Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Science & Religion - Where the Conflict Really Lies


Alvin Plantinga lectures on science and religion: where the conflict really lies. His latest book makes the full case. Pick it up here: Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism. [HT:Rob]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Terminology Tuesday: fides quaerens intellectum

fides quaerens intellectum: Literally, "faith seeking understanding." The phrase originated with Anselm in his Proslogion and was used to show the relationship of religious faith to human reason. For Anselm, matters of religion and theology are understood only by first believing them and then proceeding to gain an intellectual understanding of the things already believed. In other words, faith is both logically and chronologically prior to reason.1

1. Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 52.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Apologist Interview: Winfried Corduan

Today's interview is with Christian philosopher Win Corduan. Dr. Corduan has served as a professor or adjunct professor of philosophy and religion at numerous colleges, universities, and seminaries. He has also served as president of both the International Society of Christian Apologetics and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. He talks about his background and work, influences in apologetics, philosophy and apologetics, philosophical theology, philosophy of religions, comparative religions, his study in Buddhism, the neglect of Buddhism, the need for scholars in all areas, advice for apologists, and more. His books include Neighboring Faiths: A Christian Introduction to World Religions, No Doubt About It: The Case for Christianity, Pocket Guide to World Religions, Handmaid to Theology: An Essay in Philosophical Prolegomena, Reasonable Faith: Basic Christian Apologetics, and a number of others.

Full Interview MP3 Audio here (50 min).
Enjoy.
Subscribe to the Apologetics 315 Interviews podcast here or in iTunes.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Only Foundation of Sound Knowledge and Learning

"Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him."

- Rule of Harvard College 1646
Quoted from Mind Your Faith: A Student's Guide to Thinking and Living Well

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Review: Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality by David Baggett and Jerry L. Walls

Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality by David Baggett and Jerry L. Walls is a spirited defense of both the moral argument (MA) for God’s existence and a specific version of Divine Command Theory (DCT). The MA claims that morality is based in God and DCTs attempt to specify how morality is based in God. While the book briefly addresses the that question, the bulk is devoted to answering the how question.

Baggett and Walls make very clear that the kind of God one believes in affects the plausibility of both the MA and DCT. The authors affirm the existence not only of God, but of God as the Greatest Possible Being (GPB)—that is, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, and necessary (existing in all possible worlds). This view of God as the GPB informs the rest of the book.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Weekly Apologetics Bonus Links (11/18 - 11/25)

Here are this week's recommended apologetics links. Enjoy.
Argument from Desire
Questions Christians Fear
The “I Could Do It Better” Fallacy
Apologetics And Christmas
Lee Strobel responds to Bart Ehrman
tothesource interviews Chuck Colson
Copan and Wallace on Licona and Geisler
Reasons to Believe Monthly E-Zine (PDF)
What Are Four Things Science Will Never Explain?
Alvin Plantinga & Properly Basic Beliefs (video)
Audio of C.S. Lewis on God, time, and Christian living
Why Demanding Extraordinary Evidence Makes Little Sense
Former Atheist Keener’s “Miracles” Challenges Skeptics
10 Surprisingly Simple Tips for Talking with Cult Members – Part 3
Intelligent design theorist Stephen C. Meyer debates evolutionist Keith Fox

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Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch12

Today we continue with chapter twelve of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Series index here. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 12 study questions PDF, and summary:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

7 Ways for Your Church to Engage

Looking to get apologetics into your church? (There's a podcast about that.) To get started sometimes all it takes is an idea and the vision to make something happen, even if it is small. In Jonathan Morrow's book Think Christianly (interview here) he lists 21 ways for your church to engage at the intersection of faith and culture. Are you ready to look at just seven of them and think about how you might be able to incorporate them into your own church?

  1. Briefly mention current events relevant to faith and culture and include a reference to an article or blog for further exploration.

