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Pre-emptive Apologetics: Using Faith and Reason to Prepare Students for College Dean E. Hardy Charlotte Christian School

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Presentation on theme: "Pre-emptive Apologetics: Using Faith and Reason to Prepare Students for College Dean E. Hardy Charlotte Christian School"— Presentation transcript:

1 Pre-emptive Apologetics: Using Faith and Reason to Prepare Students for College Dean E. Hardy Charlotte Christian School

2 What is Apologetics? Def. -- The act of defending the truth of Christianity. 1 Peter 3:15. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

3 What is Preemptive Apologetics? Preemptive Apologetics begins with an inquisitive attitude toward the intellectual and spiritual challenges that students will face over the next four years of college. The teacher anticipates these challenges, and gears their class (Bible or otherwise) to prepare them for these specific tests.

4 Katie, a former student and a strong Christian writes in an email, “I went to UNCC feeling totally ready, excited to just get away and do something new and exciting, not realizing that I was entering into the most intense battle I've experienced yet in life. Spiritually, mentally, relationally... in every aspect... my freshman year of college was a battle.”

5 Objectives for this session I. To show the reasons why preemptive apologetics is necessary -Statistical -Biblical -Practical II. Methodology (Vaccination method) III. To offer a possible topical guide for an apologetics class. III. To give resources to teachers to bring back to their own school/classes.

6 I. The reasons why preemptive apologetics is necessary A. Statistical Reasons … On God… While 84% of teenagers state that they believe in a god, only 79% college freshmen claim that there is some supernatural element to the universe. (150,000)

7 More Statistical Reasons On Hell… While 71% of teenagers agree that there will be a judgment day when God punishes evildoers, only 63% of college students agree that God will punish those who reject him. Colin writes, “Maybe hell doesn't exist. I am completely unsure and I was wondering what your thoughts were. I once heard a girl pose the question, ‘How could God be having a party upstairs while people are suffering in hell?’”

8 More Statistical Reasons On Faith and Security… Only 19% of teenagers have “some” or “many” doubts, while 80% say that they have very few to no doubts at all! Contrast this with the mere 42% of college freshmen who state that they are secure in their religious beliefs. Two-thirds (65%) of college juniors report that they question their religious/spiritual beliefs at least occasionally (18% frequently), and a similar number (68%) say that they are ‘feeling unsettled about spiritual and religious matters’ at least ‘to some extent.’”

9 More Statistical Reasons On belief in what their parents believe… About three in four teens in the United States consider their own religious beliefs somewhat or very similar to their parents. Alternatively, 52% of college freshmen openly admit that they disagree with their parents on matters of religion. One-third (38%) of the juniors report feeling ‘disillusioned with my religious upbringing’ at least ‘to some extent.’” Statistical data resources can be found in the handout.

10 B. Biblical support for apologetics 2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Acts 17:17 So he (Paul) reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God- fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.

11 More verses supporting the need for apologetics Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Philippians 1:7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.

12 C. Practical Reasons for Apologetics Ask one of your students this simple question: How do you know that Christianity is true? or more directly… How do you justify your belief in Christianity?

13 II. Methodology: Vaccination Define Vaccination: to inoculate a person in order to produce immunity. Method: Expose the students to some of the ideas they will encounter in “the real world” while still under the spiritual guidance of their teachers, parents, and pastors.

14 II. Methodology: Vaccination (continued) For Example… “I am firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue…it is thought virtuous to have faith- that is to say, to have a conviction which cannot be shaken by contrary evidence. Or, if contrary evidence might induce doubt, it is held that contrary evidence must be suppressed.” -Bertrand Russell “Why I am Not a Christian,” p. vi

15 Another example: “Some people believe homosexuals choose to be homosexual. No, what I have witnessed are homosexuals choosing to deny their sexual orientation, some even going so far as marrying a person of the opposite sex and having children. Homosexual Christians do not need a church that forces them to live a lie. They need love, acceptance, and affirmation. They need a church that has learned homosexuality is not a sin. They need a faith community which is honest about biblical interpretation. Yes, the Bible. But what about the Bible?, some will ask. What about those verses that indicate homosexuality is a sin? How can you say homosexuality is not a sin when the Bible clearly says it is?” Some parts of the Bible are not the Word of God. I want you to know that not only in your head, but also in your heart, especially in your heart.” - A local pastor (Charlotte, NC)

16 Another example: “It’s time for a new religion. I’m sorry if this offends, but the lies we are telling each other today just aren’t believable any longer. So far, I have not found a religion that acknowledges the truths of physics, chemistry, and the sciences…Today’s religions are simply outdated.” J.P. Long A senior in at East Meck

17 III. Topical Guide… Norman Geisler writes in his introduction to Stand Your Ground: “The warning of the apostle Paul is as sharp today as it was in the first century when it was given: “Beware of philosophy...” (Col. 2:8). But one cannot be-ware of philosophy unless he is aware of philosophy. No one would go to a doctor for a cure who didn’t study sickness. For how can one treat the illness unless he knows what it is? Likewise, our young people must be exposed to the ideological “diseases” of our day in order to know how to respond to them.” 1. Define terms and consider philosophical issues

18 “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” (C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, 50).

