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Course Number: THL 512
Course Title: Apologetics
Term: Fall 2014

Professor

Patrick Madrid

1. COURSE DESCRIPTION

Saint Peter exhorts Christians to “always be ready to give a defense (Greek: apología) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, but do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). This course, which can be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit, will introduce the student to the art of fulfilling this biblical mandate to cogently and convincingly explain and defend Christian truth.

Apologetics involves meeting and overcoming objections to the Faith in a charitable, patient, and respectful manner, presenting the logical, biblical and historical case for the Catholic-Christian worldview. This course will focus not just on the “what” of apologetics (i.e., the content of the case), but also the “how” of apologetics (i.e., the proper techniques necessary to successfully make the case). These techniques are covered in detail in the readings.

The primary goal of this course, therefore, will be to prepare each student to effectively “contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) with biblical and historical proficiency, with a calm and winsome demeanor, and with careful attention to articulating a precise, rational, doctrinally orthodox, and compelling defense of the Faith in a variety of real-world circumstances.

2. ENVISIONED LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Students will demonstrate an adequate grasp of the biblical, historical, and rational tools and techniques required to engage in effective apologetics interactions on a range of issues encompassed within the categories of natural, Christian, and Catholic apologetics.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to make use of the above mentioned tools in written and oral interactions with those who challenge the Christian world view (e.g., atheists, relativists), as well as Catholic beliefs (e.g., monotheism, the divinity of Christ, the Resurrection, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, etc.).
  • Students will demonstrate their understanding of the proper balance between the what (i.e., content) of apologetics and the how of apologetics (i.e., effective and virtuous techniques).


3. COURSE SCHEDULE

Week 1: Intro & overview

Lectures

  • Watch “Meek & Humble of Heart” video (MP4)

Readings

  • Handbook of Catholic Apologetics, chapters 1-2
  • Search & Rescue, chapters 1-2
  • Answer Me This, q. 1-2. * (PDF provided by professor)

Activity

  • Post a 500-word reflection on the lecture & readings in the designated discussion area in Populi, commenting on the following:
  1. What is apologetics and why is it important?
  2. Common pitfalls to avoid when doing apologetics
  3. What steps you personally will take to prepare for engaging in apologetics

Week 2: Natural Apologetics: Atheism — Existence of God

Lectures

  • Watch Biola Debate between William Lane Craig and Christopher Hitchens

Readings

  • Handbook of Catholic Apologetics chapters 3 & 4
  • Theology and Sanity, pp. 21-60 (Suggested reading)

Activity

  • Write a 500-word assessment of the debate and post it in the discussion area online, commenting on the following:
  1. The specific arguments Craig and Hitchens used
  2. The relative effectiveness of these arguments in demonstrating truth claims
  3. Identify any counter-arguments that could have been employed by either Craig or Hitchens

Week 3: Natural Apologetics: Atheism — Existence of God

Lectures

  • Listen to Kenneth Hensley MP3 “Answering Atheist Claims”

Readings

  • Handbook of Catholic Apologetics chapters 5 & 6
  • Theology and Sanity, pp. 61-123 (Suggested reading)

Week 4: The Problem of Evil

Readings

  • Handbook of Catholic Apologetics chapter 6
  • Theology and Sanity, pp. 127-207 (Suggested reading)

Assignment

  • Submit proposed topic for presentation (by teams)

Activity

  • Write a fictitious dialogue (minimum 300 words) between a Christian and an atheist on the problem of evil (NOTE: Two sample dialogues, which may be useful as guides to writing your own, can be found in Envoy for Christ, pages 204-210 ("Guess What, Mom") and 224-232 ("Common Sense Checked at the Door").

Week 5: Christian/Catholic Apologetics

Readings

  • Search and Rescue chapters 3-6
  • On a Mission chapters 1-5

Activity

  • Write 300-word reflection on the readings, focusing on identifying and explaining the priorities elaborated in the readings regarding effective apologetics techniques, as well as counter-productive and/or ineffective techniques to be avoided.

