Friday 8 June 2012

Obscure reasons to believe

Two weeks ago it was the second Unbelievable? conference. Premier are now taking orders for the DVD set, for those who were unable to attend, or who did attend but want to hear the sessions they inevitably missed in a single-day, multi-track event.

Here's what Premier are saying is on the DVDs:

"God & Science: Cosmic Reasons For Christ"
"Whose worldview? C.L.E.A.R. reasons for Christianity"
"Gunning For God: Why the new atheists are missing the target"
"Evangelism remixed: new models for evangelism in the 21st Century"
"Evangelism in a sceptical world"
"Evangelism in a multifaith world"
"Confessions of a compulsive thinker"
"Confessions from the mission field"
"Confessions of a former atheist" 

I can't work up much enthusiasm for anything listed above, so I won't be sending an order. I bought last year's DVD set — for reasons I set out in the first of my three blogposts about it:

This year's conference was in association with "Reasons to Believe", and Hugh Ross — the President of Reasons to Believe — was a guest on Unbelievable? prior to the conference. He was also on Revelation TV opposite Malcolm Bowden, a Young Earth Creationist, which by comparison made Ross's views seem fairly conventional. But Ross, and Reasons to Believe, strike me as leaning further towards the fundamentalist side of Christianity than Premier — or at least Unbelievable? — have so far appeared to do.

As an atheist curious about the prevalence of religious belief, I've been interested to learn what makes religious people tick, but my investigations to date have been disappointing and inconclusive. As part of those investigations I read and reviewed a recommended book purporting to offer scores of arguments for faith, and I watched and reviewed the whole of last year's Unbelievable? conference DVDs. Both were underwhelming. That John Lennox was promoted as a star attraction at this year's conference leads me to conclude that it was more of the same — a notion reinforced by the inclusion of someone from the Alpha course.

The conference itself may have been inspiring and invigorating for its participants, but I imagine the vast majority of them were believers — and if they want to spend a day in the company of like-minded people and listen to Christian apologetics that's fine by me, but judging by last year's DVDs I'm not sure what influence the talks will have outside the conference and the circles of its attendees.

For the present, I tend to agree with former Unbelievable? (and recent Skepticule Extra) guest James Croft, when he says, "Apologetics is a waste of time."