Finding faith or accepting it?
Reading atheist articles and listening to the lectures of atheist apostles like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens may seem like an odd thing for a Christian to do, but I do it quite often. Not because I have doubt in my faith, but because I find it makes me dig into the scripture with questions I might not otherwise have asked. I find it also makes it easier to answer questions posed by those seeking truth about God who are held back by their own intellect clouded by the mischaracterizing of Christianity by those who hate all religion.
I read an article from one atheist writer who critiqued the musings of the two atheists I’ve mentioned above saying both were bigoted and ignorant and possessed the very qualities they deplored in religion. He said they lacked open-mildness and were dogmatic, and had no evidence for their claim that there is no God. While he made it clear he is still an atheist, even referring to belief in God as ‘silly,’ it was refreshing to see an apparent open-mindedness on “the other side,” so to speak. By the way, I’m not insinuating he’s the only open-minded atheist, only that it’s not atheists like him who are often quoted. And hopefully, he will come to know our savior and accept His gift one day. But why are some atheists, as he pointed out, so dogmatic in their non-belief?
I think the problem most hard-core atheists have stems from the false idea that any knowledge reached by anything other than reasoning and our ability to comprehend, is of no value. I say this based on atheist writings I’ve read. This position rejects the idea of faith given to us as a Gift from God, not of our own ability so that no one can boast. And it does so without first demonstrating that there is no God to give us such a gift. While accusing Christians of leaning on faith (and we do lean on Biblical faith) Atheists often lean on atheist faith that requires one to pre-suppose there is no God.
I believe a saving faith doesn’t come from our own effort to find God, it starts when we stop resisting His call.
What are your thoughts?
Apologetics literally means to “speak in defense,” and there are plenty of authors with books about apologetics. It’s something I find fascinating because as I dissect anti-theist arguments, I find new understand of how God’s creation affirms His presence, something I’m sure those who oppose our faith don’t realize their words do. But is apologetics something on which we are told to spend a lot of time?
I have to admit, I probably spend more time than I should reading atheist writings so I can understand their complaints, and scripture to find the shortfalls of anti-theist criticisms. I could justify doing this with 1 Peter that tells us to always be ready to give answer for our faith. This brings me back to the question at the end of the first paragraph.
Our first calling as Christians is to spread God’s Word to as many people as possible. We do this so that by hearing God’s message they are, for those few precious moments, not distracted by the things of this world. I believe we don’t win people to Christ through argument springing from cognitive skill. If salvation was something we achieve through our own efforts, it would be the result of works and not faith. But Ephesians seems to tell us it’s the other way around; salvation is a gift. By sharing the Gospel, are we not simply removing the distractions of this world for those few precious moments; that is, removing the static between God’s people and salvation? It is His call after all, that leads to salvation, and not something we’ve done.
I think it’s important to note here that some Christians seem more eager to win internet debates than lead someone to God. How would winning a debate at such a cost honor God? Studying apologetics is being ready to give answer about our faith, but not that which results in saving faith.
When you give answers to non-believers, especially those in the anti-theist set, are you helping them understand or causing them to dig their heals into the dirt of non-belief?
What are your thoughts?
Texas Gospel Canada is happy to announce that Ravi Zacharias’s daily short feature has been added to our weekday Programming.
Zacharias is the author of more than 30 books including The Grand Weaver, Jesus among other gods, and Walking from East to West. The website of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries says its primary mission is to, “…reach and challenge those who shape the ideas of a culture with the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Distinctive in its strong evangelistic and apologetic foundation, the ministry of RZIM is intended to touch both the heart and the intellect of the thinkers and influencers of society through the support of the visionary leadership of Ravi Zacharias.”
Listen for this daily short feature Monday – Friday at 2 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Texas Gospel Canada!
EDITOR’S NOTE: We hope you enjoy this short feature and others heard throughout the day on Texas Gospel Canada. We do not charge ministries for airtime nor do we solicit donations for the station’s operation to keep these ministries on Texas Gospel Canada. Our station is fully funded by the volunteers who give their time and resources to spread the Good News of Jesus.
FLOYD ROGERS, TEXAS GOSPEL CANADA VOLUNTEER
Have you ever heard someone claim that Christianity is just one of many paths to God? It’s a self-contradictory argument and one of which I was surprised to find a resurgence. Why is it self-contradictory? Why is it repeated so often?
It contradicts itself because if Christianity is one of many paths, then it cannot be exclusive. Yet the Bible, the book that defines Christianity, tells us in Acts that salvation is found in no one else but Jesus. The book of Acts goes on to say there is no other name under Heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. The book of John tells us Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” There are many other scriptures that make it clear that Jesus is an exclusive path to God. If someone were to say they don’t believe in the Bible, then they profess that they believe Christianity is not a path to God. The Bible and Christianity are not separable. Christianity cannot be one of many ways to God. Jesus is either Lord OF all or He’s not Lord AT all.
The claim that Jesus is just one path to God may be sprouting up now because it sounds inclusive. It also puts man in charge. It says we can pick and choose our God as if reality is some sort of cosmic buffet where we select our desires. That would be great if we created God. But God created us. There’s only one creator of the universe. There’s only one God. And he offers you a way to know Him despite sins that you and all humanity commit. The path to God is through the blood of His son Jesus.
Will you accept his precious gift?
Christian apologetics, a term that comes from the word apologia, meaning “defense,” is giving answer to those who question our faith. It’s something I believe is part of what 1st Peter is talking about when it says we should be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks for a reason for our faith, although I think the scripture is referring to far more than logic, epistemology and debate like we see on social media.
While I think apologetics is interesting and important for Christians, I also see a danger if one focuses too much on this endeavor. This may seem like an odd statement from someone on a station that has so many features that focus on apologetics. But I mention it here because of something very important: Faith that leads to salvation is a gift from God. No one is saved because they concluded something through some formula.
Ephesians tells us saving faith is a gift from God, not of works, so that no one can boast of something they did. Too be clear: I believe this means when we seek God, and ask him for salvation, we receive a faith that leads to salvation. One does NOT receive this faith by some lab experiment. Philippians tells us salvation leads to the peace of God, which “surpasses all understanding;” it’s certainly not from epistemology.
When you witness to non-believers, or discuss our faith with anti-theists, do you do so with meekness, or ego of your own intellect?
What are your thoughts?