General Comments: The specific topics can be presented in a number of formats from single sermons, to a series of classes depending on the need and the timeframe.
Evidence for the Bible:
Content: While Christians believe the Bible to be the word of God, can we really trust it? What about all the other books, such as the Book of Mormon? We will look at some of the common criticism of the Bible and the evidence that show that the Bible not only is reliable and can be trusted, but it is inspired and the word of God.
Science and Christianity:
Content: Perhaps nothing has challenged faith more than the discoveries of modern science. Are science and religion locked in mortal combat? Looking at some of the common conflicts and the evidence, we will see that while some conflict is inevitable, this in no way threatens the validity of Christianity or the Bible.
Who Was Jesus?:
Content: Central to Christianity is the life of Jesus Christ. Who was He? The critics have many theories that are examined. Using primarily the writings of the early critics of Christianity it is shown that the theories of modern critics just do not stand up to scrutiny. In fact, from the early critics we see a picture of Jesus that comes close to the Jesus of the Gospels. In short we see that the only reasonable answer to Jesus’ question is Peter’s: “You are the Christ.”
The Jesus Conspiracy?
Content: The most important teaching of the Bible is the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is also the most questioned. Critics have long sought an alternative explanation, and many see some form of conspiracy here. After examining the Gospels and finding that they present a consistent account of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we look at the explanations put forth by the critics and see that they come up short. The only valid explanation is that Jesus did conquer death. He is risen!
The Challenge of Secularism:
Content: Perhaps the greatest challenge to Christianity today is secularism. Western Europe is already well into a post-Christian era where secularism dominates, and America may soon follow. Often the conflict is portrayed as one of faith vs. reason, but this is simply the self-serving view of secularists. In reality secularism is simply another and complete world view, one that make is own assumption and has it own beliefs.
Understanding Faith and Reason:
Content: Much of the conflict surrounding Christianity framed by critics as a clash between faith and reason, where faith is portrayed as some inherently inferior way of thinking. While this view is so pervasive that even some Christians buy into it, it is not a Biblical view. The Bible sees both faith and reason as important, and rather than being in conflict they should work together.
Digging Deeper in the Bible:
Content: While most Christian say the Bible is an important part of Christianity, according to recent surveys, Biblical literacy is so low it is becoming a crisis. For many the Bible is simply a collection of sayings (verses) some of which they may have memorized. But really understanding the word of God is more that memorizing a few verses. We will look at how to use Bible study to gain a more systematic understanding of the Bible and its teaching, and how to unlock some of the deeper truths of Gods word.
The Need for Defending the Faith
Content: For many, Apologetics is little more than a strange word. For many who know what it means it is little more than something they heard about. And yet we wonder why we loose in the marketplace of ideas and why secularism is gaining ground. Looking at the actions of the Apostles, we well see that defending the faith was not something they saw as optional, but was rather an integral and important part of their ministry.
Myths and Misconceptions in the History of Christianity:
Content: Much of what people think they know about the history of Christianity is really little more than myths and misconceptions. For example, while it is commonly believed that Columbus had to battle the Christian belief of a flat earth, not only is this a complete fabrication by Washington Irving who also gave us Rip Van Winkle, the belief that the earth was round has always been the dominate Christian view, and was unquestioned during the time of Columbus. Some other topics discussed: the Dark Ages, Galileo, Crusades, and the Inquisition.
Being Christian in America:
Content: We constantly hear secularists claiming that religion and politics don’t mix, but is this true? What does the Bible teach us about being a citizen in a democracy? This question is examined in both a biblical and historical framework.
The Problems of Democracy:
Content: A brief introduction to some of the reasons why most great thinkers in history have considered democracy as an unworkable system, how the Founding Fathers dealt with those objections, and how ignorance of those potential problems threatens democracy today. While the approach does deal with current issues, it is handled in a deliberately non-partisan way and avoids politically charged terms such as liberal or conservative.
Content: While we are all human, most of us just take it for granted that we know what “Being Human” means and few have given it much consideration. What does it really mean to be human? Are we just biological machines programmed by our genes as secularist claim, or are we something more as the Bible teaches? We think of ourselves as conscious beings with thoughts, feelings and freewill. But what do these term’s even mean and what does this say about us as being created in the image of God.
Artificial Intelligence: Created in our image?
Content: We see intelligent robots such as C3PO from Star Wars, or Data from Star Trek in movies and on TV frequently and many assume that it is only a matter of time before computer technology advances to this point. The goals and challenges of AI are reviewed in a non-technical fashion, with the focus being on what AI intelligence can tell us about ourselves. What is it we are trying to recreate? In our attempt to make machines that are more human, are we unconsciously coming to see humans more like machines? How does the possibility of Artificial Intelligence fit in with the Biblical view that we are created in the image of God?
Thinking Critically - Simple Steps for dealing with Complex Problems:
Content: A brief introduction to the subject of critical thinking touching on the role of language, emotions, use of logic and common fallacies, etc. While most people believe that they are critical thinkers few really know what it involves. Using everyday examples and situations, the various aspects of Critical thinking will be highlighted with an emphasis on application to everyday life.
Uncritical Thinking - 7 Common Errors
Content: Using everyday examples and situations, the most common errors of thinking are highlighted. While these fallacies have technical labels, (e.g. ad Hominem Attack), the technical terms are avoided and the errors presented with more “User-Friendly” terms: The Perfection Fallacy, The Default Fallacy, One-Sided Thinking, First Stage Thinking, Demonizing the Opposition, Blinded by Hate, and Stoppers.
For more Information, or to schedule a class or lecture at your church, contact Teaching@consider.org.