Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

A Study in Christian Apologetics: What We Believe & Why

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  1. The Purpose of this study:

    • To understand the culture, to influence it
    • To Refute False Objections to Christianity (2 Cor 10:5)
    • To share the message of the Gospel with others (Acts 17)
  2. The Course of our Study The study is arranged with linear thinking in mind - the topics build upon each other. We will have 14 sessions:

    Understanding the Time

    1. Apologetics
    2. Postmodernism
    3. Secular Humanism
    4. Religious Pluralism
    5. Absolute Truth & Moral Relativism

    Christian Defense

    1. Problem of Evil
    2. Does God Exist?
    3. Validity of the Scriptures
    4. Factuality of the Resurrection
    5. The Case for Christianity

    Cults / Movements

    1. New Age Movement
    2. Word of Faith Movement
    3. Mormons (LDS)
    4. Jehovah's Witness
  3. Today's Culture

    • For the past 20 years, we have experiencing the birth of a new age.
    • It is a shift in paradigm, values, world-views and ways of life.
    • The world awaiting our children is not the same world in which we grew up. The playing field has not only changed, but the entire game is different.
    • This age has become a post-Christian and pluralistic age. Christianity has become nothing more than a troublesome oddity amidst diversity.
    • "A major cause of our current crisis consists of a world view shift from a Christian understanding of reality to a post-Christian one" (J. P. Moreland, Love Your God with All Your Mind, p.21).
    • Historians and sociologist call it the age of "Postmodernism"
    • It is a world characterized by the rejection of moral absolutes, skepticism, and an religious pluralism.
      1. The rejection of moral absolutes
        • Sheryl Crow's song, Every Day is a Winding Road, sums up the world's philosophy of life with the words: "These are the days that anything goes."
        • We are quickly rejecting the moral values that make up the fabric of our society.
        • Cultural anthropologist Gene Veith points out that, "it is hard to proclaim the forgiveness of sins to people who believe that, since morality is relative, they have no sins to forgive."
        • "As we approach the twenty-first century, It doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that our entire culture is in trouble. We are staring down the barrel of a loaded gun and we can no longer afford to act like it is loaded with blanks" (J. P. Moreland, Love Your God with All Your Mind, p.21).
      2. The skepticism of our society
        • We also live in a world that is becoming increasingly more skeptical about whether you and I can know anything as objectively true, especially religious truth.
        • This skepticism is especially prevalent in the academic community.
        • Part of understanding the times in which we live is to realize that people generally will not take what we say at face value as being true, especially if it is religious truth.
        • There tends to be a modern attitude that if something cannot be proven as true through the scientific method of repeated observations, it must not be true, or there is no way to verify that in fact it is true.
        • "If I was living at the time of Christ, I could make decisions about who Jesus is but it has been 2000 years, so we can not really make decisions like that any more" (College student).
      3. Religious Pluralism
        • All religions are essentially equal and teach equally valid truths
        • Promotes the notion of tolerance and unity
        • The claim to have discovered an absolute truth is no longer the ideal, but is rather the problem
    • Gene Edward Veith, in his book Postmodern Times, writes: "Today's universities, while devoted to cultivating truth, now argue that truth does not exist. This does not mean that the universities are closing their doors. Rather, the universities are redefining what learning is all about. Knowledge is no longer seen as absolute truth; rather, knowledge is seen in terms of rearranging information into new paradigms...Homosexuality is no longer considered a psychological problem; rather, homophobia is" (Postmodern Times, pp. 56-7).
  4. Our Role
    • We need to also respond to the decreasing influence of the Christian faith on our culture – as well as the growing influence of our culture on our Christian faith.
    • We need to ask ourselves:
      • Where should we stand?
      • Inside?
      • Outside?
      • Attempting to transform it?

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