Week 6: Catholic Apologetics: Sola Scriptura, Traditio, Magisterium

Lectures

  • “Does the Bible Teach Sola Scriptura?” Debate MP3

Readings

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Matthew 15:1-9, Mark 7:1-13, 2 Thess. 2:15, 1 Cor. 11:2, Rev. 22:18-19, Deut. 4:2
  • “The White Man’s Burden” article (PDF provided by professor)
  • Envoy for Christ, pp. 1-52

Week 7: Catholic Apologetics: Sola Scriptura, Traditio, Magisterium

Lectures

  • “What Still Divides Us?” Debate MP3

Readings

  • Dei Verbum (link provided in online course)

Activity

  • Post 800-word assessment of both debates, focusing on identifying and explaining the specific arguments (i.e., biblical, historical, etc.) employed by both sides, discussing the relative effectiveness and/or ineffectiveness of said arguments. Where possible, offer recommendations on specific arguments and techniques that could have improved either or both sides of the debate.

Week 8: MID-TERM EXAM

Professor Madrid will schedule a Web-Ex review at the beginning of mid-term week (i.e., so everyone can review with him, ask questions, get clarification, etc., before taking the mid-term).

Week 9: Catholic Apologetics: The Holy Eucharist & the Sacraments

Lectures

  • Listen to the “Hold to the Traditions” Debate
  • Listen to “Winning Souls, Not Just Arguments” MP3 on the Eucharist

Readings

  • Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-39, John 13:1-17:26, 1 Cor. 11:23-32
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church par. 1322-1419

Activity

  • Write 500-word assessment of the debate on identifying and explaining the specific arguments (i.e., biblical, historical, etc.) employed by both sides, discussing the relative effectiveness and/or ineffectiveness of said arguments. Where possible, offer recommendations on specific arguments and techniques that could have improved either or both sides of the debate.

Week 10: Catholic Apologetics: The Blessed Virgin Mary & the Communion of Saints

Lectures

  • Listen to “The Communion of Saints Debate” (Madrid vs. White)

Readings

  • “Any Friend of God’s Is a Friend of Mine” article (PDF provided by professor)

Activity

  • Write 500-word assessment of the debate on identifying and explaining the specific arguments (i.e., biblical, historical, etc.) employed by both sides, discussing the relative effectiveness and/or ineffectiveness of said arguments. Where possible, offer recommendations on specific arguments and techniques that could have improved either or both sides of the debate.

Week 11: Catholic Apologetics: The Papacy

Readings

  • Envoy for Christ, pp. 176-203
  • Answer Me This (PDF provided by professor)
  • Pope Fiction (PDF provided by professor)

Week 12: Catholic Apologetics: Mormonism

Lectures

  • Listen to “Catholic-Mormon Dialogue 1”

Readings

  • Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 43-45
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church par. 198-327 (all very brief)
  • “Mormonism’s Gods” (PDF provided by professor)
  • “In Search of the Great Apostasy” (PDF provided by professor)
  • “Mormonism and the ‘Great Apostasy’ Theory” (PDF provided by professor)

Week 13: Catholic Apologetics: Mormonism

Lectures

  • Listen to “Catholic-Mormon Dialogue 2”

Readings

  • “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Kolob” (PDF provided by professor)
  • “Mormon Bashing” (PDF provided by professor)

Activity

  • Write a 500-word apologetics rebuttal of either the Mormon doctrine of eternal progression or the Mormon doctrine of the “Total Apostasy”

Week 14: Web-Ex conference to review the course material

 

Week 15: FINAL EXAM

4. COURSE REQUIREMENTS

  • Research Paper – 25%
  • Midterm Exam – 30%
  • Final Exam – 30%
  • Class participation (i.e., posting activities and interacting with other students on Populi)

5. REQUIRED READINGS and RESOURCES:

  • Handbook of Catholic Apologetics (Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, S.J.). Please note that the Kindle version of this book is titled Handbook of Christian Apologetics. This edition is fine for this course.
  • Search and Rescue (Patrick Madrid)
  • On a Mission (Patrick Madrid)
  • Envoy for Christ: 25 Years as a Catholic Apologist (Patrick Madrid)

6. SUGGESTED READINGS and RESOURCES:

  • Answer Me This (Patrick Madrid)
  • Theology and Sanity (Frank Sheed)
  • Any Friend of God’s Is a Friend of Mine (Patrick Madrid)
  • The Godless Delusion (Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley)
  • Pope Fiction (Patrick Madrid)
  • Why Is That in Tradition? (Patrick Madrid)
  • The Teaching of the Church Fathers (John Willis, S.J.)
  • Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith (Scott Hahn)

7. EVALUATION

(Basis of evaluation with explanation regarding the nature of the assignment and the percentage of the grade assigned to each item below). Students who have difficulty with research and composition are encouraged to pursue assistance with the Online Writing Lab (available at http://www.holyapostles.edu/owl).

