[T]he most persuasive case for Christianity lies in the overall coherence and human relevance of its world view.~ Arthur F. Holmes, Contours of a World View, 1983.
I have spent all of my life within a Christian sub-culture of one kind or another. I was raised a Baptist, “escaped” that rather specific world (but brought a lot of it with me), and now consider myself somewhat of a cynical evangelical. In some ways I prefer the moniker Christ-follower. I also like Christian Existentialist for various reasons. Unlike many Christians (though I could be wrong) whom I have met over the years, I have always been a fan of the “thinking Christian” approach to faith. I grew up, in a sense, with the likes of C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, The Weight of Glory, etc.), Francis Schaeffer (How Shall We Then Live, Escape from Reason, The God Who is There, etc.), and Josh McDowell (Evidence That Demands a Verdict, etc.). All those books, and many more, I had read by the end of my senior year in high school. Therefore quotes like the one above from Dr. Holmes have rung true for me for most of my life. But I wonder if it really makes complete sense.
The issue I have with Holmes’ quote is not the words “overall coherence” or “human relevance,” but the word “persuasive.” I have spent much of my life interested in (what I believe to be) the fact of Biblical Christianity‘s coherence and human relevance. But even with all my study over the years I have never been truly persuaded by the arguments because they were good arguments rigorously laid out and defended. What I have come to realize is that I was already predisposed to be persuaded, and would have been even if the arguments had been (and sometimes were) poorly made by fumbling pastors and Christian intellectual poseurs. The persuasive case for Christianity is not found in argument, but in the mysterious work being done, for whatever unknown reason, in the heart of the individual who, though even a hater of God finds her/himself drawn (even as if against one’s better judgment) to what the writers of the Christian scriptures called the Gospel.
Still, there is great value in digging into the nature and claims of the Christian World View, to lay it out, pick it apart, and see what’s really there. Christians inherit a great many dogmas (major and minor), and sub-cultures to boot. We should always ask if what we “know” to be true is, in fact, something other than the truth, something we got from our culture or elsewhere. We must always be wary of the tendency in all of us to impose our desires on what we call our faith. I want to dig into these things. That’s what I hope to do with this blog.
FYI: I get the name satellite from a 1540s definition, “follower or attendant of a superior person,” according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.