Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Palm Sunday Bombings: Are Coptic Christians Islamophobes?

On April 9th, 2017, ISIS-linked jihadis bombed Coptic Christians at St. George's Church and St. Mark's Cathedral in Egypt. Since these attacks have been going on for centuries, and since the attacks are promoted in the Qur'an and the Hadith, are Copts irrational for being concerned about Islam?

Apologetics Academy: Easter Special Edition, This Coming Friday

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Join me for a special edition of the Apologetics Academy this coming Friday evening @ 8pm GMT / 3pm EST / 2pm CST / 12noon PST as we explore together the historical evidence for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The speaker will be me, Jonathan McLatchie.

Participants can engage the speaker using live audio and video, submit questions anonymously, participate in the chatbox, or simply watch and listen anonymously.

Here is the link to join the webinar:


Clicking the URL will immediately prompt you to download the Zoom webinar platform we use (if you have not already done so). This should only take a minute or two. You will then be automatically connected to our webinar room.

For the full schedule of upcoming webinars (which are normally on Saturdays), see this page.

If you want to help to keep these webinars going (and also free for participants), do consider making a donation via my website, by going to this page.

Geographical Coincidences in Scripture: Mount Hermon

In previous posts, I have been surveying some examples of undesigned coincidences in the Old Testament Scriptures (see here, here, here and here), and discussing their value in corroborating aspects of Biblical history. In this post, I want to introduce a geographical coincidence in Scripture.

Let us turn to Deuteronomy 3:1-9, which narrates Israel's defeat of Og, the king of Bashan:
"Then we turned and went up the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 2 But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have given him and all his people and his land into your hand. And you shall do to him as you did to Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.’ 3 So the Lord our God gave into our hand Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people, and we struck him down until he had no survivor left. 4 And we took all his cities at that time—there was not a city that we did not take from them—sixty cities, the whole region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. 5 All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides very many unwalled villages. 6 And we devoted them to destruction, as we did to Sihon the king of Heshbon, devoting to destruction every city, men, women, and children. 7 But all the livestock and the spoil of the cities we took as our plunder. 8 So we took the land at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, from the Valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon 9 (the Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, while the Amorites call it Senir)..."
Take careful note of verse 9, in which an incidental mention is made in passing of a certain Mount Hermon, which, we are told, is called Sirion by the Sidonians. This is a curious fact to mention, because Mount Hermon is very far away from Sidon. In fact, it doesn't even appear to have belonged to Sidon, but to the king of Bashan.

Let's flip over to Judges 18:1-7:
"In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the people of Dan was seeking for itself an inheritance to dwell in, for until then no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them. 2 So the people of Dan sent five able men from the whole number of their tribe, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to explore it. And they said to them, “Go and explore the land.” And they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. 3 When they were by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. And they turned aside and said to him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?” 4 And he said to them, “This is how Micah dealt with me: he has hired me, and I have become his priest.” 5 And they said to him, “Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether the journey on which we are setting out will succeed.” 6 And the priest said to them, “Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the Lord.” 7 Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were there, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting, lacking nothing that is in the earth and possessing wealth, and how they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone."
Following the conquest of this city by Israel, its name is changed from Laish to Dan.

Pay careful attention to verse 7, in which we learn that the people of Laish lived "after the manner of the Sidonians." This suggests that this city, in early times, in fact belonged to Sidon and was most likely inhabited by Sidonians.

Now, let's put the pieces together. Consider again the first text we looked at from Deuteronomy 3, in which we read the incidental remark about Mount Hermon. Hermon, we know, was close to the ancient Roman city of Caesarea Philippi, which lay at its southwestern base.

The famous fourth century church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, in his Ecclesiastical History (book 7, chapter 17), informs us:
"At Cæsarea Philippi, which the Phœnicians call Paneas, springs are shown at the foot of the Mountain Paneas, out of which the Jordan flows."
Thus, we learn that Caesarea Philippi was the modern name of Paneas. Eusebius also places Dan/Laish in the vicinity of Paneas, at the fourth mile on the route to Tyre.

Thus, it would seem, that while Mount Hermon was geographically distant from Sidon, at its foot there was dwelling a Sidonian colony, who spoke the Sidonian language. This in turn illuminates for us why mention is made in Deuteronomy 3:9 of the Sidonian name for the mountain, which was Sirion.