  2. Sponsor a debate on the existence of God. Consider partnering with another church to sponsor a live event, or you can show a recent one on a DVD. This will provide opportunities for conversations to occur.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Terminology Tuesday: Inerrancy

Inerrancy: The doctrine that the Bible is completely trustworthy and contains no errors. The doctrine is normally qualified in a number of ways. The Bible is said to be inerrant in the original autographs, and it is said to be without error only when properly interpreted. Proper interpretation itself requires attention to genre (such as poetry, proverbs and history) and answers to questions about the intentions of the author and conventions shared by author and reader. Some Christians affirm a limited inerrancy, declaring that the lack of error holds only for certain types of truth that God intends to reveal through Scripture, primarily matters of morality and theology.1

1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 60.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Apologist Interview: Jonathan Morrow

Today's interview is with apologist, author and equipping pastor Jonathan Morrow. He is author of Welcome to College and co-author of Is God a Human Invention? His latest book is Think Christianly: Looking at the intersection of Faith and Culture. He talks about faith and culture, what it means to think Christianly, practical ways to equip the local church, crucial areas of cultural engagement, the themes of his latest book, and more. Previous interviews here and here. Book trailer here.

Full Interview MP3 Audio here. (33 min)

Enjoy.
Subscribe to the Apologetics 315 Interviews podcast here or in iTunes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Timothy McGrew on the Internet and Scholarship

"One of the most disastrous illusions of the internet age is that an amateur plus Google is equivalent to a scholar. A search engine offers information, more or less relevant according to the skill of the searcher. But it does not sift that information; it does not sort fact from fancy, wheat from chaff. It does not explain which facts are relevant and which are beside the point. It does not weigh the merits of competing arguments and tell the user where the balance of evidence lies. A bright amateur armed with the internet may at best be better informed than he would otherwise have been, and he may occasionally catch a real scholar in a factual error. But it will not turn him into a scholar himself. There is no such thing as effortless erudition."

- Dr. Timothy McGrew

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Review: The Last Superstition by Edward Feser

The title of Edward Feser's book The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism sets the tone for the entire work, as it asserts in bold letters across the cover that atheism is the ultimate 'superstition'. This alone may tell you whether or not this book is 'for you' or not – it introduces Feser's polemic style, and it also tells you its goal. The contents, however, may surprise you.

This is not a book filled with the author's own opinions, rather it's a book that tries to lay out basic underlying foundations. Feser himself does little in the way of speculation. In fact, he is hardly even writing anything new at all. The tactic of The Last Superstition is to simply appeal to the classical philosophical tradition that has already been around for thousands of years, and show how that great tradition bears on the atheist claims that we hear so much of today.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekly Apologetics Bonus Links (11/11 - 11/18)

Here are this week's recommended apologetics links. Enjoy.
Debunking apostasy
McGrew on Evidence
Could Jesus read, and did He know Greek?
Review: Lectures on Francis Schaeffer Early Years
When is an Appeal to Authority Fallacious?
Conception to Birth Visualized (absolutely amazing)
Think Christianly by Jonathan Morrow (Book Trailer)
Lennox event on Seven Days the Divide the World
Richard Dawkins: "I am ashamed of my university!"
Ten Great Philosophy, Science, and Theology Podcasts
The difference between a skeptic and a constant questioner
Eight Points of Encouragement for Those Who Are Doubting Their Faith
Review: The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is by N.T. Wright
• Looking forward to this book: Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts by Craig S. Keener

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Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch11

Today we continue with chapter eleven of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Series index here. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 11 study questions PDF, and summary:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Debate: Douglas Jacoby vs. Robert Brotherus Debate

On September 10, 2011, apologist Douglas Jacoby debated atheist Robert Brotherus in Helsinki on the topic: Is Christianity Rational? A very interesting debate with cross-examination, plenty of dialogue, and Q&A. Original audio via youtube here.

