Friday, November 16, 2007

Are You a Compelling Argument?

In two conversations recently a certain thought has crossed my mind. That thought involves what passes as an compelling apologia for the Faith.
For some, the authority of the Church, with its various levels of priestcraft and tradition, whether it be ancient or new-fangled, is the proof offered. It is the proof of an insistent, bigger voice which, while not God Himself, makes the hearer feel sufficiently dependent and small.
For others it is the philosophic/historic/debate driven proof that evolution is wrong, God exists, the Flood happened, etc. etc.. This is the most popular apologia and where, if you buy a book on apologetics, you will find yourself immersed.
Some find that the Fake is sufficient to prove the Faith to themselves and to others. This involves stories easily checked on which everyone (everyone with a modicum of smarts) knows are a fraud, but the desire to believe that Life is this way, creates the offering of a lie in exchange for a "willful suspension of disbelief". It is an apologia of "I really want this kind of thing to be true and you told me it was". I have been in embarrassing conversations with college educated Christians sharing tales where only my breeding as a gentleman kept me from informing them in front of their wife and offspring that they, yes they, had managed to make the word "retard" a necessary and helpful part of my vocabulary.
Rarely, and this is my thought in these recent conversations, are the apologies of the Authority of the Church, the Debate on Facts and Ideas, or the Born Fools Believing Abject Lies any match for the Grand Battle between Sin and Righteousness. Catechize your kid, wrap their reading up in Philip Johnson and Josh McDowell, and send them off to Creation concerts where they can hear the latest of Christian mythologies and when they go off to college, what do you know?, they tube it. Sin seems fully capable to trump everything but actual Righteousness. Why not prove the Faith by proving in your life what the Faith was supposed to do? That a lot of people have believed it, or that it is true, or that it even excites rumours is no replacement for it working. I guess it is easier for most (thinking their doing Our God a favor) to read Michael Behe or C.S. Lewis and spout a regurgitated argument than it is to be holy and point your child (ah, there's the rub) or the nonbeliever that knows you well, at your life. Wouldn't it be nice if the Grand Victory of Christ over Sin at the Cross had some practical evidence?
Of course its true, look at what it has done for me!


Matthew N. Petersen said...

Just a question:

You know that catechisms were invented by Luther to educate Christians what they believe, and are still really a Protestant thing? It's the Presbyterians and Lutherans who jump up and down on them the most.

The Oracle said...

That aspect of my post was not a Catholic vs. Protestant thing. I agree with you that many of the worst churches selling truth to the loyal are those that I would agree with doctrinally the most. And I like rational apologia. I am not entirely sure that any of these 3 (the church, the reason, the rumor, and even if I granted that they were saying something objectively true), would make the impression that a life of holiness would make.

Jeff Moss said...

Thanks, Evan. Good thoughts.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." -Matthew 5:16

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Fair enough.

Lincoln Davis said...

Great post. Particularly liked the line about making "retard" a necessary and helpful part of your vocabulary. May I recommend, merely as a matter of formatting, designating paragraph gaps with an empty line?

timmyjimi said...

Evan, thanks for the encouraging reminder. I'm missing your sermons, but this post was good to read.

Angela said...

Thanks Evan! A very helpful reminder for me on this particular day!