How Your Faith Can Withstand Intellectual Assault

By Timothy W. Massaro

Living in a secular age means living with our faith being contested. We are surrounded by people who believe and act differently from us. Our faith feels intellectually vulnerable. We must not take for granted the faith handed down by our parents. In fact, statistics show that those who merely have a faith that is passed down to them end up losing it if they never come to accept the faith’s claims for themselves. We need to think critically about how our hearts and minds are being shaped by the world around us, not only intellectually but in what we believe is good and beautiful. This takes virtue and wisdom.

In his classic work, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote that Christ “told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves,’ but also ‘as wise as serpents.’” Jesus really wants “a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head.” We need the wisdom of a serpent and the virtue of a dove. This is true for all of us. We need to be more discerning in our day and to know our faith better. Here are three reasons apologetics can help us withstand intellectual assaults upon our faith in our secular age along with some resources to get you started:

1. Apologetics unpacks the truth claims of Christianity to a modern world.

What is believable is different today. What is conceivable about what is good, just, true, and beautiful is different. “Faith is fraught; confession is haunted by an inescapable sense of its contestability. We don’t believe instead of doubting; we believe while doubting. We’re all [Doubting] Thomas now,” James K. A. Smith writes (How Not to Be Secular, 4). The very way we have faith has been challenged, because the social conditions of church, life, and family have been radically altered. This is where apologetics can be very helpful…

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