In terms of prophets:
The Bible identifies ten female prophets in the Old and New Testaments: Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Noadiah, Isaiah’s wife, Anna, and the four daughters of Philip. In addition, women like Rachel, Hannah, Abigail, Elisabeth, and Mary are described as having prophetic visions about the future of their children, the destiny of nations, and the coming Messiah.
Here are three excellent posts on women leadership in the church and there are others:
Also I would suggest looking here
Here are a couple articles on Biblical reasons for suffering (its mostly just Bible verses):
* Bible verses and suffering–25 Reasons for Suffering (link)
* Bible verses and suffering (link)
We are spiritual beings, not just skin and bones. Marriages would not endure beyond 7 years if all we were were just chemistry or just physics.
Love, marriages, and relationships work best when there is mutual sacrifice, not when people treat each other as pleasure devices or objects. Objectification and dehumanization undermine relationships–they are a cancer and poison to relationships.
No one would will they had a hyper-utilitarian (aka bean counter) as a husband or wife. Relationships are deeper, more meaningful, and more complex.
Arguments of skeptics are reductive. They only tell part of the story. That’s why they feel like they are true, but they are ultimately strawperons given that they don’t tell the whole story.
Skepticism and rationalism misunderstand humanity at a cellular level. We are certainly rational beings, but we are soooooo much more. Humans are fundamentally communal and relational. We are more than the strictly utilitarian and rational.
Its only by using the utilitarian in addition to the ethical that we come to fully know ethics. The utilitarian leaves out virtues which are critical to our humanity.
Pure utilitarianism fails as an ethical system. Act-utilitarianism failed. I’m not sure anyone claims to be a Benthamite. Rule-utilitarianism provides a better basis for ethics than pure utilitarianism.
When we follow ANY virtue for God and experience the value of the virtue, we’ve learned more fully to lean on faith and walk more fully in the model of Jesus. Gratitude, courage, sacrifice, service, loving, encouraging, and living with joy all are separate arguments–experiential arguments for God. I would rather live in the values than their opposites. The value of the character and virtue development is a manifestation and proof of divinity in the world.
The experience of the transcendant and the ideal is best understood and experienced–its left behind when we try to be bean counters or rationally slide and dice all types of problems rather than understanding the limits of rationality in terms of the types of problems its amenable to. Love and relationships aren’t always subject to the rational.
Bifurcating rationality and emotion leads to marital dead end. Its also why emotional intelligence as a value set has never fully been valued by individuals or cultures. People live in different lives with different challenges, when we deal in one on one relationships we have to take those issues into account. We can’t objectively lop those differences off in an attempt to re-make them in the image of and idealized and mythical “rational man.” Similarly human relationships are messy. Humans are messy. Emotions are messy. However, attempting to say all emotions don’t matter or should otherwise be suppressed is a dead end. We would all live an existence like Shedon….Spock……or worse robots. We would only talk to people when they could do something for us–not just because they are human and deal with human achievements and sufferings. They experience highs and lows just we do. They have feelings just like we do.
Living in the real world we never have 100% proof or evidence or much of what we do. We are individuals. We can use science to assist us and its quite good at that in some instances. But we don’t have millions of dollars to run scientific experiments on our lives. Not to mention it would be impossible, because we only live one life. In light of that, taking risks and experiential learning is the basis of progress and evolution–not to mention basic existence of humans in society.
Stories fit the human experience better than utilitarian. Stories explain why suffering is good, because in the long run it builds us into better humans. Suffering causes us to be more empathetic and understanding. Suffering brings communities together to relate and share. Suffering causes us to remember we are dependent on God and not actually just mythical individualists we suppose ourselves to be. The development of self-control and discipline can help us inspire those values in others. Heaven beats hell when it comes to suffering. Also, celebrating eternally in heaven beats suffering eternally in hell.
What is the Proof?
Ok…the implicit premise of this question is pretty dubious.
The Bible itself is full of proof and speaks to the issue of evidence.
Have you ever been in a library of theology. At a decent sized university thats probably upwards of 50,000 volumes of philosophical, theological, and other arguments for faith.
So the polarization of rationality and faith into two radically different camps is simply not true.
That is to misunderstand the role faith plays in our relationships in terms of trust.
If you claim there is no evidence…..the actual evidence that does exist cries out for an answer. You’ve simply ignored existing evidence. That proves absolutely nothing except that you haven’t fully investigated the question.
Have you read any Alister McGrath?
Have you read any CS Lewis?
Have you read any William Craig?
Have you read any Paul Copan?
Have you read any John Lennox?
Have you read any David Hart Bentley?
Have you read any Frank Turek?
Have you read any Ravi Zacharias?
Have you read any Tim Keller?
Have you read any NT Wright?
If you can’t say yes in each case….you haven’t given Christianity a full attempt at a hearing. A judge at a case can’t just ignore the evidence that is out there.
There are answers out there…..you just have to seek them.
There is proof out there….you just have to find them.
You looking in the wrong places for proof of Christianity doesn’t really prove there is no proof. Its just an assertion in the face of massive proof in the other direction.
