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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Apologia forums debate faith

With attempts to abolish “In God we Trust” from United States dollar bills and “One Nation, under God…” from the Pledge of Allegiance, the increasing evidence of atheism in the world seems unmistakable. The debate between atheism and theism continues to arouse discussion, often evoking emotional responses from those involved.

In response to questions from students in his classes, Tom McEntee, campus Bible teacher, formed Apologia, a forum for religious debate on campus. Greek for “a verbal defense”, Apologia evolved into the term Apologetics, which is a branch of Christianity that answers questions posed from critics about the validity of God and the Bible.

McEntee describes the study as “a formal defense of what you believe.” The group meets in Room 604 on Thursdays at lunch.

?A lot of the discussion at lunch is superficial,” McEntee said. “That?s fun, but let?s take some time to go deeper in our thinking and see what we get out of it. I want the hope students have to be their own and not just that of their parents.”

Despite attending a private Christian school, several students attended the April 24 meeting to discuss the questions posed by skeptics of Christianity.

“I came because I wanted to get a better insight into people’s world views,” Kayla Dones, ’09, said, “so I can know where people are coming from with their opinions. It’s an important topic because it’s in everyone’s life no matter who you are. You have to decide to believe in something.”

Although optional, students recognize the gravity of the topics discussed and sacrifice their lunch period to debate with their classmates.

?I think it?s important to come together and discuss things with people who have different opinions,? Scott Orcutt, ’09, said. ?It helps you see what people think on campus and check your beliefs. It?s good to talk about.?

In addition to serving as a forum for philosophical and theological deliberation, Apologia provides students with knowledge to support their beliefs.

?Bible class teaches you about the Bible, but Apologia teaches you how to support the Bible,? Matthew Stumpf, ’10, said. ?This is a class where you can learn how to defend your faith and strengthen your beliefs.?

Apologia is currently an informal assembly, having met the past two weeks. However, McEntee hopes to establish it as a class for the 2008-09 school year.

?I tried this idea a few years ago but I was a newer teacher so it didn?t work out,? McEntee said. ?It?s nothing official yet but if this continues to roll I?ll make it official.?

McEntee visualizes the class as a debate study group discussing topics with respect to the other members.

?We don?t have a debate team but this (Apologia) could be the closest thing to it,? McEntee said. ?Part of the class will include debate and doing it without attacking the other person.?

For now, Apologia remains a weekly lunch gathering. Students participating in the debates encourage others to join them at future meetings.

“As it (Apologia) is not a requirement, it keeps people there that want to talk about these things,” Stumpf said. “If anyone likes debate classes or even has an interest in the topic, they should try it out.”

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