Truth in the Flesh
by J.W. Wartick
Truth in the Fleshby John Hartung is an introductory work on apologetics that covers a surprisingly wide breadth of topics. The work is divided into two parts: meeting objections to the faith and making a case for the Christian faith.
Hartung begins with an analysis of plausibility structures and “blank stares” (7ff). Throughout the work, Hartung works to make high level ideas accessible at the level where a lay person can come to an understanding, and the notion of a “blank stare” is just one example of how he does this. He notes that Christian claims are often met with a “blank stare.” Such incredulity is often based on one’s own presumption of “prestige” and “social gate-keeping.” To break through this kind of barrier, Hartung suggests pressing on by questioning the listener on why they seem incredulous, which will open the path to discussing plausibility. He notes that one must keep in mind the notion that worldviews are at odds here, not just opposing views on individual topics.
Hartung’s discussion of the problem of evil is multi-leveled and interesting. He addresses the notion of evil as a privation, something that is a lack of something rather than a thing-in-itself. Hartung then analyzes how evil could possibly be viewed as a challenge to the existence of God. He offers Christ as a solution to suffering. God who suffers with us cures our suffering.
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Hartung then turns to two purported challenges to Christianity: science and faith and religious pluralism. Regarding the former, Hartung addresses a number of issues, including supposed incompatibility of faith and science, the “god of the gaps” objection, the possibility of making an inference to God, and more. Regarding the latter, he considers the possibility of testing truth claims of religion, relativism, religious experience, and a few other topics. Ultimately, he concludes that neither of these supposed challenges undermines Christian faith.
Hartung’s case for the Christian faith is built upon a cumulative case version of argument. He builds bottom up…