“I Just Believe,” the Anti-Intellectual Faith Barrier to a Reasonable Faith
by Rob Lundberg
A few weeks ago following a worship service, I had an opportunity to speak with a potential member for our Ratio Christi club at the University of Mary Washington. The conversation moved from discussing Ratio Christ toward a discussion concerning her spiritual beliefs and convictions. Talk about a divine appointment. She was at church for the first time in a long time, and considered herself a seeker; but not really a Christian in the biblical sense. This particular morning, she had come to church as a way of her investigating the Christianity of her father. After a conversation and sharing with her about her need for Christ, her father listening in, thanked me and told me that he had been talking to her about her spiritual condition for some time. We both agreed that our conversation was truly a divine appointment being the first day back in a church and her openness to the subject matter of her spiritual condition.
The conversation between this gal’s Dad and myself carried out into the open area coffee bar, where I had the chance to introduce Dad and daughter to Ratio Christi at the University of Mary Washington. As my conversation continued with the Dad, we started talking about how 75-88% of the kids coming out of Christian homes are walking away from their faith during the first or second years of university and that we were on the campus to show how Christianity has great reasons for believing it to be true. So I can get into the crux of this essay I was surprised to hear “Dad” tell me that we don’t need any reasons, “I just believe Christianity is true.”
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Here is a Dad, with his daughter, who is investigating Christianity, the faith of her father. And here is a college student, who is finding it difficult to navigate her biology core, and needing help with some answers to why she should believe that Christianity is true. The dilemma here is a father who is concerned about his daughter, and does not believe that Christianity needs reasons for believing why his daughter should believe it to be true. Well, I respectfully disagreed with him and asked him some “what if” questions, like:
“What if you were confronted by one embracing Islam and you told them ‘I just believe’ how do you think that would go?” Or “what if you were confronted by one of the groupies of the new atheism and told them that, what do you think would happen?” And lastly, “what if they had convincing ‘evidence’ to embrace their ideology, and they were to rattle your belief, how would that hold up, ‘I just believe?’” His response was disturbing, “I don’t know, I just believe.”
Believe what? Why do you believe what you do if you do not have a reasons to believe it? Folks this is what is being called by many of my colleagues and mentors in apologetics as the new fideism in the church. Really it is not new, as it has been around for a long time.
What is fideism you ask?
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