Sunday, 13 March 2011

Thinking 'til it Hurts!

I like to think quite a bit!

I have a fairly academic brain. I always did well at school. I enjoy maths and problem solving. I am a computer programmer, so logic is a big part of my job. I also enjoy the "softer" side of logic - philosophy, discussion and debate, weighing up arguments and counter-arguments, recognising the connections between things and considering the implications of an opinion or system of beliefs.

As a Christian, one of the things I think a lot about is my faith, which at times comes under significant attack from other thinkers and intellectuals. I think it's important to think about things, to ask honest questions and try to be honest with yourself about what you discover. I think there are some good, honest, rational reasons for believing in God, but although in my opinion there is a lot of evidence, there is no universally accessible and logically indisputable proof.

Sometimes though, I get tired of thinking! I can try to work everything out until I'm black and blue in the face (or feel that way anyway), but I don't have access to all knowledge, all wisdom, all intellect. My own logic is necessarily flawed in many places because I am only a finite, limited human being, and am influenced by all sorts of external and internal forces that I don't understand and cannot fully control.

Sometimes logic is just not enough and I need something else to fall back on. In the end, just thinking about God doesn't satisfy. At its core, the Christian faith is not about logic, its about an encounter, and this is where faith comes in - or at least where it starts. Faith - at least to begin with - is about reaching out into the unknown and daring to believe that something (or someone) might at least be there. There's plenty of information in the Bible, recorded by people who have had encounters in the past, that can inspire us to reach out and help us to make sense of what we might find. The church community exists - at least in part - so these experiences can be shared, interpreted and applied.

In the end though, the only way to know God is to reach out to Him for yourself. All the logic and reason in the world will never get you there! Those who can do this genuinely, in humility of heart, not expecting to understand everything they find, are usually those who discover that God has actually been reaching out to them the whole time.

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