Former Skeptic: Understanding Apologetics was a Turning Point

Here’s another exclusive guest post from one of my undergraduate Apologetics students. Cameron Thorn is a junior at William Jessup University in Rocklin, CA who says that understanding apologetics was turning point in his life. Like fellow classmate, Corrine Hudson, Cameron was excited by the things we discussed last semester. See why this former skeptic now sees Christian apologetics playing a key role in his future goals.

A Turning Point

When I heard about defending the Christian faith using apologetics, my initial concern was I never wanted to be pushy or make people believe what I believe; I just desire for them to know the truth. However, after beginning a course in apologetics with Professor Del Rosario, I found that my original ideas of apologetics were false. Understanding apologetics has actually become a turning point in my life and I’m thankful for the scholars who so passionately and effectively defend the truth of Christianity.

The Truth is Out There

One of the major obstacles to a relationship with God that skeptics face is if God exists, why He doesn’t make himself evident. That was one of the major barriers I previously faced. I wondered, if God existed, why His presence never seemed apparent. Why would He allow certain circumstances to take place? Why would He allow evil and suffering to exist? Those are just a few of the questions I pondered. But I never considered searching for the answers myself.

I’m not sure exactly when, but I realized that without searching for the answers myself, I was left to believe what others told me about truth of God. This began my journey for certainty, and what I found was that the Truth is out there if you are willing to put in the time to search. Through taking a course in apologetics with Mikel Del Rosario, God has allowed me to understand the answers to my questions.

Apologetics is Necessary

I now believe that apologetics is a necessity for not only believers, but also a person who is wavering in a firm belief in an ultimate Creator. After assessing the undeniable proof for the existence of God, I was completely surprised by the depth and breadth of the case for Christianity. Taking a course in apologetics will dissolve any uncertainty or doubt that a person might have. Understanding logical reasoning and philosophy will better equip all believers in their daily interactions.

Although some of the philosophical aspects of apologetics can be complex, Mikel made understanding the basic arguments easy to utilize and understand. It has been a blessing to learn under Mikel, and I’m looking forward to any course available with him in the future.

Take the Course: A fully-accredited, 7-week version of this class is now available online! About the class →.

My Life’s Goal

Today, my life’s goal is to do my part in helping others get answers to the questions that are blocking them in their spiritual journey toward Christ, and I plan on furthering my apologetics education at seminary.

About Cameron

Cameron is a junior at William Jessup University majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Bible and Theology.

Required Reading

William Lane Craig’s On Guard is the main text for my Apologetics class at William Jessup University. It’s logical, clear, has argument charts, and even pictures! Craig builds a positive case for God that’s strong enough to refute objections, too. It’s a great introduction to arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil, the person of Jesus, the resurrection and a Christian response to religious pluralism. College students love this!

Look inside this book on Amazon.com

17 Responses to “Former Skeptic: Understanding Apologetics was a Turning Point”

  1. Rick Schenker January 3, 2012 11:50 AM
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    Wonderful testimony Cameron! I put this on my facebook, and plan to get your testimony in front of a number of students.

    Thanks for posting this Mikel!

  2. Boz January 3, 2012 5:26 PM
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    Cameron Thorn said: “One of the major obstacles to a relationship with God that skeptics face is if God exists, why He doesn’t make himself evident. That was one of the major barriers I previously faced. I wondered, if God existed, why His presence never seemed apparent. Why would He allow certain circumstances to take place? Why would He allow evil and suffering to exist? Those are just a few of the questions I pondered. But I never considered searching for the answers myself.

    God has allowed me to understand the answers to my questions.”

    So Cameron, what are the answers to those questions?

  3. Taber's Truths Christian Blog January 3, 2012 6:32 PM
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    Boz, have you considered taking Cameron’s advice and seek those answers for yourself? Why ask him for the answers? You are obviously intelligent enough to figure it out. Just sayin. :)

  4. Bryan January 3, 2012 6:33 PM
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    Thanks for encouraging us all to delve deeper into apologetics. We need to all be ready to give reasons for what we believe and why! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Austin January 3, 2012 8:38 PM
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    Thanks for sharing your story Cameron! Praise God for the work he has done in your life!

  6. Apologetics Guy January 3, 2012 9:45 PM
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    Thanks for your comments, Rick. I’m excited that you’re sharing this story with more college students!

  7. Korky January 4, 2012 3:01 AM
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    Apologetics is a stale discipline that hasn’t really come up with something new since Aquinas.

    People are leaving religions in droves partly because of this very reason.

    *Everything* apologetics comes down to is: “It’s written in this book” or “Invisible people talk to me”.

    Smart people shouldn’t be convinced so easily by that.

  8. A.Marie January 4, 2012 8:19 AM
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    Boz, you posed this question, “So Cameron, what are the answers to those questions?”

    Some questions aren’t meant to have an answer, just as some questions can’t be answered unless you, the person asking, seeks it for himself.

  9. Eric Burton January 8, 2012 2:47 AM
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    What’s interesting is that I had almost exactly the opposite experience that Cameron had. I started out a believer, was very into apologetics, and realized that what I had believed my entire life might not actually be true. Once I got to a place where I could be intellectually honest with myself, and actually have an open mind (as opposed to what I was doing, which was simply looking for reasons to believe what I already believed), I saw that the case for christianity wasn’t actually as impressive as I once thought.

    But that’s just my experience. Trying to use that as proof of something seems silly.

  10. Lisa January 8, 2012 7:10 AM
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    Great Testimony Cameron! Thank you for sharing!!

  11. Korky January 11, 2012 7:36 AM
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    How Christians succeed at apologetics: censorship and keeping discussion limited to other Christians.

