About two minutes in we were both hitting hard and having a blast. I had several pounds on him, and experience; Dwight was younger and probably faster. We had not been sparring, (practice fighting), very long when Dwight landed a beautiful spinning heel kick on my left temple. I was out before I hit the ground, and the first thing to hit the ground as I fell backwards was my head on a concrete pillar. The next thing I remember was some medical personal asking me what my name was, and if I remembered what happened. Someone said that I told the EMT my name was Larry. I was never very good at remembering names.
I ended up refusing service because I was young, dumb, and did not have any insurance. Hence the dumb comment, because I question the wisdom of anyone sparring, with moderate contact, in the martial arts without any insurance.
My Sifu, and good friend, Joel drove me to the small local medical clinic and they stitched up the gash in the back of my head. Aside from some headaches for a few weeks, (a mild concussion I would imagine), I recovered sufficiently enough to trick people into letting me teach their children in a classroom.
Kajukembo was the martial art I trained in for several years. It was founded in Hawaii right after World War II, and is composed of several other martial arts:
KA for Karate
JU for Judo and Jujitsu
KEN for Kenpo
BO for Chinese Boxing
Kajukembo has a lot of tools which include strikes, kicks, throws, joint locks and manipulation, with an emphasis on moving from one tool to another, seamlessly. Some say Kajukembo was the first American mixed martial art. I never became very proficient at any of the tools, or any kind of seamless movement, (just ask my instructors over the years), but it sure was fun trying to beat the crap out of other guys. Nevertheless, on rare occasions, I would come across someone over the age of 12 who sucked worse than I did. When that happened, all the sweat, pain, and intense workouts were worth it.
Anyone who has followed or been involved in the martial arts in the last 20 years, has seen what a boon mixed martial arts has been to the industry. Some of you may remember the early UFC, (Ultimate Fighting Championships), fights and how Royce Gracie, a Jujitsu expert, defeated men nearly twice his size. Royce Gracie won 3 of the first 4 Ultimate Fighting Championships, and this was before they had weight classes! Gracie weighted about 170 lbs., and beat men who were as much as 250 lbs. And these were not just men off the street, but trained fighters themselves.
Over time, as the stand-up fighters realized the importance of having some judo, jujitsu, or wrestling background, along with skills in strikes and kicks, no single discipline in the martial arts dominated tournaments in the world any more. What began as a test between disciplines, (Judo, Aikido, Krav Maga, Jujutsu, Taekwondo, Kung fu, and Karate for example), morphed into a discipline we now know as mixed martial arts.
I was thinking about apologetics, and the tools apologists use to make their case for Christianity. I began to look at apologetics as the mixed martial arts in the Gospel. I shared some tough questions with a friend a while back, that might cause even long time believers to stumble, unable to respond to the claims or assertions of a skeptic. As a church elder, a Bible school teacher, could you respond to any of these objections to Christianity? Even one?
Here is a short list to consider.
1. Miracles? Really? How come we have not seen even one documented healing of an amputee?
2. You don’t believe in Evolution because God does not need time? Then why did he take 6 days to create everything?
3. So how did Noah fit millions of species on the Ark?
4. How did the Koala bears and penguins make it to the Ark? How did they make it back?
5. If Christ is changing lives, how come Christians have nearly the same divorce rate as non-believers?
6. How do you know the Bible is true? And don’t say, “Because the Bible says so.” That is circular reasoning.
7. The Bible is full of errors. For example, John writes there were two angels, and Mark says there was only one.
8. Order of creation was sky, earth, light, water, plants, and then the sun? How can you have light and plants with out the sun?
9. If the universe has always existed how could God have created it? If he did create it 8000 years ago, how can we see the light of stars that are millions of years distant?
10. All religions are basically the same and point to a powerful creator, so Christianity can’t be the only true way.
11. If God is all loving, all powerful, and all knowing, how come there is pain and suffering? Surely a God like you describe could create a world without it.
12. Outside the Bible, there is not any evidence that Jesus was even a real historical figure.
13. How can you even trust the Bible? It was written hundreds, if not thousands of years after Christ.
14. Evolution has proved the Bible is false. There is no need for Jesus, God, or any of this religious nonsense.
15. Science, not the Bible, will show us how we came to be.
16. Ever since the church tortured Galileo for his believing the earth circled the sun, science has trumped the Bible.
17. Look at all the evil religion has done. The Crusades killed millions in the name of religion.
Dan Story wrote in his book The Christian Combat Manual, “Christian apologetics is sometimes referred to as pre-evangelism. This is a good description. The goal of apologetics is to identify and remove intellectual obstacles that prevent people from seriously considering the Gospel.” 1 For example, if a skeptic said, “since there is pain and suffering in the world, it proves an all knowing, all powerful, all loving God can’t exist; he would never allow it,” a trained apologist would be able to respond to this objection and give reasons why it is not a logical contradiction.
Another claim that atheists or skeptics make is that the body of Jesus was stolen and that He never actually rose from the dead. An apologist can pull from his tools, as a wrestler might use his skill to shoot and take down a kick boxer, dismantling this assertion. If his body was stolen, it would have been stolen from the Romans, the Jews, or the disciples. Then look at each case case and reason how it would not make any sense.
A final example is the assertion that the Bible can’t be trusted, it was written hundreds, if not thousands, of years after the life of Christ. No one really knows what Jesus said, even if he did exist. Apologists know exactly how reliable the scripture is and why it can be trusted. So often if someone starts defending their faith by referencing the Bible, the skeptic just tunes them out.
William Lane Craig gives three reasons apologetics should be a staple of every Christian diet.
1. Apologetics can help shape our culture. Belief in a sort of generic God is still the norm, but belief in Jesus Christ is not politically correct. It is a religion for old women and young children who go to Sunday school.
2. Apologetics can help you keep your faith. You can check the Pew research polls for yourself. Young Christians leave their faith in droves starting in high school and college. Our youth need to be trained for this culture war.
3. Apologetics can make you a deeper and more grounded person. I need all the grounding I can get. Craig puts it this way, “American culture is so appallingly superficial, fixated on celebrities, entertainment, sports, and self-indulgence…As you wrestle with these deep questions, you yourself will be changed.” 2
David Kinnaman has deeply researched the reasons young people leave their faith. He wrote, “…we have created a conveyor belt of development that industrializes the soul formation of young people – who eventually become adults with inch-deep, mile-wide, faith. The outcome is adult Christians who were not transformed by their faith as children, as teens, or as young adults. How can we expect more after they turn forty?” 3
1. Story, Dan. The Christian Combat Manual. Chattanooga: AMG, 2007. Print.
2. Craig, William L. On Guard. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010. Print
3. Kinnaman, David. You Lost Me. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2011. Print
Good News and the Martial Arts by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.knowingforsure.com.