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Living Conviction in an Age of Unbelief

I recently attended a lecture at Redeemer University College, Albert Mohler discussed ‘Living Conviction in an Age of Unbelief.’ And he gave us his airplane questions. You know, the questions that Christians like to ask their seatmates when conversations turn deep. I would think there’s no way of avoiding these questions when you’re the president of a seminary. Mohler’s questions are, “What are you living for?” and “How is it working for you?” The questions seem particularly relevant as I sit in an airport waiting for a delayed flight. 

What ‘I’ believe says more about me than it does about Truth.

Mohler’s lecture focused on the changing understanding of the word ‘belief.’ As in “I believe in God the Father Almighty creator of heaven and earth." Mohler laid out the etymology: until the recent past, hearers understood this type of statement as a truth claim with the emphasis on ‘believe.’ Today hearers understand these statements as a type of self-disclosure. What ‘I’ believe says more about me than it does about Truth. 

But according to Mohler, people are still looking for their ‘gravitational truth’ answers -- truths that are assumed without thinking about or questioning. Mohler suggested that every belief system has gravitational answers for the following four questions. “Why is there something instead of nothing? Why has it gone bad? Is there hope? Where is history headed?” 

Our involvement in that hope will illuminate the Truth.  

So if these questions are as important as ever, how can we answer these questions without ‘I believe’ statements? If human flourishing through truth motivates our conversation, our surprising answer to the question “Is there hope?” will open doors for meaningful dialogue. And our involvement in that hope will illuminate the Truth.  

For example, in discussing the election with my friends we all agreed that it was really hard to vote, because we all agreed with some parts of party platforms and not others. Mohler pointed out that our vote isn’t all we need to say. We need to say way more and way less than a particular party or person.  

Voting is not my only act as an active citizen.

I think that’s why I’m so excited about my new job. Because voting is not my only act as an active citizen. My next way to live a surprising, hopeful, humble, and engaged life is by taking action in advocating for just policies now that the election is over. My actions in the post-voting season have begun to say more about truth than about me. 

So as I’ve reflected on these ideas over the days since the lecture I’ve come up with an airplane question of my own. Have you ever advocated for a policy change? What a surprising question, what a hopeful question, that our faithfulness in the public sphere can result in real change. 

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Photo used with permission from Redeemer University College.  

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