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Apologetics Aren't Enough to Connect You with a Person
by Amy Hall
This morning I was thinking about someone who left a comment on our blog last year. After immersing himself in apologetics, “Searching” had found himself struggling with his faith. Since I first read his comment, I’ve heard virtually the same story at least twice more, so I suspect that talking about this could be helpful for some of you—if not to deal with a current situation, then at least to avoid these difficulties in the future. Below is an abbreviated version of his comment followed by my (edited) response:
Having been a committed and serving Christian for nearly 30 years, I have been going through a real crisis of faith over the past few years. During that time, I have been increasingly engaging in the debate that has arisen with the New Atheists, and I have come to the conclusion that the case for God's existence cannot be finally settled one way or the other. The evidence is inductive, rather than deductive, and cumulative. It will get you so far and then the move from merely cognitive to relational and existential takes place, and one places one's trust in God.
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But that's where it has broken down for me. For, at the same time as I was exploring the apologetic arguments, I suffered from a very severe case of depression (induced, most likely, by an underactive thyroid). I was overwhelmed by a whole series of completely non-rational emotions that caused me to doubt almost everything in life, including my relationships with those closest to me.
I have leveled off emotionally now, and am much more in control of my feelings. However, the nagging uncertainties remain; I think I still trust in God relationally, but I am often assailed by doubts from my analytical side—you’re deluding yourself, you've been suckered into this, this is purely wish fulfillment. Set against this are 30 years of very real experience of the truth and reality of my relationship with God.
So which do I believe? How do I reignite the existential side of my relationship with God without being bombarded by questions and doubts from parts of my rational thinking? I desperately want to reclaim my faith, but I fear I am slipping…
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