GRADING SCALE:

A 94-100; A- 90-93; B+ 87-89; B 84-86; B- 80-83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73 60-69; F 59 and below

Grading Policy:

Your final grade will depend on your performance in the following areas:

  1. Class participation. All theology, including and in a particular way its sub-branch of apologetics, is a continuing conversation with God, with each other, and with those outside the Church. This conversation necessarily entails insight, knowledge, argumentation, and the sharing of information and perspectives about God, the Church, and the world.

Therefore, because one of the primary goals of this course is to imbue you with the vast richness of scriptural, patristic, and contemporary resources that must undergird any authentically Catholic apologetics project, for this course to have value to you, you must participate in each class experience. It is important that you speak up and express yourself as we go through each phase of our examination of apologetics.

Class participation on the Populi discussion forums (i.e., written activities, discussion, and interaction with other students) will count for 25% of your grade.

  1. The second criterion I will use is your completion of the reading assignments. These are integral to a comprehensive understanding of the content of Catholic apologetics. Don’t neglect the readings for this class or you will fall behind.

Simply put, it will be impossible for you to do well in this course if you do not do the reading. I grade according to this criterion on the basis of results: If you do well in class participation, on your research paper, and on the mid-term and final exams, I will presume you did the reading.

  1. The third criterion will be the mid-term exam. This will determine your ability to understand the theological, biblical, and historical dimensions of apologetics, as well as your proficiency in effectively framing apologetics arguments and will consist of 6 essay questions from which you may choose to answer any 4. These questions are designed to gauge the depth and breadth of your knowledge of the biblical, historical, and theological aspects of apologetics. The mid-term exam will count for 25% of your grade.
  2. The fourth criterion will be a research paper of 7 pages for graduate students and 5 pages for undergraduates (12-point font, double spaced, one-inch margins) which will be due by Sunday at midnight of week 14 and will count for 25% of your grade. I will provide you with more information on the requirements for this paper as we move through the course. Please note that the title page and bibliography page(s) do not count toward the required number of pages for this paper. Although adding an additional one or two pages is permissible, do not submit a paper longer than 10 or 8 pages (respectively).
  3. The final criterion I will use in determining your grade for this course will be the final exam. As with the mid-term exam, the final exam will consist of 6 essay questions from which you may choose to answer any 4. The final exam will count for 25% of your grade.

Again, if you are diligent in reading the required texts for this class, and if you actively participate in class discussions, you are likely to do well on the final exam. Conversely, if you are not diligent in these areas, you should not expect to do well on the final exam.

The WebEx platform, a video-conferencing application made available to students through Holy Apostles, will enable the class and professor to have periodic meetings in real time for review, questions, and discussion. To make the necessary arrangements for using WebEx, students are asked to contact Raul Lozada, Educational Technologist, via e-mail at rlozada@holyapostles.edu early in the semester.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS RUBRIC

Content

Absence of Understanding

Shows no awareness of the concepts addressed in the topic by shifting off-topic

Misunderstanding

Demonstrates a misunderstanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic through an inability to re-explain them

Adequate Understanding

Demonstrates an adequate understanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic by a re-explanation of them

Solid understanding

Demonstrates an understanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic and uses that understanding effectively in the examples it provides

Insightful understanding

Demonstrates an understanding of the basic concepts of the topic through the use of examples and by making connections to other concepts

 

Writing & Expression

Incomplete writing

Partially written or fails to address the topic

Writing difficult to understand, serious improvement needed

Touches only on the surface of the topic and proceeds to talk about something else; confusing organization or development; little elaboration of position; insufficient control of sentence structure and vocabulary; unacceptable number of errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage

Acceptable writing, but could use some sharpening of skill

An uneven response to parts of the topic; somewhat conventional treatment; satisfactory organization, but more development needed; adequate syntax and diction, but could use more vigor; overall control of grammar, mechanics, and usage, but some errors

Solid writing with something interesting to say

An adequate response to the topic; some depth and complexity in treatment; persuasive organization and development, with suitable reasons and examples;  level-appropriate syntax and diction;  mastery of grammar, mechanics, and usage, with hardly any error

Command-level writing, making a clear impression

A thorough response to the topic; thoughtful and insightful examination of issues; compelling organization and development; superior syntax and diction; error-free grammar, mechanics, and usage

 

COMMUNITY INTERACTION

Inadequate response

Response merely provides laudatory encouragement for original post, e.g., “Excellent post! You really have thought of something there.”

Poor response

Response misses the point of the original posting.

