Thursday, October 24, 2013

From Einstein to Experiential apologetics

There actually isn't much of a connection.

Today I finished the presentation, Can science kill God?
There were a lot of questions about Einstein's theory of general relativity and big bang cosmology.

We then discussed Soren Kierkegaard, experiential apologetics, and the associated reading. Here are the slides.

The reading for tomorrow is the chapter on Universities from Vishal Mangalwadi's book, "The book that made your world."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Presuppositional apologetics

In today's lecture we first reviewed foundationalism and its problems. I was grateful for the student feedback that yesterday's discussion was not clear and so we looked at it again. This included a discussion of Einstein's theory of special relativity. This is a model case that can be used to promote foundationalism but actually illustrates its problems. This is because it involves basic beliefs that are not self evident [space and time are connected and not independent] and conclusions that "don't make sense" [when it comes to adding velocities 2 + 2 does not equal 4!].

We then discussed the presuppositional approach to apologetics, as advocated by Cornelius van Til. Here are the relevant slides.

I then began a presentation, Can science kill God?, that highlights the distinction between actual science  and the philosophical interpretation of it. I will conclude that tomorrow.

The reading for the evening is the last chapter of the book, Truth and Subjectivity, Faith and History: Kierkegaard's Insights for Christian Faith, by Varughese John, co-ordinator of the course.

Writing and publishing seminar in Delhi

Last saturday in New Delhi I was invited by the North Delhi Intercollegiate Evangelical Union to present a seminar on Writing and Publishing. The audience was mostly postgraduate students and a few faculty. Here are the slides.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Towards Reformed Epistemology

Today's apologetics class was largely concerned with understanding what foundationalism is, its problems, and the alternative of Reformed Epistemology, pioneered by Alvin Plantinga.
Here are the slides I used.

A key reference is Plantinga's essay, "Reason and Belief in God."

Before tomorrow's class students are to read "The Point of Contact", a chapter in the book, Christian Apologetics, by Cornelius van Til, founder of the presuppositional approach to apologetics.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Apologetics in India

This week I am on leave [vacation/holidays] from work.
My wife and I are visiting SAIACS in Bangalore, India. I am teaching part of an Apologetics course taken by second year M.A. students.
Previously, Varughese John introduced the subject for two weeks and Rodney Holder (Faraday Institute) spent a week on Science and Religion.

Today I reviewed the three dominant forms of apologetics used in the Western world: presuppositionalism, evidentialism, and experientialism.
Here are the slides that go with todays lectures.
It also featured a lot discussions in small groups.
My challenge for the students is to come up with a distinctly Indian apologetics.
The reading for tomorrow is
*the last chapter, "Faith(s) and Reason," of Philosophy of Religion by Stephen Evans and Zachary Manis.
*my editorial, "Science and theology in non-Western contexts."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Has science buried God in Novi Sad?

Tonight I am giving a talk, "Has science buried God?" at a cafe in Novi Sad, Serbia. The event is sponsored by an IFES student group from the university, a local church, and Project Timothy. They chose the title, which is borrowed from John Lennox, who will be visiting at the end of the month.

Here are the slides for the talk.
I hope the questions and discussion after the talk are as lively as the event in Belgrade last night.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Higgs boson talk in Belgrade

Tonight I am giving a talk, "Higgs boson vs. God particle- scientific reality vs. media hype" in a cafe/bookstore in Belgrade. The event is sponsored by a local student Christian group.

The talk is particularly timely given that the Higgs boson is in the news again, following last weeks  announcement of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Here is the current version of the slides.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Genesis and science talk

Tonight I am giving a talk, "A scientist looks at Genesis" at HUB, a small Bible college outside Belgrade. The talk will be given with simultaneous translation into Serbian.

Here is the current version of the slides. I start with the excellent video, "Science and Genesis".

Some of the Faraday papers on science and religion have been translated into Serbian.

International church in Belgrade

This morning my wife and I enjoyed atttending the International Christian Fellowship in Belgrade. The special guests were a group of Roma [gypsy] Christians who sang some songs in Romani and shared personal testimonies. [A recent Christianity Today article chronicles many of the challenges Roma face and the growth of an indigenous church]. Another case of how the Gospel transcends culture.

One of the church attendees also is a research physicist; another case illustrating that science, intellectual rigour, and Christian faith and life can go together.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Talk on personal conflict and peacemaking

Last year at our church we worked through some material from The Peacemaker by Ken Sande. My wife and I also attended a weekend workshop to learn to apply some of the ideas in practical situations. I find it very challenging. But then the teachings of Jesus are!

Tonight in Ljubljana, Robin and I have been invited by ZVES a University student group to talk about some these ideas concerning personal relational conflict. Given that this part of the world has experienced conflict far beyond anything we have, we have a lot to learn. Here are the slides we are using for the talk. We look forward to learning from the participants in the discussion time.

Some Slovenian friends suggested this Youtube video [partly in Slovenian] is a somewhat amusing but cutting introduction to the issue.

At a deep theological and academic level, Miroslav Wolf's book, Exclusion and Embrace, provides a challenging perspective on the issue.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

University life in Slovenia

My wife and I are currently visiting Ljubljana, Slovenia. I am working at the Stefan Institute, and giving a Physics Colloquium. I was invited by a student Christian group, ZVES to give a talk, "Striving or thriving at University", this thursday night. Here is the current version of my slides. I am looking forward to some lively discussion after the talk and learning more about life in Slovenian universities.

Previously, ZVES hosted my distinguished Australian scientific colleague, Professor Peter Gill, who gave a talk, "A Professor with two heads?", about being a scientist and a Christian.