Tom Wright on Apologetics

Those of you who've been in one of my classes should find this useful.  If that's not you, then you have my permission to skip this post.  :)

Last November, just before Dr. N.T. Wright arrived in Atlanta for a fascinating series of meetings I've chronicled elsewhere, Tom spoke at Trinity Western University on the subjects of apologetics, his book Simply Christian and, though he didn't explicitly say so, the application of a critical realist epistemology to the Christian faith (say THAT 3 times quickly!). 

Here's the video.

It's a long video, but do check out Tom's comments at 16:50 and onwards - on the current trend in what Tom calls "modernist Christian apologetics".  

This is certainly the method of the apologetics texts I've read.  Dr. William Lane Craig, perhaps the most notable Christian apologist of our time (Tom mentions him at 18:25), is quite famous for using this approach.  

The method of the Christian modernist is to work really hard to stack up facts or data, and then, bit by bit, try to prove that God exists, or that he created the universe or some other tenet of the Christian faith.

In contrast to that modernist way of thinking, I've written quite alot around here about my critical realist view of the world.  Put simply, I believe:
1)  there is absolute truth "out there" and it can be discovered...
2)  but my grasp on that truth is colored by the reality that I don't know it all, by my upbringing, by my experiences and by a host of other factors.
3)  so I could be wrong.
This leads me to take this position:
"After much careful thought, I believe the Christian story makes the most sense of the past, the present and the future.  Therefore, I have adopted it as my worldview.  However, if someone can provide a better story, that better explains the past and our present, and proposes a better future - then I'm all ears."
In short, I believe the Christian story.  I can't prove it with a stack of facts.  I can't measure it in a laboratory.  Isn't that the very nature of faith itself?

Sure, there is quite a lot of data pointing to the truthfulness of certain high points - the resurrection of Jesus to me being the most important of those.

But in the end, I can't prove Christianity any more than Tom Cruise can prove Scientology or any more than Richard Dawkins can prove his theories of the origin of the universe.

Tom Wright, as always, has captured this so very well in Simply Christian.  Grab a copy and read it - it'll be time well-spent!

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