The Apologetics of C.S. Lewis

Next Fall (2018) for the first time, Tyndale Philosophy will be offering a course devoted entirely to the apologetic system of C.S. Lewis. This is one of the required courses for the new BA Philosophy with a Concentration in Christian Apologetics. Topics to be explored include: Lewis’ career as an apologist, the Moral Argument, the Cardinal Difficulty of Naturalism, The Grand Miracle, and the famous Trilemma: Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?

Here are the course objectives:

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New Concentration in Apologetics

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Toronto Ontario: For Immediate Release

According to C.S. Lewis, “To be ignorant and simple now—not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground—would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren.” Lewis wrote those words during World War II. The need for sophisticated training in Christian apologetics is even more urgent today.

In order to meet this need, Tyndale Philosophy is pleased to announce the launch of a new BA in Philosophy with a special Concentration in Christian Apologetics. This program has been specifically designed to prepare students interested in developing the intellectual skills to love God with their mind, while being equipped to engage in apologetics ministries in the workplace, on the web, in the local church, and on college / university campuses.

The program includes 36 hours of philosophy (culminating in the B.A. Philosophy), 6 hours of apologetics courses, and 9 elective hours selected from a variety of courses taught by faculty members from the departments of Philosophy, English, History, and Biblical Studies and Theology.

According to Dr. Paul Franks, Chair of Tyndale Philosophy, “This new concentration is truly unique; there is nothing like it in Canada. We have blended together the academic rigour of a first-rate philosophy program with the practical skills necessary for defending the Christian faith in a post-Christian world.”

For further information, please contact Tyndale Admissions. You can also follow the links below to download a brochure or listen to a podcast interview with our Chair.

Webpage | PDF Brochure | Podcast

Geisler, Howe, and the Importance of Formal Logic

This past summer I read through Norman Geisler’s book, If God, Why Evil? and noticed that in it he appears to commit the formal fallacy of denying the antecedent. I won’t bother with rehashing the details of that now; you can read that short post here.

Some time after that post appeared Richard Howe (Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Apologetics at Southern Evangelical Seminary) took the time to comment on my post and we were able to briefly chat about it at the national conference of Evangelical Philosophical Society in Atlanta last November. In his post Professor Howe notes “The critic [that’s me!] pointed out (I think correctly, taken in one way) that Geisler’s argument, when cast into predicate or quantificational logic this way, commits the fallacy of denying the antecedent.” I was glad to read this since I highly respect Geisler’s work and didn’t expect to see such a basic fallacy in one of his books. After publishing the post I half-expected to be informed that it was me that made such a basic mistake. But, it turns out, I was right. Well, kind of. Continue reading

Geisler’s Gap

41n+DmrzuIL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_In the last twenty to thirty years there has been an enormous increase in the number of people engaged in various apologetics-focused ministries. Though it would be hard to trace this increase to any one single person, if you were to make a list of the four or five most influential apologists during that time, Norman Geisler would certainly have to be included on it. For me personally, his co-authored (with Paul Feinberg) book Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective was the first book in philosophy I ever read and I found it quite helpful. In general, I think today’s aspiring apologists would be well served to model their careers after Geisler.

Overall, I think this rise in apologetics is a good thing. The Christian worldview is being attacked from all sides and the Church needs people who are equipped and able to respond to these attacks. Unfortunately, the quality of some of the arguments by Christian apologists simply doesn’t pass muster. This puts us in an interesting position because we now need to not only respond to those attacking the Christian worldview, but we also need to carefully evaluate the specific arguments of our fellow apologists. Because we agree with their conclusions it’s tempting to ignore fellow Christians’ bad arguments for the existence of God or bad responses to non-believers’ arguments against the existence of God. However, it’s important that we evaluate these arguments too so as to not bring reproach on those arguments that are actually pretty good.

Norman Geisler is not typically one whose arguments stand in need of critique. However, even the best of philosophers can make mistakes from time to time and so, in the spirit of trying to ensure all our defenses of Christianity are the very best, I offer a small critique of an argument Geisler presents in his book If God, Why Evil?
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The Perils of ‘Pop’ Philosophy

cahnMore than once I’ve heard (or read) people complain that too many popular writings/talks by Christian apologists lack the care and precision their topics require. While it’s important to address difficult issues in ways that non-specialists can understand, one must take care to ensure that simplification does not end up as distortion. (It’s rarely helpful to present ideas that are easy to refute, but not actually believed by anyone.) Unfortunately, I have to agree that this happens far too regularly within apologetics circles. However, this is not simply a problem that arises among ill-equipped Christian apologists. In what follows I aim to show that this is also a problem among those critiquing Christianity (or just critiquing arguments in its favor) and I hope to use a prominent atheistic philosopher as an example of what we Christian philosophers should be doing more regularly.

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