The State of Apologetics: Defending the Faith in a COVID World

March 2022: A discussion on the present issues facing Christianity in Perth

McCrindle study on Australia’s Changing Spiritual Landscape (March 2021)

https://mccrindle.com.au/insights/blog/australias-changing-spiritual-landscape/

Some findings

47% of people are thinking about the meaning of life

47% of people are thinking about their own mortality

33% of people are thinking about God

28% of people are praying

(This was higher for the younger generations and less so the older people get)

Church attendance during the rise of covid-19 and after generally declined across all ages compared to prior to 2020 by a few percent.

33% of people agree that one should not be banned from sharing their faith and displaying religious views in public.

33% of people think that Australia would be better off without Christianity.

39% of people think prayer should be removed from parliament, and chaplains in hospitals and jails.

McCrindle study on Faith and Belief in Australia (2017)

https://faithandbelief.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Faith-and-Belief-in-Australia-Infographic_McCrindle_2017-UPDATED.pdf

Belief blockers:

33% homosexuality

24% hell

24% suffering

23% supernatural elements

21% role of women

20% the Bible

19% science and evolution

A Question from FaceBook

  • Regarding your topic: "Defending the Faith in a COVID World" and "what are the present issues facing Christianity in Perth", I'm wondering if your topic is specifically how COVID affects the Faith, or the more general issues facing Christianity in our times?

  • If specifically, COVID, then it seems that there are far worse diseases than COVID, all of which obviously required intelligent design. Such diseases might suggest, for example, that the planet is either not well ruled, or the supposed ruler is not altogether benevolent? Or is it the interesting phenomenon that anti-COVID-vaxers seem rather often to be religious people? Could this be because the scientific establishment is not highly regarded or trusted by these people.

  • If it is the more general issues facing Christianity in our times - for example people avoiding or abandoning Christianity in particular and theism in general - then this is far broader. In this case it would make sense to hear (or read) the reasons that various prominent and articulate people (eg pastors & missionaries) would give for their loss of faith. The reasons for which people abandon the faith after once belonging to the innermost fellowship, would typically be much stronger than the reasons that people on the outside are reluctant to enter. Without good answers to their reasons, what is to prevent any of us from following the same path?

Zimmermann, Augusto, and Joshua Forrester, eds. Fundamental Rights in the Age of COVID-19. Redland Bay QLD: Connor Court Publishing Pty Ltd, 2020.

  1. Introduction – Fundamental Rights in the Age of Covid-19 -- Augusto Zimmermann & Joshua Forrester 

  2. Reflecting upon the Costs of Lockdown -- Rex Ahdar 

  3. Politicians, the Press and “Skin in the Game” -- James Allan 

  4. An Analysis of Victoria’s Public Health Emergency Laws -- Morgan Begg 

  5. Only the Australian People Can Clean up the Mess: A Call for People’s Constitutional Review -- David Flint AM

  6. Covid-19, Border Restrictions and Section 92 of the Australian Constitution -- Anthony Gray

  7. Blurred Lines Between Freedom of Religion and Protection of Public Health in Covid-19 Era – Italy and Poland in Comparative Perspective -- Weronika Kudla & Grzegorz Jan Blicharz 

  8. The Dictatorship of the Health Bureaucracy: Governments Must Stop Telling Us What Is for Our Own Good -- Rocco Loiacono 

  9. The Role of the State in the Protection of Public Health: The Covid-19 Pandemic -- Gabriël A. Moens AM 

  10. Corona, Culture, Caesar and Christ -- Bill Muehlenberg 

  11. The Age of Covid-19: Protecting Rights Matter -- Monika Nagel 

  12. Molinism, Covid-19 and Human Responsibility -- Johnny M. Sakr 

  13. Interposition: Magistrates as Shields against Tyranny -- Steven Alan Samson 

  14. Destroying Liberty: Government by Decree -- William Wagner 

  15. The Virus of Governmental Oppression: How the Australian Ruling Elites are Jeopardising both Democracy and our Health -- Augusto Zimmermann 

 

Kaunda, Chammah J., Atola Longkumer, Kenneth R. Ross, and Esther Mombo, eds. Christianity and COVID-19: Pathways for Faith. Routledge New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies 112. New York, NY: Routledge, 2022.

