apologetics for kids

This tag is associated with 13 posts

Book Review: “The Fox and the Hard Day”

One market for apologetics books hasn’t received as much interest as it should: books aimed at instructing children. Whether this means primers for logic or simply introducing topics related to Christianity, there just aren’t very many. The Fox and the Hard Day is one more book to help fill this void.

In The Fox and the Hard Day, the question is the problem of evil. Why do bad things happen to us? Two children, James and Ruth, tell the eponymous character, Fox, about the bad days they’ve had. He responds by asking why God would let such bad things happen if he’s really all loving and good like they say. They respond by talking about the fallen state of humanity and the love God has for each individual. But Fox presses harder, asking why God isn’t powerful enough to stop evil. The kids point out that God is all-powerful but allows humans free nature instead of being like robots. Instead of stopping all sin, God provided His Son to save humans from sin. Ultimately, God “WILL put a stop to every bad thing at just the right time…” Fox finally understands–their answers make sense, even if he doesn’t necessarily like them all.

The book includes a brief parent guide, which includes recommended additional resources, Bible verses to discuss, and a more extended discussion of one of the aspects of the “free will defense” offered in the book.

The Fox and the Hard Day is an impressive entry in the series “Picture Book Apologetics.” Once again, the authors have provided a readable, easy-to-understand introduction to a difficult topic. The additional resources and reading provide a great baseline for more investigation. I recommend it!

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Book Review: “Cold-Case Christianity For Kids” by J.Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace

J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace have teamed up to bring introductory apologetics to a level that can be understood and digested for kids in Cold-Case Christianity for Kids. How does it fare?

The book is set up as though readers are entering into a school for police cadets with an emphasis on detective work. Each chapter is centered around exploring another aspect of evidence related to a case related to a skateboard (how did it get to where it was and who does it belong to?) and gets tied into discussion of Christian apologetics.

Chapter by chapter, readers learn how to think. Yes, many facts about the New Testament and Jesus are presented, but they are presented alongside critical insight into how to think and conduct investigation into such facts. These investigations include testing witnesses, learning about what kinds of evidence might be important, learning how to infer, separating artifacts from evidence, and more. I was impressed with how the authors conveyed some really complex elements of reasoning in ways that would, I think, be understandable for children.

The book is set in a kind of storybook format as the reader continues this cadet school, learning more about how to investigate a case while also having a story told about the investigation related to the skateboard. It’s an engaging way to present to readers without being overbearing.

I think the target audience for this book would be about ages 8-12. Some older students might find the way it includes the reader in the text a little cheesy, but younger students might not as easily follow the lines of evidence. Speaking of target audience, I was a little disappointed that the study guides included in the text rely quite a bit on fill-in-the-blank questions. Though some questions were more open-ended and allowed for more reflection, the majority were effectively filling in the blank, which I have found to be more akin to busy work than something that helps to learn.

Another great aspect of the book is the tie-in website which features chapter-by-chapter videos lead by J. Warner Wallace helping explain the core of the chapter. He’s an engaging speaker and the videos could easily be integrated by an adult leader. The site also has more study tools and a guide for adults to lead study. It’s a solid tie-in website.

Overall, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids is a good introduction to apologetics that will help teach kids to think critically. I recommend it.

The Good

+Hands-on examples with real applications
+Teaches how to think in many cases
+Great tie-ins on the website

The Bad

-Over-reliance on fill in the blanks for study guides

Really Recommended Posts 7/29/16- Open Theism, Jason Bourne, and more!

postHello dear readers! Thanks for stopping in! Check out the latest round of “Really Recommended Posts,” brought to you by me! This week we have posts that argue against open theism–do the arguments work, though?, the Bourne movies, Mary and women in the church, objective truth for kids, and young earth creationism and geology of Egypt. As always, let me know what you think, and be sure to let the authors know as well!

The Open Future Precludes Present Motion– Alexander Pruss, one of the most interesting philosophers to follow, in my opinion, presents here an argument that open theism entails premises which mean present motion is impossible. I commented on the post arguing that most open theists allow for certain parts of the future to be knowable; just not those impacted by free will. I haven’t seen that comment pop up yet. Pruss followed with a post about how open theism eliminates the possibility to speak truthfully that is an even more intriguing argument. What do you think?

Surveillance and Revelation in the Bourne Movies– The Jason Bourne movies have much going on in them to reflect upon from a Christian perspective. Here’s a post exploring some of these dimensions.

Mary’s Truth– Women were the first evangelists. Mary was one of these first evangelists. We ought not to strip away the legacy such women left behind.

Truth in a Box– How might you discuss objective truth with kids? Here’s a way to use a concrete example to introduce the notion of truth no matter what anyone thinks about it.

