A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity again to be the one answering questions at Antioch's Redux service. Redux is our chance to ask questions and raise challenges to and doubts about the Bible and Christianity. (We at Antioch believe that since Christianity is the uniquely accurate understanding of the world in which we live it is big enough to handle our doubts and challenges.)
This particular answer was in response to an email question,
So, I'm a soccer nut. And last Saturday, I watched a big game in the fierce rivalry between the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders. The two have played each other some 75 times, but this is the first time in many years that both have been in the highest league in the U.S. (with Portland just this year being promoted to MLS).
Portlanders and Seattleites have much in common in terms of lifestyle, values, and such, and these two soccer clubs both have rabid fans, who fill their respective stadia, standing, chanting, and singing throughout the game (as is the case in England and elsewhere, but not so much in other U.S. cities). I was intrigued by one fan who, with a simple sign, put his finger on the real difference between Oregonians and Washingtonians. As the television cameras scanned thousands of supporters of the homestanding Seattle team, I caught a single placard that read,
Real Men Pump Their Own Gas
(Though the Timbers had the better play most of the first half, a defensive lapse led to a Seattle goal early in the second. But a goal off of a set piece eventually earned a draw for the team from the state with the strange gas laws. The rivalry will be renewed later in the summer, this time in Portland, where the Timbers have won each of their four games thus far.)
In reading the "new atheists" Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, it is easy to see that they wholeheartedly accept the false understanding that Christian faith is an illogical leap taken contrary to evidence and reason. It's hard to blame them, perhaps, because even many Christians fail to recognize that the biblical portrayal is just the opposite, to wit, that a step of trust (in Jesus Christ) is the uniquely reasonable response to a right understanding of the evidence from reality.
The traditional Christian understanding of saving faith involves three aspects, notitia, assensus, and fiducia. Notitia means accurate knowledge, which comes through our senses, our reasoning, and revelation. Included in notitia, of course, is a right understanding of the human condition--created in the image of God and yet fallen--and of the unique solution in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. Assensus is the necessary agreement with that accurate knowledge. And yet, having both of these components--accurate information and agreement with those facts--is not enough. The third aspect, fiducia, means making the only reasonable response, committing one's life to that eternal Creator and personal Savior, Jesus Christ. Rather than a blind, irrational leap of faith, Christianity represents a logical step of trust, the only sensible personal response to the sum of the evidence and reason about the reality of our universe and existence.
I'm pretty excited about a class I'm leading these days at my church, Antioch. It's a book study, in which we're using as a springboard the first seven chapters of Timothy Keller's book, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. In each of these chapters, Keller responds to one of the common objections to believing in God (as defined by the Christian scriptures). In the first week, we discussed the charge that Christianity's claims are too exclusive to be true. This coming Sunday, we'll tackle the so-called problem of evil and suffering. I get fired up on this subject, since the Christian understanding is the only one that really does justice to the issue.
Husband (most blessed), father (of four great kids), son (wonderful parents), brother (of two others), Christ-follower, biologist (with B.A. and M.Sc.), apologist (M.A.), American (fortunate and proud), soccer coach, teacher, coleopterist, woodcarver, snake collector, baseball fan...