How Should I Earnestly Contend for the Faith? Part 6

The fifth and final method presented in Five Views on Apologetics is Reformed epistemology, as presented by Kelly James Clark. Currently, he serves as Senior Research Fellow at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. Previously, he was Professor of Philosophy at Gordon College and Calvin College, and has held visiting appointments at Oxford, St. Andrews, and Notre Dame.

Reformed epistemologists are not in favor of fideism, but are skeptical of the power of evidence to persuade unbelievers. Neither are they opposed to evidences for the truth of Christianity, but point out that most Christians did not come to believe through evidential arguments. Reformed epistemology holds that a rational belief in God can be maintained without arguments or evidence. Reformed epistemologists have a strong conviction that God has given all people an awareness of himself.

It is hard to imagine that God would make rational belief as difficult as those who demand evidence contend. I encourage anyone who thinks that evidence is required for rational belief in God to study very carefully the theistic arguments, their refutations and counter-refutations, and their increasing subtlety yet decreasing charm. Adequate assessment of these arguments would require a lengthy and tortuous tour through the history of philosophy and may require the honing of one’s logical and metaphysical skills beyond the capacity of most of us. Why put that sort of barrier between us and God? John Calvin believed that God has provided us with a sense of the divine.
– Kelly James Clark, from Chapter Five: Reformed Epistemology Apologetics, Five Views on Apologetics

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What Inspires Your Belief in God?

I have loved nature as far back as I can remember, and for me there really has been no more compelling evidence of an all wise Creator than the wonderfully messy, mindbogglingly orderly, wild, awesome beauty of nature. There is no more sure path to the numinous, holy, pure fear of the Lord, and the beginning of knowledge.

Romans 1:19-20 ESV

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Today's New Reason to Believe

A recent psychological study from Claremont McKenna College and the University of Southern California confirms that belief in the supernatural occurs more readily in people who experience awe at the wonder of nature. Though many researchers attempt to provide a naturalistic account for these beliefs, the explanation falls short.

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457381095In the late 1990s, skeptic Michael Shermer and sociologist Frank Sulloway surveyed a number of people about their religious belief. When asked why they believe in God, people most cited the design, beauty, perfection, and complexity of nature.1 This result matches my experience as a Christian apologist. As I travel around the world, speaking about the scientific evidence for the Christian faith, people in the audience consistently tell me that the elegant designs in nature inspire their belief in God.

Sense of Awe Inspires Belief

New research by psychologists from Claremont McKenna College and the University of Southern California…

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