catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 7, Num 10 :: 2008.05.16 — 2008.05.30


Is it believable?

When discussing the Bible and Christian faith, questions sometimes arises over whether it is believable. What is often meant by this is whether the Bible fits with archaeological discoveries, whether there really are inconsistencies in the text, etc. In this line of thinking, if the Bible could be proven to be factually accurate, then it would be considered true and believable.

But what if truth and believe-ability were defined differently? Instead of the modern definition of truth as being something that is rationally and factually provable, truth can be defined as something that has significance or has great relevance. Then, the question of whether it is believable takes on a different ring. It becomes a question of whether the Bible makes a difference in people's lives. This way of seeing truth fits more with postmodernity; it matters less what you say you believe and more how you proclaim the love and grace shown in the Bible.

And yet, the question of whether something is believable can be asked in still a slightly different way. Something cannot become believable until we can envision it taking shape in our own lives. Talking about trusting God is a completely different concept when our lives are going well than when we are pushed outside of areas where we are comfortable. We might hear stories about God providing thousands of dollars for somebody or healing or miracles, but such stories are unbelievable to many of us whose lives have been prudently shaped to protect ourselves from ever being in so much need. We would rather cling to something that is tangible and known instead of venturing out into something that is foolish—and which is hard to see as believable.

And so the question of whether the Bible and Christianity are believable can be seen to be a lot more complex. Faith is not simply about whether the Bible and faith are rational, although it should be rationally believable to a point (since God did after all give us minds to use). It is not simply about whether it affects the actions in my life. It is also not simply about whether I can trust God and am willing to take risks. It is all of those: mind and actions, heart and soul. Asking whether the Bible and Christianity are believable means looking at the surprising interplay of faith and God's often unbelievable work (an interplay that can not be called anything less than "foolishness to the Greeks"). And as to the question of whether it is believable, the question will hopefully shift to include not simply whether it is believable, but how do I live believing?

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