This isn’t the post I’d planned for today! I was all geared up for a rant, something caustic, something certain to heat up the broadband cable at least as far as the wall and possibly, stretching all the way to the phone pole from whence my cable cometh!
… But things changed when I sorted through my email and this article immediately caught my attention. A first-person feature relates the faith journey of Kirsten Powers, girl-reporter phenom, political pundit, contributor at USAToday and FoxNews, columnist at The Daily Beast, and now, writing for … Christianity Today!
Powers tells a simple but profound story of detaching herself from boilerplate doubt (about the existence of God) into what she terms an “aggressively secular” mindset, and eventually, much to her consternation, into “indescribable joy” (again, her words) as a confirmed though “reluctant Jesus follower.”
With delightful candor, Powers recounts her contempt for Christians, mentally dismissing them as “anti-intellectual bigots … too weak to face the reality that there is no rhyme or reason to the world.” Based on this CT article, it appears she didn’t actually reject Christ, though she soundly rejected his followers. (Given my own lifelong experiences within religious circles, I sympathize.)
Remarkably, in Powers’ case, her crisis of faith (a subject about which I’ve previously posted) came soon after she acknowledged the presence and power of God in her life. Why? Because she had accepted a secular orthodoxy (yes, I believe the word applies) holding that many … most …all Christians are intellectual dullards and their vapidity results from a nonsensical, robotic belief system.
Not surprisingly, I suggest the opposite is true: honest intellectual pursuit of all aspects of one’s life (not just one’s religious faith) requires rigorous inquiry. Contrary to Richard Dawkins (who criticizes faith as a “process of active non-thinking”), I consider my Christian faith expands my clear-thinking view of the world. Christian faith offers a view of the Creation that withstands critical examination. But don’t take my word for it.
Consider this account of Paul’s travels in Acts 17. He was in the ancient Macedonian city of Berea, sharing with the people of that city the Good News of Jesus Christ. Yes, they “received the message with great eagerness,” but they also “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Do the actions of these Berean Jews resemble Dawkins’ notion of active non-thinking?
Later in this same chapter of Acts, Paul debates a group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. In turn, these philosophers respect Paul’s view enough to bring him to a meeting of the Areopagus. Recognizing the people of Athens were highly religious, Paul challenged them to weigh the claims of Jesus Christ, asserting Christ was the “unknown God” for whom they already had an altar in place.
Granted, the above references to Acts 17 come from the Bible. You may not like the Bible (have you read it?) or consider it an authoritative source. Nevertheless, the message Paul presented to both the Bereans and the Athenians stands up to scrutiny in every age, including today.
The Good News message is so irrational, yes − why would anyone willingly, knowingly choose to die in another’s place? But the Good News is also utterly rational − the Creator stepped out of eternity to invade Time (as a man) for the express purpose of reclaiming his Creation!
The Powers account reminds me of another one-time atheist, C. S. Lewis. His journey to faith is recounted in a memoir, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. Instead of robotic religious creed, Powers and Lewis travelled parallel paths and both discovered a robust relationship with Christ that changed everything! Is it any surprise both would describe their journeys with the word Joy? I think not.
Tomorrow, the rant.