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Friday, March 15, 2013

Why I Still Believe: Apologists, Nature, Obstacles

Why I Still Believe: Apologists, Nature, ObstaclesAs I embrace my own faith, I only have to answer my own honest doubts. I’ve done that and it was an important process. I had to settle in my own heart that choosing a life of faith was not embracing a foolish and irrational worldview. I tackled the apologetic works. I read Josh McDowell. 



Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership

Life: What's My Spiritual Center?

Why I Still Believe: Apologists, Nature, Obstacles

By Evan Nehring

This is the fourth in our Why I Still Believe post series. To date, we've looked at:

Here are two more reasons why I still believe.

The Apologists

I’ve mentioned briefly some of those devoted to defending the faith. Their writings are part of the heritage of the cloud of witnesses.
 
C. S. Lewis said that all of his work was, at the root, apologetic. Over the years, I’ve poured through his thoughtful writings. His pictures of Christian life have brought vibrancy to my faith. While Lewis may be most famous for his quips, quotes and fiction, the drama of his own life story has brought authenticity to believers struggling with the pain of loss.[1]
 
William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Norman Geisler, Greg Koukl, Walter Martin, J.P. Moreland, Francis Schaefer, Lee Strobel, N.T. Wright: the list is long![2]
 

The Witness of Nature/Creation

I feel God in the wind. I see the awesome handiwork of God in the northern lights. I witness God’s power in the crush of Niagara Falls.
By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. (Romans 1:20, The Message)
The mourning dove coos perched on the ridge of my roof, and I hear the peace of the Holy Spirit. Spring’s streams girgle down the street past my driveway. Snow recedes as the earth rereleases the fragrance of life.
 
Nature helps me believe.
 

Dealing with Obstacles

But what about all the obstacles and objections to faith? Do we just ignore those? Yes and no.
 
By John Haslam from Dornoch, Scotland (Obstacle Race - Dornoch Highhland Gathering 2007) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
 
As I embrace my own faith, I only have to answer my own honest doubts. I’ve done that and it was an important process. I had to settle in my own heart that choosing a life of faith was not embracing a foolish and irrational worldview. I tackled the apologetic works. I read Josh McDowell.
 
To be honest, the bar wasn’t terribly high for me. I have so many reasons to believe that I only need to research a few sticking points. That foundation of evidence has become more and more solid through the years. So, yes, I can ignore many of the objections people have without shaking my personal faith.
 
On the other hand, I have a certain passion to engage people’s objections to Christianity because some of those honest objections might hold a key to their own embrace of faith in Jesus. I read Greg Koukl’s Stand to Reason newsletters and research. I read a sampling of William Lane Craig’s newsletters and books, and listen to some of his podcasts. I enjoy the intelligent design debate.
 
While answering these objections isn’t necessary for me to wholeheartedly worship Jesus, I still find the pursuit valuable. Being broadly knowledgeable makes me a more credible witness.


Question

What obstacles have you overcome in standing firm in your faith?



[1] Shadowlands. VHS. Directed by Richard Attenborough. Price Entertainment, 1993.
[2] “100 Christian Apologists,” Apologetics 315. accessed April 1, 2011, http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/2009/06/100-christian-apologists.html


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3 comments:

  1. I've overcome lots of obstacles, including parents and siblings who don't believe, plus my own questions that I'm pretty sure won't be answered in this life. Thanks for writing this, Evan.

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  2. Frank, tough when family's not on the same page. You're a light in your world!

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  3. I think that apologetics merely scratches the surface. It's an impoverished and often futile attempt at rationalisation of something that is only fully understood by living. We can debate and rationalise until we are blue in the face. But it is being a Christian that is the greatest apologetic.

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