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I have been evangelizing on College Campuses for the past fourteen years.  It’s an environment that provides a wonderful opportunity to employ Christian apologetic.  I must admit though that the older I get the less frequent apologetics comes up compared to my younger days of being a rabid cage stage Presuppositionalist.  When apologetics conversations do occur I notice that most of the time I’m not necessarily dealing with the nitty gritty detail of some obscure historical point of Christianity or area of science.  What I have found instead is that practically most of my discussion often occur at the level of worldviews.  Apologetics’ discussion concerning worldviews seems to pay greater dividends at the end of the day because: (1) everyone has a worldview, (2) most people’s rejection of Christianity is driven more by their ultimate commitments rather than serious, rigorous research in a specialized field of study (3) and of course, lest we forget, one’s presuppositions shapes how one determine and dismiss what are evidences.

While discussion of worldviews can easily become abstract sometimes illustrations are helpful to get the point across.  Movies are often invoked by those whom I am witnessing towards.  For some reason when I talk about metaethical issues the person of Joker gets brought up more than anyone else from Popular Culture.  I have taught apologetics in Christian setting where believers have also brought up Joker.  Somehow he pop up during worldview apologetics’ discussion!  Perhaps the allusion to Joker has something to do with young Millennials with their Graphic Novels and Netflix and how the Joker appears to be an ungodly incarnation of certain non-Christian ethical systems.

Given the fact that nonbelievers sometime allude to certain films and entertainment characters does that necessarily mean we must watch every movie and read every comic book to fulfill some kind of prerequisite in order to effectively evangelize the unbeliever?  My answer to that would be no.  In an earlier post, “Is it ever appropriate for Christians to view sexual sins in film?” I argued that Christians shouldn’t compromise their sanctification in the area of entertainment.  With the instance of Joker, I haven’t read enough comic books to know first hand but I think I can say not all of those movies and comic books are sanctifying; even if theoretically they are not all bad, it might not be the best use of time to become an expert on Joker in order to evangelize and speak to our age.  The same concern applies to other Pop Cultural figures.

Nor do I believe we should be ignorant about Pop cultural references such as Joker.  I think there is a way where we can be biblicalengaging, and informed in our cultural apologetics while achieving that without sacrificing our sanctification on the altar.  How can we hold on to these four highlighted aspects without compromise?

  • First, to be biblical means one must know the Scripture well–and know it well in its application as one’s worldview.  The Bible should shape one’s outlook of life–for instance, the Word of God should shape one’s view of ethics, sin, man, God and Salvation, etc.  The Word of God should dictate our norms.  It should also dictate what we should and shoudn’t do in terms of entertainment.
  • Secondly, to be engaging means practically loving the person you are witnessing to.  You must love them enough to be concerned for their salvation.  This is the existential aspect we can’t neglect; after all, no Christian wants to be labeled as the guy who only wants to argue but not care about people’s soul.  To love them also mean you want to know where they are coming from; it means listening to them.  As you listen to them you will hear what “their own prophets” and poets might say.
  • Thirdly, our engagement with the lost and our desire to see them get saved compels us to be informed.  We want to handle our unbelieving friend’s perspective accurately and not misrepresent them.  This might require further understanding of the situational context of their cultural allusion.
  • Fourthly, one way to not compromise our norms while also being informed is to see what other informed social critics have to say about a particular pop figure or cultural phenomenon.  I think one doesn’t have to experience every form of media and entertainment to critically reflect upon it as a Christian.  An example of how a Christian can be informed and reflect critically without “seeing” something is with the current crisis with ISIS.  You do not have to watch the beheading of 21 Egyptians or the burning of a Jordanian pilot to be informed about it; one can find detailed written analysis of the videos, scholarly evaluation of it’s meaning, purpose, etc.  If one put the effort one might find in-depth evaluation of ISIS militarily, geo-politically, economically and theologically.  I can’t imagine many people looking down on someone who is informed about ISIS while making the deliberate choice of not watching ISIS’ sick videos.  To demand that one can only intelligently talk about something through the experience of watching it it is really a form of audio-visual Gnosticism.

Be on the lookout for reviews, critical essays, editorials and documentaries as aides.  Even when a film or comic is appropriate for a Christian to enjoy I still find interacting with such resources from a Christian worldview can at times be insightful.

