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The Absurdity of Faith

Andy Im


Andy Im

Associate Director for the Dept of Public Campus Ministries in the Michigan Conference. Director of the Institute of Adventist Apologetics for C.A.M.P.U.S. 


  • July 29, 2019
    3:45 PM
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Heavenly Father we thank you so much for this time this opportunity to come together once again and to learn from the Word of God and also some the principles that we see in the Word of God and also to better understand reality and our place in this world and where we fit in and how we should live our lives and how to make sense of our belonging in this world so we just pray that you help us guide us we pray in Jesus name Amen I want to start off with. This book read this book and it's very fascinating. If you ever want to read a book on apologetics or worldview that that kind of thing Nancy Pearcey is really really a great writer should want all of these awards and helpful in understanding world view and defending the Christian faith and that type of thing and she is one chapter in the book talks about how various people lost their faith. While attending or this specific individual lost their faith while attending an evangelical college and one of the things that this individual mentions his name is Bill and he was like a chief of staff at the time in Congress and basically he said that when he attended this evangelical institution that the professors failed to to bring a biblical understanding of all the the subjects that they were learning and so he left the college and eventually left his faith in God because he felt that there was no underlying intellectual basis for Christianity and he couldn't he felt that the professors failed to connect the dots he felt very lost and as he was getting more and more immersed in society in the world he just felt that Christian Christianity was very flimsy and he ended up leaving. And. So in the book it also or actually there's another study that was done and this author there was a Christian organization that there's a study and so what they did is they did a poll and did face to face interviews from with with former Christians who had left the faith and so they did a study of with college students and they were they did they interview students. It was a whole gamut from students who attended community colleges all the way on up to the Harvard's and the Stanfords of the world and so they did this study and when they interviewed college nonbelievers about how and why they left religion surprising themes emerge and they talk about this individual named Phil church became all about ceremony handhold holding and coom by ya by the way. There's nothing wrong with thinking coom by ya but you'll get the point here Phil said this with a look of disgust disgust I missed my old youth pastor he actually knew the Bible and going into Phil's live very interesting and fascinating Phil was once the president of his Methodist churches youth group he loved his turgid pastor most of all his youth leader and Jim's Bible studies were particularly meaningful to him he admired the fact that Jim didn't dodge the tough chapters or the tough questions he didn't always have satisfying answers or answers at all but he didn't run away from the questions either so here you have to fill a very thoughtful individual he was active in church and what led him to become an atheist well as the narrative develops it becomes clear where things came apart for Phil during his junior year year of high school the church in an effort to attract more young people they wanted Jim to teach less and to play more and that's something with the think about in our churches that there's nothing wrong with prayer or planning but we also want to to combine that with solid Biblical teaching a man how important that is so the difference of opinion over this new strategy left to Jim's dismissal this youth pastor he was replaced by Savannah an attractive 20 something who according to Phil didn't know a thing about the Bible the church got what it wanted the youth group group it grew and grew but at last Phil. And so I believe that that we can we need to bring solid Biblical teaching into our churches to ground them not just emotionally and socially and that's Curry and we do very good very well I don't know of of any group that are ethnic group that does the social aspects of church better than Koreans right and be we are asked about that you know last night I was 1130 and I you know you hear Curry and we're having a great time and that's great that is great it really is but we also want to ground our young people the Word of God Amen and solidify their understanding so the social part is important the intellectual part is also just as important if not more in fact it's the basis for everything else the Word of God and we certainly don't want to lose individuals like Phil now Phil story while unique in its parts the story article goes on to say was on the whole typical of the stories would hear from students across the country slowly a composite sketch of American college aged atheist begin to emerge and it would challenge all that we thought we knew about this demographic and here is what we learn very fascinating number one. They were all churchgoers at one point in time and many of them left. Not because of Buddhism or another religion they found they simply left just because Christianity lost meaning or sense of value to them and they left on that basis alone and so so they had once attended church but no longer Number 2 they found that the mission and message of their churches were vague so there was not a clear sense of Man there's a mission a message and a sense of destiny and a sense of calling and a sense of purpose and where I fit into this this master plan that God has for me in this world that was lacking because there was no mission and message in the church number 3 they felt that their churches offered superficial answers to life's difficult questions when our participants were asked what they found unconvincing about the Christian faith they spoke of evolution creation sexuality the reliability of the Biblical text Jesus was the only way some had gone to church hoping to find answers to these questions others hope to find answers to question the personal significance purpose and ethics serious minded they often concluded that church services were largely shallow and this were that Koku by often comes in largely