March 30th, 2013
The following is a guest blog post by Shaun Smith. Shaun is completing his MA in Philosophy and attended the debate.
Thursday night at Liberty University there was a debate over the existence of God. This debate was meant to liberate all thinkers from every walk of life. Theist, Atheist, and Agnostics alike were going to usher forth the new age, with perfected reasons, a scope towards utopia, and a… said no one ever. Max Andrews of Liberty University brought forth compelling arguments, including the infamous ontological argument. Dan Linford, of Virginia Tech, came with a few scattered thoughts, and a selected amount of tactics to try and move the conversation into, well, nothing really. Though, Linford I think had a few great points that he really could have sponged out for the audience. Listen, it isn’t about a winner or loser, its about reasoning together and furthering the discussion. However, I found that there were a few issues that did not bring out that initial goal.
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March 29th, 2013
I have much to say about last night’s debate I participated in concerning the existence of God but those comments will come later. We asked those in attendance (at least 400) to use the #LUGODdebate hashtag if they decided to live-tweet the debate. I’ve taken screen shots of the hashtag’s feed from the beginning of the debate until now (lunchtime Friday). Most of those tweeting were Liberty students but you’ll be able to gauge the atmosphere of the debate and the performances. My Twitter handle is @maxeoa (just an FYI if you spot it in the feed). The feed is in order from the most recent uses to to the earliest uses.
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February 18th, 2013
I can now announce that on Thursday, March 28 from 7.30-9p I will be engaging in a debate with Dan Linford from Virginia Tech on the debate topic, “Does God Exist?” Dan is in the philosophy PhD program at VT. He and I debated each other last year (in partnership with Josh Nixon and Beau Bradley). Last year we debated at VT and this year we will be debate on the campus of Liberty University.
The precise location has yet to be determined but it’s currently scheduled to be in DeMoss 1113. That room holds about 300 but from initial surveys I suspect we may need to find a larger room. We currently plan on having the debate filmed so we should have it available online sometime afterwards. I’m hoping to find a way to stream the debate online. If anyone knows how we can do that please let me know. I’ll be using #LUGODdebate as the Twitter hashtag (@maxeoa). This will help gather interactive thoughts from attendees after the debate. More information will be shared as time gets closer.
- Moderator Introductions
- 17 minutes opening (Max—affirmative)
- 17 minutes opening (Dan—negative)
- 7 minutes rebuttal (Max)
- 7 minutes rebuttal (Dan)
- 10 minutes cross-examination (Max asks Dan questions)
- 10 minutes cross-examination (Dan asks Max questions)
- 5 minutes closing statement (Max)
- 5 minutes closing statement (Dan)
- 20 minutes of Q&A
- Total of 78 minutes of debate and 20 minutes of Q&A
You can view our debate from last spring here.
April 24th, 2012
I’m sure most of you are aware of the controversy several students in the student body have raised concerning Liberty’s selection of Mitt Romney as the Commencement speaker this year. This controversy has even been picked up by the Religion blog at CNN. (Previous notables like Ben Stein, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and Ted Kennedy have spoken on campus before and were not Evangelicals). I’m not commenting on anything about the situation other than I simply don’t care if Romney speaks or not. Jerry sent out an email to the student body today and here’s what it says:
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February 11th, 2012
The following is a guest blog post by Shoshana. She is an art communications major at Liberty University. Her interests include literature, history, and botany. In her spare time, she enjoys watercolor painting, gardening, and reading fiction.
I am a Catholic student at Liberty University. I am in my sophomore year studying studio art: painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. I very much enjoy my major and Liberty as a whole. I was raised Baptist. When I was eight years old my family entered the Catholic Church. My brother and I decided we wanted to stay at Liberty Christian Academy (LCA–the private Baptist school we had attended since kindergarten) rather than leave our friends and go to a Catholic school. There were times in high school when I regretted my decision to stay at LCA. I had a lot of friends, but none of them understood what I believed. My teachers were all great people, but all of them thought they knew what I as a Catholic believed and were often completely wrong. I cannot recount all the kindly and patiently uttered anti-Catholic speeches I endured, the many unconscious slights against Catholicism, and the few not-so-innocent remarks. One girl in my history class verbally attacked me because I “worshipped Mary”. I wish I had a dime for every time that untruth came up. Instead of asking me what I believed and taking time to listen, this girl assumed that she already knew all of my beliefs. Yet what she “knew” was based on hearsay. This is perhaps to be overlooked in a teenager, but when the offender was a teacher, he or she needed to be aware that “bearing false witness” (i.e., telling the class that Catholics believe something which they do not believe) is an offense in God’s eyes. In high school I had a teacher who told me it was his goal to convert me to Protestantism before the year was over. I found that insulting. I was a Christian just as he was (as Dr. Jerry Falwell always said, “Catholics are Christians!”).
