:::Ask the Alliance Question #5:::
Question submitted by Robyn: “I’m struggling with making a commitment to learning why any religion is true. One of the main things I think I’m struggling with is that finding a religion to be true would require me to make some huge changes. Do you have any advice on how to start and where to start?”
Note: We attempted to contact Robyn using the email address provided in the submission (including variations!), but our emails kept bouncing back.
Answers from the Alliance:
Robert Oram: ‘Robyn’ – Do some earnest self-reflection first: Start by removing the word ‘religion’ from your mind and all its connotations. Next, completely forget about ‘any changes’ you might need to make. Then, most importantly, ask yourself how important is it to you to find ‘the truth’ about the world you are living in. If there is any objective truth to anything in the world, how important will it be for you to find it? If you find that it would be important to you, then you can start making some practical plans about how to investigate & look into various claims made by various groups. For example, does God exist, did Jesus rise from the dead, what is the evidence for Islam etc. And as you go just remember what your motive is, no matter what.. You can then decide ‘what to do’ with what you find afterwards. Don’t be so preoccupied with that question that it clouds your efforts from the get-go. Good luck & God bless.
Bill Slater: Robyn has correctly assessed a key component, particularly if Christianity is found to be the true religion. Not all faiths require seismic changes – Christianity frequently does. The ideas associated with conversion in the NT are expressed as a 180-degree turn, change of mind, death to sin, etc. Serious business. She needs to consider the risk/reward factors, including the well-known statement from Jim Eliot, “He (she) is no fool who gives up what he (she) cannot keep to gain that which he (she) cannot lose.”
Mackenzie Goff: I would say to start praying daily. Tell God that you’re having difficulty changing, and He’ll help you. Only God can effect real lasting spiritual change. What you’re doing right now is also good: telling your problem to Christians, who can pray for you. Finding others who are changing and who can give you support is also a good idea (hint: join a church).
The most important thing to work on first is your attitude about God and doing His will.
Shandon Guthrie: I am taking it that there are certain core facts that are already held prior to such an investigation.
It seems to me that though this is a fair question – indeed, a perennial question for any practicing worshiper of God – it suggests (perhaps wrongly) that our life’s journey is utterly oriented from the outside and works inward. Instead, we should think of the core truths of religion (the existence of a superlative, Trinitarian God, the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, human sin and human destiny, etc.) as the starting place forcing our orientation from the inside and working outward. As such, it is very much like having been blindfolded and forcibly transplanted elsewhere only to find oneself in a room with a sink, a stove, an oven, and a microwave. In such a state, we should justifiably prefer to contextualize ourselves as being in or belonging to a kitchen. This analogy allows us to see that there will be some natural, immediate candidates commensurate with those core facts of religion. We now have the more reasonable benefit of being in a position where (i) one need not exhaustively test every religious tenet as if at a buffet of unknown foods, and (ii) one could still be mistaken but not to any worrisome extent insofar as there would not appear any initially better explanatory framework. The burden to abandon one’s initially justified religious conclusion would only be overturned at the prospect of a better, subsequent religious conclusion – one having been better justified to be so, of course. But unless and until that should arise, drawing a reasonable (immediate) conclusion most commensurate with the unimpeachable core facts of religion is all that can be expected of us. Having noted some of those core facts, perhaps I find it not surprising that one should be left with “Mere Christianity.” But if Christianity is not true, then the approach I noted here leads to a lucid disjunction: either those core facts are mistaken or there is a better framework that is more commensurate with them.
Recommended resources to get you started, Robyn:
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