This category contains most of the information pages for Thinking Matters, such as contributor profiles, the about page, and so on.

A Christian Response to Christchurch, I: The Victims

In this trilogy of articles I shall be highlighting the key features of an appropriate Christian response to the shooting in Christchurch. My first article shall focus on the victims; my second article on the perpetrator; and my third and final article on the problem of evil. Overall my concern shall be to show that Christianity provides a map to understanding and preventing human evil and is also able to meet the philosophical challenge presented by its occurrence. 

Approaching the Jesus Myth with Others

How can we possibly get people interested in Jesus if people believe he was just a made-up story? Or if people think that the scriptures are riddled with fantastical exaggerations?
In this article I will present an approach for helping people get past Jesus Mythicism, followed by several links for dealing with other sceptical beliefs that typically follow this extreme scepticism.

Brendan Malone

About Brendan

Brendan Malone is the Director of LifeNET NZ. He has been working full-time in pro-life, marriage, and family ministry for the last 14 years where he speaks at churches, universities, high schools, and conferences on bioethics and sexuality issues throughout New Zealand and Australia.  During that time he has delivered over 500 presentations, and spoken to more than 30,000 people. He is one of the founders of ACTIV8 Pro-Life Training Week – an annual philosophy, apologetics, and media/social-media training event for young adults which has been running for 10 years in New Zealand and over 7 years in Australia. He is married to Katie and they have five children. Brendan also has a background in communications and media training, and he regularly connects with people in the online space via his YouTube channel which has approximately 20,000 subscribers.

Talks and Presentations

Abortion and Human Rights

This presentation unpacks the pro-life arguments against abortion, as well as the serious logical flaws in the pro-choice ideas that are regularly used to try and give ethical justification for abortion. It also explains why the pro-life position is not an article of religious faith, but is instead a robust position based on the best available scientific evidence and human reasoning.

Euthanasia: We can live without it

This presentation explores the dangers of euthanasia and assisted suicide. It explains why legalising these acts creates a seismic and extremely harmful change for the medicine, ethics and wider society. It also robustly refutes the myth that legal safeguards can ever be employed to prevent serious harm to the vulnerable members of the community from euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Pornography and Human Dignity

With the advent of the Internet pornography has now become a serious social issue which now regularly attracts media attention. But what exactly is the problem with pornography, and is it really as harmful as some people are claiming?  This presentation will explore these and many other related questions, offering an in-depth explanation of the difference between objectification and love, the harms caused by pornography, an explanation of human dignity and the way that pornography conflicts with it, how pornography affects the brain, as well as practical tips for helping others to avoid or deal with a pornography habit.

Critically Engaging Our Entertainment Media

Have you ever stopped to consider how the media you consume is shaping your view of the world and your approach to important moral and social issues? In this presentation we will explore the powerful way in which media can shape our thoughts and beliefs and how to apply a critical mind to the content we are watching in order to avoid indoctrination. We will also discuss the negative impacts that excessive social media consumption can have on God’s design for human community, as well as talking about what authentic Christian art might look like if it hopes to be an effective voice in the midst of this unceasing avalanche of media content.

The Broken Community

This presentation explores the profound crisis of isolation and loneliness that now plagues the West. It explores the root causes of this serious problem, and why the Church must urgently become a place of authentic community in order to be effective at evangelising the culture from this point forward. This presentation also offers practical advice on how community can be safeguarded and restored in an age of personal disconnection and individualism.

The Courage to be Counterculture

This presentation explores some of the philosophical roots of the current ideological confusion and brokenness that plagues Western society, as well as equipping participants with the practical skills and the hope they need to effectively live out a life-giving counterculture of self-giving love.

Effective use of social media

This presentation explores the impact of social media and offers practical advice about how to use it effectively as a communications tool. It also offers important advice about some of the risks associated with social media engagement, and how they can be mitigated for more positive outcomes.

Practical media skills and interview techniques

This presentation offers a comprehensive understanding of how the mainstream media works, and how to communicate with excellence in that space. This presentation offers practical advice of how to write effective media releases, as well as important media interview skills and strategies.

Contact details:

Mobile: 021 054 0762

Email: brendan@lifenet.co.nz

Website: www.lifenet.co.nz

Guido Stark


About Guido

Guido has Bachelor’s degrees in Astrophysics, Mathematics and Theology and works for a leading global software company in Wellington. He is on the leadership team of the Thinking Matters group Reasoned Faith Wellington which runs regular apologetics training for local Christians.

He frequently discusses the origins of life, the nature of God, world religions and the meaning of life with those he meets. From hundreds of conversations with people from many walks of life and spiritual understandings, he has gained experience that can encourage you to confidently articulate what you believe and invite others to question their assumptions.


Talks & Presentations

The following presentations can be delivered as independent sessions, Sunday sermons, or as a combined workshop.

An Introduction to Apologetics

What is apologetics? This brief introduction will give you an overview of what apologetics is and a taste of some of the evidence available for our Christian faith. Including hints and tips for starting God-conversations and also covering common objections that may arise, you will be pointed towards a range of resources available to help you approach these conversations with greater confidence. 

