|Chapter 1: Introduction||
See my series reviewing
McGrath spends 7 short pages showing us his liberal Christian stances by:
- Declaring the Bible must be studied objectively:
We must study the Bible with the same agreed upon tool that we study the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon. This is part of what former apologist turned atheist John Loftus calls “The Outsider Test for Faith” in his book “Why I became an Atheist“. It is also what is meant by the famous atheist quote on Luke’s website Common Sense Atheism: “When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” – Stephen Roberts. In this way McGrath is showing agreement on common methods and tools. He is pro-science and pro-historical objective research.
- Objecting to blind-faith in the Bible:
He does this by defining the various meanings of “faith” as I have also done here. Like me, McGrath feels that clarifying the meanings of this word will help inter-religious dialogue. And McGrath’s book is such a dialogue being largely aimed at conservative Christians (perhaps those in his classes). He emphasize the “Trust” meaning of faith and tells Christians that the “trust-faith” in their scriptures means to trust in God, not to blindly “trust” the bible which he calls idolatry. Atheists can only applaud the influence that such in-house conversations can have.
Likewise McGrath rightly chastises what I have called “hyper-rationalists”. He reassures his conservative readers that he does not agree with the “blind-faith” in reason they hear from some Atheists. These “hyper-rationalists” believe that “our rational capacities, our senses, our knowledge and understanding are not only adequate, but the only legitimate source of knowledge.” I agree with his objections. So far, so good.
My Objection to his Faith:
I am reviewing this book while I slowly read it. So I am not sure if he will answer this objection in coming pages. McGrath feels comforted distinguishing between trust of God and trust of the Bible. But in the end, any trust of the Christian God (for salvation through Jesus and all things working for the better) can only come by trusting that Bible is accurate on these things. For without the specifics, what exactly is a Christian trusting? Christians trust that a god exists like the one described in their scriptures, thus the only way they really know the list of things they should trust of their god comes from the Bible. Some Christians believe God speaks to them personally in a quiet voice or in tongues or through the prophecies of others, but I don’t think McGrath is speaking in trust of such revelation. Thus I think that conservative Christians have good reason to be leering of where McGrath is going with all this. And I am leery too. because the liberal Christians burden is to tell us how to sort out what sort of God they believe in and why. Stay tuned.