The main reason people abandon Christianity is unanswered intellectual questions, yet many churches treat faith as a mostly emotional experience, philosopher Nancy Pearcey argued in an interview with The Christian Post. Her new book, Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, provides five practical strategies to help Christians think about issues that challenge their faith.
Pearcey is a best-selling author whose previous works include Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, and, coauthored with Charles Colson and Harold Fickett, How Now Shall We Live?
Following the Apostle Paul’s example in the first chapter of his letter to the Romans, Finding Truth provides readers with a progression of five principles to help them identify unbiblical ideas and articulate a response to those ideas. These principles are useful for both speaking to non-Christians and for addressing unbiblical ideas that have infiltrated the Church. Each of the core chapters deals with one of the five principles, and there is a study guide in the back of the book.
Those principles are: 1. Identify the idol. 2. Identify the idol’s reductionism. 3. Test the idol: Does it contradict what we know about the world? 4. Test the idol: Does it contradict itself? 5. Replace the idol: Make the case for Christianity.
In her CP interview, Pearcey said the book was motivated, in particular, out of a concern for young Christians. Church youth groups are often good at establishing an emotional commitment but are failing young Christians intellectually. Parents and church leaders need to encourage their youth to grapple with difficult questions and help them learn to think through those issues, she argued, or else they will be left unprepared when their views are challenged.
Below is part one of the transcript of that email interview. In part two, Pearcey applies the five principles of Romans 1 to the issue of same-sex marriage.
CP: Why did you want to write this book?
Pearcey: Finding Truth challenges the mindset of “Don’t think, just believe,” whether in the Church, the classroom, the media, or politics. Studies find that the main reason people abandon their Christian upbringing is unanswered intellectual questions. The researchers were surprised; they expected to hear stories of relationship issues — people saying they’d been hurt or emotionally wounded. But the reason given most often by those who de-convert is that they could not get answers to their doubts and questions.
That is my own story as well. Raised in a Lutheran home, I started asking questions in high school: How can we know that Christianity is true? Is it just an emotional crutch? None of the adults in my life gave any answers. I asked a college professor why he was a Christian, but all he said was, “Works for me.” A seminary dean said, “Don’t worry. We all have doubts sometimes” — as though I was just going through a psychological phase.
Eventually I concluded that Christianity must not have any substantial answers. I decided to put it aside and embark on a search for truth. After several years as an agnostic, I finally stumbled across L’Abri, the work of Francis and Edith Schaeffer in Switzerland. There for the first time I met people who offered reasons and arguments supporting the truth of Christianity.
My own experience convinces me that it is important to take people’s questions seriously. I wrote Finding Truth to help other people who have questions to find solid answers.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post