shallow harmless and ultimately irrelevant as Ben an engineering major at the University of Texas so bluntly put it I really started to get bored with church by the way. Will never be able to compete in the Christian churches with what the world has to offer that's just the bottom line and so if we're trying to attract people to trudge by using the same motivations that the world brings to their and their their programs and they're there. You know they're the thing that they do then it's going to be a losing battle and I believe that biblical Christianity truly does offer something that far exceeds what the world has to offer we're not going to win we're not going to win the world by making church more like Disney World. We're going to win people to to Christ by preaching the solid biblical word of God Amen and the appeal is Christ Himself preaching truth and in on a city so he started getting bored with church and other thing that they discovered. That these atheists former Christians expressed their respect for those who did take the Bible seriously and I do believe as a church we strayed from taking the Bible seriously you know when we get up to the pope it it shouldn't be just about how can I make. People laugh or entertain them although some of that is going to happen but that's not our ultimate purpose just to have an entertaining sermon but to take the Bible seriously this is also very fascinating ages 14 to 17 were decisive how many of you have children today that are between the ages of 14 and 70 basically essentially that's your high school years. Your high school years and that what they found to be very very pivotal anyone here who have kids 14 the 17 so you going through that that and I know you have some in college now and now beyond beyond that but ages 14 to 17. So ages $4.00 to $30.00 were were decisive. The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one and you hear that a lot you know there's a buncha hypocrite you know church is just full of a bunch of hypocrites or some elder or pastor got too angry or upset or another church member so a lot of times that became the impetus for the catalyst that tipped them over the edge some emotional event that took place in combination with all the other things that we've discussed. And then another one is the Internet factored heavily into the con conversion to atheism by the way you know Google googling everything out I mentioned yesterday how now we've all become physicians and doctors because we have Google and we go in there and I've done it too I've been like hey I heard about this experimental whatever in a way that we're not that I have any disease or or anything like that that I was healed when I was cut out but but but the internet factored very heavily you'll find that as as our churches hold evangelistic series and preach the message is one of the biggest obstacles that our pastors face today is when we study for example the Spirit of Prophecy or some of the evidence church what do you think those those people that were doing Bible studies with what do you thing they're they're doing when they go home well don't they're talking to people they're also going online and they're typing in you know some of the church or on wide or whatever and so what happens is many times if if if. A Bible study goes sour you'll find more often than not it's because they went to the Internet or there of course talking to other people that leads them to the Internet and that kind of thing so the internet factored very heavily into their conversion to atheism so this is a fundamental challenge and I mentioned here that one of the things that kept me. In the church or at least I knew I was going to one day hopefully go back to was having some sense of a worldview or a way to view truth and what was true reality I believed in God and that kind of thing but this is one of the challenges Nancy Pearcey mentions this this at every turn from the classroom to the works. Placed to the Internet ideas contrary to Christianity or clamoring for our allegiance one of the things that that I'm a stablish very solidly for my daughters is I'm letting them informing them in indoctrinating them that they are that they're girls right you almost have to do that today right that there is such a thing as as girls and boys and by the way my daughter is only 4 years old and I remember one night while I was putting her to bat and she was like Dad why do some girls look like boys. And why do some boys look like girls and I was like house like floored I was like how in the world do you even know that right and and so I had to kind of give them a rated P.G. version of of that whole thing right and and just to share I think I was sharing this with someone earlier I want to into the bathroom. Good friend of mine is Roy and I were flying to some meeting and I walked into the bathroom and you know and I saw what I thought was a female and so it's like oh I'm so sorry you know and as I was saying that there were urinals right so then I knew I was in the right place and saw was like on for so. And then I just I just read you write like you as if nothing happened and then did whatever and so forth so we're living in a society. We're things that we just assumed as true you never questioned it today it is being questioned and so so being the scared parent you know fearful parent that I am I'm like Olivia you are a girl that means this and that and you know and so forth and it's in that kind of sad in some ways that we have to do that even today and it's the world that we're living in today so ideas contrary to Christianity are clamoring for our allegiance so it's very important to to have a world view and one of the things that this this Bible text here found in Luke Chapter 1010 to have a intellectual a mind full basis for why we believe what we believe and why we're Christians that it's not just we're just there just because our parents were Christians but I'm in the church because I believe that God is real that he has saved me from my sins and I'm here to serve him a man a royal project is to say Teacher What shall I do to inherit eternal life and he said what is written the law and he answered You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart that's one aspect all your soul that's another aspect all your strength all your physical vigor. And also with all your mind right to have a holistic understanding of why you're a Christian and and to 7th Day Adventist and I believe we all need to go around ourselves in