Critical thought. Many lack it. I made a point to it in my recent post about why so many Americans are walking from their faith. “Christians” have built their faith on ideas heard from other “Christians” what the faith is about or based on what they think the faith is about instead of actually studying what the Bible has to say about God and how to follow Him. Or rather, what God/Jesus Christ has to say about Himself as recorded in the Bible and how we are to follow Him properly.
I read an article in passing a while ago, apologies for losing the reference, but it featured common sayings that people believed were quotes from the Bible when it really wasn’t. For example, “God helps those who helps themselves” or “Cleanliness is next to godliness“. Read through the Bible folks, it’s not in there.
Though university I’ve been asked all sorts of questions like,
- “Why is there evil and suffering in the world if God is loving?”
- “Why do you discriminate against dating non-Christians?”
- “Why won’t you accept Jesus was just a good teacher?”
- “Your bible condones slavery, treating women like possessions and polygamy, why do you believe in something so backwards?”
- “Why do you believe good people go to hell just because they don’t believe in Jesus?”
- “Why shouldn’t a couple live together before getting married?”
- “Why does bad things happen to me when I don’t deserve any of this?”
One of my best friends in university couldn’t answer these questions…and instead of seeking the answers, she chose to just walk away from her faith. I became determined to find out the answers…if the Bible was Truth, then it can stand up to questioning, and answers will be found. And so, I did find answers to each of those questions…and for most questions after university too. Interestingly, as time went on, the secular community has reached similar conclusions for some of the questions I’ve been asked. This really serves to cement in my mind that the Bible is always relevant. No matter what century we’re in.
The early believers were told to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15; bold and italics mine)
Prepared. I’m trying to be…and I encourage all believers seeking after God to be prepared as well. Thinking critically about your faith doesn’t mean you have to go to seminary, though that isn’t a bad idea, it does mean embracing questions the world will ask and going after the answers until you find it. Sometimes, as you spiritually mature, the answer gets fine tuned so it’s in better alignment with the Bible. Sometimes you just might need to be okay with not knowing the full answer until Christ comes back and you can ask Him yourself.
This Boundless.org article “Christianity in the Marketplace” gives an example of how Paul was able to share with the secular philosophers and great thinkers of his day. One point from the article I liked was that bits of truth is scattered in the world and you can use those bits to make a case for the Truth of God’s word. Point is, we need to know our world, we need to know ourselves, and even more, we need to know God as He reveals Himself in the Bible. Sharpen your awareness, fine tune your intellect regarding your faith and be resourceful in finding answers. Surprise the world by showing that Christ-followers do have very logical reasons for believing in and following Christ. No one else is going to do that for you.
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16