I don’t like using the word ‘religious’ to describe myself, because of the common misconception that is attached to that word. In our scientific, post modern culture, when people here that someone actually believes that the Bible is the word of God they often think – naive, irrational, stubborn, judgmental, narrow minded. And sadly it is true, that often times, this IS an accurate description of many people under the label ‘christian’.
It is often thought that believing in a real God who is able to objectively communicate himself to his creation is only possible when one lets go of all critical thinking and ‘just takes it by faith’ – which often means that you don’t need a substantial explanation, because faith doesn’t necessarily need to make sense.
It is said that Jesus and salvation are needed for people who are weak and need some sort of emotionally comforting answer to the difficult questions of life. As I read the Bible, especially the New Testament, it is fascinating for me to see that the ideas and principles presented completely opposite to all these opinions.
1 Peter 3:15 says:
“…always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, yet do this with gentleness and respect.”
Here, and in many other areas of the NT, the writers constantly challenge the reader to hear, to process, to understand what they claim they believe. The author here calls the readers to make sure that they can always give a reasonable explanation why they live the way they do, to make sure that they have really understood what is being written to them.
This is also true in the NT’s presentation of the person of Jesus Christ and what he has done. The call is not to merely find emotional comfort – the call is to THINK. Think about the nature of your existence, think about the exceeding power and purpose demonstrated in all that surrounds you, think about the necessity of the existence of someone who started it all.
It then goes on to present a compelling answer to these tough questions.
The Bible’s presentation appeals to the mind rather than the emotions. It seeks to stimulate the mind, to poke it in areas where it doesn’t want to be poked.
In our day, people typically blow these difficult questions off, saying that it is impossible to know a real answer, and that anyone who claims they do, sets themselves above every other person and viewpoint.
By pushing these questions aside, we don’t really make them go away, we only change the way that we answer them. Rather than objectively thinking about all the options and all the evidence that we have, we simply invent our own set of answers…and then we call faith in the Bible irrational?