If you are “Skeptical but Hopeful” read on . . .
What follows is for those who are inquisitive regarding the Christian Faith, but have enough questions, concerns, or objections they find embracing the Faith to be intellectually dishonest. If you find yourself in that category, we hope what follows will help you overcome some of those barriers to faith. Let us begin by commending you on your commitment to intellectual integrity. We’re convinced that integrity will eventually lead to your seeing the reasonableness of the Gospel.
That’s where we want to begin; by affirming that what Christians mean by faith is not irrationalism. Modern categories of philosophy tend to divorce faith from reason. This is both unnecessary and unfortunate because it turns faith into a kind of anti-rationality. Classically, philosophy and theology were done in tandem. But the secularists of the Enlightenment were determined to build a wall between reason and faith. The result is that many today assume faith means believing something in spite of the evidence.
The Bible roots faith in real events. As the Bible means faith to be a reasonable conclusion to the evidence at hand.
Generally speaking, skeptics have either honest or dishonest doubts. Honest doubts are genuine intellectual obstacles to faith that if answered would see someone come to faith. Dishonest doubts are objections that aren’t interested in finding answers so much as being excuses to not believe. It’s not difficult sorting out if a person has honest or dishonest doubts. If they have honest doubts, once they find good answers to their concerns they move toward faith. With dishonest doubts, good answers aren’t enough; they move no closer to faith even though they’ve been given less reason for their lack of it. They use their objections like a shield to ward off belief.
So, be honest, are your doubts honest or dishonest?
Consider this; if you had five doubts, and one at a time were given reasonable, convincing answers to them, would you take a step closer to faith with each answer? Or would you just raise another objection, then another, ad nauseum?
If you have honest doubts, the next step is to identify what they are and begin the process of finding answers. Doubts usually boil down to a few basic concerns . . .
Is the Bible reliable? If this is your concern, please follow up by going here.
Is faith in Jesus the only way? If this is your concern, please follow up by going here.
If God is all loving and all powerful, why is their evil in the world? This is one of the most difficult challenges posed, not just to Christianity but to all religions. While there is a ultra-simple answer, most find it simplistic and need something more intellectually satisfying. Dinseh D’Souza’s recent book God Forsaken, is an excellent treatment and answer to this issue. For a shorter answer, go here.
Of course, there’s a long list of other concerns, but these are the most frequent. We don’t have space here to answer these satisfactorily. Follow the links above to find studies that address these issues.
Let me end with this: Over the years as I’ve encountered people with honest doubts, I’ve had a chance to answer them. When they raise their next objection, I ‘cut to the chase’ and ask if they want to surrender to Christ. Those who do usually find the things they had trouble with before evaporate. You see, Jesus IS the answer. Believe in Him and you’ll find the solution to things you didn’t even know you had. [If you want to receive Christ, go here]
Believing in Christ doesn’t mean giving yourself a lobotomy. The Christian Faith is a reasonable response to the evidence. It’s not something that requires you leave your brain at the door. We invite your honest questions and concerns. We know there are good answers to them that are persuasive.