Science Overcomes Faith?

Led by GRegg Fairbrothers D’76
Five Wednesdays: 1/13, 1/20, 1/27, 2/3, 2/10
8:00 – 9:00 pm, via zoom (Register for Access)

Description: In mainstream thinking today, Science is routinely presumed the ultimate arbiter of truth, from the most mundane to the most profound. The Science—and The Experts who pronounce scientific findings—hold pride of place when we look for knowledge and facts, even the very nature of reality and the meaning of existence.  For the Christian apologist, next to the problem of evil the preeminence of Science presents the greatest challenge to faith—in particular to a worldview centered in fundamental Christian truths. As we will see, “we are what we know,” and in a scientific age holding a thoughtful Christian faith means considering carefully and deeply what science and what faith have to contribute to our beliefs and our choices.

It is a founding principle of Apologia and the Wheelock Society that a meaningful Christian life calls us to seamlessly integrate faith, reason, and vocation.  How do we reconcile what we know by disciplined reason with what we know and believe in our Christian faith, and how do we carry these into everyday life?  Working in large part from past Apologia articles, in the five hours of this Winter 2021 Waterman session we will explore the tension between—and the compatibility of—science and faith.

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Faith and Fiction

Led by Sarah Clark D’11
Five Wednesdays: 1/13, 1/20, 1/27, 2/3, 2/10
8:00 – 9:00 pm, via zoom (Register for Access)

Description: Unfortunately, when we hear the words “Christian fiction,” we might think of Amish romances, the Left Behind series, or God’s Not Dead. Between the bland characters, questionable theology, and borderline hysterical political agendas, we might ask ourselves, why is Christian fiction so bad? Tony Woodlief, writing for Image magazine, argues that bad art comes from bad theology: “To know God falsely is to write and paint and sculpt and cook and dance Him falsely.” So what would good Christian fiction look like (if it even exists)? In this course, we’ll spend our five weeks reading short stories that engage faith with intelligence and creativity. This is a literature course, and we will spend the majority of each class discussing the stories themselves. At the end of the course, we’ll see if what we’ve read can help us put together an improved definition of Christian fiction that can guide our reading and writing in the future.

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Doubt

Led by Charlie Clark D’11 & Will Bryant D’24
Five Wednesdays: 1/13, 1/20, 1/27, 2/3, 2/10
8:00 – 9:00 pm, via zoom (Register for Access)

Description: This course will explore the concept of doubt in relation to Christianity in modernity and postmodernity. In one sense, doubt is a constant fact of human beings’ relationship to God. From the earliest sources of Christian theology in the Old Testament, God is represented as being so different from us that we can approach Him only obliquely, leaving ample room for doubt. At the same time, as philosopher Charles Taylor argues in his magnum opus A Secular Age, modernity and postmodernity have fundamentally altered the “conditions of belief”: “it [was] virtually impossible not to believe in God in, say, 1500 in our Western society, while in 2000 many of us find this not only easy, but even inescapable.” This course will draw on philosophical, literary, and artistic sources to examine some aspects of doubt that inevitably confront the contemporary Christian believer or seeker.

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Winterim 2020 Reading Group: The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis

Led by Charlie Clark D’11 
Three Mondays: 12/7, 12/14, 12/21
8:00 – 9:00 pm, via zoom (Register for Access)

Description: This short book provides an accessible introduction to the writing of C.S. Lewis and to the natural law tradition in Christian theology. We’ll be reading and discussing one chapter per week. Optional supplementary readings will situate Lewis’s argument in its historical and theological context.

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Friendship, a Theological Investigation

Led by Charlie Clark D’11 & Blake Whitmer D’23
Five Wednesdays: 9/16, 9/23/, 9/30, 10/7, 10/14
8:00 – 9:00 pm, via zoom (Register for Access)

Description: Some of Jesus’s final words to his disciples were about friendship. At their last supper together, he told them, “I do not call you servants any longer… but I have called you friends.” Centuries earlier, Aristotle had devoted two books of his Nicomachean Ethics to friendship—twice the space he accorded to justice. Yet today, we rarely think of friendship as a theological issue. Still, many of us sense that friendship is more important than this unreflective attitude would suggest. Wesley Hill writes, “We might be able to muster a definition and explanation of friendship’s importance if we were quizzed on it, but for many of us that doesn’t solve the deeper matter of why we want it so much, and why it so often seems unreachable or fraught.”

In this course, we will take a systematic look at friendship in theological perspective. Drawing on both Christian and non-Christian sources, we will ask what friendship is, how it differs from other relationships, how friendship can go wrong, how we out to go about making and being friends, and how to deal with broken friendships.

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Can We Trust the Bible?

Can We Trust the Bible? Five Common Challenges to the Reliability of Scripture

Led by Prof. Lindsay Whaley & Drew Whitley D’23
Five Wednesdays: 9/16, 9/23/, 9/30, 10/7, 10/14
8:00 – 9:00 pm, via zoom (Register for Access)

Description: As “people of the Book,” Christians traditionally have professed that their Scripture is a reliable and authoritative guide to matters of faith and practice. However, over the last sixty years an increasing number of scholars have challenged the reasonableness of that profession by questioning the origins of Christianity and the formation of the Bible. In this five-week class, we will examine some of these challenges, especially to the New Testament, to see how they hold up under scrutiny.

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