Scientism and scientific naturalism by Tom Daly On the 9th November 2023, Reasonable Faith Adelaide hosted a presentation on ‘Scientism and scientific naturalism’ by Tom Daly.
Scientism and scientific naturalism are two ideas that shape how many people view the world around us and what we consider as knowledge, and yet they are often more assumed than examined. Scientism basically says that if you can’t prove it scientifically, it doesn’t count. Meanwhile, scientific naturalism takes it a step further, claiming that everything that exists is part of the natural world and there’s no room for the supernatural. “You have faith, but I have reason” is the common refrain from the secular world and yet, when we compare scientism and scientific naturalism with the Christian faith, a far richer picture quickly emerges. Tom Daly examines some of the background and implications of these 2 beliefs.
Tom’s slides contain several hyperlinks as follows:
Tom Daly is a member of our committee and is an IT professional who has worked in hi-tech for nearly 40 years.
The wonder of the living cell, by Joshua Meade
The complex structure and workings of each living cell leaves many of us in a state of wonderment.
Coming in all different shapes and sizes, cells perform all the vital processes required for life on Earth, such as Osmosis, photosynthesis, energy production via respiration, homeostasis (maintaining internal stability) – just to name a few. Following on from previous talks, Joshua discusses some of the amazing functions & processes that are occurring within each of the 30+ trillion cells in our body – primarily focusing on the process of Respiration. The origin of the cell is a highly relevant topic in apologetics due to the complex nature of the cell’s inner workings. We all see the same miracle of life, and yet come to vastly different conclusions as to how it came to be.
Joshua Meade is a mechatronic engineer and is a member of the RFA committee. He also has an active interest in biochemistry. Joshua and Amethyst are now back in New Zealand, and they have three lovely young girls.
Bronwyn Pearse discusses how apologetics can be used to strengthen the next generation of Christians.
According to David Kinnaman, “Young Christians are abandoning the church. However, by cultivating five practises, we can form these into disciples of Jesus.” Also, apologist Sean McDowell says, “We are living in an era of change. God does not change, but human culture does. We can’t use apologetics to pound this generation into submission, but we can use it to prepare young people for the great things God has planned for them. “
Bronwyn explores ways where we can use apologetics and other practices to ‘Strengthen and Build Faith in Young People.” Bronwyn used the following resources:
Apologetics for a New Generation & A new kind of Apologist. Sean McDowell, Faith for Exiles , David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock
The Unshakable Truth Experience pack by Josh and Sean McDowell includes a book and a 12 session DVD and study guide for small groups Includes the 12 foundational truths about God, compelling evidence for these, how these truths impact our lives.
On Guard for Students, William Lane Craig. A thinkers guide for Christian faith is an introduction to apologetics for young people.
Tactics, A game Plan for discussing your Christian Convictions, Gregory Koukl The Big book of Christian Apologetics,’ &‘When skeptics ask by Norman Geisler (covers a wide range of topics)
The Case for Christ ,’ Lee Stroble ‘which explores the evidence for Jesus life death and resurrection.
The Surprising Rebirth of the Belief in God, Justin Brierley “The plausibility problem: The Church and same sex attraction” Ed Shaw. highly recommend it !
as well as the podcast episode on Unbelievable “Is the Church failing gay Christians which he appears on. ‘Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 toughest faith questions.
7 Truths that changed the world’: Discovering Christianity’s most Dangerous ideas, by Ken Samples
‘‘The Creator and the Cosmos’ how the latest scientific discoveries reveal God, astrophysicist Hugh Ross
‘The 10 most common objections to Christianity.’ Alex McFarland, Lee Strobel The Language of God by Dr Francis Collins, A Scientist Provides Evidence for Belief
Her presentation and the ensuing discussion are recorded in YouTube,
Does Religion Cause Wars? The short answer is: “Yes and No”. Consider the type of person who rhetorically asks this question and who answers passionately in the affirmative. Such zealots nearly always focus on Christianity rather than religion in general, and ignore their own religion. What is meant by “Religion”? It needs careful definition.
People who claim to be Christian have caused wars. So have people of other religions, e.g. Islam, Buddhism. People who claim to have no religion have also caused wars. Is there an identifier of all the people who have caused wars? And, if there is, what can we do about it?
The real question is: What can be done to eliminate wars? Is it even possible?
Geoff Russell was a professional electrical engineer. He has a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours from the University of Adelaide, a post-graduate Diploma in Engineering & Computer Applications and an Associate in Theology from the Bible College of South Australia. Geoff now lives in Warrnambool and is now an Associate Pastor at a local Baptist Church and the Chaplain at the Warrnambool Campus of Deakin University.
The Bible describes events that have certain geographical implications. This results in some debate that require interpretations.
