I was browsing de-conversion’s contributor list today. When I read something I am always interested in the life of the author, not only in what they have to say. I was very intrigued by the bios of the different contributors. Many of them are former theology students or ministers. Some claim that they forced themselves to ignore supposed contradictions in the Bible. All equate their “de-conversion” with the ability to think rationally.
I am intrigued with these two claims (that about contradictions, and that about rational thinking). I am convinced that Christianity is a rational faith. I am also convinced that the Bible is not contradictory. Every supposed contradiction I have been shown has turned out to be no contradiction at all.
I have seen a two-fold attack on the minds of modern humanity in the Christian realm. First is that of secular humanism with all its facets, trying to enlighten the world to the truth of evolution and atheism. Second is the lack of sound teaching in the church. I talk a lot about the first on this blog, so let me focus here on the second.
I am convinced that the church has strayed from the gospel in a lot of ways. Instead of the true gospel of the Bible, what is now being taught are what I refer to as the Self-Help Gospel, the Halmark (Feel-Good) Gospel, the 25% Gospel, or else the Prosperity Gospel. These messages bear almost no resemblance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s no wonder that people who are taught in these ways find contradictions in the Bible! What they are being taught isn’t biblical at all, so when they look at the Bible and see differences, they throw out the Bible instead of throwing out the false teachings and taking the truth.
False doctrines aside, there are some pretty good churches out there as well. The big problem with a lot of these is that their congregants are not taught how to think. Their faith is real, as it should be, but they have never been taught to explain it to someone else. As a result, when their faith is questioned they do not know what to say. Instead of being fortified with truth, they are torn to bits by the shrapnel of disbelief. This is a problem.
The church’s solution is this: Teach right doctrine, and teach how to defend the truth. If these two things happen, the church can stand up against the attacks. But with no foundation of truth, the faith of the Christian will always crumble to bits.
Ravi Zacharias, in the preface to his new book Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend, says that it is actually perfectly proper and appropriate for the Christian to wrestle with the issues of the faith in order to come to a good answer and proper defense. I wholeheartedly agree. Ignoring questions will not solve the problem. The church needs to equip believers to think, and to be able to find the answers to the questions. They are there. They are rational. So let’s get to work.