This entire blog post is copied word for word from Justin Taylor's blog. The structure is Mr Taylor's work and the actual poem Mr Hart's work. Very obviously then - this work is not my own. It is worth copying as it is both greatly encouraging and a wonderful depiction of preaching the gospel to yourself day after day. The author gets the Christian life and the continual contrast between the beauty of Christ and the ugliness of our own lives.
The words to “The Grieved Soul,” by Joseph Hart (1712-1768):
1. Come, my soul and let us try
For a little season,
Ev’ry burden to lay by;
Come and let us reason.
What is this that casts you down?
Who are those that grieve you?
Speak and let the worst be known;
Speaking may relieve thee.
2. O, I sink beneath the load
Of my nature’s evil!
Full of enmity to God;
Captived by the devil!
Restless as the troubled seas,
Feeble, faint and fearful;
Plagued with ev’ry sore disease,
How can I be cheerful?
How Can otherwise intelligent and Rational People Believe the Bible to be the Infallible Word of God?
Over the last few months then I've run into a few different variations of the above question. It does annoy me slightly, I mean, talk about a backhanded compliment! On the one hand who doesn't like being told they are intelligent? Yet on the other hand it vexes me that intelligence and Christianity should apparently be so contradictory.
I do plan to answer the above question but before I do then I think its good to examine why it is that atheists in particular will come out with questions like it. After all, there is hardly a shortage of intelligent Christians out there why then should our existence prove so surprising for people to accept?
It is no coincidence that it is largely only atheists who I have heard asking this question and that is because if there's one thing that challenges the very root of atheism it is the presence of intelligent believers in Christianity. Let me explain further: a foundational pillar of the atheist's worldview is that human reason is the ultimate authority by which we judge all things. This makes sense, from a naturalist view, then as the most advanced creatures on this earth, humanity's ability to reason is the highest form of authority which can be found to judge anything by. Rule out God and what's the next best thing left to judge truth by?
Therefore, what is hard for an atheist to accept is an individual who otherwise appears perfectly rational believing in the Bible. It is an ultimate failure of their ultimate authority. For when it comes to the Bible then the atheist applies his human reasoning to it and rejects it so cannot understand why someone would be rational and believe it. Once again, this is no surprise. In the letter to the Corinthians it is written:
Four years after it was published I finally got round to reading Mr Dawkin’s best selling work “The God Delusion”. I may as well start by admitting that I remain a Christian, a six day creationist and a Bible literalist. Richard would be spinning in his grave had the church actually got its act together and bumped him off. That last sentence, although firmly in keeping with Dawkin’s view on religion, was a joke.
Anyway, it’s not all negative, there were a few points were Mr Dawkins and I share common ground. It’s probably best to start off there before moving to the considerably longer list of things we don’t agree on.
The God Delusion – The Good Stuff
Right, this point may take some explaining. Dawkins hates religion; that point is clear enough. He hates the hypocrisy of religious people, he hates the special treatment it receives, he hates all the wars, debates, murderers, evil all done in the name of religion. He rallies against Islamic fundamentalism, Jew haters, racists, people who want to see a Christian theocracy in the US, basically every religious nut job out there.
And I agree with all this (to some extent). Religion, or to be more precise, religions of work, suck. As usual Jesus put it better in his famous six woes:
For most of you the idea that God can be proved scientifically is rather a strange one. This is a result of the secular distinction between facts and values. Modern thought would say that you have a lower floor of objectively proved unarguable facts and then a higher floor of subjective values like morality, dignity and God. As long as you accept the ‘facts’ then it’s fine to believe in whatever you want because that’s your own little higher floor and bears no relation to the lower floor.
Unfortunately, Christians have allowed themselves (and I include me in this) to be argued into the higher floor only. That is why you get Christians drawing a line between their faith and science. Modern thought would dictate that Christianity is a higher floor concept only and can therefore offer no opinion on the lower floor ‘facts’ that science deals with.
Under such a two tier system all religious thinking becomes fairies – fantasy beings with no relation to reality.