2013 National Conference on Christian Apologetics at Southern Evangelical Seminary

2013 National Conference

on Christian Apologetics

2013 National Conference On Christian Apologetics. This event maxed out the capacity, and hosted speakers from all over the globe from various ministries. Speakers included RZIM’s Stuart McAllister, Os Guinness, Hugh Ross, Stephen Meyer and ma.



Gary Habermas: 10 Reasons for the Fall of Atheism

steps to atheism rodiagnusdei

Gary Habermas is Chair, Department of Philosophy Distinguished Research Professor at Liberty University, author of 36 books (with contributions to 60 other books) and expert on the facts surrounding the Resurrection of Jesus.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – A Christian apologist presented 10 reasons for the fall of atheism during the Southern Evangelical Seminary’s 20th annual Christian Apologetics conference on Saturday, an argument which he is also set to deliver before the Swedish parliament, one of the most atheistic societies in the world.

Gary Habermas, who is the distinguished research professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University, divided his 10 reasons into two groups: those which argue for theology in general as opposed to naturalism, and those which support specifically a Christian worldview.

„Both categories are important. God exists, naturalists are wrong, there is some kind of theism or deism, something to do with God, and then there are things saying Christianity is true,” the apologist explains.

„Virtually no religion, and no philosophy, tells you why their beliefs are true,” he added of belief systems outside of the Christian faith. „Christianity has something that no other religion has.”

A number of recent surveys have suggested that the number of non-believers in America is on the rise. According to a 2012 poll by Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life in conjunction with PBS’ Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, one-fifth of Americans said that they are religiously unaffiliated. That number rises to 32 percent when dealing specifically with young adults between 18-29 years of age.

Similarly, an extensive General Social Survey report from earlier this year also found that the number of people who do not identify with religion is on the rise, and has jumped to new levels in recent years.

„This was not happening really for decades, until around 1990 when it started to take off,” Claude Fischer, one of the researchers with UC Berkeley, shared with The Huffington Post. „One thing striking is the trend in terms of renouncing religious affiliation you might say continues to move up at a regular pace, while there is hardly any perceptible trend in the percentage of people who express atheist or agnostic beliefs.”

The decline in religious views has also been felt throughout Europe, and especially in Sweden, where Habermas will be presenting before the parliament this month.

According to a 2010 Eurobarometer Poll, only 18 percent of Swedish residents believe that there is a God, 45 percent believe that there is some sort of spirit or life force, while 34 percent do not believe in any kind of God or spirit.

Habermas argued, however, that despite cultural trends, belief in naturalism, which states that the world operates without any kind of divine or supernatural influence, is losing ground in academic circles.

„The naturalistic argument is starting to break,” the research professor said, bringing up a number of examples of atheists who have turned to theism, or non-believers who have admitted that naturalism doesn’t hold as much weight as previously thought.

The four theistic arguments that Habermas listed against atheism were as follows: Cosmology, Intelligent Design, Fine Tuning, and Near-Death Experiences.

For cosmology, which explores questions about the Big Bang, the beginning and eternal nature of the universe, he brought up a quote from C.S. Lewis, where the famous Christian author said: „If there ever was a time that nothing existed, then nothing would exist now.”

While Habermas only mentioned by name the two other reasons, he noted that next to the resurrection, he has done more work on near-death experiences than on any other topic.

„I have been working on this topic for 40 years, and I am a reviewer for a secular peer-reviewed journal on the subject,” he revealed, adding that near-death experiences have been written up in almost 20 different medical journals.

The apologist explained that this reason falls in the general theistic field, because it deals specifiaclly with people who had lost heart and brain function for a while, and been able to see or understand things through their experience that they could not have come to otherwise.

„But these are non-worldview specifics, meaning that it is religious data in general and that any religion can be right,” he noted.

