the logic of a life of faith

Category : choice, different, faith, living a life of faith, taking action


“One day I realized there was no God, no one behind reality, no life after death. I realized existence is a meaningless accident, begun by chance and destined for oblivion, and it changed my life. I used to be addicted to alcohol but now the ‘law of natural selection’ has set me free. I used to be greedy, but now the story of the Big Bang has made me generous. I used to be afraid, but now random chance has made me brave.” - John Ortberg, Faith and Doubt

This, tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek quote from John Ortberg illustrates something I’ve been thinking about the last couple of weeks: reasoned thinking.  I recognize this isn’t any great revelation, but as a society we have seemingly abandoned reason and logic.  On the one hand this can be good.  Pure reason and pure logic can lead us to cold and unmerciful decisions.  Playing the “odds” can dehumanize problems.  It can take human suffering and tragedy and make it a statistical anomaly.  Isn’t that the point of the Borg in Star Trek?

But I think there is more to logic and reason.

I’ve been a fan of Greg Koukl and Stand to Reason for a few years now.  Their biggest teaching effort is in “clear thinking.”  By that they mean teaching people to think logically about problems.  And since I’ve been listening to the Stand to Reason podcast, I am utterly shocked at how few world views really apply logic across their beliefs.

There are perhaps no worse places for this then watching children’s TV shows.  Which, I suppose, is another post all together!

Stories are powerful movers to a human.  How many of you immediately picked up on my Borg reference?  Did it not create an immediately concrete image in what it means for logic to run amuck?  It’s not a coincidence that politicians spend a lot of time, energy, and money trying to create a story for the public to hear.  TV ads don’t sell facts to us, they sell experiences and lifestyles.  We, as people, fall for stories.  And that can be a good thing.  Even God uses stories to illustrate what it means to live out a life of faith.  It’s called the Bible.

Ravi Zacharias has commented that if stories are powerful on their own, think of the power they have as a culture.

Every day we are given competing world views.  Every day we are told that the way to happiness lies through sex, drugs, wealth, and power.  That’s a view that is logically inconsistent with what God teaches.  Someone has to be wrong.  Both world views can’t be right.

This brings us back to Ortberg’s quote from his book Faith and Doubt.  Why is it, that you don’t hear quotes like this from naturalists?  If there is no life after death, and there is only randomness and chance, how do we ever have hope in anything?  How can we believe that something good can happen?  How do we break free from the grips of alcoholism if it ultimately doesn’t matter?

I believe it goes back to logical consistency.  Most of us don’t want to follow the logical consequences of our beliefs.  Atheists want morality because it’s convenient and offers protection.  But morality is impossible to explain if there is no God.  Because you’ll never be able to overcome the argument of “might makes right.”

Believer want the blessing, protection and hope that God provides.  Yet we often aren’t willing to count the cost.  We don’t want to follow the logic of what it means to live out a life of faith.

The world is filled with world views that don’t make sense.  We are inundated with views that contradict themselves but no one seems to notice.  No one is immune to problems of logic.

But what good is a world view if you don’t apply it consistently?  What good is believing in God if you don’t live that way?