I was incredibly encouraged by the feedback and response I received yesterday.
Here is the feedback of two students.
“Mark Roques visited my sixth form to give a philosophical lecture about the Mafia and the concept of evil. The afternoon was thoroughly engaging and gripped the whole of my year, whilst always holding an element of interest. It was entirely different from the norm we experience when it comes to lectures, and one that left us with knowledge that was unknown to us before. I would definitely recommend having Mark to visit any institution to give one of his insightful talks!”
“Your lecture today about the philosophy behind the nature of evil through the medium of the Mafia was exceptional, exquisitely formulated, undeniably engaging and utterly thought-provoking. I look forward to a time I may hear you speak again.”
For those who know nothing about a RealityBites conference, we aim to attack secular, eastern and pagan idolatry with humour, creative storytelling and worldview insights.
Teenagers really enjoy this!
Here is my brief report on what happened yesterday.
I told the sixth formers about the lives of Jimmy ‘the Weasel’, Toto ‘the Beast’ Riina and Giovanni ‘the Pig’ Brusca. I challenged them to tell me how much Giancarlo Orsini charges for an execution (£17,500). They told me that Anthony ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno was their favourite Mafia nickname. They found this entertaining.
I then outlined Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan and Materialist perspectives on evil and suffering. I explained that both Buddhism and Materialism deny the existence of evil. They were fascinated and very attentive. I then focused on CS Lewis and talked briefly about the spiritual battle between Christ and Satan. They really enjoyed this section.
Then they crafted questions for me in a session lasting 10 minutes.
Then they grilled me for 30 minutes. This is my favourite bit because it is very easy to explain the gospel by contrasting the teaching of Jesus with the Buddha/ Richard Dawkins/Glenn Hoddle/Al Capone/Plotinus etc. This approach (compare and contrast) allows you to explain the gospel without you being asked to leave the school and never return!
I was also able to explain how Mafia hit-men blend pagan with Christian beliefs (syncretism). I also attacked postmodernist views of life after death and contrasted this with biblical teaching.
At the end of the conference seven sixth formers came up to me and thanked me very warmly for the conference. No complaints about so-called Christian indoctrination.
Young people are much more open to the gospel if we help them to understand non-Christian worldviews with creative, imaginative storytelling.
I’d just like to thank good friends Arthur Jones, Gareth Jones, Jon Swales and the brilliant American philosopher Roy Clouser for helping me to communicate the Christian faith to teenagers.