Archives For Discipleship

walker

This post continues looking at Gregory Boyd’s 9 objections to what he calls certainty-seeking faith. The bullet points below correspond with objections 7-9. Boyd takes a whole chapter to work through #9, so I’ll spend a bit more time explaining it.

The Case Against Certainty-Seeking Faith

  • Feeling over-certain in your beliefs is the cause of religious extremism and acts of violence in the name of God.

It’s an interesting point, and certainly relevant to our time. Boyd contends that this wouldn’t occur if people were more doubtful and humble. But can’t we just be humbler? Does doubt have to be the reason we don’t kill each other?

  • The end goal of certainty-seeking faith is for the believer to feel good about themselves. It’s self-serving rather than primarily concerned with truth. “The goal of believing the truth and the goal of feeling certain you already believe the truth are mutually exclusive” (pg.51). Boyd presents the case that rational pursuits of truth involve individuals weighing available evidence in a highly ambiguous, uncertain world.

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i-object-animal

Last week, I introduced Gregory Boyd’s recent book Benefit of the Doubt in a post called Hitting the Faith Puck. This week I’ll continue interacting with Boyd as he presents his case against certainty-seeking faith.

In chapters 2-3 Boyd raises nine objections against certainty-seeking faith. I’ll share a brief description of each objection and make a few comments afterward in italics. I’ll have to split this one up into two posts. Just a head’s up: these reflections are more philosophic, psychological in nature. We will get to Scripture, just not yet.

The Case Against Certainty-Seeking Faith

  • Trying to convince ourselves of certainty, without pursuing further evidence for a belief, is irrational. We shouldn’t have to convince ourselves to believe in something more fully than the evidence warrants. Forcing “certainty” doesn’t work.

On the other hand, repetition of a certain belief (“I do believe, I do, I do, I do”) does seem to eventually convince. In recent times the case has convincingly been made that people who listen to one viewpoint for long enough become convinced it is correct (and are astonished that others could disagree!). But I agree with Boyd that this is not a preferred approach to greater certainty. Repetition does nothing to change the evidence we’ve encountered about a belief.

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Doubt & Faith

Paul McMullen —  January 20, 2017 — 9 Comments

hand-reaching-for-heaven

As I lay there looking up at the ceiling, I reached out my hand into the darkness and cried out on the inside, “If you’re there, won’t you let me know?” I spoke to God, whose existence I was uncertain of. I often laid awake at night, wrestling with doubt, wondering if he was there, wondering why he made it so hard to believe.

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“He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death—his death on the cross.”  Philippians 2:8  (Good News Translation)

So many things in life are easy to say and really hard to do.  This is certainly true in the life of the disciple of Jesus.  Just take “Love God, and love your neighbor” as an example.  There’s a lifelong learning curve on those two.  And so, when we hear some teaching on a Sunday, or we’re convicted of some need for change, or find ourselves in a Kairos moment* – it’s easier to cognitively agree than it is to put those things into practice.

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Kid

Recently I read an article entitled “The #1 Reason Why Students Leave the Church Could Surprise You.” The title is click bait for sure, but for good reason — many people realize that students are leaving the church at an alarming rate. In fact, the 20-year youth ministry veteran interviewed in the article mentioned that good research indicates that at least half of students leave church and faith in young adulthood.

Something about the way most churches approach student ministry isn’t working.

What was the youth ministry veteran’s #1 reason?

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