Faith Seeking Understanding: Greg Monette Discusses Religion Soup

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Those who know me understand that I’m a man full of faith and doubt. I don’t claim for one second that, as a Christian, all of my questions have evaporated and that I feel completely at ease. Ever since I was a child I’ve always been someone who challenged people’s ideas and claims. You could say I was, and always have been, a natural born skeptic. However, because Christianity is one of the only religions in the world that encourages people to look into the claims relating to Jesus Christ, I did just that. It was during my years as an undergraduate student at Saint Mary’s University and then my time at Acadia Divinity College (M.Div 2010, M.A. 2011), and even now as I am in the midst of doctoral work at the University of Bristol, that I have taken the time to ask some of the hardest questions which had the power to either draw me closer to Jesus or shatter the foundation on which I was standing as a Christian. Through my own journey,  I have seen first-hand that the foundation for Christianity (namely: Jesus of Nazareth) is rock-solid! Because of my journey I feel a deep passion to help others on a similar path.

In 2011, in partnership between the Navigators of Canada (Halifax) and Acadia Divinity College, I spear-headed the Religion Soup dialogues to help Christians and non-Christians have the opportunity to hear from world-class scholars as they discuss some of the foundational questions pertaining to Christianity. We had a massive debate between Acadia’s own Craig A. Evans and the New York Times Best Selling author Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) on the topic of whether the New Testament preserved a reliable portrait of Jesus. This event made people nervous on both sides because they learned that the alternative viewpoint holder wasn’t completely crazy. Religion Soup has been a vehicle for mutual understanding between the believer and non-believer. In 2012,  we welcomed Yale University professor Dale Martin and Houston Baptist University’s Michael Licona as they tacked two other foundational topics for Christianity, namely, the resurrection and deity of Jesus. Religion Soup has drawn hundreds of guests each year. We already have a few hundred people signed up for this year’s event which will take on a slightly different format.

We (The Navigators and Acadia Divinity College) decided to change the format for this year’s event and make it a full-day apologetics training conference featuring a line-up of Christian speakers from across the theological spectrum. We are thrilled to be welcoming the world-renowned Roman Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft (Boston College) who is the bestselling author of The Handbook of Christian Apologetics. Not only this, but we also have arguably the leading evangelical textual critic (i.e. the study of the New Testament manuscripts) on the planet, Daniel Wallace (Dallas Theological Seminary), coming to share about the reliability of the text of the New Testament and the story of how we got our New Testament. Last year’s Religion Soup presenter Michael Licona is once again joining us to discuss why it appears that the New Testament gospels contain discrepancies. He is doing groundbreaking research on the apparent contradictions in the gospels and will be sharing some of his discoveries. We have numerous other guests presenting at this conference including Craig A. Evans (Acadia), Anna Robbins (Acadia), Rhonda Britton (Cornwallis Street Baptist), Nathan Betts (RZIM Canada), and me (The Navigators).

This conference will answer many of the questions which have built and destroyed people’s faith in Jesus Christ. These questions include:

  • Why would a loving God allow evil and suffering? Does the New Testament contain discrepancies?
  • Did Jesus even exist?
  • Is the text of the New Testament reliable?
  • Does archaeology support or damage the reliability of the Bible? Did Jesus rise from the dead?
  • What is the relationship between faith and doubt?

These are just some of the questions that will be discussed at this full-day conference. The target audience will be high school students and older. Tickets can be purchased at www.ReligionSoup.ca.

I encourage you to attend this conference and bring your family, friends, congregants who struggle with questions of doubt and/or enjoy learning about the reliability of the Christian faith. We’d love to have you join us!