As a former skeptic, I have a particular interest in Christian apologetics: the defense of the Christian faith. I've read and recommended many excellent books on the subject but want to call your special attention to one I've most recently read because of the uniqueness of its approach and content.
"Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend" is a compilation of essays by renowned Christian apologists compiled and edited by my friend and Christian philosopher and apologist, Ravi Zacharias, that together "suggest a new vision for Christian apologetics in this century."
I love apologetics because it helped me overcome certain intellectual hurdles that I believed, rightly or wrongly, were obstructing my faith. As I delved into the subject, I was immensely gratified to learn that most of my doubts and questions had been asked and answered by biblical scholars who embraced, rather than dismissed, such challenges.
If, for example, you can't reconcile the notion that an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God could permit evil and suffering in the world, you might be surprised to discover that your concerns are hardly new. Such questions have troubled people for millennia. Brilliant and scholarly works exist addressing such questions, as well as seemingly problematic scriptural passages.
Many mistakenly believe that Christian belief, because it involves faith, is unsupported by reason and evidence and that becoming a Christian requires checking your intellect at the door and accepting Christian truth claims unquestioningly. But anyone who has truly studied Christian theology and apologetics -- I hadn't during my skeptical days -- understands that Christianity rests on a powerful body of evidence and that reason and intellect are its allies, not its enemies.
Before you cavalierly assume that there are unanswerable contradictions or unfathomable paradoxes, before you reject Christian theology out of hand because you witness Christian hypocrisy, before you dismiss the Bible as merely a wonderful piece of literature with some instructive moral stories, do yourself the favor of reading it for yourself. And read what other believing, conservative scholars and theologians have written on the subject.
You will come away enriched beyond your greatest expectations and no longer able to say that Christianity is for dummies -- or ducks the tough questions. Debunking the stereotype of the Christian as a nonthinker and that Christianity discourages intellectual examination, Ravi says, "We are fashioned by God to be thinking and emotional creatures. The emotions should follow reason, and not the other way around."
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