Current Faith Issues
It has taken me quite some time to get my thoughts out to even express what issues I have with my faith right now. A lot of it is because my thinking is pretty muddled right now – it has been hard for me to sort out which issues are the root causes and which are simply the effects of other struggles.
Additionally, I have not wanted to spend time meditating on the difficulties I have with my faith. I guess I feels like the more I try to sort out my issues the more I end up just building a case against my faith, and I fear that if I tackle them head-on I will end up walking away from my faith.
This is quite a fear. I have a lot invested in my faith. I have given ten years of my life to full-time ministry. I have put in a year-and-a-half of seminary, with my family making some difficult sacrifices in order to make it work.
Here is the root of my struggles as best as I can conceive it:
Before I became a Christian I wondered if Christianity was true. Then I encountered God and discovered that Christianity is real. Suddenly all my questions about whether it was true seemed academic and irrelevant. Someone once said, “The man with an experience is never at the mercy of the man with an argument.” Christianity must be true because it is real.
Over the years I have discovered what we talked about in class, that experience alone is not an adequate epistemological foundation for my faith. It seems that, at best, my experiences can only provide a foundation for theism. I cannot prove that Christianity is true despite the fact that I know that it’s real. Dumbo’s magic feather may really work even though it’s not truly magical. Christianity may be real even if the theology behind it is not true.
And here is my problem. Jesus’ resurrection (and really the sum total of the Christian faith) is easy to believe in light of my experiences. But if I remove my experiences from the equation (since they are the very thing I am seeking to interpret), then suddenly the evidence for the resurrection does not look so strong.
I am in sort of a spiritual holding pattern right now. When I pray, when I read my Bible, when I worship, I meet God. I am a Christian at a personal level. But I do not feel comfortable doing evangelism or ministry until I get this sorted out. I can’t say, “Jesus is the only way to God,” because I’m just not sure anymore.