I have decided to post my book A Rational Faith on this site section by section. In order to answer the questions posed by the fictional representative of atheists and skeptics Atherton the Atheist in the second chapter, some basic principles must first be established. Though belief in this basic set of principles is not universal within the Christian church, most Christians would agree that these principles are compatible with what they believe. Once we establish the basic principles necessary to answer skeptical questions, we will then apply these principles to answer the questions in later sections.
A Rational Faith Chapter 3.0 The Principles of a Rational Christian Faith
In the first section of this work, we saw that acknowledging our need for Jesus Christ
was the quintessentially rational act behind every true profession of Christian faith. In
the previous section, we outlined the questions about the Bible that constitute the
backbone of the case against Christianity and make the decision to believe in a Biblical
faith seem irrational. In this section, we present the Biblical principles that will form the
foundation of a rational faith and allow us to answer the case against Christianity.
It is absolutely critical that the Biblical principles that will be our starting point are
consistent with the traditional doctrines of the church and a literal interpretation of the
Bible. If either of these criteria are violated, then we are “making things up as we go
along” and the resulting faith cannot be rational. How can it be rational to reject the
Bible and at the same time believe in Jesus Christ? How could we believe in the Jesus
Christ who said, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my
church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18) if the Christian
church has been essentially wrong for several thousand years? Only a Christian faith that
is firmly grounded in the Bible and traditional Christian doctrine can be rational.
Though the Biblical principles we are going to discuss are consistent with traditional
Christianity and with a literal reading of the Bible, they nevertheless form the foundation
of a radically different Christian faith. At least one major doctrine (the fall) is going to
get a radical reworking. Other doctrines are going to be stressed and stretched in ways
that have not been done before. As we go through this process, we will find that previous
generations of Christian theologians made significant errors. They did not make errors in
recognizing sound Christian doctrine, they made errors in using that doctrine to interpret
the stories of the Bible. As we will see, their problem wasn’t that they took Christian
doctrine too seriously, their problem was that they didn’t take Christian doctrine seriously
enough. Let us begin by examining the question of how we interpret the Bible.