Friday, October 27, 2017

EDUCATION: The Atheist Delusion Video

All Americans have not heard the truth. You don't have to go to the mall and reach out to perfect strangers because everybody has a friend or family member they need to talk to about what God has done for them through Jesus Christ.

This video, The Atheist Delusion: Why Millions Deny the Obvious is both interesting and enlightening, beginning with the logic behind intelligent design and the illogic of evolution, the interviewer logically takes self-proclaimed atheists down a path of discovery. Show it to your youth and adults! There are a few discussion questions below that will help them pull it all together. It will not only help people when discussing their faith, but will encourage and affirm what they already believe.

The Basic Flow of Questions in the Video
Do you believe God exists?
Can something come from nothing?
Where does the complex and unique information in DNA come from?
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (What evolved first?)
Why do we have knowledge of right and wrong?
Why do we want to live in darkness?
If God exists, does hell exist?
Is it just to punish evil?
Are you a good person?
If judged, would you be guilty and go to hell?
Do you know what God did for guilty sinners so they wouldn't have to go to hell?

If you want to purchase the dvd, you'll find it at Living Waters. It's $4.99 and I believe it would be good for Christians to support their efforts.

Possible Pre-movie Questions
Everybody has a friend (or family member) who is an atheist and believes in evolution because they have not heard the truth. In a discussion with that person, what would you say to support your belief in creation, their creator, and what he did to assure their salvation?

Possible Movie Questions
Either pause periodically to give time to respond to these questions (or any that you add), or give time after the video. At the very least, make sure people have paper and pencil to respond to question 8 on this list.

  1. What is the argument against nothing producing or becoming something? 
  2. What are 3 or 4 points that prove the earth/universe was created by intelligent design? 
  3. When asked about evolution, what is a problem with the idea of evolution from a single cell?  
  4. Once they agree that there must be intelligence behind creation, why is it so difficult for people to admit there is a God?
  5. What is idolatry?
  6. If God exists, and the Bible is true, why do some people still want to sit in darkness?
  7. Do you think it would help to give these people something after a discussion like this that would help them answer their questions? What might that be?
  8. Write down anything that impresses you about the questions that were asked and answered or how they were asked and answered.
Possible Post-movie Questions
Write down a brief outline of what your heard in the video. 
What would you tell your atheist friend or family member now? 

If you want a study or video guide created by the video creators, you can find it here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

CONFIRMATION: How to Give/Take Notes

When I was in confirmation the only notes I took were the doodles on the sides of the pages of my catechism. "What? You mean you weren't completely engaged in the important information?" No. My pastor sat in a chair or stood by a podium and spoke for an hour or so and asked questions nobody really answered.

Recent studies have shown that students learn more when taking their own notes by hand. What does this mean? Using computers, tablets, or recording devices for note taking does not increase learning. Putting notes in handouts and handing them out, does not increase learning.

What does that mean for confirmation? It means that having students take notes is a good learning tool for better long-term comprehension and should be used by confirmation educators. It also keeps students engaged. Students who take notes by hand out-perform those who use technology in responding to conceptual questions. The problem is that most pastors don't expect note-taking and, believe it or not, most middle school students do not know how to take notes. Note-taking is a skill that is expected, but not taught in many schools today. The only people who think taking notes using a computer is better are people who sell computers.

How can you help students take good notes? 

  • Give each student a notebook at the beginning of the year. They should be able to use the same notebook for every year of confirmation. I recommend the composition notebooks that are not spiral so the pages are not easily removable. Put a big name sticker on the front of each one.
  • Develop some short-hand symbols for students to use when taking notes for those words that you use often. For example, Israelites = I, Disciples = D, 10 Commandments = 10C, Old and New Testaments = OT or NT, etc.
  • Remind students often that taking notes is not a exercise in writing down everything you say. 
  • Learn about graphic organizers (a visual display that demonstrates relationships between facts, concepts, or ideas). Sample 1 (Abraham) - Sample 2 (10 Commandments) - Sample 3 (6 Chief Parts)
  • Give periodic notes quizzes. These are short 3-5 question quizzes for which students use their notes to find answers. 
  • Play review games and let students use their notes to show them the value of re-reading them. 
  • Use clues or cue words to help students know when you're saying something they should write down. I used to tell my students, "If I write - you write." If you write while they do, you won't feel impatient waiting.
  • If you use slides, students will copy them down... without thinking about what they are writing. They will also stop listening while they write so stop speaking while they're writing. I often said, "Can I go on?" Give outlines and expect them to fill in the details on their own. Give them time to write definitions in their own words. 
  • Take a moment to ask a quick comprehension question about what they just wrote down. 
  • Either collect or look at notes once in a while and put a sticker or something on them to show that you've seen them and approve.
These are just a few things that can be done to help students take notes. It may seem a bit complicated at first, but the more you practice these things the better you will get at doing them. Remember, you're teaching them the most important thing they will ever learn. Do it well! 

Find other great teaching information in The Art of Teaching Confirmation.