Does God Exist?
Simple arguments for the existence of God and a road map for a conversation

Engaging in a conversation about the most fundamental questions of life and being able to follow through with a reasonable argument isn’t as hard as it sounds. This presentation will provide you with a road map for conversations about the deepest questions of life and will help you effectively articulate several straightforward arguments for why God exists.

Why Christianity?
Good reasons why it’s true

Have you ever been asked why you think Christianity is true? Discover a range of evidence for Christianity and learn to confidently demonstrate solid reasons for why Christianity is true. A fun and practical session that will leave you energised to share your faith.

Engaging Well With Arguments Against Christianity

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and felt ill-equipped to respond to their challenges about Christianity? Do you fear being in those kinds of conversations? In this interactive session we’ll discuss lots of examples that will help you in everyday conversations or debates about the truth of Christianity. By using logic and reason to engage well and respond to common arguments used against Christianity, this session will help you feel more confident to successfully navigate God-conversations and ultimately lead people to truth. 

Religions of the World
Aren’t religions all the same?

As part of a multicultural society, we find ourselves living and working alongside people with different religious beliefs. We need to be increasingly skilled at understanding and navigating this difference respectfully. This overview will give you insight into the essential beliefs, practices and distinct features of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 

 

Understanding the Incarnation II: A Means of Making Atonement

In my previous post I presented the first of three reasons Swinburne presents in support of his view: Given two preliminary axioms (the moral perfection of God and the sin and suffering of man) Swinburne argues that we might reasonably expect God to become incarnate and live a life filled with great suffering in order to discharge a moral obligation to share in the human suffering which, though for a good reason, He allows. In this post I will present the second reason why an incarnation follows naturally from these same axioms: To provide humanity a means of making atonement.

Understanding the Incarnation I: An Obligation to Share in Human Suffering

“If God wanted to forgive our sins,” complains Dawkins in The God Delusion, “why not just forgive them, without having himself tortured and executed?” I will confess that, before I became a Christian around three years ago, I shared Dawkins’ perplexity. In fact, the Christian claim that, “Jesus died for our sins,” (understanding this to mean that before God could forgive us for wronging him he needed to become a man so we could murder him) was finally as strange as the claim that, “Honi the Circle-Drawer philandered for our monogamy.” If it was not utterly nonsensical then it was so impenetrably obscure that only a religious mystic could fully understand it—and even then he would then be unable to explain it to others.

The Possibility of Miracles

One of the skeptic’s most familiar complaints about Christianity is that it asks us to believe in a lot of mythological nonsense that has been scientifically falsified—such as parting seas and virgin births and men who walk on water. It is certainly true that the Bible contains accounts of miracles. And it true that a Christian is committed to taking at least some of these literally. Indeed, Christianity stands or falls on the truth of the claim that Jesus rose miraculously from the dead—a point realised by the Apostles themselves. But can the skeptic justify his claim that it is absurd and irrational to even entertain a belief in miracles? In this post it shall be my concern to show that the answer to this question is: No.

When in Doubt

It is part of human nature to doubt. In a world in which the prominent worldviews are contrary to Christianity, it is no surprise that many followers of Christ have doubts about their faith. I know from personal experience that doubts can often seem overwhelming, and that it is extraordinarily easy to blow them out of proportion. What should simply prompt reflection and consideration instead causes one to become anxious and defensive both internally—emotionally and intellectually—as well as externally—in one’s interactions with others. In such cases, there are two missteps that believers should beware of.

What Is Wrong With Watching Pornography?

Has pornography really become morally and socially acceptable? If a fluff piece reposted on the Herald website is any indication, the answer is: Yes, it has, and for your information, it is now opposition to pornography that is morally and socially abnormal.

Engaging with people on the problem of evil

Guest article written by Michael Otto about the talk given by Christian Apologist and Author, Mary Jo Sharp, titled: “Encountering the Problem of Evil in Everyday Conversation.” Mary Jo was keynote speaker for the 2018 series of Thinking Matters – Confident Christianity Conferences.

The Simulation Hypothesis

The concept of a computer simulation is familiar enough to the modern reader. It is a model world built by a computer scientist to test his or her theories of meteorology, the spread of diseases, economics and so forth. The proponent of the Simulation Hypothesis begins by supposing that there are no limits to the development of this technology: It may be that our scientifically advanced descendants will be able to build and run simulations that replicate life on Earth with exhaustive accuracy—digitally reconstructing not only the atomic composition of every object on Earth but also the neurological structure of every human brain. And this, they suggest, has the unsettling entailment that the postulated simulation might include a simulated but conscious version of you and me.

Thoughts On Why The Holy Bible Is Worth Reading

Currently, a third of the world’s population identify as Christian[2]. Those 2.2 billion people recognise the Bible as the source of the doctrines of their Christian faith. Yet, despite its popularity, no book in history has been so viciously maligned, intensely scrutinised, misused (unfortunately sometimes for atrocities) and misrepresented.