Read an Excerpt
The Case for Faith Participant's Guide
A Six-Session Investigation of the Toughest Objections to Christianity
By Lee Strobel Garry Poole
Copyright © 2008
Lee Strobel and Garry Poole
All right reserved.
Chapter One THE CHALLENGE OF FAITH
For me, having lived much of my life as an atheist, the last thing I want is a naive faith built on a paper-thin foundation of wishful thinking or make-believe. I need a faith that's consistent with reason, not contradictory to it; I want beliefs that are grounded in reality, not detached from it. I need to find out once and for all whether the Christian faith can stand up to scrutiny. It was time for me to talk face to face with Charles Templeton. Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith
If possible, read the following content in preparation for your group meeting. Otherwise, read it as follow-up.
The Case for Faith, introduction: The Challenge of Faith
The Case for Faith, On the Road to Answers
DVD Introduction and Teaching Segment #1
For every DVD clip, space is provided to take notes on anything that stands out to you.
1. What are your greatest doubts in life? What spiritual doubts do you carry around with you?
Think About This!
"All of us want somebody to love us. Well, I want to tell you that God loves you. He loves you so much that he gave us his Son to die on the cross for our sins. And he loves you so much that he will come into your life and change the direction of your life and make you a new person, whoever you are." Billy Graham
"What is faith? There would have been no need to define it for these people listening to Billy Graham preach on that sultry June night. Faith was almost palpable to them. They reached out to God almost as if they were expecting to physically embrace him. Faith drained them of the guilt that had oppressed them. Faith replaced despondency with hope. Faith infused them with new direction and purpose. Faith unlocked heaven. Faith was like cool water soaking their parched soul." Lee Strobel
"But faith isn't always that easy, even for people who desperately want it. Some people hunger for spiritual certainty, yet something hinders them from experiencing it. They wish they could taste that kind of freedom, but obstacles block their paths. Objections pester them. Doubts mock them. Their hearts want to soar to God; their intellects keep them securely tied down." Lee Strobel
"I had preached to hundreds of thousands of people the antithetical message, and then I found to my dismay that I could no longer believe it. To believe it would be to deny the brain I had been given. It became quite clear that I had been wrong." Charles Templeton
2. In what ways can you relate to Charles Templeton's experience of doubt? What questions of faith have you been confronted with that you haven't been able to resolve?
* * *
"Reason and faith are opposites, two mutually exclusive terms: there is no reconciliation or common ground. Faith is belief without, or in spite of, reason." Atheist George H. Smith
3. How do you define "doubt"? Where do doubts come from? What effect do they have on people when they hit? What are the pros and cons of a healthy dose of doubt?
* * *
"Faith is a rational response to the evidence of God's self-revelation in nature, human history, the Scriptures and his resurrected Son." Christian educator W. Bingham Hunter
4. Briefly describe your faith journey. When have you been closest to God on your journey in life and at what points have you felt farthest away from him? Explain.
Think About This!
"If a person has faith and it makes them a better individual, then I'm all for that-even if I think they're nuts. Having been a Christian, I know how important it is to people's lives-how it alters their decisions, how it helps them deal with difficult problems. For most people, it's a boon beyond description. But is it because there is a God? No, it's not." Charles Templeton
"Is that what faith is all about-fooling yourself into becoming a better person? Convincing yourself there's a God so that you'll become motivated to ratchet up your morality a notch or two? Embracing a fairy tale so you'll sleep better at night? No thank you, I thought to myself. If that's faith, I wasn't interested." Lee Strobel
5. What is faith in God all about? Is it a fairy tale contrived to make us feel better, or is it something real and significant?
* * *
"Billy, you're fifty years out of date," Templeton argued. "People no longer accept the Bible as being inspired the way you do. Your faith is too simple." Charles Templeton to Billy Graham
6. To what extent are questions and doubts regarding spiritual matters inevitable? Why? Is faith a simple process of belief or does it require a certain degree of thought and struggle or a combination of both? Explain.
7. In the DVD segment Templeton describes an intense longing he had for a relationship with God. Describe the intensity of your desire to be in a relationship with God.
Think About This!
"I had gone through a conversion experience as an incredibly green youth. I lacked the intellectual skills and the theological training needed to buttress my beliefs when - as was inevitable - questions and doubts began to plague me.... My reason had begun to challenge and sometimes to rebut the central beliefs of the Christian faith." Charles Templeton
"Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word - by faith! I'm going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word." Billy Graham
Optional Discussion Questions
Describe the genesis of your doubt about God - how and why did it begin? Why does it sometimes seem so complicated or difficult to believe in God?
What kinds of questions have challenged your ability to believe in the validity of the Bible, the deity of Jesus, or the existence of God?
To what degree is theological training necessary to sustain one's faith?
How much do you value intellectual honesty? Is truth more important than feeling good or is ignorance sometimes bliss?
DVD Teaching Segment #2
Excerpted from The Case for Faith Participant's Guide by Lee Strobel Garry Poole Copyright © 2008 by Lee Strobel and Garry Poole. Excerpted by permission.
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