If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. (John 7:17)
Jesus spoke these words after his own brothers expressed their skepticism about who Jesus appeared to be suggesting he was, the long awaited Messiah from God. (John 7:2-5) He spoke these words to a crowd that was also largely skeptical, wondering who he really was. Some were saying he was a good man, but others were claiming that he was leading people astray. (John 7:12)
I keep coming back to this verse (John 7:17) since I heard Dr. Rosaria Butterfield give her testimony of her journey from liberal, lesbian professor who was highly critical of Christians and Christianity to becoming a believer and later a pastor’s wife and having a ministry of her own.
In her world of academia, she was used to doing research and coming to conclusions before being willing to put her faith in a proposition. That is the academic process.
As she was listening to a sermon after having spent many months becoming friends with a pastor and his wife, reading the Bible, and considering the evidence for Christianity, she made a life changing realization. She was approaching Christianity academically. She was not willing to believe until all of the facts were lined up and could be reduced to a certain answer.
A.C. Graying, in The God Argument, the Case Against Religion and for Humanism, claims that religious belief is really just wish fulfillment. The book accepts the premise that many atheists and agnostics assume, which is that people believe in God for psychological reasons. I would add that people believe for emotional reasons as well, but generalizations usually belie a different truth.
The wishful thinking premise is a common assumption and is often used to undermine the basis of faith. But does it really support the point it boasts of making: that faith is the product of wishful thinking? Continue reading “One Too Many Gods”→
I believe that faith has a point, though I have often wondered exactly what it is. I believe there is a reason that faith is necessary, though I have often wondered why. I think these questions are worth exploring.
“Seeing is believing” is a truism that characterizes the world that we live in. Some people are generally skeptical and not willing to believe anything (give themselves to an idea) unless they are overwhelming convinced. Other people are quick to believe the things they want to believe, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. People are kind of funny that way.
I believe both extremes are rooted in the same vein. We are born in sin and naturally want to control our own destinies. Skepticism is one way we hang on to that control. Believing in something we want to believe is just another way of clinging to the control of our own destiny (gullibility and naiveté aside). Continue reading “The Point of Faith”→
I began taking notes on a series of hard questions posed to Tim Keller by some heavy hitting interviewers that is posted to the Veritas Forum. I thought I would take my notes and create a series of quick answers to these hard questions, but I got sidetracked by the first question: Aren’t faith and reason contradictory terms?
The question took me back to college when I first began to wrestle with this question.
Implied in that question is an assumption that the only rational conclusion of reason is disbelief in God. Reason is defined by Merriam Webster as “the power of the mind to think and understand in a logical way.” Faith is defined as the “strong belief or trust in someone or something.” Note that faith is not defined in relation to evidence or reason, but the common definition of faith is not antithetical to evidence of reason either.
Reason (logic) depends on a premise, and premises are often tautological. Many premises are susceptible of proof, but many are not. The premise that the natural world is the totality of all reality is a premise many believe to be true, but it is not susceptible of proof (at least not scientific proof, unless one believes that science, which is limited to the study of the natural world is capable of proving that nothing other than the natural world exists by limiting the study to the natural world). Continue reading “Are Reason & Faith in God Contradictory Terms?”→
Paul said that he is not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16) Faith is obviously central to spiritual life in Christ.
What is meant by faith, however? Is faith “blind”? Is faith is antithetical to science, and science the opposite of faith? Does faith require the suspension of intellect? Does faith require us to abandon obvious evidence to the contrary? I have not found any of these things to be the case.