Sometimes when I listen to people who say they have lost their faith, I am far less surprised than they expect. If their view of God is what they say, then it is only surprising that they did not reject it much earlier. Other people have a concept of God so fundamentally false that it would be better for them to doubt than to remain devout. The more devout they are, the uglier their faith will become since it is based on a lie. Doubt in such a case is not only highly understandable, it is even a mark of spiritual and intellectual sensitivity to error, for their picture is not of God but an idol. ― Os Guinness
Reading the Bible in context is extremely important. Bible verses are easily twisted when taken out of context.
The following passage has been taken out of context so much that it has ended up on greeting cards, pillows, wall plaques, and so much more.
“Gen. 31;49 And Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.”
It sounds so sweet, but actually it is anything but. Laban wanted to kill Jacob. While it isn’t theologically devastating if you get this passage wrong, think about how many good relationships were tarnished with the misuse of this verse. Please, until you become really familiar with the Bible it is best not to read just one verse of the Bible. At least read the verse before and the verse after, but the entire chapter is even better.
About Noah entering the ark.
Some non-Christians have brought up the fact that many cultures have a story about a flood that wiped out most of mankind, as if this disproves anything. If it really happened (and I believe it did) at one point in time the world had 8 people in it. Those eight people would tell their children about the most significant part of their lives, and their children would tell their children. Occasionally the details would get clouded by people who could not remember the details correctly, or did not want to confess the details properly to their kids, but every culture would have some sort of version of the most significant thing to happen to their ancestors. So we should expect other cultures to have stories about the flood.
World renowned philosopher William Lane Craig says that,
“It’s not just Christian scholars and pastors who need to be intellectually engaged with the issues. Christian laymen, too, need to be intellectually engaged. Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One result of this is an immature, superficial faith. People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer Christian faith by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith. They know little of the riches of deep understanding of Christian truth, of the confidence inspired by the discovery that one’s faith is logical and fits the facts of experience, of the stability brought to one’s life by the conviction that one’s faith is objectively true.”
To read more please click on the link below.
“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
— C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
In order for evil to be more then just a bad flavor, that someone else may like there has to be an absolute standard. If we let people choose what is good and what is evil what are we to say to people like Jeffrey Dahmer who did unspeakable things to little boys? He did not think he was doing evil. If individuals can do terrible evil, and think they are doing something good can be so terribly wrong can we really be justified in saying that individuals get to decide what is good and what is evil? If it is up to the individual to decide such things what can we say to the people who think they are good little serial killers?
How about societies, do they get to decide what is good and evil? Most of the world at one point believed that slavery was OK, but now they don’t. Since society at one point thought slavery was good, does that mean it was good? No slavery as it is typically thought of was never good. No matter what society used to say.
If both society, and individuals can be terribly wrong about morality where does it come from?
I will talk about this more in part 2
To learn more I suggest reading
Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air
I would never downplay the role of the mind in Christianity. It is part of the most important commandment
Matthew 22:36-38 (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your MIND.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
But the mental aspect of apologetics isn’t as important as living as a Christian. It doesn’t matter one bit how intelligent your words are if you are living like the devil. There are way to many people out there who say they are Christian, and turn around and commit terrible crimes! Most infamously people like David Koresh, who claimed to be a Christian for most of his “ministry” but later claimed to be Christ himself, and priest who were overly fond of little boys. But there are a lot of people who claim to be Christian with their mouths, but live in ways that completely contradict the word of God. If you are mean, and nasty in one breath, and in the very next talk about the love of God, no one will listen to you. SOME of the things the Rev. Phelps guy says are technically correct but his behavior is so vile that any somewhat decent person who hears him speak will reject everything he says.
Always keep in mind that any time you identify yourself as a Christian people will be watching your conduct. They see you as a reflection of our God. If you act like a jerk, or commit newsworthy crimes this reflects poorly on Christ.
The closer you live to God’s word, the more believable your words about God will be.