Apologetics Applied through Story…
Have you ever found yourself in a discussion about the veracity of Christianity only to discover that the other person has all sorts of strange notions about just what Christianity is? Upon further investigation, you discover that the person’s concept of Christianity seems to be a hodge-podge patchwork derived from the media, cultural judgments, and experiences with the Church while one was young. If you do point out that Christianity refers to a specific thing, and most importantly, a particular person, as recognized throughout history, they will argue that is just your ‘opinion,’ or if they are of a certain bent, accuse you of committing the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy.
In such situations, it is necessary to back up. Significantly. One cannot take it for granted that the other person understands what you are saying and why you are saying it. In attempting to uncover ‘common ground,’ you may discover that the secularization of the West has even undermined certain historically shared sentiments and notions about what is right or wrong or good or wicked or even repulsive. Communication bogs down… is there a way forward?
One master of Story, Christian author Flannery O’Connor, had her own idea:
“The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make them appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural; and he may be forced to take ever more violent means to get his vision across to this hostile audience. When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal ways of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock — to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the blind you draw large and startling figures.”
This assessment, written in a letter many decades ago, holds true even today. O’Connor’s stories, which many would regard as gritty, or worse, were really a way of trying to create ‘common ground.’ In trying to evoke certain, visceral, responses, it was hoped that common ground would be found in our common humanity; that is, we are created by God, in his image, and only the greatest contortion and suppression can hope to obliterate that.
This conference turns to the medium that O’Connor chose: Story.
Athanatos Christian Ministry’s Third Annual
Online Apologetics Conference
Using Story to Defend, Promote, Explain, and Transmit the Faith
President of the American Chesterton Society
Dr. Gene Edward Veith | Dave Sterrett | Paul Hughes | Dr. Holly Ordway | Jason Jones | Anthony Horvath | Brian Auten | Stephen Bedard | Glenn Jones | James D. Agresti | Mikel Del Rosario | Mark Riser | Tom Gilson | Joseph Keysor | Bruce Hennigan, M.D. | Dr. Ryan MacPherson | Paul Nowak
An apologetics conference held… entirely online! (Click here to see what a session is like)
April 19th, 20th, and 21st, 2012.
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ALL SESSIONS RECORDED – Make up sessions you missed at your convenience. All conference registrants receive free access to these archives. Information on purchasing archive access coming soon!
2012 Conference Goals:
- Build off of visions of ACM’s previous conferences, encouraging Christians to defend the faith through the arts.
- Call attention to the power of Story and Narrative in the formation of world views.
- Argue that the Gospel Story is superior to all of them, if only because it is the Truth.
- Encourage Christians to use video, movies, literature, and music to mount a defense of Christianity in general and the Biblical model for the family in particular.
- Connect Christian artists with each other and with those who can help propel them to success.
- Remind Christians that they each have a responsibility to be ready to give a defense in their own lives.
- Raise awareness of the fact that competing ‘stories’ are promoting beliefs and values that must be critically analyzed, not just mindlessly absorbed.
ACM’s 2012 conference will be a little different than previous years. The main part of the conference (being held on the 20th and 21st), the plenaries, will present a number of short stories that have some bearing on the Christian worldview. Each presenter will take one of those stories, digest it, and apply it to contemporary issues in apologetics. The stories and presenters will be announced in due time.
On the 19th, credible apologists will be invited to present on the topic of their choice (subject to ACM approval). Up to 20 presenters are expected, and the topics will vary. Note: all presentations on the 19th will be open to the public! Only the sessions on the 20th and 21st require paid registration.
Friday-Saturday (Apr. 20-21st, paid registrants only)