Thursday, March 12, 2009

The New Apologetic Challenges

I have been asked why I not posted for a while. The reason is that I have been tied up with a ton of research and I prefer to post when I am more sure than less.

What I do want to share is that Christian belief ought to acknowledge that none of us belief is splendid isolation - we adopt the authorities of others only when it makes sense to us (however well we disguise this process). Even those of us who 'feel' led by the lord is simply expressing the fruit of our reasoning in Christianese.

When asked why I chose to believe in the Christian faith having studied so many others, I answered that 3 criteria seems to me to be reasonable. If God exists and has been revealed to humanity, I expect the message to be:

1. universally accessible. No one ought to be underprivileged by geography and history (lived in wrong part of the world or born at the wrong time).
2. philosophically coherent. This is not bowing down to classical philosophy but merely stating how we think. We are made to discover knowledge by observing, pondering and then making judgments on what seems to us most believable. If our beliefs are not coherent, they will soon unravel when questioned.
3. scientifically convergent. This is not bowing down to the scientific method. Rather, it is drawing from the fruits of good scientific inferences based on measurable evidence from which models, hypotheses and theories are constructed for testing.

These 3 criteria serve as my own Baloney Detection Kit (adapted from C. S.'s) to assess any claims to divine truth.

Now to the new apologetic challenges. They come in several forms but their sources appear to be drawn from the following fields of inquiry.

Archaeological findings and their interpretations.
Natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology and the neurosciences).
Social sciences (psychology, psychiatry and sociology).
Religious pluralism that leads to epistemic relativism.
Historical and geological analyses of events and locations.
Literary analyses including the issue of canonization.

I shall expand on these in later posts.