scripture so that we so that we're sure of where why we are what we are. The problem is this is one apology if the problem is not only to win souls but to save minds if you win the whole world and lose the mind of the world you will soon discover you have not won the world and how true that is to one of the world view well world views are a lot a lot like bellybuttons by the way there's no picture here because he wants to see a belly button kind of immodest to do that to Certainly I would never put mine there you would want to see that you have nightmares and I everyone have one but we don't talk about them very often another way to see or to view world view they're like reading glasses the lenses by which we view the world and Riya and reality and everything that happened within it it also can be. Defined as a framework or set of fundamental beliefs through which we view the world and our colleague and future and we're going to have some examples of that it a little bit so what are some of its its features and some of its qualities. Well it's prefigure radical or pre-supposition All right so it's we don't think about it because there are there are assumptions incorporate or some shit so for example when you and I assume you and I assume that that these chairs really exist you and I assume that we're not living in some matrix where we're being duped by this evil genius right that has fobbing us into finking we're living in reality but we're actually now we assume that what that that what's taking place right now is really happening on the be fundamental basis that God created this or and that he created human beings and so that was where we're living today and what we're seeing today is really real because of the account taking place that took place in Genesis the Book of Genesis and so we assume these things and as Christians we have a basis for it found in Scripture so it's prefigure radical it's presuppositional we don't think about it but but there are certainly there so it's what we another way to find out what we what we think with not often what we think about a worldview is best expressed through a narrative or a set of propositions then we give you an example of that and it's. What is the why do you think a worldview is important or what purpose ultimately sir well when you commit yourself to a certain vision of reality it becomes your ultimate explainer right it becomes your ultimate. Gauge of why things happen in this world of avenues for example we have a very distinct particularly view found in the Bible of what's going to happen at the end of the world right and so when we see earthquakes or when we see various disasters taking place we we look at it with a certain set of certain perspective of how to take all these things. Right so it becomes our ultimate explainer it provides mean direction and a sense of destiny I'd mentioned that earlier to our life helps us to live a life in view reality that's consistent with a Biblical framework it really helps to connect all the dots and why we live the way we live and to be consistent with that worldview is largely determined people's opinions on matters of ethics and politics what do you think about abortion euthanasia I have a funny story about euthanasia. I remember when I was much younger that someone asked me you know the time I was a very young pastor and so they were coming to me as the expert who would know about these things and so the lady came to me and said What do you think about about euthanasia. And I was like I think that euthanasia are doing very well for you know I think I mean. The euthanasia are you know that minister are strong I forget what I said but I totally messed that one up and how embarrassing that was but but it gives us the perspective right on abortion euthanasia same sex relationships we touched upon that earlier public education economic policy foreign aid the use of military force and environmental ism animal rights genetic enhancement almost any other major issue of the day depends on your underlying worldview more than anything else right and so were there so much going on in our society today I mean it's how we're reading the news down you're just like man this is like some crazy stuff happening in society and in our world from from diseases and and what's going on politically in our world things are getting heated if you go to social media our world is in a mass our church is facing immense challenges from within and without and and large a lot of these issues we're be confronted with a 7th Day Adventist today as well. So what's a Christian worldview what are the things that we can identify that make up that constitute a Christian worldview so let's look at the 1st component I believe it's best expressed or best understood through an unfolding narrative and again this is what we share with with Christians at large and so we all agree at some level that there are 4 central events that have taken place in history in Biblical history that help us to understand and relate and explain the world we live in today and these 4 central events huge around creation the fall redemption and of course restoration and let me give you an example of that so and I touched upon this earlier God created. This world he created human beings so that that understanding gives us a sense of identity right I am a child of God and I understand my place in the world I understand what's ideal in the eyes of God and what his intentions were for this world for humanity and my purpose and that type of thing we find out in the county and in Genesis. Now the fall All right so there was an ideal but then you had the fall and the fall helps to explain why the ideal no longer exists today why there is a measure E. why there is suffering why there is pain why there is def that is occurring in our world so it helps to explain the sadness and pain in this world and then redemption gives us an understanding of what God is doing to make things better Amen so you have God's creation you have then and then you have the cross crisis or God's method or a remedy to sin and the effects of said on the sin polluted world and then of course what what what's God's ultimate purpose or aim is to restore us and to go to heaven and to live back to a restored Denecke. Eat in life as God meant it to be so that's an example of of how how a world view and having some pivotal events a narrative can explain our reality today and give us an understanding of our place in this world so we we are currently. Under in