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Monday, 7 March 2011

Argument or discussion...?

I'm having an interesting debate with Phaedrus over at The Sentient Puddle Blog over a number of things relating to faith. But it has made me wonder what us Christians are so afraid of in debating our faith. So many Christians don't want to discuss their faith with atheists (or anyone for that matter), or if they do it is simply to try and convert people. Perhaps they see atheists as a challenge?

For me I learn through discussion and debate. I love to ask questions, which often irritates people. They tend to think I am being arrogant or trying to trip them up, but that is not the case at all, it is just that I am really interested. I honestly want to know the answers to the questions I ask.

Phaedrus says:

There is a major problem with religion in society. It tells the masses not to think too much about what really matters, to write off the challenges of their faith by saying "it's all part of god's plan," "he works in mysterious ways," and "their all in a better place now." It subdues people to the whim of the powerful who manipulate them. It concerns me what people think because it affects the world, and especially our political decisions.

Which whilst I recognise in some camps, I just don't agree with. My faith is far stronger from voicing my questions and discussing things that have concerned me.  However some would disagree and suggest that to question ones faith is to question God. But we are far past the age of 'the preacher is God' ('scuse the pun) when no one had access to a bible and could only receive teaching from their Pastor on a Sunday. We are fortunate enough to be able to own several bibles per household if we so wish (we do - stupid numbers, all different... especially when I can have them all on my phone for free and accessible with a few clicks...). There is so much theology out there. So many different view points. I think that can make for confused Christians but it also helps those from very different view points and backgrounds to find the bible both accessible and relevant.

So why is it that some Christians don't want to be questioned? I wonder if they are afraid of what they might discover about themselves? about their own faith?
Phaedrus also says:

The debate however is still quite valid. Both parties are interested in justifying their position as the stronger or more correct.

Is that so? do we just want to justify our position? I mean we are all called as Christians to spread Gods word, but surely that isn't about justifying our beliefs it's about 'saving souls'? isn't it? Personally I think arguing with a confirmed atheist is pointless and I have said so in the past! discussion is interesting and worthwhile, but it can so easily become an argument, particularly for the stubborn and strong-willed, like me! And actually if God wants someone saved he is perfectly capable of guiding us and that person together at the right time to do that. Are we in 'arguing' just making things worse or is all discussion valid and worthwhile?
Love to know peoples thoughts...


Phaedrus said...

Good post. Thanks for the link back. :)

Just wanted to add that by "justifying your position" what I really mean is "shouldn't we at least justify that position to ourselves?" How can we hold a belief to be true if it hasn't survived your own doubt and justification?

Just a thought. :)

Anonymous said...

I never go out of my way to argue with some one of a differing view but if the discussion comes up, I don't back away from them. Many Christians are too ignorant of their own faith. They are often uninformed on some of the basic priciples and are unequipped to support their own faith let alone challenge someone else's. This is often due to a lack of discipleship in the church.

I think it is good to qestion everything from a position of faith.We must know for ourselves not just because someone else says so. We learn more abou the Lord as we ask questions and He answers.

Nancy Wallace said...

As a Christian I think I should be able to give reasons for my faith, but this is not the same as providing proof. If I could 'prove' the existence of God, then I would be limiting God to the limits of my mind. If I am certain, then I have no need of faith, which must include trusting where I cannot see. Questioning and acknowledging we don't have all the answers must be part of living faith.