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The most articulate priests and prophets were unable to persuade me of the validity of their position. And they were wholly unable to answer the serious questions I had about the sacred texts. Even in the original languages its plain that the texts are hopelessly riddled with errors and omissions.
If I had to pinpoint what tipped me over the edge, though, I suppose it would have to be the dismal performance of one of the faithful’s most ardent defenders in a recent debate.
If I’ve throughly unnerved you by this point then my post has Happy April fools day! And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, my post is about scientism with the priests and prophets being the new atheists and the sacred texts being their books and others including Darwin’s classic, Origin of Species.
Our goal should not to merely win arguments, but to gain a more clear understanding of what is true so that we can orient our lives accordingly. An exclusive interest in winning arguments would only serve to reinforce a sort of intellectual inbreeding1 and, as such, serve no real productive purpose.
I am sure I hold false beliefs, given that I am a finite being who is not endowed with omniscience. The trouble is that I do not know what of my beliefs are false. In order to know that I must be confronted with evidence and arguements.
Keep in mind, however, that beliefs are not given up easily (nor should they be) so I will necessarily strain my presently held beliefs to their breaking points before trading them for something else.
I would also wager that my attitude is not particularly unique, which is why I expect and welcome strong resistance. In fact, to paraphrase a friend of mine: I believe that growth is fostered through the managed conflict of ideas.
Afterall, what’s the use in building beliefs on a weak, untested foundation?
Many times I hear otherwise committed Christians ask whether logic and reason have ever helped anyone come to faith or not. They largely view Paul’s speech in Acts 17 as a failure and claim he changed his tactics after the incident on Mars Hill.
While both presentations are excellent, what struck me the most was Holly’s story. Being a professor of literature, Dr. Ordway was drawn to Christ primarily through the literature produced by great Christian authors.
Before Holly spoke Dr Craig had her help distribute a few books as prizes. Holly provided quotes from great Christian authors and the books were given to the people who could correctly identify the author. From this simple exchange it was evident that Holly loved her craft and took great joy in it.
We (Christians) need to listen more carefully to people like Holly and Stephen. We need to understand how they were borne into the kingdom so we can work at creating more environments that are conducive to conversions that are not merely emotional highs in a concert setting.
Also, we need more people like the ones who were instrumental in Holly and Stephen’s lives. Christians who are equipped and willing to go where the lost are, invest our lives into them, and wait for them to raise the deep questions that no other world view has an adequate answer for outside of Christianity.