IF you were to design an Apologetics Guide, what would you put in it?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Mar 24 2021 9:03 PM

IF you were to design an Apologetics Guide, what would you put in it?

I'll wait a bit before offering my opinion, but I would certainly start with a clear statement of what I was reasoning for or reasoning against which would rely on those holding the position - i.e. learn a position from those who believe it.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Greg Dement | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 24 2021 9:16 PM

Are you thinking something somewhat concise that could be utilized by many or something very comprehensive for those that wish to go deep?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 24 2021 10:24 PM

My own inclination is for something that goes deep enough for the student specializing in apologetics to use as a starting point for a paper or for a lay leader teaching apologetics to start building a lesson -- but with a few key sections that is sufficient for the average lay person. Fortunately, guides are built with the ability to add/subtract sections.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Greg Dement | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 25 2021 8:04 AM

Just to get the ball rolling here are some primary topics/steps to start with and under which the many, many possible subtopics could be placed. Those much wiser than myself feel free to rename, reorder, replace, remove or add.

God Exists

Jesus Is a Real Historical Figure

Historical Evidence for the Bible

Plausible the God Would Resurrect Jesus

God Did Raise Jesus from Death

The Gospel

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Greg Dement | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 25 2021 8:06 AM

Should be: Plausible "that" God would resurrect Jesus

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 25 2021 8:11 AM

MJ. Smith:
IF you were to design an Apologetics Guide, what would you put in it?

Do you mean a new tool in Logos/Verbum?

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Greg Dement | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 25 2021 8:13 AM

Even if that is not what she meant, what a great idea!!

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Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 25 2021 8:30 AM

Greg Dement:

Just to get the ball rolling here are some primary topics/steps to start with

Greg, you got me thinking for similar topics/questions/lists that lurk under the surface - at least here in secular Europe:

  • Whether religion/spirituality is harmful/beneficial? ("religion causes violence...")
  • Whether there is truth or is truth only relative? ("it's your truth, not mine...")
  • Whether faith is irrational/makes sense? ("blind, childish faith...")
  • Whether you make your own life/everything has a meaning and a purpose?
  • Whether science and faith are opposed to each other?
  • Whether everything can be reduced to something "lower" (for example: faith into psychological needs/biology/neuroscience)?
  • What is the role of majorities/minorities in knowing truth? ("there are so many religions...")
  • Whether you are born with an innate sense of God or are you a tabula rasa religiously? 
  • Whether Christian upbringing and education is brainwashing or justified?
  • Whether God exists, since there is so much suffering in the world? ("how can a good and omnipotent God allow...?")

etc., etc.

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Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 25 2021 8:44 AM

This is a really good site for stuff like this

https://beliefmap.org/ 

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Greg Dement | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 25 2021 9:04 AM

Ha, that is where I “borrowed” most of the primary topics I suggested ;-)

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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 25 2021 9:41 AM

Norman Geisler's "12 points that show that Christianity is true".

12-points-book-marks.pdf (ves.edu)

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PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 25 2021 10:20 AM

I don't know if this belongs to an Apologetics Guide, or a separate new guide, but you know those "3/4/5 Views on xyz" "Perspectives on xyz" books? It would be nice to have a starter guide on the many controversial / debated / unsettled issues/topics within the broader Christian faith, e.g. baptism, Communion, predestination, church government, supernatural gifts, church & politics, end times, divorce and remarriage, women ordination, etc etc. (all the stuff we're not supposed to talk about on this forum).

Eventually I'd like to see all these specialty guides be centralized in one place, i.e. Factbook, rather than having Theology Guide, Counseling Guide, Topic Guide, Sermon Starter Guide, as well as the one(s) proposed here.

