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Rick Wade Asked To Belief In God

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How is one persuaded to belief in God? Social influences certainly play a role in accepting or rejecting Christianity. Many people raised in a Christian environment receive positive classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning. However, numerous individuals do not grow up in a positive Christian environment or have had negative experiences related to Christianity. How are they persuaded to belief in God? Rick Wade (1998) in his article “The Relevance of Christianity: An Apologetic,” offers one dimension to persuading non-Christians to believe. Wade’s perspective, however, had little relevance to my own conversion.
I was not raised in a Christian environment and did not become a Christian until age 20 or so. Therefore,
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Due to the problems that were in my life, I did not care about what the article discusses. Wade (1998) lists three concepts, “meaning, morality, and hope” (para. 8). As important as those concepts are, they surface issues, like the tip of an iceberg above the water. Of course, I wanted meaning and hope, as do most. One’s one understanding of meaning and hope, however, comes from one’s experiences in life. This understanding, which forms the basis of one’s worldview, is largely unconscious, lying beneath the surface, since it is all one knows. The intellectual arguments against Christianity, and that the article addresses, serve only to support what an individual already believes. Nevertheless, Wade’s arguments may serve as a precursor to accepting Christ, but without addressing the issues below the surface, those opinions by themselves are rarely persuasive. Interestingly, the author seems to acknowledge this point. Wade (1998), in the last sentence of the article, writes, “Even if such matters are not persuasive by themselves, they might at least serve to show that Christianity is relevant to our lives today” (para. 56). Negative experiences of Christianity, which may come from classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning, serve to form one’s…show more content…
First, to “hold a more accurate view of the world, [Second, to] be consistent within themselves, or [third, to] gain social approval and acceptance” (p. 154). Wade’s article seems to address the first reason, to hold a more accurate view of the world. However, if an individual has negative experiences in life, the cognitive dissonance created will likely cause external evidence to be denied or rejected in order, as per the second reason, to remain consistent within themselves (Kenrick, Neuberg, & Cialdini, 2015, p. 164, 173). Internal questions arise, such as, “if God is good, why would he allow bad things to happen (to me)? If the Christian life is a supernatural life, why do few, if any, Christians express little of the fullness of life that Christ offers?” Or, more specifically, “why would God allow me to be molested when I was a boy?” Or, “why would God allow my mother to die?” These types of questions tend to motivate an individual’s disbelief in God. Wade’s arguments will be readily dismissed if the issues beneath the surface are not adequately addressed. Individuals from Sigmund Freud to C. S. Lewis (before his conversion) were staunch atheists because of the negative experiences they suffered in their lives (Nicholi, A. M., 2002). If Wade’s arguments are true, and Christianity is more accurate to reality, how does one reconcile it with the negative experiences an individual holds
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