I’m Not Defending the Christian Faith

This morning I was working through Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map. If you aren’t familiar with it, Desire Mapping is a process where you identify how you want to feel in your life and then using those core desires, you begin to set goals. As I was working through the process I wrote, “I want to live my truth without having to defend it.” And then I stopped cold. Wasn’t I supposed to be the defender of my faith?  I began to get curious about where my need to defend my truth came from.

Why do I feel like I need to defend my truth? 

I decided to do a Google search on ‘defend your faith’. Wow! There before my eyes flashed a large portion of my evangelical Christian experience. All those courses! All those apologetics ministries offering downloads including “Over 12 hours of teaching in Defending your Faith.” I even found a blog titled, 65 Apologetics Questions Every Christian Parent Needs to Answer. I didn’t even check iTunes but I am guessing there are some podcasts on defending your faith.

In my early spiritual formation I was schooled in apologetics. We had answers to every question we might be asked. My husband and I founded a cult information service in Toronto. We could break down religious systems for you. I specialized in Eckankar. I used phrases like ‘esoteric gap’ routinely.

Of course, like most evangelical Christians reading this post, I immediately started thinking about a verse in the Bible I had committed to heart (our word for memorizing) ‘Aways be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have’ (1 Peter 3:15).  And because I am in the remaking phase of my faith I thought I would explore it. My spiritual director and I have discussed how one of my blocks in reconstructing my faith is how deeply I have internalized some of these things. In his words, “even though you don’t believe the same things any longer, you are still trying to do your faith the way you always have.”

I wonder if that verse actually meant having all the answers to all the questions people have concerning every possible facet of the Christian faith. I am not sure that is what the bible was teaching. I know that the word used here ‘ready to give an answer’ means an apologetic, a reasoned response. In our Western mind that means a rationale explanation. It means being able to scientifically, mathematically with complete accuracy defend our belief. I don’t know if that was what it meant.

Reading through different translations it seems that the intention of this verse was to focus on your own relationship with God. And if anyone asked you about the hope you have then gently with great respect explain it to them. I don’t think it means we have to be able to answer every question ever asked about the Christian faith.

Those questions are the journey of the person asking them. I’ve been trying to live in the questions instead of having all the answers. I want to live my truth and not defend it. And if I get questions, I’ll do my best to explain the hope I have as irrational as it may be.