HU 412D Apologetics

Instructor: Joel Hunt

Semesters: Fall

Course Description 

A biblically based, philosophically detailed defense and statement of Christian theism and belief in God. Topics include: (1) the aims and methods of apologetics, (2) the existence of God, (3) religious language, (4) the problem of evil, (5) miracles and Scripture, (6) the nature of science, and other contemporary topics relevant to showing the rationality of Christian belief. The readings are drawn from both classical and contemporary sources. May be used as an Interdisciplinary Bible Course.

Required Textbooks 

·            James E. Taylor, Baker Introducing Apologetics: Cultivating Christian Movement, Copyright 2006 (ISBN: 0801027861)

·            John Frame (Editor) Five Views on Apologetics, Zondervan, Copyright 2000 (ISBN: 0310224764)

Course Schedule

Unit

Topic

Learning Objective

1

Introduction

·         To get students comfortable with online classes and other students by describing online courses and setting down some suggestions for succeeding.

2

Real World Apologetics

·         To consider two paths one can take when faced with horrendous evil.

3

Methodology of Apologetics 1

·         To understand the different approaches to apologetics Christians have used.

4

Methodology of Apologetics 2

·         To understand the different approaches to apologetics Christians have used.

5

The Cosmological Argument

·         To understand the basic structure of the Cosmological Argument and how it works from some undeniable fact (common ground you share with the unbeliever) to the existence of a god. The fact is a fact that anyone cannot reject.  For example, they start out with “Something exists.”  That is certainly something that everyone would agree with.  Or motion.  “There is motion in the universe.”  We can go from “There is motion in the universe” to “God exists.”  And, surely, everyone would agree “There is motion in the universe.”  So the basic point of the Cosmological Argument is that you start from some undeniable daily fact and go from that to the existence of a god.  And you do that because that fact needs an explanation.

·         To be able to construct your own cosmological argument at the end of the week.

·         To understand the distinction between contingent and necessary beings.

·         To understand why an infinite series cannot exist.

6

The Teleological Argument

·         Become familiar with the following terms, concepts and names:

·         Apparent Design

·         Intelligent Design

·         Irreducibility Complex System

·         Many Universes Hypothesis

·         Methodological Naturalism

·         Natural Selection

·         Teleological System

·         Teleology

7

Mid-term

8

The Hidden-ness & Silence of God

·         To understand the different approaches to apologetics Christians have used.

9

The Person of Jesus

·         Come to terms with the problem of the ‘Historical Jesus.’

10

Miracles

·         To learn the meaning of the term ‘miracle.’

·         To be able to respond to the argument against miracles.

·         Basic terms, concepts and names to be learned:

·         Creation miracles

·         David Hume

·         Law of Nature

·         Methodological Naturalism

·         Miracle

·         Redemptive miracles

·         Testimonial evidence

11

The Resurrection

·         To understand the importance of the Resurrection in the Christian faith.  The Resurrection of Christ and resurrection in general is probably the most important idea that we have in Christianity.  As Paul said, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Cor. 15:14)

·         To understand why God would resurrect us.  Why does He give us back our bodies?

·         Be able to state the “Stolen Body Theory”, the “Swoon Theory” and the “Wrong Tomb Theory.”

·         Basic terms, concepts and names to be learned - all.

12

Those Who Have Not Heard

·         Basic terms, concepts and names to be learned: all.

·         To come up with some plausible explanation or answer about those who lack the evidences we have.

·         To make concrete changes in the student's lifestyle about reaching out to others, supporting missionaries, and being more evangelical.

13

The Problem of Pluralism 1

·         To understand that we live in a democratic society where people are free to choose what is good for them.

·         To understand the concept of pluralism, which comes out of the concept of democracy.

·         To help formulate in your mind how to approach a pluralistic society with a concept that is definitely non-pluralistic, namely, “Jesus is the only way.”

·         Basic terms, concepts and names to be learned: all.

14

The Problem of Pluralism 2

·         Basic terms, concepts and names to be learned: all.

·         To come to terms with 9/11 in some small, baby-step ways and understand post-9/11 apologetics.

15

Spirit of the Age

·         Basic terms, concepts and names to be learned: all.

·         The challenge from psychology—to understand the Freudian critique of religious beliefs

·         The Bible as literature

·         To understand the challenge of Biblical methodologicalism as a challenge to our belief.

·         To understand the challenge of the naturalistic, historical critical method as challenges to our belief.

·         The dark side of the church—the challenge of history.  The third social science from which an argument can be given against our beliefs is history.  Namely, that Christianity has been worse for our society than it has been better.  More people have died under the Christian cause than anything else in the world.  Look at the Crusades.  Look at the Inquisition.  And we have to face that and deal with it directly.  It will come up in conversations in lifestyle apologetics and you need to be ready for it.  But you need to be very careful not to have a knee-jerk reaction to this.  There have been abuses in the church.  And there is also an equivocation in "the church."  When a person says "the church", they're usually talking about the Catholic Church.  But, as I have given you before, there are instances of Christian communities that have come together in the Holocaust and have saved lives.  That's part of the universal church.  So we have to be very careful here in distinguishing which "church" we are talking about.  Has the West really suffered under Christianity?