Weak response

Response summarizes original posting to which it responds.

Acceptable response

Response makes a contribution to the posting to which it responds.

Individually-conscious contributory response

Response makes a contribution to the posting to which it responds and fosters its development.

Community-conscious contributory response

Response makes a contribution to the learning community and fosters its development.

 

GRADUATE STUDENTS RUBRIC

CONTENT

Absence of Understanding

Analysis shows no awareness of the discipline or its methodologies as they relate to the topic.

Lack of Understanding

Analysis seems to misunderstand some basic concepts of the discipline or lacks ability to articulate them.

Inadequate understanding

Analysis is sometimes unclear in understanding or articulating concepts of the discipline.

Adequate understanding

Analysis demonstrates an understanding of basic concepts of the discipline but could express them with greater clarity.

Solid Understanding

Analysis demonstrates a clear understanding and articulation of concepts with some sense of their wider implications.

Insightful understanding

Analysis clearly demonstrates an understanding and articulation of concepts of the discipline as they relate to the topic; highlights connections to other concepts; integrates concepts into wider contexts.

 

RESEARCH

Missing Research

Paper shows no evidence of research: citation of sources missing.

Inadequate research and/or documentation

Over-reliance on few sources; spotty documentation of facts in text; pattern of citation errors.

Weak research and/or documentation

Inadequate number or quality of sources; many facts not referenced; several errors in citation format.

Adequate research and documentation but needs improvement

Good choice of sources but could be improved with some additions or better selection; did not always cite sources; too many citation errors.

Solid research and documentation

A number of relevant scholarly sources revealing solid research; sources appropriately referenced in paper; only a few minor citation errors.

Excellent critical research and documentation

Critically selected and relevant scholarly sources demonstrating extensive, in-depth research; sources skillfully incorporated into paper at all necessary points; all citations follow standard bibliographic format.

 

WRITING & EXPRESSION

Incomplete writing

Analysis is only partially written or completely misses the topic.

Writing difficult to understand, serious improvement needed

Analysis fails to address the topic; confusing organization or development; little elaboration of position; insufficient control of sentence structure and vocabulary; unacceptable number of errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage.

Episodic writing, a mix of strengths and weaknesses.

Analysis noticeably neglects or misinterprets the topic; simplistic or repetitive treatment, only partially-internalized; weak organization and development, some meandering; simple sentences, below-level diction; distracting errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage.

Acceptable writing, but could use some sharpening of skill

Analysis is an uneven response to parts of the topic; somewhat conventional treatment; satisfactory organization, but more development needed; adequate syntax and diction, but could use more vigor; overall control of grammar, mechanics, and usage, but some errors.

Solid writing, with something interesting to say.

Analysis is an adequate response to the topic; some depth and complexity in treatment; persuasive organization and development, with suitable reasons and examples; level-appropriate syntax and diction; mastery of grammar, mechanics, and usage, with hardly any error.

Command-level writing, making a clear impression

Analysis is a thorough response to the topic; thoughtful and insightful examination of issues; compelling organization and development; superior syntax and diction; error-free grammar, mechanics, and usage.

 

COMMUNITY INTERACTION

Inadequate response

Response merely provides laudatory encouragement for original post, e.g., “Excellent post! You really have thought of something there.”

Poor response

Response misses the point of the original posting.

Weak response

Response summarizes original posting to which it responds.

Acceptable response

Response makes a contribution to the posting to which it responds.

Individually-conscious contributory response

Response makes a contribution to the posting to which it responds and fosters its development.

Community-conscious contributory response

Response makes a contribution to the learning community and fosters its development.

 

8. DISABILITIES ACCOMMODATIONS POLICY

Holy Apostles College & Seminary is committed to the goal of achieving equal educational opportunities and full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities who qualify for admission to the College. Students enrolled in online courses who have documented disabilities requiring special accommodations should contact Bob Mish, the Director of Online Student Affairs, at rmish@holyapostles.edu or 860-632-3015. In all cases, reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to course materials in a mode in which they can receive them. Students who have technological limitations (e.g., slow Internet connection speeds in convents) are asked to notify their instructors the first week of class for alternative means of delivery.

9. ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY

Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty.

Avoiding Plagiarism

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own. At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person’s ends.

Students, where applicable:

  • Should identify the title, author, page number/webpage address, and publication date of works when directly quoting small portions of texts, articles, interviews, or websites.
  • Students should not copy more than two paragraphs from any source as a major component of papers or projects.
  • Should appropriately identify the source of information when paraphrasing (restating) ideas from texts, interviews, articles, or websites.
  • Should follow the Holy Apostles College & Seminary Stylesheet (available on the Online Writing Lab’s website at http://www.holyapostles.edu/owl/resources).