Squeezing the Lost Grand Canyon of Egypt into the Young Earth Paradigm: An Impossible* Task– How do young earth creationists account for things like a canyon as large as the Grand Canyon that has been completely covered with sediment since its formation? Check out this post to see how YEC fails to account for certain physical realities.

 

Really Recommended Posts 6/17/16- horror movies, The Gospel Coalition, and more!

A picture of a goldfinch I took. All rights reserved.

A picture of a goldfinch I took. All rights reserved.

Another week, another round of posts for you to enjoy, dear readers! This week has an exciting lineup–hopefully with some posts that will get you thinking and talking! This week, we have horror movies and Christianity, the Gospel Coalition’s (non-)engagement with culture, apologetics for kids with elephants and waterfalls, debate over the relation between the Father and Son in the Trinity, and the topic of the use of guns. As always, I’m curious to read your thoughts. I don’t always agree with 100% of everything I link, but try to choose posts that get me thinking and that I hope will get you thinking as well! [EDIT: I accidentally had one link to the wrong post. My apologies! It is fixed now.]

Why Horror Movies Make Me a Better Christian– I don’t like horror movies at all. Unless by “horror movies” you mean black-and-white horror movies with monsters that are hilarious now due to special effect differences (i.e. Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc.), then I love them. Can horror movies, with all their gore and violence, really have any redeeming qualities? This post made me think about that in a fresh light. What do you think?

The Gospel Colition and How Not to Engage Culture– Can The Gospel Coalition really claim to be about engaging with culture when they continually silence critics on social media? Check out this post for more information on this issue.

How Elephant is a Waterfall– How do you get kids thinking in different categories? What is concrete/abstract? What is a contradiction? Here’s a post from an exciting new site about apologetics for kids.

The Coming War: Nicene Complementarians vs Homoian Complementarians– There is a debate raging within complementarian camps over the subordination of the Son to the Father in the Trinity. Here is an outline of that debate. Read the follow-up posts as well for more. I’ve written on one side of this debate before- “Is the Son ‘Equal to God‘?”

Actually, Guns do kill people (Think Christian)– Think Christian is a great site for engaging culture and getting us thinking about topics we might not normally. This post is, I think, thought provoking regarding issues related to gun violence. It doesn’t offer solutions, but rather a way to conceptualize. What do you think about this issue? How might Christians engage with the topic of gun violence–or should we?

Book Review: “Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side” by Natasha Crain

kykgs-crainAs a Christian parent, one of the things most important to me is bringing my son up in faith in Christ. As a man with an MA in Christian Apologetics, I know that my child will face many challenges going forward, and that the Christian faith has the answers. The problem, it seems, is figuring out how to unite these two–apologetics and child-rearing–in a way that can be understood by children, without being domineering or scary. Natasha Crain’s book, Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side, is an answer to prayers about this important topic.

The book  features 40 “conversations” that can be had with children centered around topics from why we believe the Bible and textual criticism to the existence of God to questions about science and Christianity. Each of these chapters provides an introduction to the topic at hand. Crain utilizes stories of her own children quite well to demonstrate how these conversations might play out–or how they might get started.

The most helpful aspect of the book is that it provides a kind of all-in-one reference for common questions and apologetic topics that can be used to start children on the right path towards defending their faith and the calling of 1 Peter 3:15-16. Each of the 40 conversations is one that is worth having, and is often accompanied with quotes from prominent atheist thinkers to show the objections often raised to the faith.

Crain also does a good job of presenting multiple sides of controversial topics without specifying a side. For example, in the chapter on hell, she presents historical Christian positions (a literal view, a figurative view with eternal punishment, and the conditionalist view). The one place there is a bit of a slip on this regard is when it comes to the creation and evolution debate. She adequately presents both young and old earth creationism, but only gives a view like theistic evolution a passing mention, despite having seemingly increasing support among evangelicals.

A downside to the variety of topics that Crain presents is that she is only ever able to scratch the surface on each. The type of book it is basically makes this a necessity, and Crain does provide resources for further reading. Parents should note that they will need to utilize these resources for continuing conversations.

Keeping your Kids on God’s Side is a phenomenal work. It is the kind of book that parents will come back to time and time again. Not only that, but it has broad enough appeal that it serves as an excellent general apologetic work. It will energize parents to start these conversations with their children and give them the tools to keep them going. I highly recommend this work.

The Good

+Broad-minded approach that doesn’t tell readers what to think on controversial topics
+Clear tone and presentation
+Astounding number of topics introduced with valuable information
+Offers several key points to help discuss topics with children

The Bad

-Very brief on several points
-Doesn’t address full breadth of views on creation/evolution

Disclaimer: I received the book for review from the author. I was not obligated to provide any specific kind of feedback whatsoever.

Source

Natasha Crain, Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side (Eugene, OR: Bethany House Publishers, 2016).

