Thought Factory Podcast #209 || Faith & Reason Part 1: Six Foundational Questions to Ask Students

Is there evidence for a Creator?  Where does my truth come from?  What do I believe about Jesus?  Can I doubt the resurrection and still be a Christian?  If God is so good then why is my world so bad?  Am I committed to Godly sexuality? In this two-part episode, Michelle Rewa, with a background in apologetics and a degree in science, explores the 6 foundational questions where faith and reason connect.  This episode gets us thinking about the first three questions and why it is important to be asking our students in the first place.

*All the questions are linked to former blog posts that dig a little deeper on the topic.

Is there evidence for a Creator?

Everything flows from this question, the rest of our life choices flow from the answer to this question.   We want to approach this question – looking at it from the standpoint of what does everyone agree on based on the evidence about the beginning of the universe and the beginning of life.

Science and the nature of this area are something that needs to be consistently kept up on because it is always changing, as more information arises and is shared instantly across the globe.  Keeping up on this can be really easy when you read through some credible and well-resourced blogs.

We typically come at this question with a predetermined biased believing what we already think.  As a youth leader, we may be the only person that a student is willing to discuss this question.

Are we willing to go out and look for the answers with the students?
Are we allowing an environment where questions can be asked with out judgment to be passed?

This can be a difficult conversation because if a student comes to the conclusion that the evolutionary path is true and it conflicts with what they see in the Bible, then their world can come apart and there can be a crisis of faith if they don’t have someone to talk about these thoughts.

Amongst all the sources of information, fake news, discredited resources, are we allowing ourselves to be the credible person students trust to approach us about these questions, even if we don’t know the answers?

Where does my truth come from?

One of the struggles in today’s world is that everybody is right about everything, so pick what you like, we are all right.  That is the culture students are growing up in, even though we know intrinsically that this is not true and it doesn’t work.  So whatever they believe about themselves, about God, about others, about their behaviors and lifestyles, they can just make it up as they go.  If their life is all about them, then truth just comes from them.

We need to help students understand that truth is concrete and needs to direct our lives, but we need a basis for that truth.  As Christians we believe the Bible to be true, but how come?  Do we discuss this approach to the Bible as true or just assume our entire student body is already there and collectively agree that it is true?  Students wrestle with “how come” – is it just a good self-help book with wise things, or does it have authority to speak into my life?

Are we helping students think through the “why” behind the “what?”
How often are we showing students evidence that supports why the Bible is the truth, as opposed to other “holy” books?

We can’t tell students the Bible is true because the Bible says it is true, it is poor logic.  But there are things that point to the authenticity of the Bible, both internally and externally of the Bible.

Approaching the authenticity of the Bible, Michelle has come up with an easy acronym.

P – Prophesy
Looking at books that have been written thousands of years before something came to pass – like the life of Jesus where he can’t control where he was born or his family line.  Prophesy is an internal source of evidence that supports the Bible.

A – Archeology
Lots of artifacts are found and researched that support the authenticity of the Bible.  What we found in the past and what we find today, we find that the Bible was right.  This is an external source of evidence that supports the Bible.

U – Unity
We have a book that was written over a period of 1500 years, it was written in multiple languages, by 40 authors, in different continents.  All these people writing the story at different time periods, but it is all one story.  We can see consistency throughout the entire Bible about the story of God.  No other book in history can be supported as well as the Bible.  It comes under all kinds of attacks but stands up against these attacks everytime.  Unity is an internal source of evidence that supports the Bible.

S – Scribes or Scrolls
This comes down to manuscript evidence.  When we look at the Old Testament and how it was preserved over time there was no room for error to creep in as the years passed.  It was not like playing telephone, creating errors over time.  We can look a the manuscript evidence and trust the authenticity of the Bible, whether you believe it or not, it is external evidence.

E – Eyewitness Accounts
Looking at the New Testament, it contains books that were written by people who were actually there or by someone writing the story of an eyewitness of someone who was there.  When historians look at the gospels, there was not enough time for the Jesus story to grow into a legend.  When Paul wrote to the early Chruch, he was writing to people who would have seen for themselves what had happened.  We have people who have either wrote or have read the early accounts of Jesus – what has become the New Testament.  We don’t have any evidence that suggests that the stories were made up. This is an internal source of evidence that supports the Bible.

What do I believe about Jesus?

Every student should think about this question every time they are engaged in a conversation with someone about faith.  This question is defining for everyone.  The hard part for students is they can’t see Jesus all the way through the story of the Bible, beyond the small portion in the gospels.  We as leaders are to show students where Jesus shows up all throughout.  Why did he need to come here?  What is Man apart from God?

The culture for students is that they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, they must be accepting of all beliefs, tolerant of all ideas, everything has equal weight, and one idea is no better than another idea.

© 2017, Never The Same