Paganism Rising (Slides)
Paganism is a polytheistic worldview where the adherents employ manipulative powers, in an attempt to change or control the circumstances of their lives or others. While typically associated with the ancient world (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greco-Roman mystery religions), the current culture of relativism has allowed this worldview to once again thrive, resulting in a renewed need for understanding. Through an analysis of ancient paganism, as seen through archaeology, the framework of the pagan worldview will be outlined, after which correlations between ancient and modern paganism will be drawn. This will be followed by a discussion of the differences between the pagan and Christian worldviews, which will include how the Christian savior story differs from that of pagan accounts. The final remarks will cover the manner in which the early church handled paganism, with application points on how modern Christians can do the same.
Old Testament: History or Hoax? (Slides)
Christianity is often undermined by the claim that the Old Testament should be viewed as a collection of moral stories rather than as an historical narrative of God’s interaction with real people, in real places, at real points in history. However, if Abraham, Moses, David, and others were not real people a significant amount of our understanding of God’s nature and interaction with mankind is lost. This presentation explores the reliability of the Old Testament, responding to specific arguments against the historical accuracy of the Scriptural narrative.
Methods Matter: A Response to a Modern Evolutionary Theory of Religion
The Evolutionary Theory of Religion assumes that the type of religious expression is directly related to the intellectual and material culture of the community. It piggy-backs on Darwinian Evolution claiming that as a culture becomes more materially, intellectually, and organizationally complex the nature of its religion becomes more sophisticated as well. E. B. Tylor originally introduced this theory in 1871 but was quickly discredited by Andrew Lang. In 2011 a modified version of this view was reintroduced by Robert Bellah in his book Religion in Human Evolution. Bellah’s view has the potential to be more convincing due to his heavy intermixing of biological and psychological evolutionary theory. In an attempt to mitigate such a response, a new refutation of the Evolutionary Theory of Religion will be presented. Granting Tylor and Bellah’s hypothesis, that religion evolves as people groups evolve, this presentation will explore the requirements of proving such a hypothesis to show that the historical data makes Bellah and Tylor’s theory impossible.
Detangling the Documentary Hypothesis
The Documentary Hypothesis, which doubts Mosaic authorship and claims that the Pentateuch is the result of multiple sources dating no earlier than the period of the monarchy of Israel, was popularized by Julius Wellhausen in the late 1800s and has had a significant impact on Biblical studies since its inception. So powerful was Wellhausen’s theory that Richard Friedman, in Who Wrote the Bible?, claims that “if you want to disagree, you disagree with Wellhausen. If you want to pose a new model, you compare its merits with those of Wellhausen’s model.”
Wellhausen’s theory has a heavy dependence upon E. B. Tylor’s Evolutionary Theory of Religion, however his theory has remained largely unaffected by the discrediting of Tylor. This presentation will show the influence of E. B. Tylor’s Evolutionary Theory of Religion upon Wellhausen’s Documentary Hypothesis, in order to illuminate the weaknesses in Wellhausen, given the discrediting of Tylor.
Israelite Conquest at Dan
The Israelite conquest of Canaan is one of the most heavily contested parts of the Bible. This presentation will be an in-depth discussion of the cultural and religious artifacts found at Tel Dan, the site associated with the Israelite tribe Dan, in order to show there is good evidence to believe that the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan during the period the Bible claims the Conquest took place.
Morality’s Foundation: Rock or Sand
Christian morals are clashing with modern culture at an alarming rate. Cake bakers, florists, and photographers are finding themselves on the wrong side of the law because they refuse to compromise their moral convictions. Yet many Christians believe that these individuals are misguided in their refusal of service. The different views stem from different ideas about the nature of morality. This session will delve into the nature of morality, the implications of moral relativism, and how morality relates to the legal system.
Is There a God? (Slides)
An overview of Thomas Aquinas’ 5 arguments for the existence of God.
Attributes of God (Slides)
An overview of the Classical Attributes of God.
What is a WorldView and Why Does it Matter?
A discussion of the necessity of understanding what a worldview is and the role that it plays in evangelistic conversations.