Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

The Mysterious Drew lectures on Christianity and the culture war in Defenders

Drew’s blog is here. He taught Dr. William Lane Craig’s Defenders class for two weeks in a row while Dr. Craig was in Australia. He chose to focus on secularism.

Note: Drew has some problems with the microphone for the first 2.5 minutes of part 1. Be patient.

Part 1 deals with how Europe and America became secular in different ways. (You can read his essay for part 1 here)

Part 1 topics:

  • Secularism: the attempt to take values based on religion (e.g. – Judeo-Christian values) out of the public square
  • Television programs that are targeted to more thoughtful viewers favor secular or liberal worldviews
  • Consider the sexual revolution – a new set of beliefs about sex are being pushed into the culture
  • Sex revolution includes: same-sex marriage, pornography, hookup culture, no-fault divorce
  • The effect of the sexual revolution has been to introduce widespread fatherlessness, which is very bad for children
  • The sexual revolution is being pushed in the popular culture, but also in the school sexual education programs
  • You can see where secularism has led to by looking at Europe, which has largely rejected its Christian roots
  • For example, Germany and Sweden are very aggressive about stamping out homeschooling
  • They do this because they are trying to push a government-approved set of beliefs and meanings onto children
  • How bad could it get? You can look at how Orthodox Judaism was persecuted in Russia after the communist revolution
  • How did Europe become so secular?
  • Wars in Europe between Protestants and Catholics caused people to think that theistic religion was bad
  • Secularists first attacked theism philosophically by trying to replace it with deism – the view that miracles do not occur
  • Secularists then pushed a radical empirism which attempted to reduce religious claims to meaningless irrationality
  • The Christian church responded by retreating from philosophical and theological claims and focusing on moral claims
  • That’s how Europe became secular, but how did America become secular?
  • America became secular because Christianity was transformed from a knowledge tradition to an emotional tradition
  • Pastors started to move away from presenting Christianity as true and instead presented it as emotionally fulfilling
  • Pastors emphasized personal experiences instead of philosophical theology and apologetics
  • European ideas arrived: deism, Darwinism, Bible criticism, etc.
  • Christianity responded to this by abandoning the centers of learning it had founded (universities) into pious isolation
  • As the universities became more secular, they turned out the next generation of influencers, including the media
  • This retreat from intellectual engagement was augmented by a fixation on end-times speculation (e.g. Left Behind)
  • (Drew talks to Jeremy, a philosophy student at Georgia State University, about whether Christianity is respected in his classes)
  • How politicians and the media used the Scopes Monkey Trial to marginalize Christianity as anti-science
  • The perception of Christians in the public square changed – they were viewed as ignorant, irrational and anti-science
  • Instead of causing Christians to work harder at science, they became even more fundamentalist, and less influential
  • Christians today are a tiny minority of influential groups, e.g. – scientists, media, etc.
  • In contrast, secular Jews, who tend to grow up in a culture that values learning, have a much greater influence
  • Even if Christians try to retreat to the country where they can homeschool, there is no hiding from the Internet
  • Which organizations are working against secularism today?
  • Example of what Christians can do: Plantinga’s refutation of the problem of evil
  • Example of what Christians can do: widespread use of ultrasound to move people to the pro-life view
  • Example of what Christians can do: Liberty University’s effort to produce Christians who can work in media
  • A story about William Lane Craig and a secular physicist who had lost her faith

People must have liked what they heard and saw in the first week, because he got a big turnout in the second week.

Part 2 deals with practical tips for engaging in the culture. (You can read his essay for part 2 here)

Topics in Part 2:

  • The real root cause of opposition to Christianity is from the sexual revolution
  • For example, moral relativism is so popular in the university, but it is almost entirely driven by sexual liberation
  • Evangelism and culture-shaping are not the same thing – each requires a different set of skills
  • Where do people get their information? Public school, news media, late night comedy shows, etc.
  • Two things for every Christian need to do: 1) Get informed, and 2) Get involved
  • First: you do not need to be smarter than average. Dr. Craig is a leading scholar because he studies 9 hours a day
  • Implying that people with influence are “smart” just provides us with an excuse not to try if we are not “smart”
  • Ordinary Christians need to be willing to give up fun more than they need to be naturally “smart”
  • Asks Cody: what about that Christian apologist who hung out mostly with internet atheists and then became one
  • Famous quantum chemist: you’re right, I am not much smarter than most people, I just work a lot harder at it
  • Drew: to get informed, you should follow good Christian blogs like Apologetics 315 and Wintery Knight
  • Drew knows Wintery Knight personally and WK is someone who knows apologetics but he also knows other things
  • WK connects the Christian worldview to lots different things, e.g. = marriage – he can find you the right people and books
  • (Drew holds up “What is Marriage?” book) This is the best book to argue the same-sex marriage issue
  • (Drew hold up “The Case for Life” book) This is the best book to argue the pro-life position
  • Slacktivism: don’t just send people links that you find on the Internet – read the articles and books and then talk about them
  • (Drew holds up the Lee Strobel “Case for” books) These are the best introductory books on basic Christian apologetics
  • Audio books are a great way for people to take in the information, and you can get them for free from the library
  • The Internet is not the best place for arguing about the things you learn – face to face conversations are much better
  • Biola’s apologetics certificate program is an excellent resource, and it’s all audio lectures so you just listen to them
  • You can get free apologetics audio from Apologetics 315 and Phil Fernandes
  • We also need to learn how to how to change the culture and how the other side changes the culture
  • To really make a difference, then a graduate degree might be for you – especially the M.A. in apologetics from Biola
  • The university is also very important – Christianity needs to be represented in the university
  • Influential people like Supreme Court justices come out of the university, which is why we need to be there
  • The Discovery Institute is doing the most to provide a credible rival to naturalistic science
  • They have a budget of $4 million dollars and they are punching way above their weight
  • If every evangelical sent them $20, they’d have a budget of $1.2 billion – what could they do with that?
  • (Drew puts a check for $20 for Discovery Institute in an envelope and seals it, to show how it’s done)
  • The Truth Project, which is put out by Focus on the Family – it’s another excellent training resource
  • When it comes to politics, focus on discussing policy issues, not on pushing particular candidates
  • If every evangelical Christian just pulled their own weight, it would make a big difference
  • It all starts by making the decision to take some leisure time to do things that really work

