What About a Christian Who Doubts?

I think much of our “in your face” apologetics, as well as personal evangelism, is unhelpful for they do not deal with some of the real issues that can cause doubt.  To make things worse, when doubts arrive, friends are quick to condemn us for lack of faith or tell us we are sinning.  Doubts can be very real because they generally center on the basic relationship one has with God. I have a few general comments.

First, doubt is not the opposite of faith.  Unbelief is the opposite of faith.  Faith encompasses some doubt or it would not be faith.  Faith is not an intellectual exercise but a personal trust in the goodness and reliability of God to do what he promises to do.

Second, faith is a working hypothesis.  This is a position scientists take all the time.  The existence of black holes is a working hypothesis.  Evidence exists for black holes but they are not a provable fact at this point so that there is a law of black holes.  God, the Bible, salvation, etc. are all part of a large working religious hypothesis. Evidence for God exists, but the evidence is not provable fact.  We act upon our hypothesis as if it were true though not provable.

Three, we must admit that we could be wrong – our hypothesis may be wrong.  However, my Christian hypothesis answers more questions than any alternative I have considered.  Granted, I don’t know all the questions and all the alternatives that are available, but what I do points me to God.

Fourth, our atheist friends also have a working hypothesis and a faith.  They cannot disprove God any more than we can prove God.  Which hypothesis makes the most sense?  That is the basis upon which faith is built.  The atheist has a faith commitment to the scientific enterprise as the ultimate answer to life’s meaning.  I prefer making a faith commitment to God as the ultimate answer to life’s meaning. I have no quarrel with science per se or the scientific method, but making science or anything else less than God as an ultimate concern is building an idol that is the product of limited humanity.

Is Christianity Under Attack?-2

I had some typos in the last post, so will try to keep my  thinking and typing skill at he same speed!

After writing the blog on religious freedom I was sent another blog on the same subject.  My first reaction was agreement, then I took another read. I don’t agree entirely.  Let me explain.

We need to make a distinction between persecution for what we do as individuals and persecution for what and who we are in Christ.  In the blog I mentioned, it gave an example of real persecution of Christians in Iraq.  Christians being killed and abused, not for what they were doing, but who they were as a class of individuals.

In the New Testament era we don’t have persecution of believers for agitating to change Roman laws or to enact legislation that would install Christian values into the Roman legal code.  Christians were not even insisting that Caesar give the title of ”lord.”

The apostle Paul did not insist shopkeepers stop selling meat offered to idols. In fact Paul didn’t really tell believers to eating meat offered to idols.  Their decision was to be based upon their personal conviction and the love of other people who would be offended by eating meat.  I don’t believe Paul raised this question or asked where meat came from in cities other than Corinth.

Early Christians were persecuted for following Jesus as Lord and trying to live out His teachings.  From all appearances, the Christians in Iraq were doing this.

Oh yes, Paul did make an appeal to Caesar, but what was his appeal?  It was an appeal for Roman justice. It was not an appeal to change Roman law to benefit him and other believers.  He submitted himself to the Roman law and told believers they should be subject to the governing powers.  This subjection to law meant an acceptance of the consequences of disobeying it.  Why should Christian complain about persecution for being a Christian?  Why should we expect to get special attention and reprieve?

On the other hand, we can be persecuted for our own negative witness.  The blog sent to me used the example of the baker in Colorado who refused to bake a cake for a lesbian couples’ wedding.  In reading the original account of that incident, and if it were correctly reported, the baker would have sold them a cake already baked.  His refusal was to bake a special cake for the occasion an now is supposedly being persecuted for Christian belief.

Really?  Was his decision based on his being a Christian or on his revulsion at having to deal personally with the lesbians and having a hidden, or not so hidden, prejudice against lesbians and homosexuals?  It is easy for us to take personal prejudices and feelings and turn them into theological dogmas.

What was his attitude toward the women?  We don’t know.  In what tone and voice did he state his objection?  We don’t know.  Was his refusal done in a Christian manner or in negative condemnation of them as persons?  We don’t know.

I do not see troops rounding up Christians and putting them into jail simply because they are believers.  I do see a lot of Christians being “persecuted” because they do not witness “with gentleness and respect.”  When insulted, those who “speak evil” of our “good conduct as followers of Christ” should be “ashamed of what they say” and not be able to accuse us of bigotry and prejudice [1 Peter 3:16, GNB].

Why would the baker sell them a cake already done and refuse to bake a special cake?  Hmmm.  What was the witness there?