    Sad.

  12. Apologetics Guy January 11, 2012 8:39 AM
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    Hey, Korky. I’ve had some trouble with my commenting system. Just ask Eric Burton over at the Doubting Eric blog. But the good news is I finally got your comments to go live.

    Saying that:
    //*Everything* apologetics comes down to is: “It’s written in this book” or “Invisible people talk to me”.//

    Tells me you might not have read philosophers like William Lane Craig (who wrote the required text mentioned in this post). Did you catch his debate with Sam Harris at Notre Dame? You might also check out some of Gary Habermas’ works for a historical approach to apologetics.

  13. Eric Burton January 15, 2012 1:27 AM
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    Hope this comment actually shows up!

    I was wondering if you (Mikel) could recommend to me, a non-believer, a good apologetics book that would be geared to the unbeliever. Not something for christians, but something that is meant to convince those that have no belief.

    Also, I am looking for something not necessarily as simple as say, “The Case for Christ,” but maybe something a bit more advanced. I used to read these apologetics books all the time, but I don’t know what is really good anymore.

    My position is that I don’t have any good reason to think that God exists, or christianity is true, etc, but I should be testing that!

    Thanks in advance.

  14. Nathaniel January 15, 2012 12:36 PM
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    Boz posted a legitimate question: what are the answers that the author of the article found that turned him around? But the responses he received are rather absurd:

    “Boz, have you considered taking Cameron’s advice and seek those answers for yourself? Why ask him for the answers?”

    “Boz, you posed this question, “So Cameron, what are the answers to those questions?”
    Some questions aren’t meant to have an answer, just as some questions can’t be answered unless you, the person asking, seeks it for himself.”

    The reason these responses are absurd is because if someone actually knows the truth about something, he/she should be able to show it. You can’t claim to know the truth and, when someone asks you what it is, say “look for yourself” and be taken seriously. You don’t know something unless you can show it. And the sentiment “some questions aren’t meant to have an answer” seems like a cheap, ignorant cop-out, the sort of mentality that someone who has no interest in searching for truth might say.

    • Apologetics Guy January 15, 2012 1:34 PM
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      Hi, Nathaniel. This is Cameron’s guest post, and he hasn’t chosen to engage with the comments while he’s been out during the semester break. I don’t mind rational discussion of the issues, but please watch your tone. Eric from http://doubtingeric.blogspot.com/ and Louis from http://enchantednaturalist.com have given us good examples of civil discussion on my blog. Do you have a blog? If so, please list your link on your next comment. I’d love see where you’re coming from.

  15. Apologetics Guy January 15, 2012 1:51 PM
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    Hi, Eric. Thanks for your note. I appreciate your transparency, and I would be happy to recommend a couple of texts to you. Since I don’t really know you, I don’t know how good of a job I’ll do at suggesting something that hits your exact area of interest.

    But first, a little caveat: Even though I believe the arguments for Christian theism are sound, I also know persuasion is person-relative. The other thing is, I believe the process of considering Christian truth claims is also a spiritual thing. It’s not merely a rational thing when it comes to making a life-commitment to Jesus. Still, I don’t believe you need to surrender control of your life to Jesus in order to understand the arguments, assent to the historical facts about Jesus or even believe that Christianity is true.

    BTW, I just followed you on Twitter and noticed you already follow @Biolapologetics, @PaulCopan, @WilliamDembski, and others.

    Have you read Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig? It’s a philosophical book that can get a bit technical, but I don’t think you’ll have a problem with it. Another one I’ll recommend is The God Question by J.P. Moreland.This one’s less technical and it’s meant to be more personal than textbook-like. Check them out on Amazon and see if one of these seem to fit the bill for what you’re looking for.

    Let me know what you think. I’m happy to try again if these aren’t quite what you were looking for. Thanks, Eric.

  16. Eric Burton January 15, 2012 2:49 PM
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    Ok, thanks. I wasn’t sure if Craig’s book was written for the believer or non-believer, since I am looking for something that aims to convince. If that describes Reasonable Faith, sounds good to me, since I am still somewhat of a “fan” of Dr. Craig.

    What do you think of Groothuis’ new book, “Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith”? Does that sound like what I am looking for?

    I agree with what you said about personal persuasion. In fact, I was thinking about how it related to Cameron’s story (and countless others’ on all sides of the question of faith). It seems to me that the sort of evidence that will convince someone of one thing or another may not be considered good evidence at all by someone else. Some people are predisposed to believe in supernatural claims (perhaps), and may be convinced by things that someone else would laugh off as unconvincing.

    I notice this in my interaction with believers, and it varies considerably within that scope. If you ask 10 christians why they believe, likely you will get 10 different answers. And depending on their background, you will judge some of those reasons to be less convincing than the others. It would be interesting to ask these 10 christians what sort of evidence might convince them to stop believing. I would bet very few would show the same “leniency” toward anti-faith evidence that many of them did for the original pro-faith evidence that got them there in the first place. But I have to consider that the same can be said for most of the population, believers and non-believers, about all sorts of issues. Perhaps it is something about our brain that makes us want to hold on to a belief once we have it, and makes it hard to change our minds. Who knows?

    Regardless, I am not immune to this phenomenon. In fact, that is partly why I am here on this site. I need a challenge. I only know of one person who I interact with on a regular basis who enjoys christian apologetics, and we rarely get a chance to really talk about it. Rather than stay in my vacuum of non-belief books, thoughts, and websites, I want to make sure (as much as I can) that I am not just going from one sort of faith (christianity) to another (Atheism). Hopefully, that is critical thinking.