Part 1 Faith Making Sense of Suffering

  1. A Critical Examination of how some Questionable Perspectives are Revealed within Chinese Christian Reactions to the Covid-19 Pandemic 

  2. Covid-19: A Reflection from Indigenous Peoples’ Lifeway 

  3. Perceptions of Covid-19 in a Sample of Female Clergy: Implications for Theological Understandings of Suffering 

  4. The Word of God and the Covid-19: Intercultural Reading of Job’s Questions to God 

  5. The Holy Spirit, Human Suffering and Healing: An Initial Pentecostal Reflection 

  6. Covid-19, the Question of Evils, Human Freedom and Divine Attributes

  7. Asking God Tough Questions: The Use of Interrogatives in Habakkuk’s First Chapter 

  8. Martin Luther’s Understanding of Righteousness and its Implications and Challenges to Covid-19 

  9. Who Tweeted "Mene Mene Tekel Parsin"?: Covid-19, Twitter and Apocalyptic Literature

  10. Covid-19 and Human Suffering 

Part 2 Faith Taking Action 

  1. Pacific Christianity Online or On the Line?: Renewing Church, Sacrament and Worship amidst the Pandemic 

  2. Liberation after Covid-19—(Re)Building Hope for Older and Disabled People beyond the Global Hegemonies of "Unity," "Youth" and "Growth" 

  3. "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread?": Innovative Responses by Faith Communities to Suffering during Covid-19 within a Context of Inequality and Poverty in South Africa 

  4. Theology and Ethics of Pastoral Accompaniment for Patients with Covid-19 in the Context of Physical Distancing 

  5. Trusting in God’s Protection in the Wake of Covid-19: An Exegetical Reading of Psalm 91 

  6. Love in the Time of Corona: Case Studies of Theodicy during the Covid-19 Pandemic

  7. The Evangelical Church’s Love Affair with Injustice (White Supremacy): A Womanist Study of Mishpat During Covid-19

  8. The Church and Covid-19 Pandemic: Voices of Myanmar Women Clerics  19 Reflections on an Ecological Conversion of Catholic Spirituality Today

 

Australian Apologists

 

The logical problem of evil

1) God exists and is all-powerful, and perfectly good

2) There is evil

 

*Hidden assumption

3) God would have no good reason for allowing evil.

 

Reasons God might have?

  1. Develop character

 

The Probabilistic Problem (sometimes called the evidential problem)

1) God exists

2) There is evil

Evidential problem: P(1|2) = very low    [Probability of (1) given (2) is very low]

 

William Lane Craig’s Response

  1. We are not in a good position to assess the probability of whether God has morally sufficient reasons for the evils that occur. 

  2. The Christian faith entails doctrines that increase the probability of the co-existence of God and evil.

    • The chief purpose of life is not happiness, but the knowledge of God. 

    • Mankind is in a state of rebellion against God and His purpose.

    • The knowledge of God spills over into eternal life.

    • The knowledge of God is an incommensurable good. 

  3. Relative to the full scope of the evidence, God’s existence is probable.

https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/existence-nature-of-god/the-problem-of-evil/

 

Emotional Problem of Evil

  • The intellectual (logical and evidential) problem concerns whether God and suffering can coexist; the emotional concerns people's rejection of a God who would permit suffering.

 

Select Bibliography

  • Lennox, John C. Where is God in a Coronavirus World? United Kingdom: Good Book Company, 2020.

  • Wright, N. T. God and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and Its Aftermath. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2020.

  • Sedmak, Clemens, and Stephen Bevans. Does God Love the Coronavirus?: Friendship, Theology, and Hope in a Post-COVID World. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2021.

  • Sarfati, Jonathan. “CMI, Vaccines, and Vaccination.” Creation Ministries International. 3 Sep 2018, updated 8 Feb 2022. https://creation.com/cmi-vaccination

  • Bergman, Jerry. “Did God make Pathogenic Viruses?” Journal of Creation 13, no. 1 (1999): 115–125. https://creation.com/did-god-make-pathogenic-viruses