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November 10th, 2011
It has been a long time coming but I wanted to publicly support Dr. Mike Licona amidst recent accusations of him denying inerrancy over Matthew 27.51-54 (the resurrection of the saints at the time of the crucifixion) in his most recent book The Resurrection of Jesus: A Historiographical Approach. Licona takes the position that this passage is apocalyptic imagery and is not literal. To be clear from the beginning, Licona has not denied inerrancy. He has been quite clear about that (even though he lost his job as the Apologetics Coordinator with the North American Mission Board over this… unfortunate). Dr. Al Mohler is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has openly condemned Licona for his position.
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October 1st, 2011
James White is the director of Alpha and Omega ministries focused on apologetics. I’ve learned a lot about my own theological position as well as others because of his ministry and service. To be honest, I don’t agree with a few things he believes. For instance, I’m a Molinist (he’s not the biggest fan), evidentialist, and an old-earth creationist. Despite our disagreements he has my utmost respect and esteem. He is passionate about God, the gospel, the Church, and the unsaved. I’m a faithful listener of his podcast, The Dividing Line, and there have been moments when I shake my head at some points he makes and there are other times when I’m cheering him on.
I respect White for his defense of the faith from cults, atheists, Islam, Roman Catholicism, unitarians, and others. Where White earns my greatest respect is his integrity and honesty in scholarship and ministry. You won’t find him quote mining or warping his citations. He does the work, he does the research, and he presents it well. Now, on another note, I’m a philosophy graduate student at Liberty University. For those who are familiar with White you’ll know where I’m going with this. White demanded accountability from Caner, the university, and the church for so many discrepancies [and contradictions] Caner asserted about himself. All parties remained silent while all White did was demand honesty and integrity. Thank you, Dr. White.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with White please check out his YouTube channel, his podcasts, and his website. You don’t have to agree with him all the time but you will learn a lot.
February 2nd, 2011
Today Liberty had a convocation speaker who spoke on persevering through those times in life when you experience suffering or unexpected moments that test your faith (what the speaker called “ouch” moments). During the wrap up of his sermon he challenged the student body to persevere through those moments and for whomever will accept the challenge to stand up. The Vines Center was then filled with students everywhere.
I was already standing because I was sitting on the concrete steps and I had to stretch my legs in the back but I should have sat back down. That’s a challenge and oath I am uncertain of persevering through. Let me clarify. Perhaps this is unhealthy, but I imagine and play scenarios in my head all the time and I think about death quite often. Just earlier this week I was going through hypothetical situations of losing a loved one. I would ask myself what life would be like if my soon-to-be wife were to die or my father, mother, or any of my brothers. It would be nice and ideal to say that I would freely persevere and understand the joys of the moment and circumstance, but I don’t know how I’ll react.
I know this is headline news, but humans are emotional beings and Christians continually disobey God all the time. I resist God’s work in me and I suppress his witness, hence my continual sin. If I were to experience the death of a loved one, the suffering of a loved one, my suffering of cancer or disease, I don’t know if I’ll be joyfully content with those circumstances. I could turn against God and become apathetic. I may run to alcohol to drown my emotions or other outlets. I don’t know. My faith is not strong enough to guarantee that I not have a knee-jerk reaction to circumstances. I’m being honest here and I would encourage you to see if you have knee-jerk reactions in your every day living. Do you ever feel like cussing or getting angry in the heat of the moment? Or do you stay content and collected? Alright, now let’s extrapolate this on a larger macro scale. Maybe you’ll see what I’m getting at here.
I don’t believe I’ll ever lose my salvation but I am an emotional being. My rebellion and resistance to God are all emotional. This situation and thought experiment has given me a greater appreciation for the need to love God with all my mind. I can resist God and turn from him, but it is only momentarily. I’ve never been able to imagine my emotions overcoming my reason and sound reason will always persevere through emotions [in due time]. The intellectual aspects of my faith will open my heart back up to the Holy Spirit and it will flush out my resistance. My intellect won’t bring me back to God in these times but it’s a catalyst God will use to accomplish his goal of pursuing me every day.
So, can I take the challenge of persevering through every moment? I would like to say that I can and will, but I cannot guarantee that. I can try, and with God’s help perhaps I can do that. In the mean time I will need to pray for God to saturate my mind and heart in him so I won’t lose my way back to the faith if it ever does happen. If I’m going to persevere in the faith I’m going to need God’s preservation.