If you follow me on Twitter, you might recall a few times that I’ve mentioned that I’d be taking an apologetics class at college this semester. I signed up purely out of curiosity, and for the sake of learning both sides of an argument. Well, classes started this past week, and the time has come for me to share what it’s like to be an undercover atheist taking Apologetics 101 at a Christian college.
If I’m being completely honest, when I signed up for this class, and in the days leading up to its genesis, I was apprehensive. If nothing else, it can be discomforting knowing that everyone else in the class holds a different view than you, but in addition to that, they’re being taught to argue with you and refute your claims. Nevertheless, I anticipate that this class will not change my mind regarding the existence of God, and I’m doubtful that, ultimately, it will change my views of anything at all.
Apologetics class exists for the purpose of equipping Christian students with the tools and arguments that they need to defend their faith against non-Christians in the real world. I expected that with such high stakes, the material taught would be some of the most fool-proof arguments for the existence of God. After all, if someone debates with atheists over and over again, they’re bound to determine what does and what does not convince them, and what is and what isn’t a sound argument. Wouldn’t you agree?
The material that was taught this week didn’t meet my expectations. Here are a few of the ideas and arguments presented:
- Postmodernism says there is no objective truth or reality, but rather, reality is whatever we’re feeling
- Secularists treat life as if it has no value
- We all have a “God-hole” that can’t be filled by stuff
- Without God, man tries to rise to become a god himself
- Money can’t save us; it hasn’t fixed poverty or other problems of our world, so why should we expect it to? (note: neither has prayer)
- The reason why people don’t believe in God is because they don’t want to be obedient
- A Christian college can’t make you a godly person
- Revelation from God provides a “truth detector” from error and falsehood which arise from a man-made doctrinal base
- The world’s knowledge is limited by the mind of man and his imagination, while the mind of God is infinite and unlimited
- When you’re trapped on a desert island, it’s more useful to have a Bible than fire (I think this was implied but not directly stated)
- Morality is objective and comes from the Bible
- Mormon beliefs and practices are really bizarre (because Christianity is so not bizarre?)
- Don’t be a “silent witness”; rather, go up to people and start a conversation in order to find what makes them tick so that you can try to convert them to Christianity
- A lot of people don’t believe that they’re lost and think they’re a good person
- “Holy tension” is when the Bible doesn’t make sense like when Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt (but if God wants to do things like that, then He can)
- Unbelievers will be encouraged to examine the evidence for theism
- Liberals relegate scripture as myth, legend, or fable in order to discount the veracity of the Bible
- “The skies declare His glory—HAVE YOU LOOKED AT THE SKY?” (Checkmate, atheists!)
- You can’t change people’s minds, only the Holy Spirit can do that; you can only point them in the right direction
- “The virgin birth is true because God” (I specifically pointed out to myself in my notes that this was a direct quote from my teacher)
- Noah’s Ark is hard to understand, but we can believe it, because believing something comes before understanding it, not the other way around
- We don’t understand wind either, but we believe that it’s there because we can see its effects!
I don’t know about you, but I found nothing that my professor said to be even remotely convincing. I almost hope that he will have more convincing arguments for Christianity throughout the semester, otherwise my classmates will have very weak rebuttals in debates with atheists, skeptics, and non-Christians.