Full Debate MP3 Audio here. (1hr 50min)

Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

15 Ways to Detect Nonsense

How do you avoid bad thinking? How do you detect nonsense? By nonsense we mean fallacious reasoning. Robert J. Gula's book Nonsense is a great place to start to begin to think critically and to spot fallacies in reasoning. (Review here.) It's a book that is thorough with an informal style with plenty of entertaining examples. If it's a fallacy, it's probably in this book. In the final note of the book, Gula distills the book into 15 principles. Here is that content: 15 Ways to Detect Nonsense:
  1. Be alert to anyone who speaks in absolutes: who uses words such as all, none, no one, never, always, everyone, must, immediately, or who refers to a group of people as if all the members have identical characteristics, beliefs, or attitudes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Terminology Tuesday: Relativism

Relativism: The theory that denies that humans can possess any objective, universally meaningful knowledge, that there are any ultimate and unchanging metaphysical realities (God, persons, space, time, natural laws) or that there are any moral absolutes. Hence meaning and truth are relative to each culture and historical period or to each person, situation, relationship and outcome.1

1. Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 101.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Apologist Interview: David Horner

Today's interview is with David Horner, professor of philosophy and biblical studies at Biola University. He also serves as research scholar for Centers for Christian Study International, an effort to develop intellectual Christian communities within secular university contexts. He talks about the challenges facing those in college/university, the themes in his book Mind Your Faith: A Student's Guide to Thinking and Living Well, the Christian roots of our educational system, developing better thinking skills, the art of asking good questions, dealing with doubts, the development of character, advice for those who want to be better apologists, and more. See the book webpage here.

Full Interview MP3 Audio here. (54 min)
Enjoy.
Subscribe to the Apologetics 315 Interviews podcast here or in iTunes.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

John Dominic Crossan on Jesus' Death

"Jesus’ death by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate is as sure as anything historical can ever be. For if no follower of Jesus had written anything for one hundred years after his crucifixition, we would still know about him from two authors not among his supporters. Their names are Flavius Josephus and Cornelius Tacitus."

- John Dominic Crossan
Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, p. 145
[HT:Eric]

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Review: Providence and the Problem of Evil by Richard Swinburne

“In order rationally to believe that there is a God, despite [evil], we need either strong positive evidence for the existence of God, or a record of discovering with respect to many apparent bad states that a theodicy works with respect to them, or a theodicy for each kind of bad state which seems to count against the existence of God.”1

The problem of evil is considered by many to be the greatest challenge to theism.2 Richard Swinburne offers a defense against this problem in his work Providence and the Problem of Evil.3

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekly Apologetics Bonus Links (11/04 - 11/11)

Here are this week's recommended apologetics links. Enjoy.
48 arguments against naturalism
Ehrman / Wallace debate DVD now on sale
Frank Turek Interviews William Lane Craig
Another William Lane Craig Interview (Video)
Affirming the Bible's Reliability (course)
Reliability of the Old Testament Documents MP3 Audio
Demanding Extraordinary Evidence Makes Little Sense
“Is Naturalism Natural?” by Goetz and Taliaferro
Evidence for the soul from science in the book “The Spiritual Brain”
Don’t Put the Bart Before the Horse: review of the Ehrman Wallace debate
Book Review: “Existential Reasons for Belief in God” by Clifford Williams
What you need to know: videos about the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem (BVG theorem)
Audio and Video of "Is God a Delusion?" - William Lane Craig's Oxford lecture on Richard Dawkins' book

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Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch10

Today we continue with chapter ten of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Series index here. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 10 study questions PDF, and summary:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Featured Resource: One-Minute Apologist Podcast

Today's featured resource is the One Minute Apologist Podcast. This is a great short-format video resource dealing with scores of topics, answered by some of today's most credible apologists. Here's where to go:

Podcast in iTunes (videos via podcast)
Youtube Channel (videos via youtube)
OneMinuteApologist.com (the hub)
Twitter (for apolo-tweets)
Facebook (for liking, sharing)

This is a great growing resource, and a good way to get quick, concise answers to start your journey on a variety of topics. Check it out.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Is God a Delusion? William Lane Craig in Oxford


Richard Dawkins was invited by the Oxford student Christian Union to defend his book The God Delusion in public debate with William Lane Craig. The invitation remained open until the last minute. However, Dawkins refused the challenge and his chair remained empty. Craig then gave a lecture to a capacity audience on the weaknesses of the central arguments of the book and responded to a panel of academics. The event, which was chaired by atheist Prof. Peter Millican, was part of The Reasonable Faith Tour 2011 sponsored by UCCF, Damaris & Premier Christian Radio.
Audio version in MP3 here. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Terminology Tuesday: Humanism

