Reaffirming the Faith

Those three scenes summarized my year-long quest for answers to "The Big Eight." The first scene emphasizes the magnitude of the overall case for Christ and the availability of solid responses to the toughest questions about the Christian faith. In other words, there's ample justification for a thinking person to put his or her trust in Jesus. The second scene highlights our human tendency to explain away that evidence out of pride or self interest. In the end, faith is a step of the will; God will give us what we want. The third scene uses one radical example to illustrate God's willingness to change the lives of those who respond to the evidence, overcome their pride, and open their hearts to him.

All of this can be boiled down to a three-word process-investigation ... decision ... transformation that I experienced in my spiritual journey. It was in 1981 when I originally responded to the evidence by deciding to abandon atheism and cling to Christ. And like Moore, I've never been the same. Opening my life wider and wider to God and his ways, I've found my values, my character, my priorities, my attitudes, my relationships, my desires have been changing over time-for the better.

Today, having now retraced my original investigation, my confidence in that 1981 decision has only been reinforced. Asking uncomfortable questions hasn't diminished my faith; it has strengthened it. Probing the "soft spots" of Christianity has reaffirmed for me once more the fundamental soundness and logical integrity of the faith. Refined by the rigors of intellectual scrutiny, my faith has emerged deeper, richer, more resilient, and more certain than ever.

Yet as I reclined on that chair in my living room and mentally reviewed my investigation, I realized that my task was not quite complete. Preacher-turned-skeptic Charles Templeton, who resolutely denied the existence of a loving God but who wept out of his longing for Jesus, provided much of the impetus for this flurry of interviews about "The Big Eight" obstacles to faith.

The intention of my investigation was to get answers to the issues that had most troubled me in my spiritual journey, not to try to spell out a point-by-point rebuttal of Templeton and his writings. But there was considerable overlap between the issues that blocked his path to faith and the topics that disturbed me when I was a spiritual seeker.

How, I wondered, would Templeton have reacted to my interviews with these eight experts? Would he have been receptive to their evidence and arguments? Or would the inexorable advance of Alzheimer's have already robbed him of the capacity to rethink spiritual issues anew?

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