There is a perception among many believers that faith and reason are distinct and separate. I disagree for biblical reasons. There is, on the other hand, a perception on the other side that would argue the reverse. If we can only provide the most coherent, most cogent, most rational, most well-constructed line of reasoning, we should be able to convince people to come to Christ.
The Middle Ages are sometimes referred to as "the Age of Faith". The term, of course, was coined by the philosophers of the time known as "the Age of Enlightenment" -- roughly the middle of the 17th century through the beginning of the 19th century -- because they dubbed their own period as "the Age of Reason". So in the Age of Faith reality was determined by your religious beliefs. In the Age of Enlightenment they figured out that reason, the mind, the intellect ... these were the ultimate source of reality and truth. We, of course, know much better now. Our scientists and scholars and social reformers have entered the better era -- the Age of Empathy.
How is this age better? What have we figured out that religion and reason could not? Enlighten us! What does Empathy know that Christianity and Science has failed to learn? Well, religion in general and Christianity in particular failed us because it taught us that humans -- especially the body -- are sinful. And Science has affirmed that the body is primarily a machine. The Enlightenment suppressed emotions in favor of the intellect. Clearly to Science "feeling" was beneath "reasoning" and beneath "believing" to Faith. And this was all wrong. So the Empathetic Civilization -- the Age of Empathy -- has come. And we embrace our empathetic masters.
Life is much better now. "How you feel physically and emotionally defines reality." There's a definitive statement for you. And if you grasp it, it starts to answer all sorts of things you may have been struggling with. It explains the current apparent insanity of our culture. It is obviously the source of the "if it feels good do it" ethic. It explains how a sexual desire for the same gender could be classified in any sense as "normal". It explains how it is possible for a person born with the sexual make up of one gender defines him or herself as the opposite gender simply based on how he or she feels. It clears up the problem of being judgmental toward people who you believe to be judgmental, intolerant of people you consider intolerant. It explains without a problem how people who call themselves Christians can say, "Yes, the Bible says this, but it isn't applicable today because we feel it isn't." If how I feel determines what is real, then reality is irrational by definition.
Enter the rational apologist. He (or she) is going to give you the most rational, well-constructed, evidence-filled line of reasoning. He will show from the evidence, from the premises, from the arguments, from the logic, and, perhaps, even from Scripture (although that seems less likely) what the truth is. And, having constructed this marvelous edifice of calculation, he will assume that the proper response will be -- can only be -- submission to the truth. This approach failsto take into account the age in which we live that venerates how we feel over how we think. It fails to take into account the biblical claim that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). It fails to grasp that the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God (Romans 8:7). In short, it fails to consider the reality that a sin-sick world is surrendered to a debased mind (Romans 1:28).
Dostoyevsky said, "When reason fails, the devil helps!" True. Since our fight is not against faulty reasoning or overwhelming evidence, but "against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12), we should keep in mind while we are constructing our rational defenses and seeking to bring people to Christ that reason is not sufficient. We need something more. We need the power of the Word of God. We need the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We need divine intervention.
Though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
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