Dr. Randal Rauser, professor of philosophy and theology at Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta, will present public lectures at Oklahoma Baptist University Jan. 11-12. Rauser’s lectures are part of the Christian Worldview annual plenary lectures, held each January on campus.
Rauser has taught at Taylor Seminary since 2003. He is the author of several books including “Is the Atheist my Neighbour,” “What on Earth do We Know About Heaven,” the bestseller “Finding God in the Shack,” “Theology in Search of Foundations,” and “The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver and Other Apologetic Rabbit Trails.”
He has also published many articles in leading academic journals like “Philosophia Christi” and “Christian Scholar's Review.” He blogs at randalrauser.com and lectures widely on Christian worldview and apologetics.
The lectures on OBU’s campus in Shawnee are free and open to the public, and will be held in the upstairs of the Geiger Center, in rooms 218-220. Rauser will present his daytime lectures twice each, to accommodate various classes and schedules for those who wish to attend.
Monday, Jan. 11, he will deliver a lecture on “What is the Flying Spaghetti Monster and why should I care?” Lecture times are 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. and again from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. His lecture will cover the idea that despite the belief of many Christians who believe we are entering a golden age of apologetics where the arguments for Christianity are stronger than ever, many people believe the Christian God is as absurd as a belief in a “flying spaghetti monster.”
His second lecture, “God, Meaning, and Life on this Pale Blue Dot,” will be delivered Monday from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and again from 3-4:15 p.m. He will discuss how many Christian apologists argue that our emerging understanding of the universe provides one of the most powerful reasons to believe in God. Ironically, at the same time many critics believe that the more we understand about the universe, the less plausible belief in God becomes. In this talk, he will explore the nature of that deeply held skepticism and consider ways to respond to it.
Rauser’s third lecture on “Christian Faith in the Cemetery of Dead Gods” will take place Tuesday, Jan. 12, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. and again from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. Christian apologists argue that the historical evidence strongly supports the resurrection of Jesus. However, many skeptics dismiss such claims by consigning the Christian revelation to what H.L. Mencken called “the cemetery of dead Gods.” In this talk, he will seek to understand this general skepticism to all claims of divine revelation.
His next lecture on “God, Faith, and the Myth of the Free Thinker” will take place Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and again from 3-4:15 p.m. Many contemporary thinkers dismiss faith and instead elevate reason in the form of a modern skepticism unencumbered by the chains of tradition and group think. In this talk, Rauser will critique this opposition of faith and reason in order to lay the foundation for a more effective apologetic witness to the world.
Tuesday evening, he will present a public lecture titled, “If God is Love, Why is the Bible So Violent?” from 7-9 p.m. In this talk, he will address the difficult topic of biblical violence, focusing in particular on the rhetorical violence of the cursing psalms and the physical violence of the Canaanite genocide. Many readers today struggle to read these scriptures as they wonder how a God of love could be the author of texts so violent. While some Christians respond by avoiding these texts, Rauser argues instead for the need to rediscover the diverse ways that Christians have read and applied these scriptures, guided by a commitment to the inspiration and authority of all scripture.
Dr. Tawa Anderson, assistant professor of philosophy and director of the honors program at OBU, is excited to bring Rauser to campus. “Dr. Randal Rauser is a prolific author, blogger, and speaker, who is deeply and widely engaged with skeptics and seekers in contemporary society. His relationships and interactions with non-Christians of many descriptions have given him a strong grasp of what makes skeptics tick. He challenges his readers and hearers to get outside of our 'Christian bubbles,' and to understand and love folks outside the church.”
Anderson believes these lectures will profoundly impact the Christian worldview of all who attend. “As our society becomes increasingly post-Christian, increasingly skeptical of the Gospel, and increasingly apathetic with regards to religious truth-claims, the insights that Dr. Rauser has gained in his years of academic and apologetic ministry will be invaluable tools for our students to obtain and apply. I am thrilled to be welcoming our Canadian brother to Oklahoma Baptist University, and excited about the rich blessing our community will receive through his lectures.”