I probably don’t talk enough about what I’m doing through Athanatos on this blog, but I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t mention our third annual apologetics (and culture) festival. AthanatosFest is held in Greenwood, WI, where ACM is based out of. Details: www.athanatosfest.com
Some high points for this year’s festival includes a debate between a certain Dannyboy who has been known to haunt this blog, and the rare and elusive Sasquatch, who also is occasionally sighted here. This debate will be transpire over the entire three days of the event. (Details on the fest website).
We’ll have a number of people involved in Christian writing, Christian apologetics, and both writing and apologetics together. We’ll screen two movies. One is called “Fatal Flaws” and is a documentary on euthanasia/assisted suicide, which by the by I learned after getting authorization features one of the books we publish! Another is produced by Dallas Jenkins, whom some may recognize as the son of a co-author of the Left Behind series.
One panel conversation that I’m interested in is the one we will have with a handful of Wisconsin state legislators and an Egyptian Christian and perhaps another person who has escaped persecution. The panel conversation will address human trafficking, refugees, our immigration system, etc.
There of course are many other things, including a concert, and a session by yours truly on the Resurrection being a real event and history, but you’re better off just going to the website to check it out. www.athanatosfest.com
Hope to see you there!
Beyond all that, let me opine a bit about the philosophy behind the event.
The upshot is this: we need more events like mine where deep, complicated issues are hashed out. The Christian church certainly needs it. Most Christian festivals are exercises in entertainment; indeed, most church programming is. Whether its Sunday School, or VBS, or youth group stuff, or even actual Bible class, if ‘fun’ is not the emphasis, it at least informs the planning.
Unfortunately, ‘fun’ isn’t enough once the challenges of real life present themselves. You’d think this would be evident to all these days, with so many people falling away from the faith, even with so much ‘fun’ going around, but it seems not.
A Superficial Faith = Substantive Falling Away.
Substantive in what way?
Well, for one thing, it doesn’t help anyone to ignore the hard topics that real life itself presents. How can a loving God tolerate suffering? How can we be sure the Bible is a reliable guide for knowledge and practice, especially when the media is mocking you left and right–not to mention what college professors are doing to students.
Many Christians dismiss these kinds of issues as unnecessary ‘intellectual’ exercises. I once had a Christian I had met at a festival send me a message saying, “How is that being intelligent thing working out for you?” He meant it playfully, but I didn’t bother replying. What could I say? “How did your trust in God work out when your child died in your arms in a car accident?”
Not that that had happened to him, but obviously, if it DID happen, I could NEVER say it then because of how rude it would be (and make him even angrier at Christians and Christ). The time to address such topics is BEFORE the tragedy strikes, but if those things are waved away as trivial intellectual matters, people set themselves up for a fall. A hard fall.
There is also something to be said about hearing objections to the faith “from the horse’s mouth.”
That’s why we have an actual atheist as part of our event, instead of a Christian merely talking about atheism.
If you have experience talking with people who have doubts (which is the basic work of the apologist) you will eventually have people say, “I hear what you’re saying but how do I know you’re not just putting words in their mouth? How do I know the REAL objections aren’t stronger?”
Well, if you hear the objections straight out of the mouths of people who reject Christianity, you are immunized from that rejoinder. Moreover, when you are able to answer the objection pretty easily, well, then, you’re golden. 🙂
My own crisis of faith occurred in large part not because it seemed Christians had no answers, but that they didn’t even know there were questions. In retrospect, I was very wrong in that assessment, but it is still easy enough to get that impression.
God willing, that will never be the impression one gets after leaving Athanatos Fest.
Hope to see you there!