Humanism (secular humanism): In general, humanism is any movement or ideology that focuses on the worth of the human being. Christian humanism emphasizes the fact that humans are create in God's image and as such are creatures of worth or value. Secular humanism, on the other hand, attempts to see the worth of humans apart from any appeal to God. Thus humanists often suggest that value is completely intrinsic to the individual.1

1. Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 61.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Apologist Interview: Angus Menuge

Today's interview is with Dr. Angus Menuge, Professor of Philosophy  at Concordia University, and author of Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science. He talks about his background and work, the philosophy of mind, what reason (or reasoning) is, what materialism is as a worldview, things excluded from a materialistic worldview, methodological naturalism and materialism, accounting for free will, materialistic accounts of reason, the epistemological argument from reason, the ontological argument from reason, finding the best explanation for reason, problems with methodological naturalism, implications of materialism, practical application of the argument from reason, advice for apologists, the International Academy of Apologetics, and more.

Full Interview MP3 Audio here. (57 min)
Enjoy.
Subscribe to the Apologetics 315 Interviews podcast here or in iTunes.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

William J. Abraham on the Christian Worldview

"Religious belief should be assessed as a rounded whole rather than taken in stark isolation. Christianity, for example, like other world faiths, is a complex, large-scale system of belief which must be seen as a whole before it is assessed. To break it up into disconnected parts is to mutilate and distort its true character. We can, of course, distinguish certain elements in the Christian faith, but we must still stand back and see it as a metaphysical system, as a world view, that is total in its scope and range."


- William J. Abraham

"Soft Rationalism," in Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings, 2nd ed., ed. Michael Peterson et al. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 99.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Book Review: With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies by S. Morris Engel

Many are familiar with deductive arguments (where the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises) and inductive arguments (where the conclusion follows from the premises with a varying degree of probability and strength). But how well acquainted is one with “seductive”(40) arguments?

“Seductive” arguments are another name for informal fallacies, the subject S. Morris Engel takes up in his excellent book entitled With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies. In addition to the great content one will find in each chapter, the book is full of exercises (with an answer key at the end of each chapter for selected questions), diagrams, cartoons, and examples to help illustrate and reinforce the various points being made throughout the book on fallacies.
The book is divided into two parts: “Logic and Language” and “Informal Fallacies.”

Friday, November 04, 2011

Weekly Apologetics Bonus Links (10/28 - 11/04)

Here are this week's recommended apologetics links. Enjoy.
The Role of Intuition
Whats your worldview?
Q&A with Lee Strobel
Is it okay to critique the sermon?
Who wrote the Gospels? - video
A (Not Too) Serious Christian History Quiz
Holly Ordway: The Role of Imagination (video)
Can We Trust the Bible? – Prof Craig Blomberg
Theologian R.C. Sproul interviews Stephen C. Meyer
12 Questions I Found Useful Asking Jehovah’s Witnesses
Christian Parenting – Raising Your Kids to Be Lifelong Believers
• Relationship between God and Morality by JP Moreland (video)
John Lennox talks about his book "Seven Days that Divide the World" (MP3)
Audio, summary and review of the Wiliam Lane Craig vs Peter Millican debate
The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology on Kindle for cheap!
• Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting Intelligent Design
• Just Downloaded: Where the Conflict Really Lies : Science, Religion, and Naturalism by Alvin Plantinga

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Apologetics and Women's Ministry: A Heart for the Mind

This week, in partnership with the International Society of Women in Apologetics, Apologetics315 will be featuring a series of essays from women in apologetics. This following essay has been contributed by Sarah J. Flashing, entitled: Apologetics & Women’s Ministry: Having a Heart for the Mind.

