In my last post, I defined faith, correctly, as trust based on adequate evidence, contrasting it with our secular, postmodern culture’s definition as what you need when there isn’t enough evidence. Big difference. In this post I will take a brief look at how we experience faith and doubt in daily life, and in our relationship with God. While the objects are different, the nature of the thing remains the same. Religious “faith” and everyday “faith” are the same because absolute certainty doesn’t exist, and we must act, or not, based evidence presented to us.
Sociologist Peter Berger has been an influential thinker and writer in my development as a Christian apologist. I have an entire chapter in my book on plausibility, something rare in apologetics circles, inspired by his books The Sacred Canopy and The Social Construction of Reality. I heard of a more recent book (those are from the 60’s) of Berger’s from the great Albert Mohler in his excellent Thinking in Public podcast. The book, In Praise of Doubt: How to Have Convictions Without Becoming a Fanatic, has some excellent insights, but it’s also the kind of book I often want to throw against the wall.
I can imagine you thinking at this moment, What kind of person would ask such a stupid question! Hang with me, and you’ll realize it’s not such a stupid question after all.
In my previous post I shared an Alice in Wonderland adventure I had with a postmodernist. As always in such encounters, one thinks of things one could of or should have said afterward. At one point I shifted the conversation to something called the moral argument. Simply stated, this means that the best explanation for morality, the sense that all human beings have of right and wrong and justice, can best be explained by the existence of a personal God. The postmodernist is a relativist, meaning morality is whatever an individual person or culture thinks it is. For them, there is no objective standard of right and wrong which exists outside of their own feelings or perceptions. By happy happenstance I was able to share a perfect example of postmodern relativism just this morning with my son.
If you are not familiar with the phrase, “down the rabbit hole,” it comes from the 19th Century Lewis Carroll book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Young Alice goes down a rabbit hole and experiences a world that is upside down, inside out, and awfully confusing. According to Google, the phrase has come to “refer to a bizarre, confusing, or nonsensical situation or environment, typically one from which it is difficult to extricate oneself.” I was reminded of the world down the rabbit hole as I was recently having a conversation with a quintessential postmodernist.
For 220 plus years in America, the peaceful transition of power has happened every four or eight years. Whether from the Federalist Party to the Anti-Federalists, or the Democratic Party to the Whigs, or the Republican to the Democratic Party, in the history of the world there has never been such a continuous succession of peaceful power. Wherever one stands in the current political environment, it is a thing to behold. It is also fascinating to behold the difference between those who were on the losing side eight years ago, and those on the losing side this time. Like everything (literally) in life, there are lessons here to teach our kids about the biblical view of reality.
Almighty God, just because He is almighty, needs no support. The picture of a nervous, ingratiating God fawning over men to win their favor is not a pleasant one; yet if we look at the popular conception of God, that is precisely what we see.
Twentieth Century Christianity has put God on charity. So lofty is our opinion of ourselves that we find it quite easy, not to say enjoyable, to believe that we are necessary to God. But the truth is that God is not greater for our being, nor would He be less if we did not exist. That we do exist is altogether of God’s free determination, not by our desert nor by divine necessity.
—A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy
In 2012 my wife, fed up with the public school system where she worked and where our kids went to school, was determined that our youngest would somehow escape before he got to middle school. My attitude at the time was that we, and our other two kids, survived the public school system, so he can too. She was having none of that, and boy am I glad she didn’t!. It wasn’t too long after her declaration that a new local Christian classical school was having a fundraiser featuring Christian guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy. I missed the concert because of a business trip, but when I got back she was all fired up. It took me a while to understand exactly what classical education was, and get as excited as my wife, but now I’m a full-on evangelist!
Donald J., now President-Elect, Trump has never been and is not now seen by conservative Christians, Evangelicals among them, as one of their own, to say the least. But in an important way, he is very much one of us.
For the last 50 plus years, the dominant cultural apparatus (education, media, and entertainment) has grown increasingly strident in its secularism and hostility to Christianity. No longer can conservative Christians be accepted in polite company; they must be shamed and demonized because they believe in something as archaic as objective morality, absolute standards of right and wrong, and even worse, Truth!
I wrote in previous posts about how human beings have a visceral revulsion toward death. We hate it. You might be surprised to learn that Jesus hated death too. How do we know? First, Jesus wasn’t exactly thrilled to have to be tortured and endure a Roman cross to secure the salvation of his people. In the garden of Gethsemane he prayed three times that God would take this cup of suffering from him, and from Luke 22, “being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Death was no picnic for Jesus. But in another scene, in the Gospel of John, when he confronts the death of another we observe his own visceral revulsion to the existence of death.
In my previous two posts I wrote about how death in a movie contributes to a secular plausibility structure, and how death lends more credibility to Christianity than atheism/materialism. In this post I want to explain what death is from a Christian perspective, and where it came from.
According to Christianity, death is an aberration. It’s not the way things were supposed to be, and all human beings know this regardless of their beliefs. In Genesis 1 we read that God created the world very good, and Adam and Eve had the run of the place, it was all theirs. Except, that is, one tree. Would Adam (Eve wasn’t around yet) trust and obey his Creator:
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”