the redemption chronologically speaking we're living in the process of redemption and God's work in saving you and I in this world so that we might be restored one day very soon. Another way to incorporate a worldview is through a set of beliefs right so we believe in a personal God who loves me personally and that that changes. By reality or my views of identity if you will we also have a clearer sense of reality that as I mentioned before that God created heaven and earth this reality is really real on the basis of God's word so you have a set of beliefs and reality we have a distinct view as Christians what reality is we also have on the basis of what God did what he created a sense of knowledge that knowledge is reliable that God created crave that us with an intellect to be thinkers and to be doers and we could rely on the brains that God gave us and that we can engage with with society an external reality on that on that basis we also believe that there is objective morality there is a sense that of a sense of right and wrong but there is truly right and wrong in society that's also defined by the Word of God We also have a believe that we weren't developed through. The years going through from from evil asides to being monkeys and that type of thing we believe that God created us in his binge and that's the ultimate. Understanding of humankind I want to touch upon reality and knowledge I was speaking of. Of the movie Matrix and are we really living in reality and if you read this from Nancy Pearcey speaking to reality and knowledge of how we can know that what we're seeing and experiencing is really real how do we know that an external world even exists can you prove it the most radical empiricists admit that given their premises we can't know. There is no way to rule out the possibility that we are characters in The Matrix plugged into a supercomputer that is creating the illusion of a physical world right so outside the Bible if you don't believe in the Bible there is no way if you come at it from a firm and pierces point of view there's no way to truly validate or prove. The reality that we're living in. The only adequate basis for our confidence as Christians in the Biblical teaching that there is a creator who designed our mental capacities to function reliably in the world that He created the doctrine of creation is epistomological guarantee that the constitution of our human factors conforms to the structure of the physical world so you can see how some of these things that we just take for granted if you really take a step back and really gauge and seek to validate our assumptions right do is this world really real and can I really trust the things that I see and feel and the thought process that I have all of that ultimately is derived from the Word of God Humans are made in God's image human reason has a high dignity of reflecting the divine reason Christianity thus affirms the reliability of human target of cup past cities without becoming rationalistic or Pern NG reason into God Now having said all this there is somewhat of a tension and that is we believe that in our fallen state that that that there are limitations to reason and that there are limitations to trusting in man's humankind's capacity. And making God and turning reason into a god itself so that would be the balance of that reason must acknowledge and authority Sapir your to itself hearted intellect must ultimately bow to the great I am. So what are some of the applications so we're looking at the Christian worldview and and let's read this quote here havoc having a Christian worldview is not just about answering intellectual questions it also means following biblical principles in the personal and practical fears of life Christians can be infected by secular their secular worldview not only in their beliefs but also in our practices and how we live day to day and in our lives so with that said. I want to I want to spend a few moments. And talk about the Avonex world view and what are some of the things that make us unique in how we view the world and society. So it becomes our all to be an explainer we talked about that it gives us a sense of destiny helps us to live a life consistent with into the vocal framework igloos individuals together towards community it helps to shape our opinions on a variety of things and touch upon the 4 ready but with Avid as the evidence world view is best expressed through the narrative and so I mentioned that history and dates are are very important to 7th Day Adventists we all agree and this is where we agree with our brother in the evangelical brothers and sisters in terms of creation fall redemption and restoration. But one of the things that makes avenues to unique is we began our narrative not with the fall typically but with the fall of Lucifer and that that's one very distinct difference we find that in easy CULE and in Isaiah and in the book great controversy we have the origin of evil how many of you have read that chapter the origin of evil very fascinating chapter that helps us to explain some of the things that go are going on in the world similar age originated with him who next to Christ had been the most honored of God and who stood highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of Heaven by pride in his own glory nourished the desire for supremacy and Lucifer went forth to to to fuse the spirit of discontent among the angels and I'm going to go ahead and close this this section off and we'll resume this. Some of this on Friday but the great controversy metanarrative or the great controversy Botti that explains the battle that took place between God and Satan and what occurred in heaven and what began this whole. The whole machinery of sin that took that took place once you and I truly understand the great controversy it becomes a key to to inform and help us to understand what's taking place in the world I believe on a much deeper level and so we'll go ahead and study that on Friday so with that said we're going to go ahead and close with a word a prayer and invite you to pray with The Heavenly Father. We thank you so much for truth once again and for all the things that we've been studying thank you so much for the messages we heard from Justin and and and others and we just pray continue to pour out your Holy Spirit at this camp meeting we thank you ask this your name. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit W W W audio verse or.


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