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In Atlanta

November 18th, 2010 by Madeleine

I have a few snaps of Matt in Atlanta, this first one had our kids excited when they saw it [which should tell you everything you need to know about just how much Matt is a fan of Dr Alvin Plantinga - LOL!]

Alvin Plantinga, Matt and Rodney Lake

Alvin Plantinga, Matt and Rodney Lake

Fellow kiwi Rodney Lake of Thinking Matters Tauranga, also in Atlanta attending the conferences, took the above photo and wrote on Facebook of it:

Tonight I met and chatted with simply the greatest collection of Christian thinkers the world has to offer – hands down – without a doubt – the best! You couldn’t put together a better bunch in the same room than this. There were others, but the ones I got to talk to included: Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Mike Licona, JP Moreland, Paul Copan, Craig Hazen, Frank Beckwith, Mary-Jo Sharp and of course Matthew Flannagan. Also earlier in the day shook hands with Gary Habermas and Greg Koukl. A day to remember…

Rodney has been doing a tour around the US over the last few weeks of the various Apologetics ministries and has been meeting up with various biblical scholars and Christian philosophers. You can read about what he has been up to and who he’s been trying to talk into coming out to New Zealand on his blog.

Jim West snapped this one, Matt the kid in the candy shop – surrounded by the worlds best in his field and their books!

Jim West snaps Matt at the EPS

Jim has been quite the tourist, he’s been snapping everyone and everything by the looks of his homepage.

I just talked to Matt on Skype – we are so grateful to the kind and generous people who donated us Skype equipment – he said it is quite surreal to be wandering around, sitting in seminars and recognising all these philosophers and theologians whose works he has read and admired all around him. He said the conversations following each session are very stimulating; everyone understands the topics, it is a lot like being at a Philosophy department seminar, only everyone is coming from a Christian perspective – which is something Matt is just not used to but is really appreciating. He said that MandM is clearly more widely read than either of us realised as plenty of people recognised him and complete strangers asked after me, commented on our blog and so on. The internet clearly makes the world a small place! Anyway he is having a blast and is doing great.

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  • I love this line: “it is a lot like being at a Philosophy department seminar, only everyone is coming from a Christian perspective “. In other words, it’s an academic atmosphere where everyone agrees to set aside reason on one topic.

  • Yeah ’cause that’s what she meant.

  • Unlike philosophy seminars where people are generally open and receptive to the Christian perspective, and never set aside reason … right ?

  • @TAM

    Lighten up dude. The “I’m so insecure that I have to make snarky comments on all of their posts even the ones that are about personal stuff” refrain is getting old. The guy is having fun at a conference. Just be happy for him.

  • Yes cheap shots are never nice

  • We are having such a great time. Matt is like a kid in a candy store, really enjoying himself!

    Don’t know what he got up to last night (lost him at the EPS Apologetics Conference where Plantinga gave the keynote) but I didn’t get to bed until 2:30am last night, chatting in a bar with Brett Kunkle from Stand to Reason and several others who I just met last night. Am having a blast!

    We really MUST make this an annual thing…. :)

    MADELEINE: I stole your line!
    I definitely want to come next year.

  • Nice to see Atlanta a couple of fellow Kiwis coming here to Atlanta and enjoying themselves. While I may not be numbered among Christian acolytes, I can still take pleasure in your obvious delight in what you are experiencing. Continue to have a great time, y’all.

  • TAM, I think if you were here and you sat in on Plantinga, Craig, Wright and so on’s talks, you’d fine they are not irrational morons, their seminars do not consist simply of assertions, and there is a lot of critique, dialogue, critical reasoning and argument being offered.

  • Licona’s presentation in Denton, Texas recently, concerning the New Testament, was just horrible, sorry to say. Very bad explanations of alleged contradictions, to put it mildly. I’d rather hear someone along the lines of John Warwick Montgomery or Norm Giesler. Geisler’s debate with Saville is probably the best example of how it should be done.

  • At philosophy department seminars, it’s politically incorrect to even mention self-referential issues. In the nine senior-level philosophy courses I took last year at UNT, if I had not raised questions about this, it would never have even been mentioned.