You can also find the list of recommended resources for both weeks here. This was the handout that he mentioned.

I could not agree with him more on his selections on the marriage debate and the abortion debate. I have bought at least a half-dozen of each of those for people. And I highly recommend getting the Strobel books on audio, especially the Case for a Creator. Love that book. Listen to it a bunch a times and you will start to talk like Lee Strobel.

I listened to all the Biola University lectures before they even had the certificate program, along with the Stand to Reason Masters Series in Christian Thought and about 60 Veritas Forum leture sets. Those things probably did the most for me in terms of turning me from engineer to apologetics-enabled engineer. It’s funny because what I do these days is listen to Apologetics 315 interviews and Phil Fernandes lectures. I was listening to the Fernandes lectures on Roman Catholicism that he mentioned on a recent long drive to visit my parents (Dina recommended them to me).

He mentions the Biola M.A. in apologetics, but I want to do the Biola M.A. in Science and Religion. That’s my “mid-life crisis” plan. A new roadster and the Biola M.A. in Science and Religion.

The point he made about giving money to the Discovery Institute is important. This week I am sending $300 to bring a scholar to a major university (total for this effort is $900) and another $300 for pro-life training and debates. Money matters. If you are going to college, study something that pays well and be generous. It’s one way to make a difference.

I think he’s right when he talks about everyone pulling their own weight. I spend about 2-3 hours a day reading and blogging. I donate a portion of my earnings to Christian scholars who study and/or speak at the university. I support Christian students who are doing degrees in philosophy, science and engineering. In church, I don’t do anything, because they don’t even know about me there, but I have a network of friends who are more sociable who do things in church, like organize lectures, debates and apologetics book studies.

I got started on this by putting in the time on some of the things he mentioned in part 2 of his talk. The basic things to do are reading introductory books on apologetics, especially the ones on philosophy of religion, historical Jesus and physical sciences. If you can’t read, then at least get hold of lectures from Biola University and listen to those, along with Lee Strobel audio books, Brian Auten interviews, Phil Fernandes lectures and William Lane Craig debates. Just put them in the car and listen, and soon you’ll be sounding just like them.

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11 Responses

  1. Mo says:

    Thank you so much for this post! Almost done with the first vid now.

    • You are welcome. For me the thing that was most apparent was that here was a young person who was obviously concerned about God enough to be thinking about how to do something about secularism. You don’t see a lot of young people like that these days. If they are concerned about anything at all, it’s usually trendy nonsense they saw on TV like vegetarianism or yoga. Drew doesn’t seem to be trying to do what’s popular – he’s got a more strategic view.

  2. Mo says:

    How do we respond to fellow Christians who simply do not see the value of study (whether apologetics, the Bible directly, or all the other related fields) and who may even criticize us for spending too much time studying?

    The reason I see given for this attitude is some version of , “It’s your relationship with Christ that is the important thing.” They mean it out of concern.

    There is some truth in that, I suppose. But it’s so difficult when you know you are studying in order to honor God by preparing yourself to have a response for the arguments presented by non-Christians, and yet you find little support among your Christian peers. Sometimes they actively discouraged you from it, as though you are the one doing something wrong.

    I cannot for the life of me comprehend such a mentality. But I see it quite often and it’s so discouraging. It does make me wonder if I really am wasting my time, when I could be doing something that Christians think is truly valuable, like passing out tracts or working with the poor.

    How do we answer such comments from well meaning fellow Christians?.

    • I think the way to do that is to ask them questions about theological beliefs, to either rule them out or rule then in as Christians, and then move on to harm.

