Conference Calls for Defense of Family through Film and Culture

Anthony Horvath, a contributor at Laigle’s Forum, is the Executive Director of Athanatos Christian Ministries which in turn is an apologetics organization with a unique bent:  it aims not just to defend the Christian faith through evidence and argumentation, but by influencing the culture through the arts.

Their second annual online apologetics conference has a more narrow emphasis:  a defense of Biblical marriage and the family through film, video, and movies.  After all, the family is constantly being undermined in our movies and sitcoms.  Homosexuality is being normalized right beneath our noses, and with it gay ‘marriage.’  The defense will have to be mounted not just at the political level, though.  We’ll have to fight fire with fire.  And, as it happens, Christians were never supposed to abandon the arts to secularists, anyway.

Please take the time to check out the conference home page:  http://onlineapologeticsconference.com/

Since the conference is held online, you can participate from anywhere around the world.  We look forward to seeing you there.

More info:

Keynote:

(Topics, if listed, are tentative)

  • Gene Edward Veith, Jr. Provost and Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, and columnist for World Magazine.  Website.  Topic:  “Cultural Apologetics.”

Others:


“A picture is worth a thousand words.”  Whether this is good or not, it is the reality.  Today, attitudes and beliefs are often shaped by the things we see and the movies we watch.  For some Christians, this would prompt them to consider withdrawing altogether from our media rich society.  However, movies, music, art, and literature are all expressions of human creativity- and humans, though fallen, still are made in the image of the Creator God.  Our artistic endeavors bear witness to our created nature and therefore have the potential to open eyes, hearts, and mind to the nature of the Creator.

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Apologetics is the Answer to Everything

“Anthony Horvath is the Executive Director of Athanatos Christian Ministries and a national pro-life speaker. He is also the author of the Birth Pangs series.”

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Some Christians will begin seeing red just from reading the title of this entry.  They will be angry and annoyed and may even jump up out of their seats.  Therefore, let me say it again:  apologetics is the answer to everything.

Whether it be the rapid decline of the Christian Church in America, the brisk acceptance of homosexual ‘marriage,’ the prevailing and deepening culture of death, the shallow spirituality of many of the Christians who actually remain in the Church- and certainly much of the lack of action- and many other issues can track back to nothing less than disobedience, for the Scriptures themselves command:  “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”  1 Peter 3:15 In the Greek, ‘answer’ is ‘apologia.’

I have italicized ‘the reason’ and ‘the hope’ as well.  Let us begin with what is referred to by ‘the hope.’  It is the hope of the resurrection, in particular.  And what might be ‘the reason’?  For the famous Bereans, it was convincing argument from the Scriptures- and for them the Scriptures were what we call the Old Testament.  (Acts 17:10-12).   Before King Agrippa was directed to the Scriptures, Paul pointed out that the events he was describing were “not done in a corner.” (Acts 26:26).  In Athens, Paul did not appeal to the Scriptures at all, but the hope was still front and center:  “He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”  (Acts 17:31).

And Jesus himself said, “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;  or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”  (John 14:11).  There is no question that the most important miracle that evidence would be provided on was the resurrection itself, which, if it did not happen- “we are false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead…. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”  1 Cor. 15

At its bottom, ‘apologetics’ is about communicating the hope that we have in the resurrection of the dead in a manner that we hope will be as persuasive as possible, not necessarily because people can be persuaded into faith, but that they may have no excuse.  Still, let it not be said that we give our ‘apologia’ only because obedience demands it.   From the New Testament it is evident that ‘apologia’ was integrated in one’s evangelism, and that this is how God chose to expand his kingdom.

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Transforming Culture by Transforming Hearts Through the Arts; a Conference

Laigle’s Forum contributor Anthony Horvath is the Executive Director of Athanatos Christian Ministries, which is hosting an online apologetics conference coming up in the second week of May.

From the Christian News Wire:

RELEASE:  Athanatos Christian Ministries is hosting its first annual apologetics conference May 7th-8th, 2010. The conference will cast a vision for promoting Christianity through the arts, and literature in particular. The conference is unique because it will be held entirely online, allowing anyone from around the world to attend and participate.

Website: www.onlineapologeticsconference.com.

Presenters at the conference include apologist Rob Bowman Jr, Dr. Corey Olsen (otherwise known at ‘The Tolkien Professor’) and intelligent design advocate Dr. Angus Menuge. Topics range from arguments for using the arts to advance the Kingdom of God to narrower issues such as the nature of ‘myth’ and the ‘new literature’ of film and television.

Anthony Horvath, the Executive Director of ACM, will be discussing “literary anti-apologetics” and how stories such as Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” and Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series serve up objections to Christianity through the guise of fiction.

