Many people today think that the Christian faith is just not credible – to intelligent people anyway. They dismiss it as superstition, and put it in the same realm as fairies in the bottom of the garden. Only gullible, stupid people believe such stuff.
But they don't know what they are dismissing. And they don't know that they don't know. If God is thought about at all, it's because atheists have mentioned God in order to show there isn't such a being (fancy spending so much time and energy on combating something you think doesn't exist...) Or it's because God is a relic of the past and in our enlightened times we don't need such a crutch... and so the thinking goes.
As more people think less and less about God then a 'spiritual amnesia' begins to set in. New Zealand Panellist for the young writers Liz Hay writes: "A friend emailed my husband Ron, a recently retired Anglican minister, with the comment that New Zealand 'seems to not only have forgotten God, but forgotten that it has forgotten'."
Liz Hay continued that those words so resonated with Ron that the book he was beginning to write for secular people now carries the title 'Finding the Forgotten God'.
'Credible Faith for a Secular State'
Recently released, the book's subtitle is 'Credible Faith for a Secular Age,' and it is a thoughtful, intelligent presentation of the Christian faith for anyone who is prepared to do some reading and thinking, be they Kiwis or Aussies. In fact the book is written for anyone wanting to explore with an open mind.
Even if people have thought about faith, there are often stumbling blocks that have prevented them from going any further. Ron Hay tackles some of the thorny issues too, such as science and faith. On a recent hiking trip into the mountains Ron was talking with another tramper about the origins of our world. Somehow this guy could look at the wonderful landscape around him and say that what he saw had 'all happened by accident.'
Ron Hay's book deals with such casual dismissiveness by drawing on recent research in science and shows how that fits with an intelligent approach to the Bible. Science and faith are not in conflict after all, as many people think!
Another 'biggie' is the issue of suffering. Then there is the question; 'what about other religions?' And 'is God good?' These are tackled head on – and give lots of food for thought.
In a relatively short popular book, there's not space to go into some of the big issues in detail, but there are plenty of resources listed so that serious searchers can go further if they want to.
More than a set of beliefs
The Christian faith is more than a set of beliefs, even if they do make sense and are seen to be credible. Above all, Christianity is about a relationship with a person, and this book presents a vivid and real picture of the God we can relate to and with. As well as showing how anyone can enter into a relationship with God, Ron Hay has collected eight stories of people who have come to faith as adults. These accounts show that a living faith is possible and real for thinking people in today's world.
Secular people are unlikely to buy this book. They need to receive it from a person of faith who already has a relationship with God – and who also knows whether the recipient of the book is prepared to read it. Each book given then needs to be backed up with prayer.
Launched on the 23rd of November, copies of the book, 'Finding the Forgotten God' are currently available for $NZ27.99 plus postage from email@example.com
Elizabeth Hay drafted this review - Liz is a lover of the mountains, of good books, family and friends – and of God and his family, the church. A former secondary teacher and editor, Liz and Ron live in a mountain village one hour west of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html