Saturday, June 21, 2008

"Believe it because it's true."


Christianity Today interviews Tim Keller, author of The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, which has reached the New York Times non-fiction, best-seller list. I've been reading it and like it a lot. CT says "Many readers are saying that the book provides satisfying answers to the questions that churched and unchurched people commonly raise about Christianity." Two exchanges from the interview:
You reject marketing apologetics like, "Christianity is better than the alternatives, so choose Christianity." Why?

Marketing is about felt needs. You find the need and then you say Christianity will meet that need. You have to adapt to people's questions. And if people are asking a question, you want to show how Jesus is the answer. But at a certain point, you have to go past their question to the other things that Christianity says. Otherwise you're just scratching where they itch. So marketing is showing how Christianity meets the need, and I think the gospel is showing how Christianity is the truth.

C.S. Lewis says somewhere not to believe in Christianity because it's relevant or exciting or personally satisfying. Believe it because it's true. And if it's true, it eventually will be relevant, exciting, and personally satisfying. But there will be many times when it's not relevant, exciting, and personally satisfying. To be a Christian is going to be very, very hard. So unless you come to it simply because it's really the truth, you really won't live the Christian life, and you won't get to the excitement and to the relevance and all that other stuff. ....

Many Christians say that the rationality of Christians' faith is not the obstacle for unbelievers; they reject Christianity because of what they see as bad behavior and toxic attitudes.

There are always three reasons people believe or disbelieve: the intellectual, the personal, and the social.

It's typical of postmodern people to say belief is all cultural, conditioned by your community.

Perhaps there was a day in which Christians thought that you evangelized largely through intellectual argument, but now I hear people saying, "No, it's all personal. If you're going to win people to Christ you just have to be authentic. You have to just reach out to them personally. You can't do the rational." In other words, Christians are saying the rational isn't part of evangelism. The fact is, people are rational. They do have questions. You have to answer those questions.

Don't get the impression that I think that the rational aspect takes you all the way there. But there's too much emphasis on just the personal now.

Maybe you know I'm a 57-year-old man. You'd say, "Of course you'd say that." But I'm knee deep in 20-somethings. So it's not like I don't know how people are today. [more]
Thanks to The Christian Mind for the reference.

Tim Keller Reasons with America | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

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