Next, he presented six reasons that people can use for believing specifically in the Christian faith, listing them as follows:

  • Recent documentations of miracle claims: referring to thousands of cases around the world of documented miracles, including those where medical doctors witness prayer healing people with severe physical disabilities.
  • Double-blind prayer experiments: where people pray for others with terminal illness. Habermas admitted that most such experiments have not worked, but the three that he knows of that have indeed worked were cases of orthodox-Christians praying for the sick.
  • Jesus as a miracle healer: the research professor noted that when he went to graduate school, most people did not believe that Jesus was a miracle healer, but that has changed and many scholars now believe in the real miracles presented in the Bible.
  • Jesus proclaimed the resurrection beforehand: meaning that Jesus did not simply rise from the dead, but revealed beforehand that he would be resurrected. „It’s one thing to rise from the dead, but you claim double the significance of it if you told everybody what was going to happen ahead of time, which shows that you’re in control and know what’s going on,” the apologist argued.
  • Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Habermas said that „we are on the strongest grounds up here on the resurrection argument. Today, there are more scholars who believe that something happened to Jesus than there are those who believe that nothing happened to Jesus.”
  • Shroud of Turin: the apologist referred to an hour-long session he led on Friday about recent discoveries surrounding the Shroud, but admitted, „It deserves to be put on the board, at least now. It could be proven wrong tomorrow.”

Habermas concluded: „We have got to get the world out there, because the challenge is there, naturalism is losing, and we need to see Christianity ascend, because we have the data.” SOURCE: http://christianpost.com

The 2013 National Christian Apologetics Conference October 11-12, 2013 Charlotte, NC

apologetics conf 13Photo credit ses.edu 

The 2013 National Christian Apologetics Conference takes place from Friday, Oct. 11 to Saturday, Oct. 12. For more information visit www.conference.ses.edu.

See the schedule here – http://www.conference.ses.edu./schedule

The Southern Evangelical Seminary is partnering with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries to deliver what promises to be an exciting series of presentations by many prominent apologists during the 20th annual Christian Apologetics conference in Charlotte, N.C., starting Friday. Dr. Richard Land, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, will be inaugurated as the fourth president of Southern Evangelical Seminary prior to the conference Thursday evening.

The premise of the two-day event titled, „Reasons for the Hope,” is designed to deepen participant’s understanding of subjects related to science, culture, and other religions.

„I think the single greatest factor has to be that we as Christians are seeing how we are losing the culture to anti-Christian worldviews,” said Eric Gustafson, director of Development Southern Evangelical Seminary.

On the conference website, Zacharias is quoted, „In Christian engagement, the goal is to win the person who is of the other worldview – not to destroy the person.”

Organizers promise to deliver a host of prominent apologists speaking on engaging topics. For example, from the schedule of many speakers and topics, Tom Woodard, author of Darwin Strikes Back: Defending the Science of Intelligent Design, is presenting a session titled, „Darwin, Design, and the Stories We Tell: The Rhetoric of Science in Scientific Apologetics.” Don Deal,  director of Worldview Evangelism and Apologetics for Meekness and Truth Ministries, will be discussing „Does DNA = God?” In the „Christianity & Culture” track, Josh McDowell’s presentation is titled, „The Perfect Storm: Four Cultural Trends That Challenge Every Truth We Know.”

More than 2,000 people are expected to attend, twice the number of participants at last year’s event. Although the projected attendance is not the largest in its conference history, the surge is due, in part, to the hot topic of the crossroads between Christianity and science. Additionally, organizers say the increase in expected attendance is attributed to the stronger presence of social media in promoting the event.

Gustafson said that the demographics of attendees this year is broad, and includes pastors, Christian educators, and parents, who want to be better equipped to raise their children in an increasingly secular society.

„We also have a lot of professionals, including doctors, engineers, and scientists who want to better understand how evidences from their own fields points to the truthfulness of Christianity,” said Gustafson.

During the conference, there will be three tracks featuring dozens of topics that will be presented by renowned speakers and experts. One of the discussions will include a debate between Jason Lisle, a scientist from the Institute for Creation Research and Dr. Hugh Ross, a scholar from Reasons to Believe, an organization that equips people to engage in the integration of science and Christianity. Their dialoge will focus on their theological and philosophical reasons regarding astronomy and the Earth’s age.

„If participants are thirsty for high-quality apologetic training, be prepared to take a drink from a fire-hose,” said Gustafson.

In addition, another in-depth topic of discussion will entail the apologetic methodology called presuppositionalism, which involves the idea of divine condescension. The conversation will focus on the role of presuppositionalism and young-earth creationism, which argues that the world was created in six days.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to listen in on topics including climate changes in the 21st century and being spiritual but not religious, among others.

Story from http://www.christianpost.com

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