Being Skeptical Part 1

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Here is a revision of an article that I did as a guest post back in April of 2011.
It may come as a shock to some people, but the propaganda is untrue: Christians are not gullible by default. We can be as gullible as the next person — including you. Oh, don't give me that! You've been "had" before, we all know it.

I've been tricked by certain e-mails, especially when they say something that I want to hear, or if it's presented very well. Most of the time (I want to believe), I'm careful. Healthy skepticism is a good thing.

Occasionally, I have been sent the "atheist professor and the chalk that wouldn't break" gag. I would look it up on urban legends sites and reply to the sender, "Hey, Horatio, you've been had". Or how about the bit where young Einstein told off an atheist teacher when he was a child? (There's even a video dramatization of this hoax. It contains some good discussion points in there, but the thing itself did not happen.) I was fooled by a series of quotes by Thomas Jefferson that I posted. In my defense, most of the thing was true, and I was taken in by the fake bit at the end. It's gone now.

I was raised in a Christian home. My father was a United Methodist pastor. That means it was liberal theology. He wasn't as far gone as UMC are now, but I didn't get solid spiritual instruction. Just pretty good raising (when he was not busy with pastor stuff). When I was fifteen, I went to a Christian school for the last three years for graduation. But this school was run by Fundamentalists. To say that I was challenged is an understatement. And I was rebellious. Not only because I was mid-teens, but from the spiritual culture shock.

I was skeptical.

They would say things, and I would want to know, "Where did you get that? Where does it say that in the Bible?" At that time, I started checking things out for myself. My father let me use his prized Bible (which I regret not being able to keep, especially now that he's dead), which had notes and a concordance. Oh, and the cross-references were helpful, too.

Although I was learning, I was still suspicious and skeptical. Not about God, but of what they were teaching me. For the record, I did not seriously investigate evolution and learn that it is full of misinformation, disinformation, outdated science, bad science and outright fraud until much later.

Somewhere around this time, I started to wonder, "This stuff has its basis in the Bible. How do I know I can trust the Bible itself? Somehow (sorry, it's been about thirty five years, my memory of the time is fuzzy, gimme a break), I went to a presentation by Josh McDowell over a few evenings. One of the talks was called "The Seven Point Whammy" as to why Christianity is intellectually feasible. It was my first exposure to apologetics. I got the cassette and went back for more talks and tapes.

Also, I purchased books during my high school years. Things like More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell, and other things. One was his Evidence That Demands a Verdict. It was not so much a reading book as a compilation of references and resources. You see, McDowell was tired of those annoying Christians on his college campus, and set out to disprove Christianity point by point. Now he's a leading apologist for the faith, as is his son.

Anyway, it came to a point that I confessed Jesus as Lord, and the Bible is his Word. I realized that I could not save myself, this was no time for pride and ego.

Being skeptical is useful and healthy. It is irrational and obsessive when someone will claim to be seeking answers, and then reject, reject, reject, rationalize, rationalize, rationalize, excuse, excuse, excuse. To constantly reject all evidence is not healthy skepticism. Instead, it is foolishness and pride. Neurotic, even. 

Are you afraid of being another McDowell? He's not the only one that seriously examined the validity of the Bible and the Christian faith and became converted. Not by a long shot.

God has indeed made himself known to us (Romans 1.18-22) if we will honestly examine the evidence. He's waiting to talk to you (Isaiah 1.18).

At any rate, I did not come to faith blindly. God gave us our minds to use. Faith in the God, the Bible, the Creation, the resurrection of Jesus are rational.
This article is continued here.