      1) So first line of questioning:

      – do you think that God cares if people don’t accept his existence?
      – do you think that a person can be live eternally with God unless they accept that Jesus’ death atones for their rebellion against God?

      The goal here is just to get clear whether they even are Christians. Christians care about what God cares about, and they care that people who are in rebellion are persuaded to respond to God’s drawing of them towards him. If they don’t think that the existence of God and the salvation offer of Jesus matters, then stop there. Whatever subjective/community experience they are labeling “Christianity”, it’s not really Christianity.

      2) If they do think these things matter then ask them:

      – what reasons do people have for doubting God’s existence?
      – what reasons do people have for doubting the resurrection of Jesus as a historical event?

      If they respond by saying that people have emotional reasons, stop there. Ask them how they know that, and then show them the data I’ve blogged on showing that it’s factual claims and answered questions that make a person lose their faith.

      3) If they think that people have logical and evidential reasons for rejecting theism and Christian theism in particular then continue.

      – what kinds of evidence would you offer a skeptic who does not accept the Bible in order to get him to accept theism and even Christian theism?
      – how much work have you put in to developing these evidences?

      If they say that it’s not their job to use evidence to convince people, stop there. Ask them where in the Bible it says that they are not obligated to give a defense to anyone who asks them.

      4) If they think that people need evidence in order to be saved, continue.

      – how do you feel about so many people rejecting God’s existence and Jesus’ resurrection because of things they learn in public school, or from celebrities, or in music, or in movies, or in the news media, or on the late night comedy shows, etc.?
      – what is your plan to counter the push of popular culture that seeks to reduce theism and Christian theism in particular to irrationality, wish-fulfillment, intolerance, anti-science, greed, sexual repression, etc.?

      If they say that it’s not of any interest to God if large numbers of people are influence to reject God’s existence and the resurrection of Jesus, stop there. Ask them where in the Bible they are getting the idea that God is not desiring the salvation of everyone.

      5) If they do think that it is important to counter the culture, but that it is not their job to do it, then ask them how God feels about cultural evil like abortion, divorce, fatherlessness, welfare dependency, etc.

      – how do you feel about abortion? Do you think that God has an opinion on how many people do that?
      – how do you feel about divorce? Do you think that God has an opinion on how many people do that?
      – how do you feel about gay marriage? Do you think that God has an opinion on how many people do that?
      – how do you feel about welfare dependency? Do you think that God has an opinion on how many people do that?
      – how do you feel about single motherhood by choice? Do you think that God has an opinion on how many people do that?
      – how do you feel about the lack of freedom in other countries? Do you think that God has an opinion on that?
      – how do you feel about the national debt? Do you think that God has an opinion on adults spending money and then passing the bill to their children?
      – how do you feel about public schools? Do you think that God has an opinion when children who are taught things like scientism, postmodernism and moral relativism?

      And so on. Then I would just ask them if any of these things make it harder for people to take Christianity seriously. For example, show him the data that shows that children who grow up fatherless are less likely to accept God. Ask them if God cares about whether children grow up with a mother and a father, especially when the loss of the father seems to disadvantage children so much, and expose them to harms like poverty and abuse.

      That’s the way I would work it. Hope that helps.

  3. Joshua says:

    Thanks a million for these videos, especially the second one. Wow.

    While I don’t object to studying apologetics-related materials for hours a day, I wonder what tips or practical advice parents could get in order to enable them to do that? Anybody?

    Personally speaking, I would like to study apologetics-related materials longer and daily. But I’ve got two young children and I can’t afford to study more than an hour or two a day. Longer than that cuts into my time with them and makes me feel selfish.

    Anyway, thanks again!

    • I think you definitely need to use DVDs and audio as much as possible. Those are much easier to do. I’ll be doing a post on my favorite podcasts this week. I am actually soliciting other podcasts people like for the post on my FB page right now. We are up to 15 podcasts. The William Lane Craig debates and Lee Strobel’s “The Case for a Creator” audio book are great for growing your skills fast.

      Listen to Lee Strobel read “The Case for the Real Jesus” (chapter 1):

      That’s an easy way to learn. That’s read by Lee Strobel, too.

      • Joshua says:

        Thanks!

        I’m somewhat thankful that my job only requires a 5 to 10 minutes to get to. However, I’ll be putting more of these into my mixture of music and Mandarin studies as I draw and paint. Excellent!

  4. John Moore says:

    Secularization shouldn’t be a problem for real Christians. You should welcome it, in fact. Real Christians have always been a persecuted minority and always will be. It’s the cross we must bear!

    When Christians find themselves in control of whole governments, that’s when the movement has run off the rails. It’s time to get back to the true roots.

    • That sounds like something that Stalin might say to the Christian leaders he threw in the Gulag. “Trust me, it’s good that you didn’t oppose me too rigorously, because the Gulag will be good for you!”

      • John Moore says:

        No, I’m saying it’s better to be thrown into the Gulag than to be Stalin. Truly he received his reward in full, but Christians do not pile up treasures (or political power) here on Earth.

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