Why we believe in God

(Jami ) #1

Hello friends,

I really love the feature of this board that suggests other discussions similar to mine - helps me see that I’m not as unique as I think I am! :wink:

My question today comes from a quote in Os Guinness’ book: “Time for Truth”. On page 78 he seems to chastise Christians for believing in Christianity for “sickly” reasons and I want to know if you all agree…that these reasons are “sickly”. And if so, what does that assumption say about those who only have an audio-Bible to derive their faith from? Or are a single Believer in a closed country? I’m not sure I disagree with Guiness, but it does seem like we sequester the under-developed world to a “sickly” faith simply because they don’t have the tools to explore the “rude vigor of truth”. Below is the quote. Am I just interpreting him incorrectly?

“For instance, Christians believe faith is true “because it works” (pragmatism), because they “feel it is true in their experience” (subjectivism), because they sincerely believe it is “true for them” (relativism), and so on. For some of these Christians the deficiency comes from bad teaching. For others, the motive is escape. Retreating into the fortress of personal experience, they can pull up the drawbridge of faith and feel impregnable to reason. But all of the the outcome is a sickly faith deprived of the rude vigor of truth.”

(Kathleen) #2

Hi, @bjstaples! I do love me a good Os Guinness excerpt… :smile: I was wondering if he elaborates at some other point just what he thinks these would be in opposition to?

(Ty Bolen) #3


Give us the preceding paragraph to the passage, please. “For instance” applies that we’ve said something before hand to give us grounds to say what we are currently saying.

(Jami ) #4

Actually, KMac he does later seem to clarify to a certain degree by saying “we don’t believe Christianity is true because it works, Christianity works because the Bible is true”. (not a direct quote - paraphrase). So I think he might be trying to make the point (and does so later in another context) that truth is not to be defined by humans…it is the definition humans are trying to find.

(Jami ) #5

I’d love to but i returned that book to the library; sorry. (apparently since I’m not a student at that seminary I can’t check out their books! :slight_smile: #bigbummer

(SeanO) #6

@bjstaples I have not read that book, but what Guiness appears to be saying is that we faith without understanding is not a fully developed faith - it is not a mature faith - it may still be a baby faith - and in that sense it is sickly because it is not growing up. The Bible talks about growing in ‘knowledge’ of Jesus as part of growing in our faith (see 2 Peter 1) and the author of Hebrews rebukes Christians who ought to be teachers but are making no effort to understand.

If I am hearing Guiness correctly, he is echoing these sentiments - we ought to have a reason for the hope that is in us. We should know both whom and why we believe rather than relying only on our feelings or the fact that God’s commands are beneficial to human thriving. The Bible clearly expects us, if we are mentally capable of doing so, to grow not only in experience of God but also in knowledge of Him through study of His Word and reason.

Does that sound like it might be what he is getting at?

I Peter 3:15 - but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

I Cor 3:2 - I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

Hebrews 5:11-14 - We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

2 Peter 1:5-9 - For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Good book by Moreland on loving God with all your mind: