by Andy Bannnister
David Hartnett and I recently went to St Silas’s Church in Glasgow to help them with a mini-evangelism and apologetics training conference for about 30-40 folks. A smaller group like this works quite well, because it facilitates more interactive learning than is possible with a large crowd. It was a really great group to spend a Sunday afternoon with, especially as they were so enthusiastic about wanting to get trained to reach their friends. They were a really, really keen bunch!
We went through some of the basic training we do, such as using questions in evangelism, and investigated one specific question; “What does it mean to be human?” I think that is one of the great questions of our age which pops up all over the place. That question lies behind debates about transgender, artificial intelligence, transhumanism, and behind contemporary atheism.
It’s a good way into discussions for Christians too. You can ask a colleague at work: “Are we just atoms and particles, or is there something more to us as humans?” That’s a really interesting conversation—and it doesn’t look like a “God Conversation”. It leads quite naturally onto those “God Questions” though.
It’s also the question that lots of people are asking today. Take the dystopian writer Charlie Brooker for example. His Black Mirror TV series is constantly probing these questions, especially around issues of technology. Now obviously there is plenty in those shows that we wouldn’t endorse, but it serves to demonstrate that the most intelligent cultural critics are asking these profound questions about humanity. These commentators are actually raising evangelistic opportunities without realising it. Black Mirror really shows the horror of what a godless, technologically driven world looks like – and it is dystopian and hopeless. I’ve met many Christians who use TV and movies like this evangelistically, because when you observe this dark, hopeless contemporary culture alongside a non-Christian, it creates an opportunity to talk about hope. We can say, “it doesn’t have to be like that, there is hope, and I have a reason for that hope.”