All the time I was writing the series on The Christian Soul, methodically mapping the human soul and the way it is designed to interact with God, I could not help but ask myself a question: “Does any of this matter?”
It was such a strange question. It wasn’t that I thought the subject matter was of no value; on the contrary, the pursuit of God — if one seriously considers the possibility of the existence of God and its inevitable ramifications — is clearly the most vital endeavor we can engage in.
But the world in which we live has become increasingly alienated from (if not hostile to) religious thought. God has become a topic reserved for the uneducated and gullible — and now, apparently, the bigoted.
The pursuit of God — if one seriously considers the possibility of the existence of God and its ramifications — is clearly the most vital endeavor we can engage in.
I hope I am not overstating the case here. While writing the Christian Soul, I simply wondered whether the average reader would look upon the subject matter with polite condescension or disdain, convinced the world of faith has no relevance or perhaps no place in the modern world.
It does, of course. Though it is fashionable nowadays in the media and in politics to regard the Christian faith as a people group standing for oppression and intolerance — or put more simply: The enemy of all legitimate people groups — Christianity is neither of these things: It is the embodiment of eternal truth. And eternal truth has a way of remaining relevant in every generation.
I wish to state that again because I may not have made myself clear: Christianity, if true, exists beyond the bounds of any group that professes it or practices it. It transcends the imperfect and temporal expression of it in our modern day. It is relevant to every people group and every situation the world presently faces, and will face in the ages to come.
Christianity, if true, transcends the imperfect and temporal expression of it in our modern day. It is relevant to every people group and every situation the world presently faces, and will face in the ages to come.
The challenge is that in the minds of most, Christianity does not bear this universal quality — and this includes the minds of most Christians. Our faith in the modern world is often a splintered affair, existing in a pocket of modern life. We perceive it as existing in that part of us called “religious life” that often has little or no connection to the world of contemporary thought such as science, higher education and the issues of modern society.
Now it is possible this is not true for all of us — that for some of us our faith forms a cohesive whole that informs every aspect of our mental life without exception. But if this is true, chances are it is the result of a conscious decision, if not on our part then on the part of our spiritual leaders, to withdraw from modern thought. For us, the Christian faith is still splintered: We have just chosen to live in the splinter.
But for many of us, a splinter is not enough. Our experience has been that the Christian faith is simply not adequate to answer modern life’s most pressing questions. Whether those questions pertain to science, same-sex marriage, social justice, suffering or something else, we have found Christianity either to be ill-informed or indifferent. And so we have said goodbye to our Christian faith. We have chosen to remove the splinter.
The modern Christian faith for most Christian believers is a splintered affair with our Christian faith occupying a sliver of modern life that has little or no connection to modern thought. And if this is not true for us, most likely it is because we have removed ourselves entirely from modern thought and have chosen to live in the splinter.
Then there are those of us showing up at this site who perhaps have never been introduced to Christianity at all. Perhaps we are hostile; perhaps we are just curious. For us, life is not splintered (at least, not in the way we are describing here). But the Christian faith still is, for we cannot possibly see how it could be relevant — “true” if you will — in our modern day.
And lastly there are the rest of us, daily balancing the tension of the modern Christian faith — living out our religious duties faithfully (or even not so faithfully) but unsure how to answer the relentless questions of modern life — unsure how, in the world of modern intellectual thought and contemporary ideas, the Christian faith “fits.” We are the truly splintered.
So I have a new question for all of us: Is it possible for the Christian Mind not to be splintered? Is it possible that authentic Christianity is, in fact, not splintered at all? That it is (as I have described above) something that transcends modern culture, able to provide robust and compelling answers to modern life’s most controversial and pressing questions? I believe it is.
And that is what we will be discussing in this series. I will be tackling some of the hardest questions that face us today, from science to atheism to all those social issues that have sprung up in the last several years. We will take some deep dives and provide what I hope to be a refreshing perspective, providing answers and, yes, hope.
Is it possible that authentic Christianity is not splintered? That it is something that transcends modern culture, able to provide robust and compelling answers to modern life’s most controversial questions? I believe it is.
We will not necessarily set out to provide an answer to every conceivable question, any more than I claim to know all of life’s deep mysteries. Nor do I believe that is the goal. Not even the intellectual giants of the ancient and medieval world who reigned during “the age of faith” made such boast.
But I think what we will discover together that the Christian faith, even Biblical faith, not only is a strong contender in the marketplace of modern thought, but in many ways proves itself superior as a worldview in its ability to account for reality as we find it.
Which is exactly what we would expect if Christianity were true.
I look forward to you joining me.