Summary CHAPTER 6: POINTERS TO FAITH—Approaches to Apologetic Engagement (Pgs. 93-124)


51O3B1fQj-LWe live in a world and society that’s inundated with information but simultaneously can’t synthesize it.  That is, what the information points to and what’s its significance eludes us.  McGrath reminds the reader that: “Christianity gives us a way, of bringing order and intelligibility to our many and complex observations of the natural world, human history, and personal experience”.  Moreover, it allows us to integrate what is discovered so that a mosaic or tapestry of reality as we know it obtains.

He argues for a cumulative case approach to apologetic engagement.  Here, what we observe from the external and internal world of human experience makes rational sense from a Christian worldview which helps us synthesize and thus unfold life’s meaning.

McGrath acknowledges that our epistemological finitude (limited view of knowledge) is real when compared to deductive vs. abductive arguments, the latter of which yields probabilities as opposed to mathematic certainties and that’s why using a cumulative case approach to apologetics is a credible strategy.  It’s likened unto the court room approach of allowable evidence that’s “beyond a reasonable doubt” to either indict or acquit the defendant.

The cumulative case approach according to McGrath are “pointers to faith” such as; the origins of the universe along with Bib Bang cosmology and concludes that the established data fits better in a theistic universe than a naturalistic one.  Again, he points out that the universes’ “fine tuning principle” which makes life possible as we know it seems to point out that there’s a a designer who had us in mind, rather than blind, random chance events.  Moreover, he considers the structure of the physical world and its predictable constants which make science possible and concludes that a theistic worldview makes better sense of the data than a chaotic one.

McGrath offers other clues in his cumulative case pointers to faith which include: human morality, a persons’ desire, the issue of beauty, the need for relationships, and the concept of eternity as a means to “weave” a coherent “tapestry” of reality in order to get a conversation started.  After each section he then offers the possible apologetic value of each clue and how it may be apologetically used.  I think this sampling of pointers to faith is a great place to start and depending on the audience, one clue will be preferable over others.  This chapter felt much like a “workshop approach” to apologetics rather than a lecture format.  I enjoyed it.

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