This past August I was lucky enough to have been invited to the first of four speaking engagements by renowned apologists in the Houston area. This series of talks took place at the West University Baptist Church in Houston, TX.
The first speaker is quite new to the Houston area, but he has been traveling the world sharing the story of his conversion from atheism to Christianity since the 1980’s. Lee Strobel opened up August Apologetics with his case for the resurrection of Jesus and how, ultimately, efforts to explain away the resurrection have been met by facts and science that debunk the debunker’s arguments. He talked to medical doctors, historians, and even an agnostic psychologist to try to find explanations that would counter the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The more experts he talked to, the less fantastical the greatest miracle in Christianity seemed. Lee Strobel’s lecture was so intriguing and engaging that I decided to go back and listen to the other speakers.
The second speaker was Mary Jo Sharp. She decided to talk about a lighter subject, The Problem of Evil, in other words, “If a good God exists, why do bad things happen to people.” Ms. Sharp tackled the problem of evil in a way that would be more recognizable to most of us, as someone consoling a friend after the passing of a loved one. She considered a soft and personal approach, as opposed to the hard and philosophical debates one would watch between theologians and atheists. Ms. Sharp laid out the arguments for a good God that loves and cares for us and who, at the same time, lets us have the free will that he gifted us. She also pointed out that God made this world to work within certain laws, such as gravity, and such laws made natural disasters a part of the world which he gifted to us. Without free will we would be automatons unable to freely love Him, which is what He ultimately wants, and even the debate of free will would be null.
The third and final lecture was given by Dr. Jim Tour, a synthetic organic chemist who specializes in nanotechnology. Dr. Tour gave the most scientifically packed lecture, while at the same time showing the passion he has to spread the Truth of God. Dr. Tour explained the processes that he goes through to create “nanocars” out of inorganic matter. He showcased the complexity of such an endeavor. For example, the process of making one single “engine” for his car required 250+ pages of step-by-step instructions on how to get the protein chains to spin at a proper rate to propel the car forward. He pointed out the flaw in believing that nature alone, with no input from an intelligent designer, could create complex systems out of simple inorganic matter. Dr. Tour was one of around five hundred scientists and engineers who signed “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” and encourages people to look at Darwinism with the same kind of skepticism that other theories are looked at, and not just as a fact.
August Apologetics was wrapped up with a concert called Beauty by Design where music, poetry, and visual art were used to show the beauty that God has put in this world for our enjoyment. The concert was moderated by Dr. Philip Tallon and included performances by musicians from the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Rice University, and others.
Editors Note: Alfonso Plascencia is a welcome addition to the team, and I look forward to more articles from him, in the future, as we all build a community together.