Thought Factory Podcast #210 || Faith & Reason Part 2: 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 intersect. This episode gets us thinking about the last three questions and why it is important to engage with these topics ourselves.
*All the questions are linked to former blog posts that dig a little deeper on the topic.
This being more of a controversial question amongst the faith community, this can be a hard question to answer. We don’t want to pigeon-hole anybody or come across as judgmental toward someone but this topic battles against science and reality, which is, people don’t come back from the dead. And when students come to this topic, we must come back to the evidence. But not because the Bible says so, or because the church says so, or because mom or dad or the youth leader says so. We must ask “why do they say so?” and look at the evidence and separate ourselves from the emotional gut response of “that’s impossible.”
If Jesus didn’t die and come back from the dead, then how did someone pull off this giant hoax? Why do we have Christianity at all, except for the resurrection? If we are going to base our lives on this belief, we better know the truth and how come we believe.
“Cold Case Christianity” by J. Warner Wallace is a great book with evidence about the death and resurrection of Christ.
Why did it change the game about everything? It changed the story and it verified the entire structure of the word of God. If Jesus died and is just dead, then he is no better than anyone else who lived in history and the book we study is no better of a book than any other book that was written in history. We come back to it being just a really nice self-help manual and hopes we become a good person. The resurrection provides the basis for all of the rest.
There are a lot of people who would say that it couldn’t have happened, they set it aside and live their life their own way and doesn’t want to be submitted to anything outside of themselves. If the resurrection is true, it requires a response from us.
We have to help them prepare for what they will face in the future. It’s about having conversations as they get older, especially as they have conversations with others who don’t believe in this at all.
Suffering and evil in the world are the primary reasons people either leave the faith or do not come to faith and resist faith because they look at the world and say, “if your god is good, then I don’t understand why the world is this way. I can’t or won’t worship that god that allows all this bad to take place in our world.”
It’s easy to have the answers when we are not in the moment of suffering, but the moment we are in the midst of suffering, none of the answers matter to us anymore. It is incredibly emotional. We can list the bad things that exist in the world. Death, violence, war, mental health, natural disasters. We can sit back and talk about it theoretically, but as soon as someone experiences them first hand, they are just hurt and how do we deal with it.
We must talk about this to prepare students for those times and to be able to process this topic during those times and to be able to walk through it. We need to give some kind of response to the suffering in the world.
What ends up happening is that we look at the world and say one of two things:
- Either God is good but he is not powerful enough to stop it OR
- God is powerful but he isn’t good enough to stop it.
“I’m not willing to worship that god.”
Are we pointing to the life of Christ in the topic of suffering? God didn’t exempt himself from suffering. We have a God who walked in our shoes and suffered beyond our understanding and comprehension. He is not distant and can’t relate to our suffering. Jesus too went through the most brutal of all kinds of suffering. But we can’t be afraid to go there with the students or pretend it is good all the time. The world is a bad place and it will be a bad place with or without God.
There is no real 5-minute response for someone who is in a place of pain. Are we afraid to suffer or empathize with other people? It can be hard and awkward at times and we don’t have the right words today, but wrestling with evil is a huge part of people’s faith journey.
How has God designed you to step into that and serve others in their time of suffering?
If you want to go deeper in the scripture on this topic of suffering, check our the book of Habakkuk where he asks these deep questions before God.
This question is a very personal choice but also very prevalent in our world today. The issue for students today is sexuality. It is not just homosexuality but about identity. There are some hard guidelines to follow in God’s word in regards to sexuality – in what we believe and how we behave. We have to approach these conversations by holding onto truth while extending grace at the same time. It is hard to keep those two things balanced without compromising either of those two things.
Scripturally we love God, we love our neighbor, and we love our enemy. How do we balance those things while saying there is a right and a wrong?
We are living in a culture that is changing legally and socially with speeds unlike it was 10 years ago. The pressure is equal for a student to engage sexually heterosexually as the other. The mindset is “find who you love and do what you think is an expression of that love, and as long as you are committed to each other, everything is ok.”
What does the whole of scripture talk about when it comes to godly living with sexual behavior? Are we having those conversations or are we too afraid of them?
If we come to the notion that all of this is true, are we committed to obeying what is true? Not to what we think, but what God says – are we willing to commit to the sexuality that is prescribed in scripture. The topic of sexuality is an application of what we believe.
At the end of the day, we need to help our students who have decided that they believe there is a God, that Jesus was the image of that God, he proved that through death and resurrection. How does that apply to our life? Are we allowing it to change who we are and how we live?
© 2017, Never The Same