your responsibility to explain this.
@3:30: Do you want him to end evil or let it flourish? – It’s not what I want. What does God want? Because he does both. You’ve already pointed out that God punishes evil. (Not only in the OT, by the way. I’m sure you’re aware of Annanias and Saphira.) He also allows evil to flourish (Psalm 73:11-14, Romans 1:24). So if your explanation for God’s homicidal tendencies is punishing evil, the question becomes why does God punish in some cases and not others? The typical answer is “It’s a mystery that maybe God will reveal to us later. He ways are beyond our ways.” If that’s your answer, that’s a copout and no explanation at all.
This is not my best response but I have to move on. Though I’m happy to expand/clarify points as I’m sure you would for such a short response to a big question.
September 25, 2017 at 10:13 pm
Hey Chip! Thanks again for your comment. I actually want to give you a detailed response to your message, so I have decided to record a podcast and address each of your points. I will make sure and notify you when it is posted.
September 26, 2017 at 1:31 pm
Cool. I offer my time for clarification of anything I’ve said, especially on topics like secular morality or ethical relativism where I don’t think you’re representation of non-Christian views is accurate. Feel free to contact me by email. I could provide a phone number also if you want to chat.
October 19, 2017 at 10:41 am
What’s your email?
October 19, 2017 at 9:35 am
Could I please get notified as well Ryan when you post your podcast reply. Thanks.
October 19, 2017 at 10:40 am
Here is my response. https://coffeehousequestions.com/2017/10/08/reader-response-how-can-god-be-loving-and-command-killings/