During Holy Week of this year my wife, Joan, and I flew to Tasmania, Australia, where I was to deliver several apologetics lectures. Tasmania is a small island located below the Australian continent’s eastern coast.We traveled to Tasmania at the request of Dr. Andrew Corbett, an author, apologist, and pastor of Legana Christian Church. In visiting this relatively remote island you might say I was helping take the gospel to the uttermost parts of the Earth. In the next series of articles I will relate various encouraging experiences that help demonstrate RTB’s impact (made possible by generous supporters) around the world.
The Flight Over
The flight from Los Angeles to Sydney took 15 hours. This was the longest flight I’ve ever taken. However, the airline, Virgin Australia, made the flight bearable by offering good food and entertainment options in terms of movies and music.
So Joan and I spent the time reading, watching movies, and listening to the music of blues-rock musicians Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton (from the CD Clapton and Winwood Live at the Madison Square Garden). Musician Steve Winwood is an evangelical Christian and one of the most gifted musicians I’ve ever heard play.
Day 1 in Tasmania
I spent my first day in Tasmania giving three apologetics talks in the capital city of Hobart—leaving me little time to recover from jet lag. I presented two lunchtime talks at St. David’s Anglican Cathedral. Built in the 1860s, the cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Australia, featuring beautiful Gothic architecture, magnificent stained glass, and various Christian works of art. The cathedral even contains Australian military flags used in battle and later donated to the church.
My talks addressed religious pluralism (“Do All Religions Lead to God?”) and the reliability of the New Testament Gospels (“Are the Gospels Trustworthy?”). After my first lecture a young man approached me and asked if my lecture notes were available to the public. I could see in his eyes a hunger for Christian apologetics material.
Later, I learned this fellow had converted from Islam to Christianity just two weeks before our encounter. One of the Anglican priests informed me this man hailed from the Middle East. He worried that his parents would find out about his conversion. In some Muslim countries converts to the Christian faith are subject to death. I gave the courageous young man copies of my books, Without a Doubt and A World of Difference. He was delighted to receive them.
Later in that evening I spoke at another Anglican church in Hobart. My talk was entitled “CLEAR Pointers and Signposts to God.” It presents a cumulative case argument for God’s existence by contending that the most meaningful phenomena of life and the world (the Cosmos, Life, Ethics, Abstractions, and Religion) are best explained by the existence of the Christian theistic God.
This talk led to good questions, particularly about the reasons for the “New Atheism” movement and about theistic evolution. Atheism proved a relevant topic. During Easter week the atheist group in Hobart had signs posted on the local buses, questioning the rationality of religious beliefs. (Atheist groups in America did the same thing during the 2008 Advent season.)
The need for well-reasoned answers to objections is global and this trip solidified that notion in my mind. I will reveal some more interesting events that took place during my trip to Australia in the next installment of this series.