Friday, April 12, 2013

Read Along: Chapter One—Is Faith Irrational?

Today we begin our new Read Along with Apologetics 315 project. This is a chapter-by-chapter study through the book Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow. (Hear an interview about the book here.) Below you will find an audio intro for Chapter One, a brief summary of the chapter, a PDF workbook with questions for the chapter, and some notable quotes. You're also encouraged to share your comments and feedback for each chapter in the comment section below. Feel free to interact!

[Audio Intro] - Sean McDowell introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 01 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) - PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] - Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter One: Is Faith Irrational?
(pages 19-31)

Chapter one addresses the objection that faith is essentially a blind belief without any evidence. The authors quote notable new atheist voices, showing how faith has been commonly defined among those who object to faith. However, McDowell and Morrow argue that biblical faith has never been defined in this way. They correct the misconception and show that biblical faith is trust in God because he has shown himself to be reliable and trustworthy.

Apologist Greg Koukl contributes to this chapter with an essay dealing with the use of the word "faith." He suggests that this term has been misused, abused, and is misunderstood. He suggests a better term in place of faith which doesn't carry the same negative baggage and better represents biblical faith.

Notable quotes:
Mainstream Christianity has always emphasized that faith and reason go together. Indeed, biblical faith is trust in God because he has shown himself to be reliable and trustworthy. Faith is not belief in spite of the evidence, but belief in light of the evidence. (p. 21)  
For now, we simply want to show that Christians have had evidence of their faith since the inception of the church. And the value placed on both faith and reason has persisted throughout church history(p. 23)
Therefore, the most important question is not, Do we have faith? but, How well-grounded is our faith? Is our faith rational or irrational? (pp. 24-25)
  1. How do you respond to the objection that faith is simply a blind leap in the dark?
  2. What do you think of when you hear the word faith? What terms do you use?
  3. What benefits do you see in using Koukl's term instead of the word "faith?"
Recommended Reading
Next Week: Chapter 2—Are Science and Christianity at Odds?


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