Wednesday, November 05, 2008

You'd wish it were true

In my previous post I alluded to this idea from Pascal's Pensees.
"Men despise religion; they hate it and fear it is true. To remedy this, we must begin by showing that religion is not contrary to reason; that it is venerable, to inspire respect for it; then we must make it lovable, to make good men hope it is true; finally, we must prove it is true."
I'm increasingly convinced that a key part of our apologetics is to enter people's world, understand their ideas such that we can articulate what they believe and their objections to Christianity clearly and strongly, and then be able to show how these things don't make sense in themselves and/or of the world we live in... and to engagingly show that the Christian account of reality is more coherent and more compelling, more engaging, more reasonable and more appealing. Which it is.

We follow Luther: “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ... Wherever the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that one point.” We need to where the battle rages, to where the inconsistency lies and to where the gospel is denied. We go to fight the spiritual battle where the devilish lies that God hasn't spoken and that we're not accountable are manifesting in blindness.

This wont be simplistic or shallow but should be deeply engaging to the imagination and the intellect. Tapping into "the stab, the pang, the inconsolable longing" that we experience because we're made by God. He borrows this image of it from Chaucer: "All men know that the true good is Happiness, and all men seek it, but for the most part by wrong routes—like a drunk man who knows he has a house but can’t find his way home." - the word of God speaks to show the way, to challenge the lies, to reveal the beauty of reality.

As Richard Cunningham puts it: Identify with where people are and what they believe, persuade them with sense, from experience and from history and then invite some kind of response.

4 comments:

  1. "I'm increasingly convinced that a key part of our apologetics is to enter people's world, understand their ideas such that we can articulate what they believe and their objections to Christianity clearly and strongly, and then be able to show how these things don't make sense in themselves and/or of the world we live in... and to engagingly show that the Christian account of reality is more coherent and more compelling, more engaging, more reasonable and more appealing. Which it is."

    That is precisely what Francis Schaeffer did. Because he was talking to proto-post-modern people, today's post-modern Christians have largely declared his thinking irrelevant, but it is a mistake to relegate his thinking to the dustbin. Schaeffer did 40 to 50 years before any one else what many of us are attempting to figure out how to do today.

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  2. We definitely need Schaeffer today.

    ...He should be our hero.

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  3. I like the way Pascal brings out that apologetics addresses desire. I hate the way things are often crammed into a single category of truth (narrowly and passionlessly defined). Make good men wish it were true, then prove it is true.

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  4. he is my hero!!!!


    ...along with Bish

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