    But self-exemption of universal claims sure is fun!

  • Matt, I think you know that I would never accuse you or any of your colleagues of being irrational morons. I simply believe that accepting the factual assertions underlying Christianity to be silly. There are plenty of brilliant people who, for whatever reason, set aside rationality as it relates to a certain facet of their life. I contend that Christianity is irrational because people don’t rise from the dead and the evidence supporting the supposed resurrectuion of Jesus is sadly lacking.

    All that being said, I confess to being extremely jealous that you have the opportunity to meet and confer with Plantinga, Craig et al. I sincerely hope that you are enjoying yourself and wish you a safe journey home. Best, TAM.

  • I contend that Christianity is irrational because people don’t rise from the dead and the evidence supporting the supposed resurrectuion of Jesus is sadly lacking.

    TAM: I’m an atheist and I agree with your second point whole heartedly, but I’ve got to call you on the first one. Lazarus and the Saints in Matthew 27:52 aside, Christians don’t believe that people rise from the dead, they believe that God rose from the dead, which if you presuppose an omnipotent god, is at least minimally rational.

  • Ryan, your comment raises a host of questions that Christian apologists never consider about man/god Jesus. Did he eat? Did he defecate? He obviously bled. Did he ever pick his nose? Did he laugh? Did he cry? Presumably he was celibate. Did he have nocturnal emissions? Did he masturbate?

    I have heard debates about whether Mary and Joseph had other childen and, of course, Roman Catholics consider it blasphemous to suggest that she ever had sex with her husband. However, I have never heard anyone even discuss the practical implications associated with god supposedly becoming a man. If anyone is aware of Christian writings which describe the humanity of Jesus, please let me know.

  • TAM,

    Did he eat?

    Yes.

    Did he defecate?

    Yes.

    He obviously bled. Did he ever pick his nose?

    Probably.

    Did he laugh?

    All the time.

    Did he cry?

    Yes.

    Presumably he was celibate.

    Yes.

    Did he have nocturnal emissions?

    Maybe.

    Did he masturbate?

    No.

  • How on Earth can you claim Jesus never masturbated! The rest of your answers seem fine – but if you accept that Jesus was fully human – the chances are he did masturbate. Nothing to be ashamed of!

  • “If anyone is aware of Christian writings which describe the humanity of Jesus, please let me know.”

    You are kidding right? Do you not have access to google/amazon on your computer?

  • @Max
    I would guess Jon’s answer that Jesus never masturbated is based on Jesus having been without sin. While masturbating in and of itself may not be sinful the idea of solo sex without lustful thought occurring or being the motivating factor would seem highly unlikely.

  • I, too, love Plantinga’s work and was excited to meet him. I also enjoyed meeting you as well. Your course on the Caananites was great. Will you be posting the slides anywhere?

  • Wes I am sitting here in NZ wondering how Matt’s talk went this morning – you are the first person I have found online who’s mentioned it.

    I have the full set of slides I can email you – I made them – but tell me how it went. Was there a decent turnout, did he speak well, did he seem nervous, was he well received, was the Q & A good, did anyone have a go at him?

    I am in the dark. Someone tell me! LOL

    (If you want the slides email me your address – ours is on the about page)

  • What a bunch of dorks.

  • It was great to see Matt, and to meet Rod.

    And Faye, you have to do something about your dork-phobia.

  • TAM,
    Christian theologians have considered those very things for two millennia. Try reading Athanasius’s “On the Incarnation,” or something recent like TF Torrances book on the subject (honestly though, this book is difficult for those who do not have a good grasp of the Christian theological tradition). Alister McGrath wrote a primer called Incarnation: Truth and Christian Imagination. There are a ton of books out there that consider the humanity of the Son.

  • TAM,
    By the way, I commend your questions, because they are the type of questions that bright Christian junior high and high school students ask. It shows that you are moving beyond ridicule to attempting to engage with your opponents perspectives. That should be encouraged and commended in these types of discussions.

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