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Book Reviews– There are plenty more book reviews to read! Read like crazy! (Scroll down for more, and click at bottom for even more!)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Book Review: “Pitfalls: A Quick Guide to Identifying Logical Fallacies for Families” by J.D. Camorlinga

pitfalls-Camorlinga

Pitfalls: A Quick Guide to Identifying Logical Fallacies for Families provides a way to teach logic in a concise, easy to understand format. The book is part of the “Picture Book Apologetics” series and approaches the fallacies from the stance of teaching children to engage in conversations about their faith, though it is clearly broadly applicable.

The fallacies covered in this book are informal fallacies, though at the end the authors note the difference between formal and informal fallacy. Both the back cover and the table of contents explain what a logical fallacy is. Fallacies covered include ad hominem, appeal to force, equivocation, and many more. There are 24 covered in all, along with the distinction made between informal and formal. Each features an illustration with a dialogue between various delightful critters demonstrating the fallacy. Many of the explanations close with a humorous application of the fallacy. Each explanation is about 50-80 words long (I counted a few of them).

The explanations are clear and concise, to the point where they would frankly serve the introductory philosophy course as well as the six-year-old. They’re impressively well done and with plenty of humor on the side for older children and adults. It is rare I find myself really enjoying a children’s book, but this is one that easily fits in that category.

I put the book through the rigorous test of seeing how long the illustrations could please my son. He isn’t quite a year and a half old yet, and his attention span reflects that. Nevertheless, he touched many of the cutely drawn animals and even made (highly accurate) animal noises for a few. Given that both I and my son enjoyed the illustrations, I think its safe to say they’re well done.

I would be a poor reviewer if I didn’t note the tongue-in-cheek humor behind some of these illustrations. For example, the fallacy of “Begging the Question” is clearly a depiction of Joseph Smith with the gold plates for the Book of Mormon, and the “Genetic Fallacy”‘s illustration is a pair of Jehovah’s Witness gerbils (or hamsters? I can never keep them straight). These do not mock these groups, but instead expose their ideas in the briefest conversation bubble and show some of the fallacious reasoning behind them. It’s done smartly.

It’s difficult to judge exactly how easily understood these fallacies are made by the book with myself and my son as subjects, but having discussed this kind of thing with parents who have older children, I believe this book would be highly beneficial for introducing some heady concepts at fairly young ages. Of course, do that at your own risk as you will be training little lawyers. Each explanation is quite brief, to the point where a few times I wish there had been just a little more clarification. It’s hard to fault that, however, given the intended audience of the book.

Pitfalls: A Quick Guide to Identifying Logical Fallacies for Families is just as advertised, but with no small amount of wit. It is both informative and delightful, well-illustrated and humorous. I highly recommend it.

The Good

+Clever examples
+Cute illustrations
+Grab-bag of information
+Useful for review

The Bad

-Could be a bit more expansive on a few topics

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of the book by the publisher. I was not required to give any specific kind of feedback whatsoever. 

Source

J.D. Carmolinga Pitfalls: A Quick Guide to Identifying Logical Fallacies for Families (Whittier, CA: Picture Book Apologetics, 2015).

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Book Reviews– There are plenty more book reviews to read! Read like crazy! (Scroll down for more, and click at bottom for even more!)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Really Recommended Posts 11/06/15- Star Trek theology, egalitarianism, and more!

postI hope you’ll enjoy this week’s roundup of posts from around the web. You can watch a video explaining egalitarian theology from Genesis, survey challenges your kids might encounter for their faith, learn about pro-life dialogue, discover theology in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and explore a cold time before a young earth could have existed. Let me know what you think of the posts, and be sure to let the authors know as well.

Egalitarian from the Start (Vide0)– this sermon is from Richard Davidson, author of the monumentally important study on sexuality in the Old Testament, Flame of Yahweh. He argues that, from the beginning of creation, egalitarianism is the ideal perspective.

17 Ways Your Kids Will Encounter Challenges to their Faith– Children will encounter a great number of challenges to their faith as they grow up. Simply being aware of the way children can be confronted by these challenges will help parents prepare to answer them and help their kids find answers.

Four Practical [Pro-Life] Dialogue Tips from My Conversation with Brent– Josh Brahm, an excellent pro-life speaker, offers some dialogue tips alongside a case study of an actual conversation he had with a pro-choice advocate.

Star Trek Theology- “Remember Me”– The Sci-Fi Christian, an excellent website and podcast, offers up this heaping helping of theological analysis of The Next Generation episode, “Remember Me.” It’s an episode I enjoy immensely, and I also enjoyed reading this post. Check it out.

A Holocene Cold Snap In the Year 2,200 B.C. (Before Creation)– Here is an analysis which challenges the Young Earth timeline, because it demonstrates that we can observe weather patterns from before dates set by groups like Answers in Genesis.

