Holy Transfiguration
Orthodox Church
36075 W 7 Mile Rd, Livonia, MI 48152
2018 Summer Socratic Club

The purpose of the HTOC Socratic Club1 is to provide an open forum for the discussion of the intellectual difficulties connected with religion and with Christianity in particular. 

It almost goes without saying that the modern American scientific establishment is aggressively hostile to religious belief. Indeed, in 2006 at a conference held at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in California, Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg said: “The world needs to wake up from the long nightmare of religion... Anything we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization.” Recently, in response to the Florida school shootings, Neil deGrasse Tyson2 said publicly: “Evidence collected over many years, obtained from many locations, indicates that the power of Prayer is insufficient to stop bullets from killing school children.” These types of hostile and condescending remarks are pervasive in academia and popular culture in general.


In this first summer session of the HTOC Socratic Club we will discuss the best and most popular scientific and philosophical arguments for and against God’s existence. Discussions will be motivated through debate analysis. That is, there will be a collection of debates (available on YouTube) that will serve as starting points for the discussions. Links to the debates and discussion questions will be sent to participants at least one week prior to the sessions. 

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WEEK 3 (24 June 2018): Debate analysis and discussion: John Lennox vs. Michael Shermer, "Does God exist?"
YouTube video of the debate in question can be found here.
MP3 audio of the Club discussion of the debate can be found here.

WEEK 4 (1 July 2018): Continuation of last week's discussion on the Lennox-Shermer debate.
MP3 audio of the Club discussion of the debate can be found here.

Devotional Helps

[Under development]

A page of links to things like:

How to fast, fasting recipes/cookbooks

Notes, outlines, audio from adult ed, catechetical, late vocations classes

Serialized teaching from other things Fr Michael has written

How to keep an Orthodox home

How to confess

etc., etc., etc.

Adult Ed class recordings

Audio from Fr Michael's Sunday morning adult ed classes.

Sunday, 7 Jan 2018, on the church calendar

Sunday, 14 Jan 2018, on the Orthodox Study Bible
Handouts (in .pdf): New Testament reading plan, Old Testament reading plan

Sunday, 21 Jan 2018, on the structure of Great Lent & Paschaltide
Handout (in .pdf)

 Sunday, 28 Jan 2018, on Orthodox devotional items in the home.

Sunday, 4 Feb 2018, on Fr Michael's Conversion, & the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of Orthodox Spirituality & Great Lent.

Sunday, 11 Feb 2018, on Fr Michael's interview with Fr Justin, the librarian of the Monastery of St Catherine's on Mount Sinai. The actual interview, which was broadcast on DOOR radio, can be found here, episode #143, airing on 19 Feb 2018.

Sunday, 18 Feb 2018, on Great Lent, Forgiveness Vespers, The Great Canon, the Presanctified Liturgy, and how to keep the first week of Great Lent well.

Sunday, 25 Feb 2018, on Icons, their history and theory.

Sunday, 4 Mar 2018, on St Gregory Palamas and the Hesychast Controversy.

Sunday, 11 Mar 2018, on the Holy Cross, its types and its power. (BONUS: Fr Thomas Hopko's excellent presentation, on The Word of the Cross, part 1 and part 2)

Sunday, 18 Mar 2018, on St John Climacus, the Icon of the Ladder of Divine Ascent, and some selections from the book.

Sunday, 25 Mar 2018, on the Life of St Mary of Egypt.

Sunday, 1 April 2018, on the prophecy of Zechariah about the entry of the Lord into Jerusalem.