In conjunction with the release of the movie Denial, a movie based on a true story about a journalist who was taken to court for libel by a Holocaust denier, some Patheos bloggers were asked to tackle the following question:
Does faith prevent or propagate intolerance, and should someone have the right to deny the veracity and historicity of your faith tradition?
Before I came to faith in the resurrected Jesus the Messiah, I denied the veracity and historicity of the Bible. By the time I hit my mid-teens, I’d placed the Bible in the same category as Aesop’s fables and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. I believed the Bible was an ancient inspirational book filled with moral teaching and a lot of unverifiable bits of history.
I came to the Bible as a skeptic. When I started reading it out of curiosity, I discovered it was a far more complex and essential Book than I’d imagined. That reading began a shift in me that eventually led me to make a commitment to the Author who’d inspired human writers to tell his story. While there are many determined, educated apologists for the Christian faith debating people who once believed what I did, I am pretty sure no human could have changed my mind about what I believed back then by their debate skills. I was determined not to believe.
Instead, other forms of witness cracked my veneer: the joy, courage, and prayer of other believers made a way for a bit of light to pierce my soul. My Christian friends exhibited a grace-filled willingness to allow me not to believe as they did, while inviting me to consider the claims of Jesus for myself. Love, it turns out, is what real faith looks like. Not Hallmark sentiment, but laying-down-your-life, self-giving love of the kind described in the Bible.
I respect those who don’t believe as I do, because I can not compel them into belief. I can, however, love them and trust that God is at work in their lives as he was (and is) in mine.
That said…[Read more]