to walk worthily of the Lord, pleasing him in all respects

Sunday, March 01, 2009

1st Sunday of Lent: Lord, to whom can we go? You alone have the words of Life.

For today's Lenten perspective, I offer you two podcasts from the Hugh Hewitt show (episode one, episode two). Mr. Hewitt interviews Bill Lobdell, erstwhile religion editor for the LA Times. Mr. Lobdell became a Christian and then was blessed with the opportunity to report on stories on religion for the LA Times. In the process of examining both positive and (very) negative stories about religions, Mr. Lobdell lost his faith. All of this is set forth in his book, Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America-and found Unexpected Peace. The first episode covers this story in a very engaging and thought provoking way for it challenges us who believe to see the potential harm of our immorality and our irrational rationalisms. (What makes the episode even more interesting is that Mr. Hewitt, a person of faith, and Mr. Lobdell, now a self-described atheist, have been and remain very close friends.)

Interspersed through the first and occupying much of the second episode are phone calls from Mr. Hewitt's listeners. I found these phone calls to be as challenging, perhaps even more so, but for an entirely different reason. It strikes me that an observance of Lent is to ponder these calls and to contemplate the manner in which people (mostly respectfully) attempt to persuade Mr. Lobdell to believe. They seemed to believe that his loss of faith was an irrationality and that he could be argued back into the fold. Most attempt to use apologetics (e.g., Lee Strobel type arguments). I could help but wonder if he lost his faith because he was trying to be too rational (Mr. Lobdell puts a lot of emphasis on what science can prove about, for instance, the (empiracle absence of) benefit from religion.

What would you say to him? I have to hope I would say something more, but all I could think to do was to say something less. I am reminded of, and worried by, Job 42:7: the LORD said, "My wrath is kindled against you and your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right...."

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