They have developed in depth case for Christianity and living by the principles of the Bible. The problem people don’t fully realize is the Bible isn’t just a text….its a Living Text. Its something that can breathe energy, vitality, and strength into our lives. It helps us to see life dimensionally in ways that we never have before.
Why Seek Truth?
Truth-seeking is about finding answers–its not about finding answers that satisfy our ego, in the way that “do whatever you want” might. On the contrary, we have to take an honest look at the issues, arguments, and values involved.
I would also suggest that truthseekers, people who are genuinely interested i truth and interested in living in truth in their life would want to seek deeper and richers answers. Why are we here? Why am I here? These aren’t questions that atheism, skepticism, or scientific naturalism can fully answer. Its answers come up fundamentally short in the same ways its answers in terms of consciousness, choice, identity, and subjectivity come up fundamentally short.
For me, thats not enough. I want something more. I want deeper answers. If you’re willing to have skin deep physcialist answers–that suggests a very thin and narrow form of truth seeking. You’ve over-simplified the universe and you’ve over simplified the human experience. Human life is so much richer and deeper. Love is so much more than chemicals. A world of just physics and chemistry would be one that most people wouldn’t choose to live. Our current existence–the way we live–makes so much more sense.
Sure, you can strawperson faith till the cows come home. You can do the same with any way of thinking. That’s how strawpersons work. They aren’t honest. They don’t look at the argument or way to thinking on their own terms. They are an easy way out.
You can certainly say…….that the proof isn’t out there….but that doesn’t change the facts that it is. There is rational, logical, and philosophical proof for Christianity.
For more on this….for more truth….I suggest reading various proofs here:
Nathan Ketsdever’s answer to Besides faith, what reasons do you have for believing or not believing in a higher power?
But….thats just a start. To declare something….one has to actually have more than just a cursory exposure. One has to find out about Democrats by listening to more than Republicans. One has to find out about Republicans by listening to more then Democrats.
Don’t waste your life….with half-truthes. Don’t waste your life with half-answers. Don’t waste your life by pursuing the wrong goals or with the wrong assumptions.
Makes the public more public….and the private more private
Does provide an opportunity to make the private public…
“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again and again, because I need to be reminded myself: Christianity is not first and foremost about our behavior, our obedience, our response, and our daily victory over sin. It is first and foremost about Jesus! It is about His person; His substitutionary work; His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return. We are justified— and sanctified— by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone. Even now, the banner under which Christians live reads, “It is finished.” Everything we need, and everything we look for in things smaller than Jesus, is already ours in Christ.”
From Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchjividian
The charge that references to the Bible are circular is one that is made in debates over apologetics. I think when you look at the facts, however, the charge really falls short.
First, the logical fallacy itself is directed toward an argument not the use the use of a book. This means that the notion of circularity is being stretched beyond what the original fallacy is for.
Second, arguments come in all shapes and sizes. Grouping them together like this is a bit dubious. Kind of an over-generalization fallacy.
Third, this mal-adaption of this fallacy misunderstands the fundamental nature of the Bible. The Bible is 66 books combined, not one book. In this way, the other 65 books check back against the risk of circularity as understood in this acussation.
Fourth, this simply doesn’t make sense. For instance, if I read that running improves health or I have a friend recommend that I run because it improves health–I test that out in my own life. There is an ultimate empiricism to many of the recommendations of the Bible. As such, the idea of supposed circularity can be “solved” by testing the principles of the Fruits of the Spirit both personally and therefore empirically, but also historically and culturally.
Fifth, there are lots of arguments–for instance the Historical Jesus which go outside the text to other verifications. Every apologist book I’ve read, at least that I can remember includes
1) logical and philosophical reasoning
2) citation of other scholarly works
Both of those are legitimate ways of finding truth that avoid circularity.
Sixth, the use of the Bible is often for purposes of definition and clarification. For instance, what do Christians stand for? What do Christians believe? What are Christian values? Well, getting that information from “the horses mouth” makes a lot of rational sense. For instance, using the Fruits of the Spirit here in Galatians to determine what some of the core principles of Christian are.
Seventh, in practice this means that all autobiographies are circular and shouldn’t be trusted. This is surely a dubious standard.
Eighth, this notion isn’t used in our legal courts. People get to testify in cases about themselves. They don’t just throw out the evidence. If you threw out the evidence–thats a net worse standard of evidence.
Ninth, it neglects part of the nature of historical documents, particularly in relation to oral history. We have a limited number of documents from that period. Moreover, the Bible passes the historical documents test thats grounded in the work in antiquities and history. That should be more than enough. To reject it out of hand smacks of bias and discrimination rather than fairness, logic, and rationality–and even consistency.
Tenth, Christian apologists aren’t limited to the Bible as their only source of proof. They can use other documents, experience, histories, reason, and evidence from other disciplines like archeology (for instance this)
Finally, I’ve written about this supposeded fallacy before. You can read that article here if you like to learn more why this accussation of circularity of Biblical reference simply isn’t true.
I think when you look at the case for the Historical Jesus and avoid this accussation–you find a better way toward Truth.
More Christian Apologists Resources on the Historical Jesus Question: