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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes

Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Thursday, January 19, 2023

Abusing "To Kill a Mockingbird" to Push Bigotry


Bigotry is wrong. It shouldn't be tolerated. Such a message isn't questioned. In fact, our current culture seems nearly obsessed in proclaiming its evils. That's why I was dumbstruck at the recent stage adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. What do we do when a time-honored work of fiction is used by modern interpreters to teach and reinforce bigotry the original work was designed to denounce?

To Kill a Mockingbird, both the original work and the Academy Award winning film starring Gregory Peck, tells the story of Atticus Finch defending a wrongfully accused black man (Tom Robinson) of rape charges in the racist 1930s South. Told through the eyes of Atticus's daughter Scout, we see how labeling people and casting judgment on those different from ourselves is wrong.

Aaron Sorkin has adapted the story for the stage, and as with any work, it was necessary to make some changes. (Sorkin's best known for writing films like A Few Good Men and The West Wing television series.) For example, early in the book after Scout's brother Jem had received an air rifle for Christmas, Atticus famously admonishes Jem to be careful with his new power:1

"I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.

"Your father's right," she said. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

Sorkin moves the dialogue to Atticus's closing statement and places the conversation as a recollection of a gift he received from his own father. The change isn't a big deal as the message remains the same: prejudging someone based on his group is not only wrong, but evil.

However, race isn't the only avenue in which bigotry may assert itself, which is why I was shocked when Sorokin places a vicious attack in the mouth of one of the story's sympathetic characters. Dolphus Raymond, a white land owner who in the book associates with the black community more than with the town's bigots, tries to console the children about the wrongs they're seeing play out before their eyes. He notes that children cry when they recognize the horror of the world:

“Cry about the simple hell people give other people—without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give colored folks, without even stopping to think they they're people, too.”2

Sorkin decides that this isn't enough. He has the children ask him why they couldn't before see that horror in their midst, and Raymond replies “When horror comes to supper, it comes dressed exactly like a Christian.” The line is delivered with dramatic flair and at least three quarters of the audience reacted as Sorkin hoped they would: with knowing guffaws and snide appreciation.

Imagine! Here we have an entire audience paying to watch what can only be described as an anti-bigotry story and they absolutely jump at the chance to revel in the bigotry of an anti-Christian line inserted into the show. This is a clear example of what I mean when I state we are now living in a post-Christian culture. You may not call someone horrific because of the color of his or her skin, but if there is a devout Christian, then go after them and giggle along the way!

Harper Lee felt differently. In a New York Times article she explained, “Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird' spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners.”3

Perhaps Sorkin and those who attend his show agree that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, but it seems that painting a target on the Christian dove is not only allowed but encouraged.


1. Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird. HarperCollins, 1995. 103.
. Lee, 229.
. “Harper Lee Twits School Board in Virginia for Ban on Her Novel.” New York Times, 16 Jan. 1966, p. 82.

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Rainbows, Revelation, and the Already and Not Yet


Rainbows, REvelation, and the Already but Not Yet

The midweek Bible study group at my church is completing their study on the book of Revelation and I was asked to provide a few thoughts on the last two chapters of this amazing portion of Scripture.

The rainbow has had quite a bit of visibility in our society. The bands of red at the top transitioning through six hues to a violet bottom reflect the order of the rainbow produced by refracting the sun’s natural light. Today, we see the rainbow adopted as a symbol, most prevalently in what has become known as the “Pride Flag.” Designed in 1978, the rainbow was chosen because it had some popularity in the ‘60s hippie culture but also because “the colors reflect the diversity of the LGBT community and the spectrum of human sexuality and gender.”1

Ironically, as other communities of grievance have appeared, people have felt the represented spectrum isn’t diverse enough, so color band have been added, lines have been multiplied, and triangles now appear so that it no longer reflects anything natural at all. It has become much more a symbol of politics than a reflection of natural order.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the rainbow has been used as a symbol. The Bible tells us that its role has been symbolic by its very design.

The First Recreation

In Genesis 6 we read that when God saw that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, he destined the world to be destroyed. Yet, God preserved his faithful and allowed the earth to be recreated. Genesis 9:8-15:

“But you, be fruitful and multiply; spread out over the earth and multiply on it.”

Then God said to Noah and his sons with him, “Understand that I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you—birds, livestock, and all wildlife of the earth that are with you—all the animals of the earth that came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you that never again will every creature be wiped out by floodwaters; there will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.”

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all future generations: I have placed my bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I form clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all the living creatures: water will never again become a flood to destroy every creature. (CSB)

Tonight, we finish the book of Revelation, reading about the second recreation of God’s world. Did God break his promise? Oh no, for, like any good lawyer, the answer lies in the specifications of the contract. God destroys the earth the second time not by water, but by fire! Again, the motivation is to wipe out the infection of evil that people have carried throughout God’s creation. In Revelation 21:23 we are told the new world will no longer have the sun. So, here's the question: Will there be a rainbow in the New Heavens and the New Earth?

Living in the Already and Not Yet

For those of you who read last week, the answer should be an unqualified Yes. There will be a rainbow, but it will be of a different type. The foundations of the city shone with the twelve jewels, sparkling in vivid colors. (You see, the light of God cannot be divided so refraction cannot occur there.) God’s word endures even through the recreation as his promise is never to end.

The rainbow is just one example of a promise that we have already received, but one that has yet to be completely fulfilled. On Sunday, I mentioned this as living in the “Already and Not Yet.” We are already living in the Kingdom of God; it has come among us. But we are not yet delivered into its full hope and promise.

We see this kind of tension over and over again in Scripture: 2

  • Hebrews 2:8–9: “At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death”
  • 1 John 3:2: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Other aspects of the “already, but not yet”:3

  • Already adopted in Christ (Romans 8:15), but not yet adopted (Romans 8:23);
  • Already redeemed in Christ (Ephesians 1:7), but not yet redeemed (Ephesians 4:30);
  • Already sanctified in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2), but not yet sanctified (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24);
  • Already saved in Christ (Ephesians 2:8), but not yet saved (Romans 5:9);
  • Already raised with Christ (Ephesians 2:6), but not yet raised (1 Corinthians 15:52).

Living Our Lives as Part of The Already and Not Yet

Here’s the thing about Revelation and the end times—most Christians see it as this future event where Jesus will vindicate his church, defeat evil, and provide us with a blissful existence for eternity. But that’s what Saul of Tarsus believed as he headed out for Damascus, too. He waited for his messiah to vanquish Rome, to restore God’s people to their rightful place and to live as a good Jew should. Saul was wrong. The Messiah has already come and it was the light of the Lamb, striking him blind and knocking him down that actually opened his eyes and his heart to the deeper truth that Paul could have all of that right now. It is that revelation that allowed him to happily suffer and be imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel. The reality of God’s Kingdom was buried too deep in Paul’s heart for external difficulties to diffuse it. He saw it as one would see a rainbow: there is no hard lines between the colors. The simply flow one into the next naturally so that eventually you are at the other side.

We can have all the promises of heaven right now.

  • Can we dwell with God today? Yes!
  • Can we enjoy the blessings of righteousness today? Yes!
  • Can we have blessed fellowship with others of his kingdom? Yes!

As we wrap up this book, let’s not wait for God to do something before we respond. Let’s remember that through his church, we are vindicating Christ via good works. We are defeating evil becaue the gates of hell cannot prevail against us, we are granted eternal life right now in Jesus Christ. We are his body. Let us not waste a moment, but live with an eternal perspective seeing all the beautiful colors and hues God has placed before our lives.


1. “Rainbow Flag (LGBT).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Mar. 2022,
2. “What Is the Concept of ‘Already but Not Yet’?”, Got Questions Ministries, 29 May 2014,
3. Briones, David. “Already, Not Yet: How to Live in the Last Days.” Desiring God, 31 Mar. 2022,

Monday, October 04, 2021

Thinking About What Truly Makes Life Worth Living

Last week, I had the blessing of escaping with my wife to the giant redwoods of northern California. We stayed right in the middle of the park and I was able to ride my bicycle through the Avenue of the Giants. It was an incredible experience, being dwarfed mile after mile by some of the oldest and tallest living things on earth.

These redwoods are a testament both to God’s creative power and to the beauty he weaves into his creation. Being there is breathtaking and humbling. I marveled at his good gift to us in the experience. It is one of those things that makes life worth living. Such a statement shouldn’t be shocking, as God’s grace has that effect.

One of the great things about such a getaway is it allows one to think about the important things of life and even life itself. For example, I began to ponder “just what is it that makes life meaningful?” What does it mean to say life has meaning? We may have a natural drive to survive, but so do most animals. Seeking meaning beyond our survival is something different. It’s seeking something higher.

The Human Drive for Meaning in Life

Such questions are nothing new. Humans have always desired to find meaning both individually and within their broader existence collectively. One way we do this is to seek out meaningful experiences. By that I don’t mean experiences that make one happy or feel good. Watching a funny television show, taking a ride on a roller coaster, or getting a new hairstyle can do that but it doesn’t mean these are meaningful. Alcohol and narcotics can also make you feel good.

No, meaningful experiences are those experiences that elevate an individual. They make him or her more in touch with unique qualities that in nature only humans hold. Experiencing the truly beautiful, like the beauty of the redwoods, is one example.

All people appreciate beauty. As I’ve written before, beauty is objective. By that I mean there is a standard of beauty that sits outside of ourselves. That’s because beauty finds its ultimate fulfillment in God Himself. It is what is known as one of the transcendentals. (The two other recognized transcendentals are truth and goodness—in the sense of justice and morality). Transcendentals, as the name implies, are fundamental to being human. They transcend subcategories and are foundational to understanding value as human beings. In other words, these are the core of living a meaningful life.

Transcendentals and Elevating Humanity

The transcendentals are fundamental because they represent the highest virtues for human experience. Just having a feel-good experience, as I noted above, doesn’t make an experience meaningful. Unfortunately, today there are an awful lot of people who confuse feeling good with living a good life. They think satisfying an appetite or urge is going to make them happy. But appetites and urges are simply base instincts. They are things we share with animals.  Dogs like belly rubs; snakes bask in the sunlight. All creatures want to have full stomachs and seek sex whenever and wherever they may find it. Animals are motivated by instinct, but for humans to behave this way cultivates a form of selfishness. Being human is to differentiate ourselves from animals and act in a way that is distinct, to emphasize aspects of who we are that separates us from animals.

Seeking out experiences that are grounded in truth, goodness, and beauty help us make that distinction because recognizing these things is unique to humans. Animals don’t care about beauty at all. While a female peacock might be attracted to a male with the more spectacular display of tail feathers, she is operating on an instinctual attraction, not seeing the display for its own sake. Neither of the birds would stop to ponder a richly hued sunset or the towering redwoods. We, on the other hand, see beauty for what it is in itself.

Recognizing transcendentals may be understood as something we share with God. They are part of what it means to be made in His image. God is not simply the source of all that is good; goodness finds its perfection in him as God is love. God is truth and God is beautiful.

Modern Culture’s Missing Piece

As I thought about all this, one thing I’ve realized is our culture no longer seeks to cultivate and develop truth, goodness, and beauty. We assume them then seek out the more base pleasures instead. That’s what the eruption over the U.S. abortion laws are all about. People want to feed their base nature for casual sex, but don’t want to be dealing with the natural outcome of such encounters. Yet, isn’t this animalistic? Doesn’t such a drive for immediate physical gratification rob us of expressing our uniquely human understanding that sex is good and beautiful because it bonds two people together who have committed to safeguarding the well-being of each other and any progeny that may result from that act?

What do people believe in today’s society are the things that truly makes life worth living? I’m seeing more and more people seeking an answer to that question and they cannot seem to find it. I’m beginning a project where I explore the transcendentals as not only an answer to that question, but as a way of evangelism. God is attractive because in him we can find all beauty, goodness, and truth. If people are longing for these things, I want to bring them to the source.

I will explore this topic in more detail in upcoming posts. For now, I hope that you seek out experiences in life that strengthen the Good, the True, or the Beautiful. You may just find your life has become more meaningful as a result.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Is Easter Rooted in Paganism? A Rapid Response Video Series

The Easter celebration is to mark the resurrection of Jesus, but some claim that it really is Christian repackaging of ancient pagan rituals. Do the bunnies and eggs prove Easter has pagan roots? What about all those fertility goddesses? In this Easter week rapid response video series, Lenny shows you just how to think through such outrageous claims without a lot of research, and how you can be smarter than Google.

Video 1 - The Rites of Srping

Video 2 - Ignoring Judaism

Video 3 - History's Documents

Video 4 - How to Be Smarter Than Google

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Three Rapid Reflections on Saint Patrick's Day

Three Rapid Reflections on Saint Patrick's Day
There are incredible hidden riches for us to glean today in the story of Patrick—a man who wasn't even Irish! Watch these three short videos as Lenny explains Patrick's mission, his method, and his model for reaching the seemingly unreachable.

I'll be releasing each of the three videos throughout the day today, so come back and watch them all!

Part 1 - Patrick's Mission

Part 2 - Patrick's Method

Part 3 - Patrick's Model

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