Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reason for the Faith - First Post

After thoughtful and prayerful consideration, I've decided to start a second blog in partnership with a few like-minded Christian believers (including my cousin) who will be helping to co-author and respond to reader comments.  We've decided to call this little corner of the blogosphere: Reason for the Faith.  In a number of respects, this will be as much of an online reference tool as it will be a blog.  The basic purpose is to address a wide spectrum of topics, questions, common misunderstandings, and skeptical objections all relating to the Christian Worldview.  While it won't always be easy, we'll attempt to do this in the most clear and concise way possible.  In so doing, we hope to engage the genuine seeker and help "clear the bushes" so they might consider Christ while also encouraging, empowering, equipping, and motivating fellow Christian believers to gain a deeper understanding of the "why" behind the "what" of their faith.

We are Christians of a deeply committed faith and believe without said faith one cannot experience a genuine relationship and communion with God.  That said, we also believe the Christian Worldview is legitimate not only because of our personal faith and spiritual experiences but because Christianity is also rational and holds up to the tests for truth. We believe it is our duty to tell others not only what we believe, but why we believe it.  That isn't a novel idea, just one we hope to participate in rather than taking a back seat.  As the familiar passage in 1 Peter 3:15 says, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." So again, while faith is an inextricable part of the Christian experience, one thing all Christians should emphasize in the church body and in the community is the important role evidence and rationality play in further compelling our faith.  Contrary to some popular soundbites, the Bible does not teach blind faith.  To the contrary, the Bible specifically says to test everything (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

The goal of this site is not to reinvent the proverbial wheel but rather to glean from, or in some cases simply refer to, the vast scholarly resources available on the topics being addressed in an effort to provide readers with clear, concise, and accurate information.  For obvious reasons, many topics, particularly in the philosophical, theological, doctrinal, and scientific arenas can be incredibly complex and therefore can't really be done justice in a short blog post.  In such cases, we may only be able to scratch the surface and then point readers to the reference material where they can dive in to their heart's content.  We have no delusion here of comprehensive or exhaustive coverage of any of these subjects, but we do hope to present enough information to make the truth evident.  We also recognize most, if not all, of the questions and objections raised have been raised and addressed many times over.

To bring it close to home, in my experience, most professing Christians can tell you with minimal trouble and stress what they believe.  However, a troubling smaller subset can explain with clarity and confidence the reasons why they believe. This does not detract from the truth because truth by definition is true whether we can explain it or not, but it does create a bit of an issue when attempting to address legitimate questions from the believer and the non-believer alike if you cannot defend your faith rationally.  We would say if that is the case, chances are you have not yet considered your faith very deeply.  You will also find that people are increasingly unlikely to accept what they will regard as merely blind faith as sufficient in answering the many puzzling questions they have about life, meaning, purpose, and ultimate destiny.

Faith can be pretty scary to those who don't have it because faith in God has serious implications.  This is further reinforced by the bias in many universities with fiercely secular professors who openly admit they aim to abolish any notion of God by teaching a purely humanistic and naturalistic view of the world to students. Interestingly, recent studies (May 2011) show 9 of 10 Americans still believe in God -- and with a remarkably high degree of consistency over time, despite drastic changes in secular philosophy and teaching over the last several decades.  These polls also demonstrate that most Americans come out on the other end of their higher education experience admitting they are not convinced the world came to it's current state by purely naturalistic causes and the attempt to erase "God" from their thinking has not been successful. We believe this is because, contrary to what some would like us to believe, all who believe in God are not dim-witted mystics holding to an empty, groundless faith.  Neither theists or atheists can claim to have the monopoly on intelligent thought or education.  The bottom line is someone is right and someone is wrong.

We agree Christians have at times been wrong headed in addressing and handling various questions, attitudes, misinformation, and alleged discrepancies that have been raised over the years.  Since the claim is that the Christian Worldview (based on the Bible) is the truth, there can only be value in its withstanding criticisms.  It is only strengthened by standing up to the very highest levels of scrutiny, which it has done.  Unfortunately, not everyone in the Christian community has shared this view of welcoming questions and being open to critique.  We believe that any person willing and honest enough to consider and examine the facts from archaeological, scientific, philosophical, and historical evidences and whether they support or  refute the Christian Worldview -- the aggregate evidence in favor is statistically staggering.

The Bible offers prescriptive truths for modern living. We want to help those who may not have been raised in a church body or those who have been put off to seriously consider, perhaps for the first time, the claims of Christianity.  We cannot know all there is to know about God - by definition that would not be possible - however, we can consider the evidence and the alternatives to determine which conclusion is most rational. We hope to help others discover that real freedom, peace, and joy comes not from things attained by our own efforts, not from academics, not from the government, not from wealth, or any other temporal pursuit, but from God alone. When Christ was asked, "Teacher, what is the greatest commandment?" He responded with the first, "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind." We believe all of these elements deserve equal emphasis.  Jesus Christ is not just an interesting historical personality but the one true God incarnate and the only way to salvation.

God bless and we hope you will visit with us and interact often!

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