by C Michael Patton
There is something that happens to many Christians at some point in their spiritual journey. From their point of view, its seems to me, the believe they have reached the age of maturity in Christ where many of the subjects that held their attention and passion no longer matter so much (if at all). I especially hear this about apologetics. What once was (or so they thought) a great catalyst that propelled them to deepen their faith by increasing their conviction in the truthfulness of Christianity now represents an unnecessary detour that actually held them back. At some point these Christians believe that they have entered into an existential transcendence that far eclipses their unnecessary groping for that to which reason could never contribute.
“My faith no longer requires evidence.”
“Apologetics seeks to bring absolute assurance when, in reality, it just brings a false hope. There is no absolute assurance.”
“Our fascination with having to prove our faith is a deterrent to true faith.”
“Apologetics never saved anyone.”
I have a hard time understanding where this mentality comes from, even though I have been there myself.
Sometimes, I think, we get exhausted by reason. We find that rational can only do so much. Though it may have played an exciting part in our story, apologetics does not represent the “meat” of our faith anymore.
Why do people become disenchanted with apologetics? Is there a point in our Christian life that causes us to move beyond the intellect? Is an existential engagement with God better than a rational one?
I don’t really know how to respond to any of these. Well, I can’t respond with much confidence. However, I do believe that many people get saturated with the rational side of Christianity to such a degree that it fails to produce in them a living faith. It is not the fault of the rational. It is probably our fault for immersing ourselves so much in this area that we lose site of the relaxing hope that apologetics should produce…
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