Friday, March 13, 2009

Thoughts of this Friday – Faith, Reason & Evangelism

I have not forgotten two years ago when I began this blog an acquaintance began a debate with me about faith. This person sent me a very provocative video featuring a prominent atheist with reasons why faith in God is foolish and dangerous. I watched this video and then immediately went to work on an extensive rebuttal. The video was very compelling however, the speaker’s arguments were full of fallacies, which I desired to demarcate and explain. However, an hour later, and several pages into my response, I grew weary, laid down my metaphorical quill and paused to think about where this was going. I no longer desired to make my rebuttal--tediously, line by line; I no longer wished to continue the debate. I realized that perhaps this debate would go on for a long time and no ground would be gained. I thought that after a break I may come back to this.

Months later, I felt guilty that I had not come back to it. And then thought, if someone were seeking in the opposite direction from which I was arguing, then they would only be seeking to find ways in which I was wrong, in the same manner I was seeking to argue their wrongness; and the cycle of arguments would continue indefinitely. There is a very good Muslim medieval philosopher--and I should be shot, I cannot remember his name now (sorry, Dr. Tkacz, al Farabi?)—who said if one cannot argee to the existence of God in the first place there is no point in beginning an argument on faith with that person.

If there is one thing I did retain in all my philosophical training at Gonzaga, it’s this, you cannot reason yourself to faith. No one has ever done it. C.S. Lewis couldn’t do it, Soren Kierkegaard could not do it, and neither can you. You can reason whether some notions are right or wrong, but faith is not of the same nature.

Andrew always tells me that I should not be mad at him for being an hour late to dinner, because he was evangelizing. “It’s a chance to save a soul.” He reminds me we are all called to evangelize. The reason I did not finish my rebuttal was out of my own weakness. So some days, like today I feel guilty that I never finished my rebuttal. Maybe I will dig it out and see if I can finish it (now, two years farther from my years as a philosophy student).

+May God be merciful to me, a sinner.

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