How Do You Defend Your Faith?



Anonymous asked:

I am doubting my faith more than ever, from the legitimacy of ancient texts, to the authenticity of the roots of stories found in the Old Testament (as well of those even found in the Gospels) … So, I guess, my big question is, how would you address some of the biggest “logical fallacies” or “errors” found in Scriptures, from texts not aligning, to things being taken from other cultures, to a good deal of scholarly work done by some to prove that Jesus was never a real man?

 

Please allow me to be really upfront — but I’m about the most skeptical Christian you’ll meet out here. I struggle with doubt daily, and it’s about as annoying as the popcorn flake in your teeth or that little bit of chunky phlegm down your throat.

I feel you 100% on this one, so it’s you and me both.  If you came to me for reassurance, I wish I had more to give.

Hear me loud and clear: I doubt God exists at least twice a day, and that’s on a good day. Let’s breathe out, because I bet any other Christian will tell you the same thing.

Some days, as bad as it sounds, I just want to throw the Bible in the trash and be done with it. I get on some atheist blog and those familiar doubts come creeping back in. They just have a way of twisting my guts around.

The thing is: I’ve pretty much heard every single argument there is to hear on both sides, and there is nothing new under the sun. I’ve watched theological debates between all the best. I don’t think I’ve learned any new apologetics in the last three years, and having been an atheist, those guys are not really saying anything new either.

 

There was a day when I fought valiantly for one side against the other. I’ve probably hated on Christians just as much as atheists.

Now I’m just a little bored and jaded on the whole thing.

Both sides fanwank and retcon their arguments like crazy. Both sides are full of biases, agendas, misinformed views, and wrong ideas about each other. Both sides are eloquent, sharp, articulate, witty. Both sides can present compelling cases. Both sides even get along often. Watch the debate between Wilson and Hitchens, and you can see they’re nearly best friends.

It turns out, I like Christians and atheists just about evenly, and if you want to, you can intellectually keep them at checkmate forever. But at the end of the day, Jesus is real enough for me. He wins my heart. He fills me up. He saved my wretched soul. I became tired of explaining myself to people that needed some kind of justified, propped-up, pre-defended faith. I was exhausted of prepackaged arguments that make sense until some other argument arrives. I had tough questions, and still do, but everyday it feels more and more like the answer is becoming Jesus, and each day that’s becoming enough. I don’t care that it makes me an academic cop-out — I care that it makes me whole.

 

See: I know nearly all the evidence both for and against Christianity, but it’s not about the evidence anymore. Was it ever really? If you must know, atheists also have their doubts when they’re honest with themselves — but the Christian is the one who simply doubts their doubts.

Somewhere in that stupid raging mess of debates, I had to grow up and discover faith for myself. So will you.

Oh, I know some atheist like my former self will come along and say, “That’s dangerous to turn off your brain, you’re not being rational, you’re tossing reason out the window …!” But I don’t know. I feel pretty reasonable right now. I feel damn fine, actually. My lungs are filled with Christ and no one can really talk me out of it.

I suppose you wanted a much more straightforward answer with biblical proofs and historical accuracy (and I’ve written posts on that, too many I think) — but my friend, there are tons of resources out there you can look into for yourself. Those resources are also written by frail human hands wired by 3 lb. brains with their own darling schemes that will turn into dust like the rest of us.

Wrestle with this for as long as you must, but at some point, please know that doubts will never stop: and you’ll come to trust something amidst the doubts you have. I make the choice every morning to push aside the voices, forget both screaming sides, and follow Jesus. I pray you’d choose him, too.

I love God and I love people, and nothing will knock that out of me.

That’s your purpose, dear friend. In your struggle to believe, keep serving.

 

“My most recent faith struggle is not one of intellect. I don’t really do that anymore. Sooner or later you just figure out there are some guys who don’t believe in God and they can prove He doesn’t exist, and there are some other guys who do believe in God and they can prove He does exist, and the argument stopped being about God a long time ago and now it’s about who is smarter, and honestly I don’t care.”

— Donald Miller



— J.S.

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15 thoughts on “How Do You Defend Your Faith?

  1. I hear everything you’re saying in this post and I know how “anonymous” feels as well. For a good while I was heavy into apologetics and finding proof for and against God, but there came a point when I wondered why I was letting other people decide what I regarded as truth instead of having my own opinion. I’ve come to believe in God a lot more when I don’t watch dozens of debates or read atheist blogs because I’m choosing to have faith in Him and not what imperfect humans are saying. I’ve been a lot happier since I stopped questioning His existence constantly, especially since He’s given me plenty of reasons to believe.