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty:

Because of the nature of this class, academic dishonesty is taken very seriously. Students participating in academic dishonesty may be removed from the course and from the program.

10. ATTENDANCE POLICY

Even though you are not required to be logged in at any precise time or day, you are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught entirely in a technology-mediated forum, it is important to actively participate each week in the course. In a traditional classroom setting for a 3-credit course, students would be required, per the federal standards, to be in class three 50-minute sessions (or 2.5 hours a week) and prepare for class discussions six 50-minute sessions (or 5 hours) a week. Expect to devote at least nine 50-minute sessions (or 7.5 quality hours) a week to this course. A failure on the student’s part to actively participate in the life of the course may result in a reduction of the final grade.

11. INCOMPLETE POLICY

An Incomplete is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the faculty member. It is typically allowed in situations in which the student has satisfactorily completed major components of the course and has the ability to finish the remaining work without re-enrolling, but has encountered extenuating circumstances, such as illness, that prevent his or her doing so prior to the last day of class.

To request an incomplete, distance-learning students must first download a copy of the Incomplete Request Form. This document is located within the Shared folder of the Files tab in Populi. Secondly, students must fill in any necessary information directly within the PDF document. Lastly, students must send their form to their professor via email for approval. “Approval” should be understood as the professor responding to the student’s email in favor of granting the “Incomplete” status of the student.

Students receiving an Incomplete must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade (I) automatically turns into the grade of “F” if the course work is not completed.

Students who have completed little or no work are ineligible for an incomplete. Students who feel they are in danger of failing the course due to an inability to complete course Activity should withdraw from the course.

A “W” (Withdrawal) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week. A “WF” (Withdrawal/Fail) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.

12. ABOUT YOUR PROFESSOR

PATRICK MADRID is a life-long Catholic. He is the founder and president of the Envoy Institute, an apostolate dedicated to teaching Catholics of all ages how to explain their Faith more intelligently, defend it more charitably, and share it more effectively. From 1996-2011, he published the award-winning Envoy Magazine, and he hosts the annual Catholic Apologetics Camp for teens 15-18 (www.CatholicApologeticsCamp.com), as well as the Catholic Apologetics Academy for adults (www.CatholicApologeticsAcademy.com).

Commenting publicly on the effectiveness of Patrick’s approach to doing apologetics, Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York, said, “How do you bring a friend or relative back into the Church? First you pray. Then, you follow Patrick Madrid’s advice in [his book] Search and Rescue.”

Patrick has authored or edited 22 books on Catholic themes, including Search and RescueDoes the Bible Really Say That? the acclaimed Surprised by Truth series, and Envoy for Christ: 25 Years as a Catholic Apologist and the forthcoming titles Why Be Catholic? (Random House), How to Do Apologetics (Our Sunday Visitor), and On a Mission (Servant Books).

Prior to launching the Envoy apostolate, Patrick worked at Catholic Answers for eight years (1988 to 1996), where he served as vice president. A veteran of a dozen formal, public debates with Protestant ministers, Mormon leaders, and other non-Catholic spokesmen, Patrick has presented countless seminars on Catholic themes, in English and Spanish, at parishes, universities, and conferences across the U.S. and around the world.

Over the past 27 years, Patrick has published numerous popular articles on Scripture, Church history, patristics, apologetics, and evangelization in various Catholic and Protestant periodicals, and he has contributed scholarly articles on apologetics in the New Catholic Encyclopedia.

Patrick hosts the popular “Right Here, Right Now” radio broadcast, heard Monday through Friday at 4:00 pm ET on approximately 250 AM & FM stations across the country, as well as on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio (channel 130), and globally via shortwave. He is also a frequent guest and occasional guest-host on the “Catholic Answers Live” radio program.

Patrick earned a bachelor of science degree in business at the University of Phoenix, as well as a B.Phil. in philosophy and an M.A. in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum (Columbus, OH). He is currently pursuing studies for a doctorate in Church history.

He has served as an adjunct professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville and is an adjunct professor of theology in the distance-learning graduate theology program at Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Married for 33 years, Patrick and his wife Nancy have been blessed by the Lord with 11 children and 14 grandchildren. They reside in the Diocese of Columbus. His website is www.patrickmadrid.com.

(860) 632-3010