Knowing what you believe and why should be a requirement for everyone, no matter their worldview. And as Christians, there is a direct correspondence to the gospel we proclaim and the components of the worldview we say we represent. So as a young mother over 13 years ago, struggling with all kinds of trials, I found myself no longer satisfied with the very sincere and genuine consolations that “God knows your struggles” or “Jesus loves you” or “I’m praying for you.” Of course, I appreciate such affirmations and continue to do so today, but these were statements that, when left unpacked, made a little impact in my spiritual growth. For instance, without or with little understanding of Christ’s substitutionary atonement, “Jesus loves you” offers little more solace than being told by a friend that she loves you.

Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch09

Today we continue with chapter nine of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Series index here. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 9 study questions PDF, and summary:

Thursday, November 03, 2011

An ApoloWhat?

This week, in partnership with the International Society of Women in Apologetics, Apologetics315 will be featuring a series of essays from women in apologetics. This following essay has been contributed by Judy Salisbury, entitled: An ApoloWhat?

I think most of us will agree that men dominate the Christian apologetics ministries. I am perfectly comfortable with this fact, and I thank God for these wonderful gentlemen. They produce excellent materials so that many of us can stand on their shoulders in our attempt to lead people to Christ.

Yes, most apologetics ministries are predominantly male; so when a woman states that apologetics is the focus of her ministry, folks scratch their heads and ask, “How did you become an apologist?” I chuckle when people ask me this question since I never set out to become one. It happened by listening to one of the best apologists as he offered not simply an answer, but the answer to my greatest question and obstacle to conversion: Was Jesus truly God?

Implementing Apologetics in Women’s Ministry

This week, in partnership with the International Society of Women in Apologetics, Apologetics315 will be featuring a series of essays from women in apologetics. This following essay has been contributed by Mary Jo Sharp, entitled: Implementing Apologetics in Women’s Ministry.

In Matthew 22:37, Jesus replies to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?”  His reply is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  Though Jesus’ words here mean to love God with our whole being, he specifically emphasizes three aspects.  The last aspect is to love God with all of our mind. Are we, as ministry leaders, providing opportunities for the women in our church to love the Lord with all their mind?  Women need to be challenged in the area of growing in knowledge of the Lord.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Women Called to the Front Lines of the Faith

This week, in partnership with the International Society of Women in Apologetics, Apologetics315 will be featuring a series of essays from women in apologetics. This following essay has been contributed by Tricia Scribner, entitled: Women Called to the Front Lines of the Faith.

I was a 20-year-old newly married woman when a Jehovah’s Witness boldly informed me that the word “Trinity” was nowhere in the Bible. Though I had been a believer in Jesus Christ since childhood, I stood mute with no response. This would not be the last time I would be caught off guard by those with other worldviews who seemed much better equipped than I to discuss the evidence for their faith.

J.P. Moreland on the Christian Worldview

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Argument and the Woman Apologist

This week, in partnership with the International Society of Women in Apologetics, Apologetics315 will be featuring a series of essays from women in apologetics. This following essay has been contributed by Holly Ordway, entitled: Argument and the Woman Apologist.

Why are there so few Christian women apologists and intellectuals?

They do exist; I should know, I’m one of them. But it’s a small sisterhood. I see women’s ministry leaders, yes; writers of Christian fiction and devotionals, yes; but active apologists and scholars, not many.

Furthermore, in my own experience, I find that my most interesting and stimulating conversations about books and ideas are usually with men rather than women. Yet my female friends are just as intelligent and thoughtful as my male friends. What’s going on?

Terminology Tuesday: Propositionalism

Proposition, propositionalism: A proposition is a meaningful, logical statement (or assertion) that can be confirmed in some manner, such as by sensory observation, and so can be subjected to scientific inquiry. Propositionalism presents and defends theological truths by setting them forth as a series of propositions that can be reasonable demonstrated to be true. Propositionalism serves as an important reminder that the Christian faith has a rational and, hence, a scientifically demonstrable dimension. Critics accuse propositionalists of reducing the faith to a cognitive level and thereby missing the sense of wonder, awe and mystery about God and salvation; the importance of the affective, emotive and intuitive dimensions of human life; and the importance of the practical outworking of Christian commitment in a life of service to God and others.1

1. Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), pp. 96-97.

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