Doubt, Faith and Truth – Part II

In the movie version of Angels & Demons, the prequel to The DaVinci Code, Tom Hanks’s character responds to a question about belief in God by saying, “Faith is a gift I have yet to receive.” My regular golfing partner John had used this quote during a sermon he had given on lay Sunday, explaining that he never remembered a time when he didn’t believe. When my friend, Carl, read the earliest drafts of this manuscript, he said the same thing. Wow! I thought. Why wasn’t it that easy for me? (excerpt from The Race Before Us)

A little over a week ago we featured “Doubt, Faith and Truth – Part I,” which touched on a Sunday School class I am teaching based upon my book:  “Doubt, Faith and Truth in The Race Before Us.”  We said then that the class was in two parts.  It has grown, but this is Part II:  “Truth”

Obviously this is a massive topic to try to capture in a blog post.  The focus of the class was not an in-depth philosophical investigation of what is true and how do we know (that might take 2 blog posts), but a discussion of the methodology used in The Race Before Us.  I recounted a story about a lunch I had with a friend that somehow turned to questions of doubt and faith.  This friend was very resistant to revisiting his own faith (he is an aggressive agnostic) explaining his negative experiences with “the church” and explaining his problem reconciling a loving god with evil, pain, and suffering we find in the world.  We had a good discussion and he agreed to read my book (which was in the printing process at the time).  My closing thought to him was that I did not think that he would regain the faith of his earlier life until he became convinced that Christianity is true.

That then was the introduction to the topic of “truth” in the context of “Doubt, Faith and Truth.”  I then reviewed the manner in which the book lays out the investigation and analysis that I undertook, but before doing so we discussed that this was not the only way and not necessarily the best way to come to faith in Christ.  As indicated by the opening quotation, many cannot recall a time that they did not believe.  Moreover, a reliance on an evidentiary approach and the use of rigorous logic is not crucial for many believers.  But, the methodology for me became very much a lawyer’s cross-examination of numerous, traditional reasons (in true attorney fashion, “arguments”) that support a belief in the existence of God.  In particular, much of this analysis begins with a chapter entitled “Beginning the Race – Philosophy 101” which recalls my college classes that looked at classic philosophical questions such as how we know what we know and whether God exists.

Without doing anything other than very briefly touching on the topic, we hurriedly listed out most of the “arguments” examined – again, not to take those arguments apart or to even understand them, but to provide some insight into the methodology employed in the “journey of faith” set out in The Race Before Us. That said, the arguments include the following:

– the ontological argument

– the cosmological argument

– the teleological argument

– the anthropic principle

– the moral argument

– the historicity of Jesus Christ

– the reliability of scripture

– the truth of the resurrection

– and other “arguments” (explanation of beauty, existence of conscience, argument from desire, “knowing” without evidence, uniqueness of human beings)

So that’s what we did in 50 minutes.  The Race Before Us is approximately 70,000 words over 222 pages (but a very snappy read).  A little more than half the book is devoted to the journey of faith outlined above.  Needless to say, its hard to cover all of those things in a Sunday School class – in fact, we are extending the class so we might talk more about many of the “arguments” above.  So, look for Part III and Part IV – and maybe more.

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