The distance and disconnectedness of the texts from which this conclusion may be drawn again suggests a narrative based on truth, rather than a fictionalized account.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The New Stockholm Syndrome

"Stockholm syndrome" occurs when hostages form an emotional or psychological bond with their captors. But there's a new kind of Stockholm syndrome that occurs when victims of terror defend the ideology that promotes terrorist attacks.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Using the Principle of Undesignedness to Corroborate Biblical History: The Conquest of Jericho

In previous articles, I have written about the principle of undesignedness, and how we can use it to corroborate Biblical history. Philosopher Dr. Lydia McGrew recently published a whole book on undesigned coincidences in the New Testament (which you can and should purchase here), re-vitalizing an old 18th and 19th Century argument, originated by the famed Christian philosopher William Paley, and by J.J. Blunt.

There are also plenty of examples of undesigned coincidences in the Old Testament Scriptures, corroborating the historical veracity of the events in question. I have written on a few of them already (see here, here and here).

It did not escape my notice that Paul Williams posted a blog article at his website quoting from Raymond Brown's Responses to 101 Questions on the Bible. In the quoted section, Brown calls into question the destruction of Jericho executed by Joshua. In particular, it is asserted that while "in the initial excavations of Jericho, the uncovering of walls violently destroyed confirmed for many the biblical account of Joshua's destruction of the walls", more recent techniques "have dated the immense destroyed walls to a period much earlier than Joshua and seem to indicate that Jericho was not even occupied at Joshua's time." For a thorough discussion and examination of this claim, I refer readers to this excellent article, which makes the case that the date put forward originally by Biblical archaeologist John Garstang in the 1930's (approx. 1400 B.C.E., in harmony with the Biblical narrative) is to be preferred over Kathleen Kenyon's dating (approx. 1550 B.C.E.).

In this article, however, I want to offer a different approach, and argue once again from coincidence without design (readers unfamiliar with the argument from undesign should go back and read my earlier articles). Let's look at Joshua 3:14-17:
14 So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
At what time of year did this event take place? Verse 15 tells us that "the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water", the reason given being that "the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest". It is clear that it is the barley harvest that is being alluded to here -- not the later wheat harvest, since in Joshua 4:19, we are told "The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho." That is, four days before the Passover, at which time fell the barley-harvest.

Now, flip over to the account of the ten plagues of Egypt, narrated in Exodus 9. I want to draw your attention to the plague of hail, and in particular to an incidental comment in verses 31-32:
31 The flax and the barley were struck down, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. 32 But the wheat and the emmer were not struck down, for they are late in coming up.
Therefore, it seems apparent from this text that flax and barley were crops which ripened at the same approximate time in Egypt. Since Canaan's climate was essentially the same as that of Egypt, it is reasonable to suppose that this was also the case in the land of Canaan.

Here is where it gets interesting. Let us now flip back from Joshua 3 two chapters to arrive at Joshua 1, in which we are told that Joshua sent two spies into the land of Jericho -- spies who, as we learn in chapter 2, were hidden by the Canaanite prostitute Rahab in her own house. We read that, when the king sent to Rahab to ask for the spies who had been sent to spy out the land, who had come to her house, she lies and says she does not know where the men went. In Joshua 2:6, we are told that "she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof." Presumably these stalks of flax had just been cut down and had been spread on the roof of her house to season.

The mention of the stalks of flax here is very incidental. And yet it makes perfect sense, in view of our inference that the crossing of the Jordan took place at the Barley harvest, which we saw from a completely unrelated text in Exodus 9 coincided with the ripening of flax.

Just one more example of the remarkable undesigned coincidences that interweave throughout the Scriptures. In future articles, we will continue to explore yet further cases of coincidence without design throughout the Bible.

Grill a Christian! This Friday @ 4:30pm EST

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Come join us this Friday @ 9:30pm GMT / 4:30pm EST / 3:30pm CST / 1:30pm PST for a LIVE apologetics Q&A with a panel of Christians. Whether you are a Christian who is wrestling with doubts, an inquisitive atheist, or a member of another faith, you are most welcome to join us and ask whatever questions are on your mind about the Christian faith!

Questions can be presubmitted by emailing jmclatchie@apologetics-academy.org -- and you can also submit questions during the live panel by clicking the Q&A button within the Zoom software which will be used for hosting the panel.

