AVOIDING A CRISIS OF FAITH
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Remember the story I told you of the young lady going to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill then losing her faith in God after only six weeks. Well, she had a “Crisis of Faith” from hearing a professor tell her she can’t trust the Bible since had errors in it. Today, I’m going to share how we can avoid a “Crisis of Faith” like the young lady did.
There are two attitudes all people should avoid, particularly regarding beliefs. 1) Absolute Certainty and 2) Radical Skepticism. Some Christians suffer from Absolute Certainty. How can Christians be absolutely certain about God, Jesus, or the Bible? In order to be absolutely certain about those things is to be able to see God, Jesus, and witness the Bible being written. Even with evidence we can’t be absolutely certain about those things, however we can have confidence that something is true.
Josh McDowell, from one of his videos on YouTube, said there are two things that people determine when something is true especially with beliefs, 1) Personal Experience and 2) Evidence. I’m going to use his example as well. Long time ago people used to believe the earth was flat and people would say tearful goodbyes to their loved ones who boarded a ship thinking they would fall off the face of the earth, but they kept coming back then they went further and further each time till made it around the world. Later scientists discovered other planets and saw that the shadow on the moon was the earth’s shadow so from personal experience and evidence, people realized the earth was round!
I’ll admit we can be absolutely certain now the earth is round since we’ve seen photos from space however unlike earth no one has seen God and Jesus has been gone for over 2,000 years so still we can’t be absolutely certain they are real. Most Christians have experienced God and Jesus in their lives in some form or another. We have evidence of God through the universe, earth, and our bodies. We have evidence of Jesus through the gospels and other writings from other Greek historical documents. We also have evidence the Bible is reliable. Our personal experiences of God and Jesus in our lives and with evidence I just mentioned, we can be greatly confident in our beliefs of God, Jesus, and the Bible just not with “Absolute Certainty”.
Radical Skepticism, in regard to beliefs, is about non-believers in God are so skeptical about their own skepticism they don’t want to hear anything that goes against their skepticism. They are not open to any other ideas. Frank Turek often asks a skeptical non-believer during the Questions and Answer time of his Cross Examine presentation if the dialogue starts going in a circle, he’ll ask “If I can show you that Christianity is true would you believe it?!” Some have blurted out defiantly “NO!”.
Believers in Jesus can show attitudes of absolute certainty with phrases like, “If the King James Bible was good enough for Paul, then it’s good enough for me.” Or “I don’t need evidence! I’m in! Christianity works for me. I’ve been raised in the church, and I believe in my pastor and my parents were Christians, so I don’t need to think about my beliefs!” Christians with this attitude might have a “Crisis of Faith” later or be defensive and rude like some audiences does to Sean McDowell when he role plays as an atheist.
That Marine’s daughter got a “Crisis of Faith” and decided to walk away from Christianity. I had a “Crisis of Faith” when I walked in a bookstore and looked at a book that told me I couldn’t trust the Bible, but I didn’t walk away my Faith rather I looked for answers. I didn’t want my Faith in God based on me going to church all my life nor on the coattails of my parents’ Christian beliefs. I wanted to know the truth about the Bible, so I investigated how we got the Bible. I now trust in the Bible, and I have strong confidence in it but not absolute certainty for if I did, I would have been there when the writers wrote it, but I wasn’t so had to look at the evidence then I was able to build my Faith with confidence that the Bible is true. You don’t have to wait on a “Crisis of Faith” moment to look at the evidence, do it now and make your verdict then build your confidence in your Faith. Is your Faith on absolute certainty or on confidence in the truth? Next post I will explain specifically how I came to that confidence that the Bible is reliable.
Kevin J. Garrison