“It is naive to discuss the theological questions as theological questions until one has considered what truth means to the one who is making the theological statements” ~ Francis Schaeffer, in 1968.
Have you ever had a ‘religious’ discussion with a post-modern, post-Christian, new age seeker and, as a result, out of frustration just wanted to beat your head into a brick wall?
Stop doing that. Especially if you’re actually doing the brick wall thing.
It is likely the case that you and your sparring partner are not comparing apples to apples. Our pre-suppositions are from different planets. More often than not, we are not defining faith in the same way.
Here’s some helpful thoughts from Schaeffer, in The God Who Is There:
“Modern man cannot talk about the object of his faith, only about the faith itself. So he can discuss the existence of his faith and its ‘size’ as it exists against all reason, but that is all. Modern man’s faith turns inward.
In Christianity the value of faith depends upon the object towards which the faith is directed. So it looks outward to the God who is there, and to the Christ who in history died upon the cross once for all, finished the work of atonement, and on the third day rose again in space and in time. This makes Christian faith open to discussion and verification.”
Whoa. In a nutshell, when someone tells you they have ‘faith,’ ask them, with love and compassion, “In what? In whom?”
Modern man is eager to talk about faith. He just falls short of talking about the object of his faith. We are, by all accounts, a generation obsessed with spirituality. If the object of one’s faith does not fall outside their own being, however, it will one day implode in recognition of despair.
Modern man finds himself in a circular room with no doors. Alas, there is no escaping from this purely rational (or purely mystical) religious undertaking.
The ‘leap of faith’ required to exist in this circular room leads, ultimately, to faith in one’s self. Enter despair.
Look outward to the God who is there. He is our only hope.
*First posted April 2, 2014*