In 1858 when Antonio Snider-Pelligrini produced his global map of a super-continent he was mocked by scholars but his theory led to more helpful investigations.
When the Apostle Paul addressed the scholars in Athens he appealed to the claim that the true God was the creator of the world and who founded the early nations and their regions. What is the evidence for this claim outside the Bible?
Defining the route of Israel’s exodus from Egypt and their 40 years of wandering has many candidates. Are there some clues for the required logic?
Archaeology and topographic logic can be used to identify many of the sites of biblical Israel. Even today this topic causes passionate responses among scholars and politicians.
The New Testament describes key events in the life of Jesus. Where are some of the important locations?
The Apostle John was given a profound geographical description of the final destiny of the earth. Is it real or a surreal imagination?
Trevor Harris has an Honours degree in Architecture and a Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning. He has practiced in these areas for 45 years. Twenty years ago he formed a company Key-line Christian Research dedicated to identifying and researching Bible sites and their history. This has included extensive field trips to the Middle East.
The strongest argument against the existence of a loving God is supposedly the problem of evil, but probably the second strongest argument is called the hiddenness of God. The argument is basically as follows:
If God wants us to believe in him, why doesn’t he make himself known more clearly and unambiguously? But He doesn’t. So, the most likely explanation is that he doesn’t show himself clearly because he doesn’t exist.
Paul claims that God’s ‘invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse’ (Romans 1:20). Apologists also use arguments for God’s existence based on the observable world and from logic. However, many are not convinced. They object that these general arguments are not convincing enough. and that God could or should have made his existence more obvious.
In this presentation, the following questions will be considered:
Is general revelation sufficient?
Are we without excuse?
Does God deliberately make his existence known only to those who have eyes to see?
Does he reveal himself personally to some and hide himself from others?
If we seek, will we find; If we knock, will God answer?
Is the Divine Hiddenness argument a good argument?
Kevin Rogers is the director of Reasonable Faith Adelaide. He is a former electrical engineering lecturer, researcher, and research supervisor at the University of South Australia. He is now mostly retired but continues with part-time research in acoustic atmospheric tomography. He is also learning New Testament Greek, and is blessed with a wife, 4 children and 8 precocious grandchildren.
Many of the churches across the ‘western world’ are in crisis. Their congregations are ageing, and in some cases, they are vanishing to zero. Entire denominations are well on the way to extinction. This is most obvious in the age structure of congregations. There is an entire missing generation comprising teens, twenties and young families. In many cases children were brought up in a Christian environment, went to Sunday school, and were prayed for by their parents, but then fell off a demographic cliff, never to be seen in church again. We will look at who they are, the reasons why they left, and possible approaches to bringing them back.
Then there is the rise of ‘nones’, who are those who have never had any religious affiliation or interest of any kind. Their view of Christianity is woeful. Most have never had any spiritual conversation in their entire life! The passive easy-going feel-good church has failed these ‘nones’, and failed to seriously ‘go fishing’ as Jesus repeatedly taught his disciples. Jude so graphically put it:
“Have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire”.
The ‘missing generation’ is our mission field. Many of these missing youngsters were driven away by the church itself, whose attitudes, false preoccupations and blunders have sometimes been less than Christ-like! Today’s missing generation has grown into a culture which is dramatically different from those of their parents. They have moved on, but the church has not (with few laudable exceptions). This crisis in Western Christianity MUST be addressed as a matter of great urgency. It is the first call upon the 21st century church. It will be hard for those traditionalists who are much older; and probably impossible for those locked into extremes of either liberalism or inflexible fundamentalism. We need love, and the Holy Spirit’s guidance to find the way forward.
Kevin Rogers is the director of Reasonable Faith Adelaide. He is a former research fellow, lecturer and research supervisor at the University of South Australia. He is now mostly retired but continues with part-time research.
The Bible (both Old and New Testaments) has a lot to say about the fear of God. Is this fear good and could it be beneficial, or is it “old hat” and no longer relevant, and how should we understand this fear?
Geoff Russell is a professional electrical engineer. He has a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours from the University of Adelaide, a post-graduate Diploma in Engineering & Computer Applications and an Associate in Theology from the Bible College of South Australia. Two years ago, Geoff retired to Warrnambool, but he’s as busy as ever. In a sea change from engineering, he’s become an Associate Pastor at a local Baptist Church and the sole Chaplain at the Warrnambool Campus of Deakin University. He’s doing what he loves!
On the 9th February 2023, Kevin Rogers provided a presentation on Apologetics for young people.
Is there a decline and how great is it?
What are the causes?
Are deficiencies in lack of apologetics for children a significant factor?
Kevin Rogers is the director of Reasonable Faith Adelaide. He is now mainly retired after having an electrical engineering career for 40 years and then working as a research Fellow, lecturer and PhD student at the University of South Australia.