Starting Points: Part 1

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Atheism Leave a Comment

The many students who believe in God that I interact with in my travels can be divided, roughly speaking, into two camps:

1. Those whose starting point is God and his revelation in nature, Scripture, and Christ.

2. Those whose starting point is their own experience of religion and faith.

#1 is more “objective,” #2 more “subjective.”

The 1’s tend to ask, How do I fit into God’s story?

The 2’s seem to ask a rather different question: How does my belief in God fit into my story?

* * *

Recently I talked at length with a student who is in the process of deciding which of the two positions above he will embrace.

In a certain way, he appreciates #1 because it requires a strong commitment to Scripture and truth.

But honestly, he says, #1 feels cold and brittle, lacking in compassion for gays and minorities.

In his view #1  disrespects other religions, strips him of his own self-determination, and aligns him with a conservative Christian camp that he has come to disdain.

So he finds himself drawn increasingly to #2: his starting point will be his own experience, his own story, his own judgments.

God, however, is still very important to him.

In the course of our conversation I said something to this thoughtful young man that probably sounded quite extreme: lurking in the background of #2 is atheism.

I’ll say more about that next week.


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