Thinking Allowed

I have been challenged recently (on several fronts — some just internally) about the purpose and usefulness of Christian apologetics. I don’t take the challenge lightly. Some who have challenged me have given me some food for thought about how I approach my Christian convictions and I take their critiques seriously. I know for a fact that I am prone to over think things and to be too quick to rely on my “head” to live out my convictions while I’m too slow to use my “hands” to serve others. No doubt about it.

But I would also challenge my hand-focused friends to consider that their works of service do not absolve them from thinking about their faith. It’s the only way to make sure that our service has the proper foundation and that the Christianity we are presenting is an accurate view of the world. The whole discussion reminded me of a similar post from 5 years ago that I am re-posting here.

Because I try my best to adhere to the principle of being “tolerant of people, but intolerant of (bad) ideas,” I will not identify the author of the following. I only quote said author to make a point about the self-defeating consequences of anti-intellectualism in the church. Check out this excerpt (sorry it is so long) from a book which contains a chapter entitled, “Confused Mind”:

Reasoning Leads to Confusion

…O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves? … Matthew 16:8 (KJV)

A large percentage of God’s people are admittedly confused. Why? As we have seen, one reason is wondering. Another is reasoning. The dictionary partially defines the word reason in the noun form as an “underlying fact or motive that provides logical sense for a premise or occurrence” and in the verb form as “to use the faculty of reason: think logically.”

A simple way to say it is, reasoning occurs when a person tries to figure out the “why” behind something. Reasoning causes the mind to revolve around and around a situation, issue or event attempting to understand all its intricate component parts. We are reasoning when we dissect a statement or teaching to see if it is logical, and disregard it if it is not.

Satan frequently steals the will of God from us due to reasoning … What God leads a person to do does not always make logical sense to his mind. His spirit may affirm it and his mind may reject it …Don’t Reason in the Mind, Just Obey the Spirit

… the realization of how easily we can be led by our heads and allow reasoning to keep us out of God’s will provoked in me a “reverential” fear of reasoning.

Let me point out that this author “has been teaching the Word of God since 1976 and in ministry since 1980.” This author is the prolific writer of “more than 70 inspirational books” and has “released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library.” This author can be heard on national radio broadcasts, seen on national TV programs almost every day, and travels nationwide speaking and doing teaching conferences. This author has influenced a whole lot of people. I don’t want to disparage the writer. I’m sure the writer has helped many people and is motivated to do so for all the right reasons. But, in this specific case, this person is just plain wrong. The teaching offered here is deeply flawed and destructive to any Christ-follower who adheres to it. Unfortunately, many new and vulnerable minds do just that.

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New Atheist Rebuttals (4)

On My (Qualified) Agreement With Sam Harris

To restate from the last post on this topic

Assertion: Sam Harris was compelled to pen The End of Faith on September 12, 2001 and wrote his Letter To A Christian Nation a few years later. He is one of a growing number who equate the travesties perpetrated by Muslim terrorists with anyone who claims what he calls a “rigid” religious view. Rigid thinkers are dangerous in this world because they become too extreme.

Keep that idea in mind as you consider some points of agreement that Harris claims to share the hard-core “Christian right.” In summary, Harris agrees that (p. 3-4) …

  • If one of us is right, the other is wrong.
  • The Bible is either the word of God, or it isn’t.
  • Jesus offers humanity the one, true path to salvation, or he does not.
  • True Christians believe that all other faiths are mistaken and profoundly so.

For all the relativists out there I want to point out that Harris, like me, appears to believe in the existence of objective truth. That being the case, we each must admit that one of us is right and one of us is wrong. It has to be so. We cannot hold completely contradictory views and both be right.

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