19 III. Topical Guide… 1. Define terms and consider philosophical issues (continued) Justification of Christianity (evidential apologetics) View of Epistemology The Study of Knowledge View of Truth Correspondence Theory View of Reality Metaphysical Realism “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.” -Abraham Lincoln (There is an actual physical world out there) (What corresponds to reality is true) True beliefs about reality

20 III. Topical Guide… (continued) 2. Explain worldviews… Hey Mr. Hardy, “I have a question about how to defend the faith against agnostics. It seems like half the people on campus [Wake Forest] believe in some sort of concept along the lines of agnosticism.” -Griffin M. Supernaturalism “There is something beyond the natural.” Pantheism “God and the World are identical.” Deism “God exists, but he does not act in the universe.” Polytheism “There are many finite gods.” Finite Godism “God exists, but is limited in one or more aspects of his nature.” Monotheism “There is one infinite and perfect being” Naturalism “There is nothing beyond the natural.” Atheism “There is no god.” Agnosticism “You can’t know if there is a god.”

21 PROOF! What does the word “proof” mean? What things in this world can we prove 100%? Can you 100% prove what you had for breakfast 3 days ago? In accepting ANY truth claim, there is always a hint of FAITH. 3. Other issues that need to be addressed:

22 Logic! We need to be sure that we are not only teaching students WHAT to think, but even more so HOW to think correctly. Here is a logic tool that helps many students defend their belief… 3. Other issues that need to be addressed:

23 Apply the claim to itself! SELF REFUTING ARGUMENTS Examples... Logic! To say that a statement is self- defeating is to say that “it did what it claimed could not be done.”

24 A Self-Defeating Statement “I can’t speak a word in English.” “Didn’t she say that in English?”

25 A Self-Defeating Statement “There is no truth.” “Is that true?”

26 A Self-Defeating Statement “You can’t know anything.” “Then how do you know that?”

27 Is she meeting her own standard? “There are no absolutes!” “Is that absolutely true?”

28 Is she meeting her own standard? “All truth is relative!” “Is that a relative truth?”

29 Is she meeting her own standard? “No one has the Truth!” “Is that true? (You obviously do)”

30 Is she meeting her own standard? “That’s just your interpretation!” “Is that just your interpretation.”

31 Is she meeting her own standard? “You ought not judge!” “Is that a judgment?”

32 Is she meeting her own standard? “You are intolerant!” “Are you tolerating my perspective?”

33 Is she meeting her own standard? “That’s true for you, not for me!” “Is that idea just true for you, or is it true for everybody?”

34 Truth and Validity A.Two tests for arguments: Is it true? Is it valid? B.Truth deals with the content of the argument. (do the premises correspond to reality?) C.Validity deals with correct logical structure. (if the logic is incorrect, it is illogical!) D. An argument must be true and valid for it to be usable. Let’s look at some examples: Logic Continued...

35 III. Truth and Validity (continued) Example # 1… is it valid? Is it true? The sun is 30 million miles away. Light travels at 186,212 miles per second. Therefore it takes 2.75 minutes for sunlight to reach earth. Example # 2… is it valid? Is it true? If Bunnies are furry animals, then Bears are furry animals too. Bears are furry animals. Therefore, Bunnies must be furry animals too!

36 The Problem of Evil- “If God desires there to be evil in the world, then he is not good. If he does not desire there to be evil, yet evil still exists, then he must not be powerful enough to stop it. Therefore, if God exists, he is either not loving or not powerful.” -John Stuart Mill 3. Other issues that need to be addressed:

37 Richard Dawkins on God: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” – taken from “The God Delusion”

38 3. Other issues that need to be addressed: Proofs for the existence of God The Authority of the Bible The Historicity of the Bible (Did Jesus exist?) The Trinity Ethics Apologetics and Evangelism

39 IV. Some resources for you… If you have any questions email - University of California Television- Great Realstreaming videos by Philip Johnson, Os Fun With logic… great resources! GREAT site for everything apologetics- very teenager-friendly! – My

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