I attended a seminar recently, in which the speaker stressed the importance of logic in the church. Logic has been studied for centuries but has lately been forgotten by many in the church. As Christians, we have been called to walk by faith, but this does not mean it is necessary to abandon intelligence. Both walk hand in hand quite well.
Many of us, however, have not had the luxury of studying logic and feel verrrrry ill-prepared to defend our faith intelligently. I recently had the privilege of reviewing the book, On Guard by William Lane Craig, and am so relieved to have found it. It is a guide to "defending your faith with reason and precision". This amazing book walks you through the art of logical argument and equips you with the tools necessary to entertain an intelligent discussion about creation, morality, suffering, and Christianity.
The book begins with a foreword by Lee Strobel, offering a strong stamp of approval. Chapter One dives right in to a crash-course in basic logic and an explanation of apologetics. And why do we want to know these things? Well, for one reason..."You will become more thoughtful and well-rounded. You'll learn how to think logically and to analyze what other people are saying. Instead of saying sheepishly, "This is how I feel about it --it's just my opinion, that's all," you'll be able to say, "This is what I think about it, and here are my reasons..." Dr. Craig maintains: “If the Gospel is to be heard as an intellectually viable option for thinking men and women today, then it’s vital that we as Christians try to shape American culture in such a way that Christian belief cannot be dismissed as mere superstition.”
Heady stuff, but not overwhelming. The author has presented it clearly and simply but manages not to insult his readers' intelligence. He says it himself in the book: "I've tried to be simple without being simplistic." You'll come out of the book equipped and feeling smarter, not overwhelmed and feeling frustrated...honest.
I am amazed at the author's ability to help me step back and see the other side's arguments for what they really are. The atheist perspective declares that there is no God and that life ends at the grave. But it's not just your life that ends, it is all mankind. Eventually everything is doomed to destruction. If this is so, then it makes no ultimate difference what you do with your life. Whether you live as a Stalin or as a Mother Teresa, your life will ultimately be forgotten and have no purpose. Philosophers argue that life is meaningless and yet insist that people are better off embracing a Noble Lie which claims the universe contains value so that mankind will be compelled beyond self interest. Dr. L.D. Rue, who embraced this viewpoint, concludes: "But without such lies, we cannot live." The absurdity of this argument is walked through carefully, providing effective arguments for a Creator and a life of purpose and value which do not require self-deception.
Each chapter presents premises and arguments. Counter arguments are elegantly dissected. The contents are powerful and deep, yet able to be understood by your average high school student. In fact, I will be incorporating this book into my son's freshman logic class.
Reading the book has not made me an expert, but it has left me feeling more secure in my ability to discuss and defend my faith. I don't feel intimidated anymore! If you've ever wished for a training manual to help you defend your Christian worldview, this is it.