The F-Files (Part 1)
by Blake Anderson
In October of 2008 Jesse Kilgore shot himself in the head some time after reading Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion. Apparently, this formerly strong advocate for Christianity became extremely disillusioned with his faith after a college professor suggested he read this book. A relative stated that Jesse’s “professors and the book had presented him information he found to be irrefutable.” This family member, in trying to help Jesse regain his faith, told him of their own struggles with faith and said, “It was my relationship with God, not my knowledge of Him that brought me back to my faith. No one convinced me with facts. . . . it was a matter of the heart.” It did not stop him. Jesse Kilgore was twenty two years old.
[This series will offer a detailed response to a recent article in Relevant Magazine titled Christianity’s New F-Word, in which the author, Sungyak Kim, insinuates that Christian apologetics has opposed "faith." He says, "It really is no big secret that the way mainstream apologists today answer every “prate and twaddle” that comes their way—line for line—is proving to be ineffective and brings some very negative consequences." In addition to the fact that he presents no evidence for this claim, Kim also fails to substantiate the main point of his article: "But ‘faith,’ unfortunately, is becoming Christianity’s new F-word. More and more, apologists are succumbing to cultural norms. They trade ‘the mystery that has been hidden’ (1 Corinthians 2:7) with ‘human traditions and the elemental spiritual forces of this world’ (Colossians 2:8)." This is a serious charge and can not be taken lightly. First, no evidence was given that apologists think negatively of faith. Second, he doesn’t define faith. This may be where the real misunderstanding lies. Ratio Christi has pointed out in a previous article, Using the F-Word, that the definition of faith is extremely important. This series of articles, The F-Files, will explore this topic in greater detail.]
Was Jesse’s relative right? Was a subjective faith apart from fact the better approach that could have steered Jesse away from impending suicide? Or did this well intentioned person simply drive the divide deeper between Jesse’s faith and his cognitive life? It would seem that the relative is correct, because Jesus stated to the skeptical disciple, Thomas, “Blessed are they who did not see [this evidence], and yet believe” (John 20:29 [NASB]).
The Gospel of John seems like a good starting place to examine the nature of Christian belief…
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