Confirmed panelists include:

Jonathan McLatchie, Mark McGee, Dr. John Ferrer, Tim Hull, Dr. Charisse Nartney, and Dr. Chris Claus

To join the live Q&A, simply go to this link:


Doing so will immediately prompt you to download the Zoom webinar platform we use (if you have not already done so). This should only take a minute or two. You will then be automatically connected to the live Q&A session.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Facebook Enforces Sharia Blasphemy Laws

Pakistani officials are working with Facebook to purge the social network of content deemed "blasphemous" against Muhammad and the Quran. Further, Pakistan is demanding that Facebook help track down blasphemers for extradition and trial. Is Facebook becoming Sharia compliant?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Iowa State Students Required to Write about 9/11 Attacks from al-Qaeda Perspective

Students in an Iowa State International Studies class were recently given an interesting assignment: they were required to write about the 9-11 attacks from the perspective of al-Qaeda jihadis. In this video, I complete the assignment.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Understanding Vehicular Jihad

In the past year, we’ve seen vehicular terrorist attacks in France, the United States, Germany, and Great Britain. Given the success of these attacks, we certainly haven't seen the last of them. Hence, our task now should be to understand vehicular jihad, so that we can eventually stop such attacks.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Shara Law and Apostasy: An Interview with Sandra Solomon

Here is the fourth and final interview that I and my friend Pastor Sule Prince had with Sandra Solomon on the subject of sharia law and apostasy.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Theresa May Calls London Terror Attack "Perversion of a Great Faith"

On March 22, 2017, Muslim convert Khalid Masood launched a terrorist attack that began on Westminster Bridge and ended in Parliament Square. The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack. In response, British Prime Minister Theresa May insisted that the London terror attack was a "perversion of a great faith."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Psychology of Islam, Part 2: Muhammad's Rebellion

In Part 1 of this series, we learned that the Defective Father Hypothesis (DFH) leads to certain expectations, given Muhammad's childhood experiences. In brief, based on DFH, we would expect Muhammad to rebel against authority and tradition; we would expect him to have a problem with father figures, and especially with viewing God as a heavenly father; and we would expect him to have some difficulty forming normal relationships with other people. In this video, we examine the historical evidence to see if our first expectation is confirmed. Along the way, we help Sheikh Yasir Qadhi understand Allah better.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Is Sharia Law Compatible with Western Democracy? Interview with Former Muslim

Here is the third video where I and my friend Pastor Sule Prince interview Sandra Solomon, a former Muslim, on the incompatibility of sharia law (Islamic law) with Western democracy.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Psychology of Islam, Part 1: The Defective Father Hypothesis

The only way to understand Islam is to understand the neuroses and psychoses of Muhammad. In this series, we explore the impact of Muhammad's abnormal childhood development on his later life and teachings. As we will see, Islamic theology flows directly from Muhammad's childhood traumas, via the "psychology of the defective father." In Part One, we explore the "projection theory of belief in God" proposed by Ludwig Feuerbach and Sigmund Freud, along with the "defective father hypothesis" of Paul Vitz.

Using the Principle of Undesignedness to Corroborate Biblical History: The Rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram

In previous articles, I have been using the principle of undesignedness to corroborate aspects of Biblical history, both in the Old and New Testaments. For my previous posts on this subject, I refer readers to my articles here, here, here, here and here. I recommend reading my previous articles if you are unfamiliar with the principle of undesignedness. You may also want to consider purchasing and reading Dr. Lydia McGrew's recently-published book, Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts (available from Amazon).

Here, I want to discuss a particularly neat example from the book of Numbers.

Numbers 16 tells us of a rebellion which took place against Moses. In verses 1-3, we read,
Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. 2 And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. 3 They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?”
The principle parties responsible for this conspiracy against Moses, we are told, were Korah of the family of Kohath and Dathan, Abiram and On, of the family of Reuban.

Here is the cool part. No fewer than thirteen chapters before this, in Numbers 3:29, it is mentioned in a completely different context and totally incidentally that,
The clans of the sons of Kohath were to camp on the south side of the tabernacle.
In the chapter previous to this one (Numbers 2:10), we are also told incidentally, and in a manner totally unconnected to the verse I just quoted from the following chapter, that,
On the south side shall be the standard of the camp of Reuben by their companies, the chief of the people of Reuben being Elizur the son of Shedeur,
It turns out, then, that the family of Kohath and the family of Reuben were camped on the same side of the Tabernacle, thus making them conveniently placed for taking secret counsel together against Moses!

