The world is moving into ghettos. No, not those types of ghettos. The ghettos that place a border around people with differing opinions, and differing beliefs. I certainly know that throughout history we have had enclaves where only certain types of people lived together. Catholics on this side of the street, and this ethnicity near the docks. But that is not the type of ghetto I’m referring to now. I’m referring to the intellectual one, where only like minded authors find their way onto our bookshelves and Kindles.
Let me ask a question. When was the last time you have read something by someone you may disagree with?
As a Christian, I am confident in the validity of the faith. I am confident that it can stand against claims that are brought against it. In my political views, I feel secure in them as well. So with those strong feelings, why on earth wouldn’t I read a differing opinion?
That’s why I subscribe to a couple of periodicals that I read regularly and why I look into claims of New Atheists and old Atheists. I certainly still read people I agree with, of course. But I have found that it is in being stretched by these opposing viewpoints that I have grown more as a thinker. I will read the claims of a Harris or Dawkins while also reading the defenders of the faith like Keller or Craig.
I understand that this is not always a popular view nowadays, but in my view, apologetics are still very important. Yes, apologetics can be abused as a powerplay to shut questioning people up (See my post on the good, the bad, and the ugly of apologetics) As a follower of Christ, I need to be able to give an answer to people who might bring questions about the hope that lives within me. Indeed, some of the questions that are raised are legitimate inquiries. And it is for these cases that I will read differing viewpoints. It’s not necessarily the ones that just want to play philosophical ‘gotcha’ but the ones that have a true question. And hopefully if I can answer that question, then that is one less objection to Christ. And I’ll leave the fate of that individual’s questioning mind to the salvific work of the Holy Spirit.
I read challenging books to help sharpen myself to give a defense for the hope that lies within me, and I hope you do too.
What has challenged you lately?