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Greg Dement | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 25 2021 10:55 AM

Regarding Geisler 12 points Jan referred to, I hope this link is copied correctly but Geisler does an online Apologetics course that offers a certificate from SES for free. I did it and is a great starter course. The one at Biola was much, much  more comprehensive but not free and much more time consuming.

https://academy.ses.edu/courses/introduction-to-christian-apologetics/

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 25 2021 11:33 PM

PL:
Eventually I'd like to see all these specialty guides be centralized in one place, i.e. Factbook, rather than having Theology Guide, Counseling Guide, Topic Guide, Sermon Starter Guide, as well as the one(s) proposed here.

I have trouble seeing guides integrated into Factbook. To me, Factbook provides a sort of mildly biased encyclopedia entry ... designed to be a starting point for unfamiliar topics -- a large reference library worth having within reach of the dinner table. [Okay, I grew up with the dictionary and encyclopedia always within reach of the dinner table.]  But the Guides are infinitely adjustable to my interests, library, and skills -- a research library where I can think for myself and follow my own logic patterns. Am I missing something in your proposal?

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 25 2021 11:54 PM

Greg Dement:
Just to get the ball rolling here are some primary topics/steps to start with and under which the many, many possible subtopics could be placed.

What I was envisioning was an ontology of apologetic topics and common positions on them. By ontology, think something similar to the organization of the theological topics with definitions but not a reference work like the LST. Resources, specifically apologetic/polemic works, of all persuasions would be tagged with these topics.

An apologetics guide could include:

  • Bible passages taken from a preaching theme that most closely parallels the apologetic topic.
  • An apologetics section on the apologetic topics with results in two sections - pro and con
  • A resources section based on topical assess to Ancient Literature/Catholic Topical Index for the historical perspective
  • A Biblical theology section based on the theological topic that most closely parallels the apologetic topic
  • A Systematic theology section based on the theological topic that most closely parallels the apologetic topic
  • Ideally but the available Logos resources are limited, a philosophical section based on the common philosophical positions/works on the subject.
  • The ability for the user via community tags to add resources of their choice to the Guide 

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 26 2021 4:54 AM

MJ. Smith:
I have trouble seeing guides integrated into Factbook. To me, Factbook provides a sort of mildly biased encyclopedia entry ... designed to be a starting point for unfamiliar topics -- a large reference library worth having within reach of the dinner table. [Okay, I grew up with the dictionary and encyclopedia always within reach of the dinner table.]  But the Guides are infinitely adjustable to my interests, library, and skills -- a research library where I can think for myself and follow my own logic patterns. Am I missing something in your proposal?

I was expecting the Factbook to eventually be customizable like the other guides. Perhaps I misunderstood FL's direction with the Factbook.

But regardless, I think the various guides (Theology Guide, Counseling Guide, Topic Guide, Sermon Starter Guide, and perhaps Apologetics Guide) seem to have a lot of overlapping content and sections. I often don't know which one to start with. E.g. "Jesus' Suffering / Passion" has hits on Theology Guide, Topic Guide, Factbook, and SSG.

If Factbook and the guides are indeed going to be kept separate in the long run (with Factbook = curated by FL staff vs. Guides = system generated from one's library content... but that distinction is still blurry to me), I'm hoping at least for some consolidation among Theology Guide, Counseling Guide, Topic Guide, Sermon Starter Guide into one general, all-purpose guide.

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Michael Kinch | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 26 2021 10:58 AM

I would suggest starting with introductory resources that would provide an overview of apologetics. These would serve as an introduction to the study of apologetics. I would also like to see  listing of suggested scriptures to memorize. From there I would have subheadings of various areas of apologetics - reliability of the Old and New Testaments, scientific evidence that confirms Christianity, confidence in the resurrection, etc. In all of this I would like to see links to websites for more information. A listing of important apologists to follow would also prove helpful.

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 26 2021 11:50 AM

MJ. Smith:
An apologetics section on the apologetic topics with results in two sections - pro and con

Only two?

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Michael Kinch | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 26 2021 1:56 PM

Greg Dement:

Michael, here some sites I had saved: . . .

Perfect. Thanks Greg. This will indeed be very useful for me.

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