Such a harmony between texts that are scattered around the book of Numbers might easily escape the notice of the reader. Indeed, this pattern is only detectable by putting together the various unconnected passages. It is this pattern which makes this example exhibit the property of undesignedness.

What was the fate of those rebels against Moses? Their fate is given in Numbers 16:31-34:
31 And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. 32 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. 34 And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!”
This gives rise to yet another undesigned coincidence. Compare this with what we read 10 chapters later, in Numbers 26:9-11:
9 The sons of Eliab: Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These are the Dathan and Abiram, chosen from the congregation, who contended against Moses and Aaron in the company of Korah, when they contended against the Lord 10 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, when the fire devoured 250 men, and they became a warning. 11 But the sons of Korah did not die.
Wait a minute. The sons of Korah did not die? We just read in Numbers 16 that "all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods" were swallowed up by the ground. Do we here have a Bible contradiction?

Take a closer look at Numbers 16:25-27:
25 Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins.” 27 So they got away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, together with their wives, their sons, and their little ones.
Mention is made here of the wives, sons and little ones belonging to Dathan and Abiram (who were about to be the victims of the approaching calamity) standing at the door of their tents. No mention is made, however, of the sons of Korah.

How can we account for this? Korah was a Levite, and we know that the Levites pitched their camp closer to the Tabernacle than the other tribes. The Levites formed three sides of the inner square, whereas the other tribes would form the four sides of the outer square. Thus, the dwelling-tent of Korah would be a considerable distance from those of Dathan and Abiram, who were of the tribe of Reuben. This makes it plausible that the sons of Korah were a considerable distance from the catastrophe that befell the others -- a disaster that we know was of limited extent given that the congregation of Israel is instructed by Moses to "Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins" (Numbers 16:26).

In conclusion, then, in this one event of the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram against Moses we have seen there to be two independent cases of coincidence without design. The first was based on two independent and incidental mentions of the dwelling place of the family of Kohath and the family of Reuben (whom we are told dwelt on the same side of the Tabernacle), placing them conveniently for taking secret counsel against Moses. The second coincidence was based on the incidental mention in Numbers 26 of the survival of Korah's sons, the implicit omission in Numbers 16:27 of Korah's sons being present at the place of destruction, and our independent knowledge of where Korah's tent would have been relative to those of Dathan and Abiram.

As one continues to document case after case in the Scriptures of coincidence without design, we unearth more and more evidence for the substantial historical veracity of Scripture. In future posts, we will continue to document yet further cases, using the principle of undesignedness to yet further corroborate Biblical history.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Testimony of a Former Muslim: Sandra Solomon

Here is the second video where I and my friend Pastor Sule Prince interview Sandra Solomon and how she came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"To sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant": A Response to Mustafa Ahmed

Muslim polemicist Mustafa Ahmed made a short video issuing a couple of proof-texts in an attempt to challenge my position that Jesus is God. These were Matthew 20:20-23 and John 20:17. Had Mustafa done a bit more careful research, he might have discovered that I have already written a whole article on John 20:17, which you can find here. I refer Mustafa and others to my comments in that article regarding John 20:17. Here, I want to make some comments in regards to Matthew 20:20-23. Here is the text to which Mustafa wishes to draw our attention:
20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” 22 Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” 23 He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
Thus, Mustafa argues, this text plainly teaches that Jesus is not God, since he says that "to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Palestinian Ex-Muslim Sandra Solomon Warns Canada Against Sharia Law Women Abuse

I had the pleasure of joining with my friend Pastor Sule Prince in interviewing Sandra Solomon who is a former Muslim and now a Christian. We did a series of videos. This one deals with Sandra's experience living under sharia in Saudi Arabia and her challenges in leaving Islam. Please share with others.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Reza Aslan Eats Human Brain on CNN's "Believer with Reza Aslan"

Reza Aslan, a professor of creative writing who masquerades as a scholar of world religions, recently ate a portion of a human brain on his CNN program "Believer with Reza Aslan." As part of his interactions with the cannibal Aghori sect of Hinduism, Aslan had his face powdered with cremated human remains and drank alcohol from a human skull before consuming the human brain.