How to Use Pop Culture as a Community Apologist
by Leslie Keeney
I’ve been contributing to a series at the Christian Apologetics Alliance with the goal of encouraging people to become “community apologists.” The purpose of the series is to help the local church develop an intellectual defense of Christianity by raising up, in every community, “someone with an interest in apologetics who will make themselves available to teach apologetics in their church and community.”
Since one of my areas of interest (I can’t say “expertise” quite yet) is using pop culture to demonstrate the existence of a universal moral intuition, I thought it might be important to remind these community apologists that anyone who wants to engage the church, in addition to being able to wade around in the historical, evidential, and logical arguments for faith, needs to be able to dip his toe in the pond of pop culture.
Why? Because this is where many people live. And if they don’t, their children do. And while TV and films may not be fodder for the teleological or cosmological argument for God’s existence, it is the perfect place to start a discussion on the moral argument for God.
For anyone not familiar with the moral argument for God, it’s pretty straight forward. While there are several variations of the syllogism, the basic idea is that most people throughout the world and throughout history have had a moral intuition that certain things are always right (truth, loyalty, bravery, compassion, self-sacrifice) and certain things are always wrong (wanton cruelty, the killing of innocent people, stealing, lying, etc.)
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The most famous version of the moral argument probably comes from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, in which he writes:
These, then, are the two points I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.
Once we’ve established that these universal moral intuitions exist, it’s not hard to move from there to the assertion that they must have a source—a moral lawgiver, if you will. The challenge that many community apologists will face is that in a post-modern culture, many people will claim that good and evil are relative—that there are no moral absolutes.
The apologist says “sure there are.” The skeptic says “prove it” and the pew-sitter says “how can I demonstrate that to my friends?”
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Part Eight: How To Get Apologetics In Your Local Church 2
Part Ten: Community Apologetics – One Model
Part Eleven: Abbreviated Christianity and Christian Case Making