I just started a new book, The Reason for God, by Tim Keller. If you aren't familiar with Keller, he is pastor of Redeemer in NYC, a church that is known for connecting with a broad cross section of New Yorkers - poor, wealthy, yuppies, artistic, multicultural.
I thought I'd make some posts related to the questions that Keller discusses in his latest book. I think I will enjoy this book because it is a very contemporary (copyright 2008), accessible apologetic, but it does not abandon orthodoxy. Ever since reading I Sold My Soul on Ebay, I have been thinking more actively about our age of skepticism and how a Christ-follower can intellectually, lovingly and respectfully engage others on the many current objections posed.
Keller opens up by addressing the topic of doubt, which is absolutely foundational for any discussion of apologetics. If we have not honestly acknowledged and wrestled with the doubts of our own faith (if think you don't have any, then take some time to think on that one), then it will be difficult to have an intelligent conversation with a skeptic.
"People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic."
We cannot hold beliefs because we simply inherited them (which is why college ministry is particularly interesting, because so many new students are grappling with this inheritance issue for the first time). Struggling with our own doubts is a process that will undoubtedly lead us to a stronger and more respectable position, Keller says. He also argues that all doubts, however skeptical or cynical they may seem, are really a set of beliefs.
"You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B."
Keller goes on to urge Christians to wrestle with their personal and the culture's objections to our faith. As Peter says, "always be prepared" to give a reason for the hope that you have!
Keller shares three stories of transformation from his congregation of individuals who have wrestled with their doubts, moving from a secular position to a position of faith in Christ, and then he closes the intro by reminding us that Jesus responded to doubt by challenging Thomas to not acquiesce in doubt, and he responded elsewhere with a blessing to the man who honestly acknowledged his doubt and unbelief.