Tuesday, September 28, 2010


As American Christians [and Canadian Christians I would argue], we celebrate the idea that "all men are created equal." This statement from our Declaration of Independence is grounded in the biblical teaching that every person in the world has been formed in the image of God and therefore has intrinsic worth. It's a beautiful idea.

Subtly, however, this quality of persons shifts into an equality of ideas. Just as every person is equally valued, so every idea is equally valid. Applied to faith, this means that in a world where different people have different religious views, all such views should be treated as fundamentally equal.

In this system of thinking, faith is a matter of taste, not of truth. (Platt, David. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah, 2010. 141)

All ideas are not created equal; some ideas are better than others.

This week one of my daughters questioned me on how we could be confident that what we believed was right. She commented that other people had other religious beliefs that they believed were true. She also noted that other religions had their own scriptures and that they would use those writings to support their thinking. She queried: "Why should we as Christians have confidence we are right?"

To her general question, I gave her a personalized answer: "If you want to be sure what you believe is true, you need to do 2 things. First, you need to pray to God and ask him to convince you of the truth of the Bible and of Christianity. Without God's help, no amount of inquiry will convince you of the truth. We, because of sin, are unable to find truth without the grace of God. So ask the Holy Spirit to help you in this. Secondly, search these things out for yourself. If you find something about Christianity that troubles you, look into it. I will help you. Whether it is the existence of dinosaurs or the inerrancy of the Bible, study the problem until you get some answers. I am convinced that you will find the Bible and Christianity can overcome any challenge you have for it."

My confidence, which is real and not contrived, seemed to put her at ease. She proceeded to tell me where she thought dinosaurs came into play in the Biblical account of history.

I relay this quote from Radical and the anecdote about my daughter for a few reasons. First, to remind you that not all ideas are equal, and in Christianity I believe we find truth that is verifiable; the claims it makes hold up under scrutiny. Secondly, to remind us that logical investigation does not save people; God saves people. Humans, at the most basic level, do not have an intellectual problem with God; they have a moral problem with Him. They want to be their own god. And only God can overcome that type of defiance. And finally, when faced with inquiring individuals or challenges from children, you can be confident in the answers that the Bible provides, but you can be overwhelmingly sure that God can change people's hearts and minds.

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