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A few quick thoughts on skepticism
I try not to inject this subject into my storm observing blog too often, but it's something I feel is important enough to bring up once in a while.
As I've said before, I'm not afraid of the hardcore objections to Christianity or the Bible. I've held the point that if something is true, it can hold up to the challenges. In fact I actually encourage fellow Christians to read the objections. Every Christian should read and think about these things, because in our day and age they come up all of the time in everyday life - in politics, schools, work, and society in general. I don't think anything should be suppressed. Let people have their say. And as Ravi Zacharias says, "may the best worldview win".
So, here are a few thoughts I've had on the challenges to Christianity by the modern skeptic movement:
- A supernatural element to the universe, by its own definition, might not be adequately proven or disproven using natural-based laws, experimentation, or observation. However, there is ample circumstantial and testimonial evidence to support its existence.
- Many atheists and agnostics refusal to believe is a result of too many perceived 'logical holes' or things that they don't understand. That is, to them, all of those questions must have answers as a prerequisite to faith. I've been a Christian for almost 17 years, and I still don't have all of the answers nor do I understand everything I have questions about. That hasn't precluded my faith in Christ.
- A major flaw in atheistic challenges is the incorrect presuming of motives and thought processes on Christians as to why they believe (blind faith, a crutch for problems, escaping from reason, forcing guilt on others, etc). I know this for a fact because none of the reasons for faith that atheists allege fits my own personal situation.
- There is overwhelming first-hand circumstantial and testimonial evidence from saved Christians as to thier changed lives, changed behaviors, outlook on life, clarity of Biblical understanding, and expectations for the future. There are 'bad apples' to be sure, and even stronger Christians are not perfect - but a consideration of the whole (rather than focusing on the fringe elements) should reveal the big picture. If testimonial evidence is admissable in a court of law to the point of convicting or aquitting a defendant, then why isn't the testimony of Christians considered compelling evidence to the validity of the faith? Particularly when the supernatural Element behind faith (God) cannot be proven or disproven by natural science.
- Anomalies in world history where Christianty has been abused by so-called followers (IE, the crusades) have been given an unfair weight as to the effects of a devout Christian society. A good investigator looks at the big picture.
- I've read the long lists of questions regarding alleged Bible inconsistencies/contradictions, individual Christian behavior, motives for belief, and so on many times. A common charge is that the church/Christians have never been able to answer them. That's not true - most of these questions have been answered, just apparently not to the satisfaction the challengers (but satisfactorily to most Christians). A Google search for each objection will turn up plenty of answers to these common questions. As a Christian, the alleged contradictions are more from a lack of familiarity of the Bible, and more importantly, a lack of faith - which 'connects the dots' in ways impossible without it.
- A refusal or reluctance to a public, protracted debate with atheists is not a concession. Not with me. Properly debating something of this magnitude takes time, preparation, effort and resources that I don't feel a huge desire to expend. I can put it this way - If I was cured of a major disease, I'd advertise the cure all I could so that others could benefit. But since I'm not a doctor, I couldn't intelligently debate the hows or whys that the cure worked for me. All I could say is that it worked! Even if I lost debate, the cure still works for those who will take it.
Public debates are like a gang on the street tempting a passerby to a fight. Unwillingness to such a fight does not concede inferiority. I'm no stranger to debates, so I know from experience that they rarely produce results in either side changing their positions. That's why I feel it's a waste of energy (I do, however, like honest, one-on-one discussion with someone with whom I have mutual respect). I also don't believe that answering all objections via debate is the path to convincing the atheist or agnostic to faith in Christ. Faith comes from a supernatural element that cannot be obtained until one is willing to accept the possibility of its existence. Only then will its benefits be realized.
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