A few weeks back I was reading some of the blogs that I follow. One of them called Ni Hao Y’all (run by a lady very active in the adoption world) said she wanted to start an online Bible study. Lately I have been feeling like my relationship with God has been on a back burner and thought this might be a good way to jumpstart it again.
She picked the book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller. The goal is to read a chapter a week and on Tuesday she is going to put up a post about it on her blog with a few questions and we are suppose to answer them either on her blog (if we don’t have one) or on our blog (if we feel comfortable being that open with our thoughts).
This type of writing (lets be honest…any type of writing) has never been my strong suit but I still want to give it a try. I am a little hesitant also because I know Ted’s Mom and Grandpa read this and I really feel like they could do a much better job at writing these type of posts. But it’s not about their faith journey, it is about mine. I don’t know if I am going to have a great insight every week to share or not, but I might, so I thought I would just inform everyone about the book I am reading. I am hoping for some more spiritual growth that will make my relationship with God and my husband more of a priority in my life.
With that said…..This week we were supposed to read the introduction by Tuesday. I know I am a few days behind but I didn’t even get the book until Wednesday. Our question for the week to think about was
Can you relate to what Keller says about the need for Christians to dissect their personal and cultural doubts? If so, what are your most pervasive doubts? If not, to what do you attribute your confidence?
The introduction talks a lot about how polarized the world is becoming in everything from religion, politics, morals, etc. You are either a member of one camp or the other camp with each camp unable to understand or want to understand the other. There is no middle ground anymore on any issue, there is no compromise. And you wonder why marriage these days fail so easily (ok, that is my own personal thought but really, if people were more willing to talk, work together, understand each other’s side, do you really think there would be so much hurt in the world?). Keller asked people to try and understand their own doubts first and then try to understand the other side’s doubts. What is clear to one person is not so clear to other.
Take Ted’s and my communication sometimes. Last night I asked him to renew a magazine for me. I assumed he would go onto the Internet and renew it at the web address provided; however, he wrote out a check (we have to pay for check printing), found an envelope, put a stamp on it (again we have to pay for postage) and placed it in the mail. Both ways get it done; however, CLEARLY my way was cheaper for our family.
(By Ted – However, from my perspective, CLEARLY it was much FASTER to just check a box on the renewal form, write a check, stuff it in the provided envelope rather than pulling out the computer and navigating through a maze of logins, security questions, and credit card forms.)
My initial reaction to Ted last night was that I was angry at him. He didn’t do what I wanted. I was unwilling to consider that his way, his point of view, could actually work too. I am sure everyone has examples when they thought the best way was obvious to everyone yet their partner, parents, kids, etc. didn’t see the problem the same way.
A quote that I think explains the reason for Keller writing the book is “People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.” This quote seemed to really resonate with me because I remember when I left home to attend a Christian college. Lots of students who went to college with me grew up in a religious family but suddenly didn’t have that structure that made them go to church. They had to decide what they really believed or didn’t believe. I saw many of my classmates just give up, it was too much work to figure out what Jesus really meant to them – even at a Christian college. There was too much doubt and it was easier to not think about it or just continue doing what you are doing without digging deeper to truly understand why you are doing what you are doing. I remember because I was that way at first too. I remember a slow climb out of the world of doubt. I still don’t know if I could explain to a skeptic why I believe everything I believe. I know I can not discuss it with my brother who is an outspoken atheist. I have found it easier to just avoid the subject at all cost with him but lately I have been feeling that God has been calling me to step up. We will see if this book will help with the conversations that I hope will happen with my brothers.
There are 2 parts to the book. The first part is about different doubts people have about Christianity. The second part looks like it lists the reason for faith. Next week around Tuesday, I will hopefully have some good thoughts on Chapter 1: “There can’t be just one true religion”.