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Why am I a Christian? Chapter One

Why am I a Christian? Chapter One

 By Dr. Norman Wise 

Chapter one: Why do I care what you believe?  How dare you try to convert me! 

My plan is to share with those interested my reasons and motivations for being a disciple of the Messiah Jesus or what is commonly named a “Christian.” 

One of the things I will do is define what I mean by the word “Christian” since it is used in so many ways by so many people that it is important to know what a person means by it when they use the term.

But, first I thought that I would deal with the reaction of some about me writing on this topic of “Why am I a Christian” at all. 

 Many have the conviction that such personal beliefs should be private and are so “irrational” that there are no real words to explain such “leaps of faith”. So, no one can rationally say “Why” since it is more a feeling than a thought that leads people to be Christians or any other religion. 

Some people are offended by the idea that I would share such thoughts and feelings since it seems that the real purpose is to “convert” people to share my point of view. Such an action would show arrogance and pride, for who am I to push my faith on others? They believe that all proselytizing is wrong since everyone should choose for themselves privately such personal matters as religion.

Now a lot of ugly things have been done in the name of Christianity in which people were being forced to change their minds and believe. Use of any type of abuse to manipulate a person to change their core beliefs would be wrong. 

 But does that mean that we cannot even talk about matters of faith without fear that others will be abused? It is true that one must never talk about religion or politics in polite company? 

 My idea is that sharing our deepest convictions with each other in a sane and stable matter is vital for us understanding each other and our differences. It reduces the danger of “demonizing” those we don’t agree with on key issues. We should seek first to understand and then be understood. This allows us to develop a true pluralism based on listening to each other instead of hiding our convictions from each other. 

I would agree with Dr. Daniel Fincke, an atheist that sees that the issues raised by Christianity and religions are so vital that need to discuss them clearly so that we may know how we ought to live when he wrote: 

 “What I learn from this is that we must always be people who persuade scrupulously by reason. We must never try to push people emotionally and socially where their intellectual consciences are not ready to go. We should not verbally abuse or personally disrespect them as people. We should not corner them into conversations against their wills or refuse to let them walk away when they’re uncomfortable. We should not be elitists who overestimate our own intelligence and sweepingly assume that just because we are pretty sure we are right on this one issue that we are smarter than the average religious person. 

But nonetheless, we should make our case. Because the philosophical matters that are at stake in debates about religion are not trivial issues. They are at least as important as secularism, science education, and social justice. In fact, people’s philosophical positions related to freedom, human nature, the meaning of knowledge, the meaning of life, the nature of the mind, the nature of reality, the nature of justice, the nature of language, the nature of society, semantics, and, most of all, ethics vitally undergird our scientific and political beliefs and values themselves.”

Read more at 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2014/06/in-defense-of-trying-to-deconvert-people/#sWPwYxsPLgt0iypu.99 

So if we have care, compassion, and concern for other people and society it is necessary for us, in a civil, caring, compassionate manner to share our views on what reality is and how to adapt to that reality effectively. 

Since I have the rational conviction that the Christian worldview is the best in seeing things as they really are then it is my obligation to share not just my reasonable faith but the logic that leads me to such a position. 

 I will be making regular blogs on this topic and so hopefully they will be of help to some.

Going deeper

Journaling Exercise Writing our thoughts out after reading something allows it to be processed much deeper. 

 Take some time to journal your thoughts on what I have shared. Icebreakers for journaling. 

 Why do you think that it is useful or not useful to share our deepest convictions about life and reality with each other? 

 How do you think we can avoid intellectual “elitism” when we share the reasons for our worldview? 

 What is your immediate reaction to someone sharing their religious faith? 

 Why do you think it is hard for most people to talk in a civil way about religion or politics? 

 What is the “big idea” you gained from today’s reading? Any other thoughts?

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