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Christian Apologetics

PE420/PE620

WORKLOAD: , 4 credit points.
STATUS: Elective
PRE-REQUISITES: 16 credit points of core foundation level units OR approval from the Academic Dean or lecturer
WHEN: Semester 2, 2018
WHO: Scott Harrower

What does it mean to defend the Christian faith in a 21st century postmodern world? How do Christians respond to the challenges of a context where knowledge is seen to be the domain of science while religion is seen to be merely about belief or values. How do Christians respond to the ‘New Atheists’, people such as Richard Dawkins who says that religion poisons your mind? What is a distinctive Christian theological and apologetic response to climate change? And what is the role of reason and argument in these conversations? How do Christians promote a substantial view of truth and the uniqueness of Christ when prominent philosophers claim that truth is no more than what your peers will let you get away with saying? How does apologetics contribute to preaching in the local church? This unit will examine questions such as these with a special focus on the so-called New Atheism and the relationship between science and faith. Be prepared for an intellectually stimulating ride.

Content

Topics of lectures and discussion (subject to modification)

  • Introduction & experiences of apologetics
  • Historical & postmodern contexts
  • Why don’t people believe?
  • Apologetics in the Bible
  • Tools of the trade: logic, reason, truth and faith
  • The ‘New Atheists’ and The God Delusion
  • The Dawkinsian worldview: Evolutionary naturalism and Darwinism
  • Rumours of wars: science and religion
  • Climate change and the nature of science
  • Knowing and believing: epistemology for beginners
  • The existence of God
  • “If God is good…” The problem of evil
  • Other religions and the uniqueness of Christ
  • Where the rubber meets the road: ‘doing apologetics’ today in public and pulpit

 

Assessment

Assessment will be by 2 essays of 2000 and 3000 words, due 10 days after the second and third teaching blocks. Grad. students will also write a 1000 word book review and present it in class during the second teaching block.

 

 

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