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Superheroes The Best of Philosophy and Pop Culture Edited by William Irwin

Get it for free on KINDLE

Review: This is a neat kindle book put out by the publishers Blackwell.  I typically think of their academic books that they published but apparently they have a series on Philosophy and Pop Culture.  In this book various contributors explore how superheroes are complex characters that have become the myths of our times.  In the introduction the book notes that while philosophers specialize in nuance articulation of philosophy often those who are unfamiliar with the more technical expression of philosophy “gets” their philosophy through the more familiar medium of movies, comics, music and video games.  This is a good book for those not as familiar with philosophy to see how philosophy is put in action; it is also a good book for those who are naïve not to see that there are worldview undercurrents in popular culture and entertainment to see that comics and films about superhero are not “value-free” or done in a vacuum apart from a worldview.  I think those who do enjoy philosophy will also find this book interesting in showing examples of various philosophy and isms displayed in the comics.  I think the book is insightful.  For instance I enjoyed the discussion about Captain America and the virtue of humility.  I especially enjoyed the chapter on the discussion of why Batman doesn’t kill Joker.  I admit it has also made me wanting more and seeing some of the discussion has made me see how various philosophies are inadequate; but to the end that this book is an exploration of philosophies and superheroes this book accomplished it’s goal.

Get it for free on KINDLE

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truth and life conference

The Master’s College every year has a wonderful conference called “Truth and Life Conference.”  This year’s topic was on the subject of “Practicing the Biblical “One Anothers.””  It was held on January 14th-16th, 2015.

Below are the audios from the conference.  Enjoy!

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50 shades of grey liberals

True story.

On the one hand, Christian wives submitting to their loving husband is bad.  <Insert Marxist, neo-colonialism psycho-babble>.  Therefore it is oppressive.

On the other hand, one must be open minded about ungodly man manipulating and forcing a woman into unwanted sexual situation and that it is….okay?  <Insert discussion of sexual “liberation” and free from Victorian era Morality>.  Therefore 50 Shades of Grey is great?

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These are links concerning Presuppositional apologetics gathered between February 8th-14th, 2015.

1.) Do You Believe? Powerful Evidence for the Claims of Jesus Christ

2.) Twenty Ways to Answer A Fool [12]

3.) How Do You Know the Scriptures are from God? One Testimony in the Early Church

4.) Collective Ethics – Morality by Consensus

5.) Speaking Assumes Morality

6.) Debating Dillahunty

7.) NO ONE IN HELL WILL REPENT

Missed the last round up?  Check out the re-blogged post from a friend

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Worldview dilemmas blog series veritas domain

Have you ever heard people going back and forth about Comics and Graphic Novels?

One individual calls it a comic (usually the one who doesn’t read it).

The other person who is reading it says it’s not comics but a graphic novel (usually someone who is older than a kid reading it).

The debate moves forward concerning definitions.  Usually there is the comment that comics are for kids while graphic novels are not.

I won’t enter that debate but I mention this to make the observation that a Christian shouldn’t read comics/graphic novels without being aware of its content and practicing Godly discernment.

Just as I have been making the case in this series concerning Christian discernment with movies, much of what I said is applicable here with comics/graphic novels.  I would also say one should also consult a biblical theology of reading as well.

The following are four questions to ask about one’s reading of a Comic/Graphic Novel in light of a Christian worldview:

  1. What does the material says about human nature?  For example, is man all good, bad, etc.  How does the story’s view of man line up with the view of Scripture’s view of man?
  2. Are there any explicit reference to God, religion and theology, and if so what is it’s message?  Sometimes a book can come out direct in talking about spiritual matters.  How does it line up with Scripture?
  3. What does the story tells us about morality and ethics?  Is there relativism, moral confusion being espoused?  Who are the villains, who are the protaganists and what do they believe?
  4. Does the artists have an agenda in telling the story?  Sometimes you will be surprised to learn about the artists and writer’s background and what they believe and how that shapes the story.

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one shade of red

Sister and brother, if the pain of genuine love is any color, let me just say it is not 50 Shades of Grey but it’s one shade of red, not from sinning in bed but instead His blood He shed to save us from sin and the power of death.  Therefore don’t be mislead, put your flesh to death, don’t let the World rob you by identity theft, count your sins as dead, and not have your lust be fed.  How?  By meditating on that one shade of red, His arm stretched and the bloody crown on His Head.  One shade of red.  Enough Said.

 

Note: JD Bloom’s One Shade of White was the original inspiration for me to write the above.

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