Monday, April 15, 2013

Doubt and Faith: Daniel Taylor and Scot McKnight

Guru of doubt and author of the popular Christian-postmodern The Myth of Certainty, Daniel Taylor, has written once again on this subject: The Skeptical Believer. New Testament scholar, Scot McKnight has begun a blog series praising this book. He writes:

  • “The Skeptical Believer. No, it’s not a contradiction in terms. It’s a simple, everyday reality for many people of faith” And, he contends (and I agree), “it’s acceptable to God.”

While doubt is acceptable to God, trials are also acceptable to God. However, these tools aren’t supposed to be the end-product of the Christian life but just the means to get us there. Here’s my response to McKnight’s glowing review:

Taylor writes with the same postmodern skepticism as unbelievers do. And it’s an illogical jumble. Let me just take some of the statements you’ve affirmatively quoted:

  • Another point he makes in his opener: “the suspicion that anyone who claims to know most anything with certainty is Blowing Smoke”
According to Taylor, claims of certainty are claims as empty as smoke. This would mean that Taylor is also “blowing smoke,” because this is a statement of certainty! Here is another example of Taylor “blowing smoke”:

  • With this he closes down the intro: “All evidence is resistible. All arguments are assailable. … All Arguments… leak.”
With this, he also invalidates his own arguments! The tool of Taylor’s trade is radical skepticism. If only he would apply this same standard to his own statements!

This is not to demonize all doubt. As F. Buechner stated so graphically: “Doubts are the ants-in-the-pants of faith.” Indeed, doubt is a tool to build great faith. Doubt is not its final destination, as Taylor suggests. Nor is doubt the pinnacle of faith!

Taylor's position is not only illogical, it is inconsistent with the Christian faith.

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