See below for a review of the 2012 Christian Evidence Conference
Report 2012 ICEC
The 2012 International Christian Evidence Conference, sponsored by ARS, was held on Saturday October 20-21 at UCLA. The event was co-sponsored by the Campus Ministry of the Los Angeles International Church of Christ. In past conferences, we had a theme, such as World Religions, Science and Christianity and Christianity and the Paranormal. The conferences have been principally designed for those who are really “into” Christian apologetics. This year we decided to put on a conference for the relatively new believer for those who are considering faith in Jesus Christ. For this reason, we held the conference at UCLA, which was a wonderful venue.
Attendance at the classes during the day was about 500, with 1000 attending the evening event with Dr. Douglas Jacoby and Dr. Michael Shermer. There were significant groups from Tijuana, San Francisco and especially from San Diego. We estimate that about 70% who came were college students.
The classes offered on campus during the day included:
The Real Jesus—a class on the claims of Jesus and their validation based on fulfilled prophecies and his miracles taught by Dr. John Oakes.
Talk about Hard Evidence—a class on archaeological evidence which supports the reliability of the Bible. This class was taught by Dr. John Wilson of Pepperdine U.
Heaven, Hell and the Afterlife—the title explains this class. Dr. Douglas Jacoby gave an in-depth class on the biblical view of what happens when we die.
Who Said Jesus is a Myth?—a response to the commonly accepted fallacy that Jesus was a myth, created from other god/man myths in the ancient world. The class was taught by Brian Colon.
Master and Commander—a class on using the moral argument to support belief in the existence of God. This class was taught by Dan Conder.
Always Be Prepared—a practical class on how to use Christian evidences in our outreach to our non-believing friends. The class was taught by Kedron Jones.
Enemies or Friends?—a class on science and the Bible, taught by Dr. John Oakes.
We had many positive responses from both the Christians and their guests. The highlight of the conference was the “Dialogue With a Skeptic.” The event was billed as a dialogue rather than a debate between a Christian and a skeptic. Douglas Jacoby is a Christian teacher and author with a PhD in ministry from Drew University. He is an adjunct professor for Lincoln Christian University. Michael Shermer is an author and public speaker. He was formerly a professor of psychology, and is now the President of the American Skeptics Society.
The dialogue was moderated by Tony Kettering, who works with the campus ministry at UCLA. He asked Doug and Michael, in turn, questions about their views and asked them to explain the reasoning they use to address important issues related to the existence for God and the reasonableness of atheism and Christianity. Shermer does this sort of thing for a living and is very polished. He came across quite respectful of belief, but argued against belief in God, calling observers to think skeptically about their beliefs. Doug more than held his own, making a number of points which Michael could not find a reasonable response. It seemed that Shermer was arguing against a form of Christianity and a lack of careful thinking which do not describe Doug or most of the Christians at the event. In fact, it was clear that Michael was surprised and pleased with many of the positions that Doug took on evolution, science and in some cases, even on philosophy. Like Michael, Doug is skeptical of many common “Christian” presuppositions. In the end, the dialogue was respectful. Those who expected foreworks may have been disappointed. Most of those with faith who observed the dialogue will have found Michael’s attempts to replace Christianity with pseudo-morality and pseudo-ethics to be unsatisfactory.
All the classes, as well as the dialogue will be available to purchase soon from Illuminations Publishers www.ipibooks.com. Many of the power points are already available at the web site.
Don’t forget that the 2013 ICEC “Christianity and Culture” will be held in San Diego June, 2013. See you there.