Speaking about the conference, Mr. Horvath says, “For centuries the Christian Church lead the way in supporting the arts. The Christian worldview was integrated into literature, music, and paintings. People could appreciate fine artistic expression and receive a positive impression of the Christian message at the same time. Christian artists were able to touch hearts in a way that theological arguments often did not. It is time for the Church to rediscover the arts and artists.”

New technologies have allowed creative Christians a chance to carry out their vocation in a meaningful way. The Internet in particular has allowed talented Christian artists to reach people around the world.

Horvath explains, “The Internet has opened up many opportunities for artists but also many new challenges to the Church, so it is fitting that we hold this conference online. This allows us to connect authors, artists, pastors, and apologists together in ‘one place’ to hash out how we can deliberately use the arts to promote, explain, and defend Christianity.”

Registration for the conference is $35 with students able to register for $25. Each conference participant will receive a free copy of either GK Chesterton’s “Orthodoxy” or Pascal’s “Pensees.”

Sessions begin at 9 a.m. CST on Friday and Saturday, May 7th-8th and run throughout the morning. Recordings of the sessions will be available for download for conference registrants.

To register and get more information visit www.onlineapologeticsconference.com.

So you want to be a useful idiot

Olavo de Carvalho explains, in the column below, the psychological and sociological mechanisms by which people become pawns in the hands of leftwing political activists, who use them to get their man elected and keep him in power.

Donald Hank

 

Quick lesson in sociology

By Olavo de Carvalho

Emile Durkheim, the founder of sociology, taught that there is a limit to the quota of abnormality which the collective mind is capable of perceiving. This can be given two interpretations, either simultaneously or alternatively:

I — when standards fall below the limit, society automatically adjusts its focus of perception to consider as normal what once appeared abnormal, to accept as normal, commonplace and desirable, what was once feared as weird and scandalous.

II — when the abnormality is excessive, surpassing the limits of the acceptable quota, it tends to pass unperceived or simply to be denied. The intolerable becomes nonexistent.

While it hardly corresponds to measurable quantities, the “Durkheim constant,” as it is usually called, has been found to be an effective analytical tool, particularly at times of historical acceleration, when various changes in standards occur and are put in place within a single generation and can be seen, so to speak, with one’s own eyes.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Robert Bork and Charles Krauthammer used this constant intelligently to explain the dizzying changes in American morality since the 60s. Bork wrote in 1996: “it is highly unlikely that a vigorous economy can be sustained by a weakened hedonistic environment of culture, particularly when this culture distorts incentives, rejecting personal achievement as a criterion for the distribution of rewards.” Twelve years later, the idea that bank loans are not a bargain between responsible parties but rather an indiscriminate universal right guaranteed by the government and by pressure from activist NGOs, has done its dirty work. The fact that the creators of the problem do not feel the least bit responsible for it, preferring to cast the blame precisely on those who did everything to avoid it, illustrates the fall of moral standards that I see accompanying the fall of lending standards.

However, the most interesting thing about this is not the application of the principle for the purposes of explanation but rather its practical use as a political weapon. For over a century, all movements interested in imposing sociocultural modifications against the preferences of the majority have avoided direct confrontation with public opinion. They have tried to deceive it by clever use of the “Durkheim constant,” which every revolutionary activist worth his salt knows by heart.

According to Interpretation I, the principle is applied by means of mild continuous pressure, carefully, slowly, gradually lowering the standards, first in the popular imagination by means of the arts and show business, then in the realm of ideas and educational values, followed by the field of overt activism proclaiming the most aberrant novelties to be sacred rights, and finally in the realm of law, criminalizing adversaries and diehards, assuming that any are left. With almost infallible consistency, we find that self-proclaimed conservatives conform passively — sometimes comfortably — to change without noticing that a new identity has been foisted on them from the outside like a straitjacket by those who hate them the most.

 According to Interpretation II, the Durkheim constant is used to turn society upside down overnight without encountering any resistance by means of lies and bluffs so colossal that the population instinctively refuses to believe that there is anything real behind them. The actual victim of the swindle reacts vehemently to any attempt to expose it, because he feels that admitting the reality of the situation would be a humiliating confession of stupidity. In order not to feel like a fool, the poor devil is willing to be a fool without sensing that he is one, confirming the old Jewish proverb “a fool has no delight in understanding.” This is why the biggest revolutionary organization in the history of Latin America, the Forum of Sao Paolo, was set up there in an environment in which all reports about it were ridiculed as signs of insanity, despite all manner of documentary support and proof of its existence. And it is why the United States of America may soon have a president without any proof of US nationality, financed by thieves and tied by a thousand commitments to terrorist and genocidal groups, while his own biggest opponent proclaims he is “a decent person that you do not have to be scared about.”

Translated by Donald Hank

 

Olavo de Carvalho, 61, taught Political Philosophy at the Catholic University of Parana (Brazil) from 2001 to 2005. He now lives in the U. S. as a correspondent for Brazilian newspapers. Website: www.olavodecarvalho.org.