 

Really Recommended Posts 10/30/15- What do you know about Domestic Abuse?, apologetics, and more!

postAnother week, another round of enjoyable reads for you, dear readers. It is Domestic Violence  Awareness Month, so I’ve shared a double-feature of posts that work to dispel myths about domestic violence. How many of these myths have you heard or held onto? Other posts include the fine-tuning argument, apologetics in the Bible, fossilized burrows, and the strangeness of the Bible. Check them out, and let me know what you think.

Ten Myths About Domestic Abuse You Didn’t Know You Believed – Part 1 – I found this post enlightening about some of the perceptions related to domestic abuse we often absorb without realizing it. I think everyone should read this post to get an idea of some of the difficulties around speaking about domestic abuse. This post has the first 5 myths. Don’t forget to check out Part 2 as well.

The Fine-Tuning Argument (Video)– A video which outlines and explains the argument for the existence of God from fine-tuning. I think this is a sound argument well-worth knowing.

Fossilized Animal Burrows in Argentina from the Triassic Period– If the Flood is supposed to explain the overwhelming majority of sedimentary layers on Earth, how do Flood Geologists explain animal burrows? This post presses home the challenge.

Apologetics Started in the Bible– Some reject the need for Christian apologetics, but the fact is that apologetics is found in the Bible itself.

Parents, Please Don’t Forget How Strange the Bible Is– If we don’t take the whole word of God seriously, it will be hard for our children to do so. We need to be aware of the sometimes strange aspects of the Bible and be prepared to answer our kids’ questions about them.

Really Recomended Posts 7/24/15- Pantheism, Parenting, Headship, and more!

postAnother week means another go-round of the web with some great reads for you, dear readers! This week we have a broad array of posts featuring pantheism, apologetics for kids, “male headship,” distractions and dedication to scholarship, and creationism. Let me know what you thought of the links and be sure to let the authors know as well!

Aristotle’s four causes versus pantheism– Can pantheism account for the world we actually observe? Here, prominent Scholastic Philosopher Edward Feser makes an argument that pantheism fails to account for the different kinds of causation we observe in the world.

How to Get Your Kids to Ask More Questions About Their Faith– Natasha Crain offers some thoughts on how to get kids invested in their faith through asking questions. I hope to one day implement some of these ideas into my own home, when my child is maybe a little older 🙂 (he’s 10 months old right now).

Headship Madness: The Headship Litmus Test– How does the notion that male headship is necessary and the biblical view lead to it being a kind of litmus test for theology generally and church practice explicitly? Here’s a post exploring how this view often does lead to headship becoming the test for sound theology.

Terry Mortenson concedes: “Stone Age” tools are a problem for Young Earth Creationism– Here’s an analysis of recent comments from an Answers in Genesis scholar on one argument that has been used against young earth creationism. This is a pretty major problem for trying to fit the timeline of YEC into the evidence we have.

 

Strive to be the Spiritual Bruce Lee (Comic)-  We need to work to avoid the distractions that often get in the way of our spiritual practices and work towards building the kingdom instead of blowing time on such things. That said, we also need to balance some time for doing activities we enjoy and relaxing. Here’s a comic that speaks to the need to beat distractions.

Really Recommended Posts 5/29/15- Jesus or Muhammad, Kierkegaard, and more!

postHello folks, it’s another week and that means another round of Really Recommended Posts! Here we have a pretty solid lineup which includes a discussion of whether Muhammad or Jesus was prophesied in the Bible, an accidental flight to North Korea as a sermon illustration, Kierkegaard, the Resurrection, and setting an example for your kids.

A Prophet like Moses: Jesus or Muhammad?– It has often been alleged by Muslim apologists that Deuteronomy 18:18 references a prophecy of Muhammad. How strong is this claim? What about Jesus?

Apologetic Sermon Illustration: Why doctrinal details matter and the case of Kenyan accidental flight to North Korea– Based on a real news story in which a Kenyan made a nightmarish mistake: he flew to Pyongyang, North Korea instead of Pyeongchang, South Korea. In his own words: “…who could tell the difference?” This post is worth reading for the news story alone, but the use of it as an apologetics illustration as well was a great idea. The author used it to discuss religious or doctrinal pluralism.

The Great Dane: Remembering Kierkegaard– A brief snippet on Kierkegaard’s impact and life.

If Jesus did not really rise from the dead (Comic)- Here’s a great illustration of why it is important to realize what relevance the sincere belief of the disciples had regarding evidence for the resurrection.

Why Setting a Good Example for your Kids is Overrated– We need to avoid making our instruction of our children law-oriented and on behavior rather than on the truth of Christianity and the grace of God. Here’s a discussion of how we might do that.

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