Apologetics in a Secular Age – APOL 310

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course develops an apologetic approach which takes into account the values and plausibility structures of the late modern, secular age. Particular emphasis will be given to understanding current cultural movements and values and constructing a person-centered approach to the apologetic task.

Prerequisite

APOL 220

Rationale

Apologetics is an important area of study for all believers. It serves a dual role of not only providing answers to the tough questions people ask but also strengthening one’s own faith along the way. In order to communicate the Christian story/narrative effectively, we must be able to understand the “air we breathe” as a culture – knowing/understanding both how we got here and how to move forward. This course teaches the characteristics of the current culture – what the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor calls the “Secular Age” – and how to craft an effective apologetic response.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify the current plausibility structures of late modernism.
  2. Understand the importance of presuppositions in a worldview and where they can be challenged.
  3. Recognize the complexity of belief and the need for a person-centered apologetic.
  4. Develop effective strategies for engaging apologetically with current cultural plausibility structures.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations.

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 350 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 1 other classmates’ thread. The reply must be at least 250 words. (MLO: A, B, C, D)

Essay

The student will write a 1,800–2,000-word research-based Essay in current Turabian format that focuses on the application of apologetics in the Secular Age. The Essay must include at least 10 scholarly references in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. These must be credible articles or books. No unscholarly websites or blogs will be accepted as sources. The Essay will be completed in 3 phases:

Phase 1: Pick a topic, Selected Bibliography

Phase 2: Introduction Paragraph, Thesis Statement, Outline, Annotated Bibliography

Phase 3: Final Draft

Each phase will be graded separately and will be due in intervals throughout the course. (MLO: A, B, D)

Reading Reflections (7)

Throughout the term, the student will compose 7 Reading Reflections centered on the respective module/week’s reading assignment. For some module/weeks, the student will respond to a particular claim made by a hypothetical atheist. This will be a chance to apply that module/week’s reading in an apologetic scenario. For other module/weeks, the student will be asked to pick out a quote (or point) from the reading and interact with it by offering analysis, explanation, etc. Each reading reflection must be 7–8 sentences in length and demonstrate course-related knowledge. (MLO: A, B, C, D)