RJS at Jesus Creed has a post titled simply “belief” after the book by the same name edited by Dr. Francis Collins. In discussing the relationship between faith and reason, or perhaps faith and science, he poses the following questions:
If someone approached you in a coffee shop and asked you what argument for faith you found most persuasive, what would it be? Why?
Who has had the greatest impact on your thinking?
I meet these questions with mixed emotions. I can certainly tell you who influenced my thinking the most. It’s easier to do this regarding my return to the church, which had a great deal more to do with reasoning and thinking than my conversion at age 9.
The most influential writer in my decision to return to the church was C. S. Lewis, and the most influential book was Mere Christianity. I find a certain satisfaction in the argument that common morals points back to God the creator. Given some of the reading that I’ve done in theological works, this may be somewhat surprising. My own theological thinking has been influenced by many writers, but Lewis was there at the start.
But when I’m asked to state what argument for faith that I find most persuasive, I can’t give the same answer. The very argument that was most present in my own return to the church is not one that I find ultimately persuasive. In fact, while I find many arguments informative and helpful, there are not that I find ultimately persuasive. I must confess that, while I’m Arminian in theology, the spiritual feel of my own conversion–as well as return–may sound somewhat Calvinistic. I was dragged kicking and screaming on God’s timing, not mine.
Two years ago, in a post called On Being a Liberal Charismatic Believer, I wrote:
But when I read Jack Burden’s post, I realized something else. The label “believer” has never bothered me. In fact, I have insisted on it. I even occasionally use “true believer” of myself. Why? I confess that, unlike some Christian apologists, I cannot prove that God exists, that Jesus rose from the dead, or that God communicates to us through scripture. I can’t even match the gentler (and better, in my view) form of apologetics that claims that the evidence is sufficient to make this the best option.
I’ve made the leap of faith. While I am quite unadventurous physically, in the spiritual sense I looked out over the chasm as did Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade, closed my eyes and put my foot down on empty space. I think my foot landed on that hidden bridge; others think they hear the echoes of my screams as I fall. Ah well, it’s my leap of faith, after all.
So like Agrippa, I am almost persuaded, but unlike Agrippa, I am a Christian.