Wednesday 26 August 2009

Michael Green and Nick Spencer on I’d Like to Believe, But…

Michael Green and Nick Spencer, I’d Like to Believe, But… (Nottingham: IVP, 2009, first published 2005), 122pp., ISBN 9781844743902.

IVP post the introduction online here. In it, Michael Green refers to research carried out by Nick Spencer when he worked at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, published in 2003 in Beyond Belief, looking at current beliefs of those in the mainstream population – those who don’t go to church, those who are unsure about God.

Michael Green notes that while some of their objections to Christian belief were ‘substantial and far-reaching’, many were also ‘disappointingly weak and confused’ (8), showing very little understanding of the Christian faith, but also demonstrating a spiritual hunger. Many of them were effectively saying, ‘I’d like to believe, but…’ Writing from the perspective that Christianity ‘makes sense of our questions, longings and our doubts’ (9), Michael Green tries to remove some of those ‘buts’, the characteristic difficulties in belief…

1. ‘You don’t need to go to church to be spiritual’
2. ‘The church is just too inflexible’
3. ‘Christians are such hypocrites’
4. ‘Religious people are too intolerant’
5. ‘You can’t trust what is in the Bible’
6. ‘Science has disproved Christianity’
7. ‘There’s just too much suffering in the world’
8. ‘There are too many religions in the world for them all to be true’
9. ‘There’s not enough proof for me to believe’
10. ‘Something 2,000 years old can’t be relevant to me today’
11. ‘If there is a God, why doesn’t he just send someone down?’
12. ‘That is all very well, but I’m not sure I believe in God’

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