Numerous studies have tracked Americans' declining religious commitment in recent years, including a Pew Research survey that found 50 percent of U.S. adults believe "more people who are not religious" is a good thing or doesn't matter for American society.
Craig Hazen, professor of apologetics at Biola University, thinks otherwise: "More people who are not religious" is a bad thing.
"Recent research has highlighted the growing disenchantment in our country with traditional Christianity," he said. "People just think Christianity is one 'story' among many 'stories' so they are very reluctant to commit in any way."
However, in a culture that sees autonomy and freedom as separate from Christ, why should one choose Jesus or any religion for that matter? Biola University's apologetics tour, "Biola on the Road: Reasonable Faith in an Uncertain World" is answering just that.
"We have been surprised at the off-the-charts level of enthusiasm that our Biola on the Road Apologetics Conferences have been generating," said Hazen. "You don't normally expect that kind of rock-concert or sports-arena response to a conference that highlights theology, philosophy, Bible and history. But there it is. We are clearly hitting a nerve in a generation that is proud of checking the 'none' box when it comes to religious affiliation."
Equipping Christians with a response to a culture that increasingly doesn't want to be religious, the four-city tour is crossing the nation with renowned apologists and philosophers in order to help Christians know the "why" and "how" to what they believe.
"We are giving them their first glimpse that Christianity is a standout among the religions of the world and actually invites investigation into its claims—and then delivers on those claims," said Hazen. "It's all very exciting to witness the lights going on for so many in this skeptical generation."
Leaders in Christian thinking and philosophy such as J.P. Moreland, Mary Jo Sharp, Sean McDowell and Lee Strobel will address topics such as science, other religions and the intellectual integrity of Christianity.
Breakout sessions and various training seminars will cover practical ways the Christian faith is defended, an important topic in today's shifting religious landscape.
The next conference will be held Oct. 18-19 in Tacoma, Wash., at University Place Presbyterian Church, followed by a conference in San Jose, Calif., Nov. 8-9 and a conference in Victorville, Calif., Nov. 15-16.