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    1. Awesome! I do think it’s healthy to know some of these debates and to at least have a reasonable answer for some of those nagging questions. But you’re right on here: “… there came a point when I wondered why I was letting other people decide what I regarded as truth instead of having my own opinion.”

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  2. At the end of the day our faith is based on a real relationship built on God experienced in the moment by moment. It’s a lot harder for people to argue with my experience than with whether or not John 8:1-8 was in the original text. Thanks for this share J.S.

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  3. When a fact is scientifically proven, but a person in power simply rejects it (and me) because they can, it throws the whole matter of rational into disrepute (though I still have deep respect for apologists). Even if I prove medically my wife exists, and legally that she is my wife, the only thing that really matters is that we live together as a couple! I will still witness to the reality of Christ in my life, but I am less obsessive with making “you” agree with me.
    Peace

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  4. I know, know, know that Jesus and God and the Holy Spirit are very real. I know because I met Jesus and was given the Holy Spirit through the top of my head. Here is my testimony. It gets real ‘interesting’ in part 5.
    http://robinclaire.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/how-robin-was-saved-part-1-3/

    Before Christ I was on my last legs at 2 years sober. Since I accepted our Christ I was given all the power I needed to stay sober. God has kept me sober 33 years now and I’m still going strong. Here are some of the other things that have happened to me since I received the God of Jesus.
    I was taught how to love other people. Before Christ I did barbaric things – like trying to tear a man away from his wife and children because I wanted him for myself.
    I was extremely suicidal. God removed this addiction in 1997 and I’ve never gotten it back.
    I was a very anxiety-ridden person. God removed this anxiety in 2010 and I’ve never gotten it back.
    These are only a couple of things God has done for me since I allowed Jesus to come into my life. The things I could tell you about how He is lovingly restoring me, could fill a book.
    I really like your blog JS.
    love,
    robin

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    1. Great post! I understand how apologetics can be good for some people and bad for others. The logic and science one focuses on through apologetics can easily get in the way of an actual relationship with God. Personally, I love apologetics. While I still have doubts, it has made my faith much much stronger. I really enjoy looking at the science and evidence behind my faith. In the end, like nopew said, apologetics cannot say someone. A person still has to accept and put his or her trust in the evidence.

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    2. Thank you for sharing your testimony, Robin. While certainly the mainstream has contorted “religion” into a problem, I believe the Christian faith has sincerely restored countless lives throughout history. We are both a couple more in the mosaic!

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  5. I recently had a discussion with a cousin of mine who believes it doesn’t matter what faith you adhere to because it’s all the same. He told me I can’t prove to him that Jesus is God. He’s right. I can’t. I didn’t spend too much time trying to argue with him because first of all, I don’t need to prove that I’m right even though I wanted to (it’s that competitive spirit in me 😉 ) Second, only Jesus can prove His divinity to my cousin. He did that with Paul. I think what it comes right down to it, what revelation my cousin needs is the reality of his need for a savior. At the least, I think it’s a place we all started on our journey to faith. If he doesn’t know his own need; doesn’t understand his own state of depravity then he will be comfortable in choosing from the buffet of religious views we have in the world today. As always, thanks for your thoughtful responses to tough questions!!

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  6. God’s existence has been so ingrained into me from my upbringing that I don’t doubt He is anymore. But I do struggle with if He really loves me and really wants good for me. It bothers me that I’ve been a Christian since I was 13 and my struggle is worse. I’m not sure how God is using my weakness to bring glory to him and help others. I’m one of the worst witnesses. I love the C.S. Lewis quote and it encourages me…cause I know I’m holding on despite the mess I am. Some people honestly let go when they doubt…doubt is the deal breaker for them. So I guess the fact that I’m still holding on says something…I hope. I doubt him at times and too much but I know I desperately need Him. I don’t want to ever leave Him. It scares me to think that I’d ever choose to.

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  7. Thanks for this. I’ve struggled so much because there are so many rational arguments that contradict each other. I know, in the end, that Jesus is real–actually that’s not the part in doubt. It’s all the peripherals (Or are they big deals? Who can say?) that have equally convincing arguments for both sides. It’s really tough to know where to make a stand. Its good to know that other people realize how much grey there is. I get tired of the people who have their arguments all together.

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