Friday, October 13, 2006

My First Crack at Apologetics.

This Wednesday a number of us (that number being eight) went into William de Ferrers High School to take part in a sixth form conference type thingy to discuss suffering and the existence of God. On one side was atheistic philosophy professor Stephen Law, insisting that the Judeo Christian God could not exist alongside so much suffering. And batting for the other team (as it were) were us, an army of Christian youth workers, church pastors and scientists prepared to take on and defeat the moral indecencies and intellectual inconsistencies of this misguided professor. We had one problem, however. He was better than us.

Let me explain. The day wasn't in the form of a debate infront of a group of 16-18 year olds. Rather they split into two groups each (we had the year 13s in the morning and the year 12s in the afternoon) with one group staying with Professor Law (in the school's perfectly designed presentation room) while the other group came with us (with our army) into the school's brightly lit, projector incompatible, will become impossible to hear anything once it starts raining (which it did), anti-teaching friendly conservatory. So already we're at a disadvantage (but then we do have an army to level things out) but it turns out to be for the best. Without the means to deliver a decent presentation, we had to rely on group work and conversations. This was brilliant. Throughout the day I had some great thinkers come into my group and debate some of the issues on suffering. Most of them were quite outwardly atheistic (although some, in their atheism, sill disagreed with what the philosophy professor was saying which I thought was interesting) and it was great to be able to talk to them and challenge some of their views and encourage them to rethink certain things that they had taken for granted. It was fantastic and I loved it.

But the real treat came at lunch time and then again at the end of the day when our army of Christians were left in a room with the godless professor. Now it deserves noting at this point that he was actually a really nice guy and, for the most part, the debate continued quite amicably. But there were still eight Christians and one atheist. Imagine, if you will, eight children, each with their favourite playstation game in their hands. And in the otherwise empty room in which they gather is a single playstation - with one controller. Now imagine a similar scenario except the children are adults. And instead of a computer game, they're clutching their favourite indisputable argument for the existence of God. And instead of a playstation, there is an atheistic philosopher called Stephen Law. I think you get the picture.

I didn't get too long a go on him but for a while, during lunch time (before another one of the kids came along and took out my Crash Bandicoot Racing and put in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City), I was arguing with a professor about the existence of God - and I loved it. Now I'm no apologeticist and, had he had the time, he would no doubt have chewed me up and spat me, ever so metaphorically, out. But for that brief period of time, we were arguing and it wasn't completely one-sided. He seemed to respect my points. He particularly liked one of my analogies. And at the end of it all, I realised that I had been arguing, philosophically, with a guy with a PhD in philosophy, and I wasn't completely laughed out of the room. I was making him think. I was making him argue back. I was, for a good 5-10 minutes, up there in his league.

Now maybe I could put this down to my natural intelligence or the fact that I simply had truth on my side. But I believe God was with me, not giving me the tools and the arguments to completely demolish this guy perhaps (although I have thought up so many great arguments since - typical) but I do believe he was with me, making sure I didn't do anything to make Him look stupid. On the whole, this guy was far better than any of us in terms of constructing an argument or making our arguments look invalid or making our existences look invalid. This guy had 15 years experience doing what he does. I, on the other hand, had had 15 days. He could have destroyed us in a debate. The fact that he didn't, is proof enough for me in the existence of God.


Liz said...

Glyn, you're an inspiration - REALLY...and you don't half look like your dad in your picture !!

AndyMac said...

Dude, nice work on the picture! (how long did THAT take you?)

That Stephen Law bloke was at my college, does he still look like a bit of a hippy?

Glyn said...

Yeah it took me ages (and all on Microsoft Paint as well which makes it doubly impressive, I think).

Professor Law wasn't exactly Mr Cropped & Groomed but from what I could gather from the drawings of him in his book, he looks a lot less hippyesque now than he did.

And Liz I'm sure my Dad will be chuffed to know that the picture in which my head is distorted to elephant man-like proportions makes me look like him. I'll let him know :)

AndyMac said... paint!

Sometimes I think I could end up shipwrecked on a desert island somewhere and as long as I had a copy of microsoft paint I'd be happy to end my days there!

Glyn's Dad said...

Yeah, thanks Liz.

Proud of you Son - as ever. Good job, well done.

Liz said...

Ok ,I'm never going to make it any better am I , but I think, on reflection, it's more the actual hair STYLE, than the shape of the head, but I don't have a snap shot of your dad in my head to compare with. Maybe if you kind of squint a bit....?
Can I say again though Glyn, that you are an inspiration.... and CHRIS MOYLES - oh my life, how cool is THAT!?

Glyn's dad said...


Would you like me to send you a photo of me! I have just had a really scary one done for my new passport. Carole says I look like a criminal - I just think she is being kind.

Anonymous said...

Yo dude! dont know if u remember me, i was the 6ft dude with long white hair, just a thanks for coming to our school and stuff, even with a skeptical outlook on the entire thing from the start i was really quite pleased, and it was an enjoyable experience.
imagine the coincidence of me ending up here, i was actually looking up work experience dates for the previous year 11.
all hail google lol

many thanks
james barry
-William De ferrers School

Steven Carr said...

Often I have to pay Christians to debate me, and sometimes, even when I pay them, they will not do so, despite my usually offering them both the first word and the last word in the debate.

For example, David Wilkinson , a well known Christian apologist, debated with me at and was unable to answer my questions.

I also have two debates on that page about evil, and why God passes by on the other side when disaster threatens humanity.

Psalm 89, for example, says

8 O LORD God Almighty, who is like you?
You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
9 You rule over the surging sea;
when its waves mount up, you still them.

God passed by on the other side when a surging sea killed 250,000 people on 26/12/2004

When those waves mounted up, there was no God to still them.