Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More on "Taking Theology Seriously" [SK]

I'm away at Cedarville University (OH) where I spoke to 3,000 students and faculty at chapel today. One of my points was a question: Do religious and moral truth claims count as real knowledge?

Secular critics insist that because pro-life metaphysics are, for the most part, grounded in Christian theism, they’re beyond the pale of reason. Rather, they are "faith" based. (Translation: They're mere preferences.) I dealt with the topic briefly last week, but here are some additional thoughts.

Yes, pro-life advocacy squares nicely with an overall Christian worldview, but it doesn't follow pro-lifers can only defend their case with an appeal to that worldview. Nevertheless, let's assume the pro-life view is essentially religious: Why should anyone suppose that religious truth claims don’t count as real knowledge? What’s the evidence for that metaphysical claim?

Let’s start with definitions. Note that "faith" in the context of secular thinking does not count as real knowledge, but only an irrational leap into subjective experience. But do informed Christians really think that? As my friend Greg Koukl points out, true biblical faith is not belief in spite of evidence, but knowledge (trust) based on evidence. Greg cites many scriptures to support this very point(emphasis added):

--Acts 2: 32, 36—"This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses... Therefore, let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
--Acts 17: 2-4 (Paul)—"And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, saying ‘This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.’"
--Acts 1: 3—"To these apostles he also presented Himself alive, after his suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of 40 days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God."
--Mark 2: 10-11 (Jesus healing the paralytic man) —"In order that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins, I say to you ‘rise, pick up your bed and go home.’ And he rose immediately, took up the bed, and went out in the sight of all, so that they were amazed and were glorifying God, saying, ‘we have never seen anything like this.’"
--Hebrews 11: 1— "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen."

In short, the Christian faith is historical and places a high value on realism. The Apostle Paul says it well: If Christ did not rise from the dead bodily and historically, Christianity is one big joke. (1 Cor. 15: 1-15) Of course, it’s possible Christian theism is mistaken in part or in whole (though I think that’s highly unlikely), but to say that believers can’t defend their views with anything but blind faith is simply false.

I'll say more on this topic between events.

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