Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Inescapable Questions of Life & Apologetics

F. Leroy Forlines
One of the many ingenious contributions to theological thought made by Reformation Arminian theologian Leroy Forlines is his discussion of the inescapable questions of life. Perhaps someone else has made more of this issue, but I haven't otherwise come across it in my reading and research.

The inescapable questions of life ask,
  • How did I get here?
  • Is there a God? If so, how can I know him?
  • What is my purpose in life?
  • Is there life after death?
  • What do I do about feelings of guilt?
  • Etc.
Forlines is right to point out these questions which, I think, are indeed inescapable. They can hardly be ignored. Although often suppressed, they rise to the surface again and again, whether the occasion is a new born baby, the death of a loved one, the tragedy of divorce, problems with finding a job and supporting one's family, or simply the quiet moments on a sunny beach when the relentless, monotonous waves give one a moment for pause.

Sometimes life's circumstances are so intense that these questions come screaming at us. Ultimately, if we cannot find satisfactory answers to these questions, we are driven to despair, and abandon all hope of finding meaning to life, and end up living as bitter cynics. Indeed, one can argue that the whole purpose of religion is to find an answer to these questions, and that one's commitment to a particular religion is largely dependent on how satisfactorily the religious system answers these questions. 

For this reason, a discussion of the inescapable questions of life may have some apologetical value in the defense of one's religion. What good is one's religion if it does not satisfactorily answer one's deepest and most urgent questions?

Along these lines, one should ask, How is it that the human constitution is indelibly marked by such questions? It is difficult to argue that they are a product of a natural process, apart from a creator God who is personal. 

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