Revelations: Faith reporter to serve on panel
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Aug. 16, 2013 at 3:16 a.m.
How often do you find yourself backing down from a conversation about Christianity to your not-so-Christian friends or co-workers?
How often do you find yourself doubting the existence or reality of a theistic, interpersonal God because modern science and pop-culture says religion is for uneducated, mindless Bible-beaters?
I won't debate there are indeed some uneducated, mindless Bible-beaters in the world, but I maintain that Christianity isn't for the mindless and uneducated. In fact, I would argue the exact opposite opinion.
Unfortunately, the mindless and tactless Christians always seem to creep to the forefront of the media. And before we realize it, they're often the ones representing the faith in public forum.
Thankfully, I learned years ago that Christianity is a philosophically sound and historically accurate faith that continues to survive and thrive throughout the world because of its truth and power.
Yet there are so many Christians who fear Biblical conversations with strangers because they don't know enough about their faith to answer questions without sounding like a Bible-beater.
But the Bible tells us in 1 Peter that we need to to be prepared for these conversations and not back down: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
You would not believe how many times people have told me after one of these conversations that it's just so nice to be able to have a conversation with a Christian who knows their faith and can articulate what they believe without beating them over the head with out-of-context scripture.
Because what I learned through this Peter verse and in my own private studies of world religions is that sometimes people just don't give a flip what the Bible says.
They want to talk about science: "What about evolution?"
They want to talk about philosophy: "What is 'knowing' beyond our sensory experience, and how can we know God exists?"
They want to talk about history: "Why were some of the gospels left out of the Bible?"
They want to talk about theology: "Why are there so many denominations in Christianity, and why aren't they in the Bible?"
Before we can win them over with an argument about why they should consider the Bible, they want to understand the stuff in the periphery of Christianity before prioritizing Jesus as the son of God.
On Sept. 17, I will be participating in an apologetics panel to coincide with a new Bible study, "The Reason for God," at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church.
Apologetics is just a fancy word stemming from the Greek word apologia, meaning "to make a defense."
Professional Christian apologetics like Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. J.P. Moreland make a living presenting complicated and academic evidence to the masses about how we can know God exists, why theism is superior to other world views, why Jesus of the Bible is historically accurate and why Christianity is reasonable against scrutiny.
It's fascinating to watch these men debate, and please know I'm not in any way qualified to speak at their level. But it's common for Christians to doubt, and therefore, it should be mandatory that we explore reasonable paths of knowledge to sustain our faith and understand why we check the Christian box.
The apologetics panel featuring Our Saviour's the Rev. John Waak; Theresa Klacman, founder of Restoration House ministries; Alan Carol, Our Saviour's council president; and Jason Eliot of Liberty University is a fantastic event to attend if you're interested in wading through topics commonly pondered by the faithful.
Some of these include: Isn't the Bible a myth? Hasn't science disproved Christianity? How can you say there is only one way to God? What about other religions? What gives God the right to tell me how to live my life? Why are there so many rules in Christianity? Why does God allow suffering? Why is there so much evil in the world? Why is the church responsible for so much injustice? Why are Christians such hypocrites? How can God be full of love and wrath at the same time?
On my own faith journey, I've stubbornly read, researched, argued, cried, debated, asked, prayed and sought God for answers to tough questions about his existence and the purpose of mine.
And the more I learn about the origins of my faith and the evolution of how the message arrived at my door, the more I've grown to respect the power of understanding my faith.
It also continues to help me weed out the cultural noise from a true walk with the Lord.
Knowledge is power. And having a defense for your faith is powerful. Join us at the panel and let's go beyond the Bible.
Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org or @jenniferpreyss on Twitter.