Confident Faith: Building a Firm Foundation for Your Beliefs by Mark Mittelberg
Thinking through our beliefs is not an easy task, especially in today’s world where reason is king and any belief in the supernatural is usually deemed pre-scientific. In his new book, Confident Faith, author Mark Mittelberg seeks to bolster the confidence of believers in their Christian faith by giving them sound reasons for the faith and dispelling other alternatives to that faith. Doubts are no intimidation factor for Mark, he takes them head on as he himself as a young man how many questions about the Bible’s trustworthiness and its message. Mark comes out his readers through a plea to do some hard research yourself to see if the Christian faith is worthy of believing. Also, in the book, Mark outlines six “faith paths” that most people align themselves with at one point or another: the relativistic faith, the traditional faith, the authoritarian faith, the intuitive faith, the mystical faith, and the evidential faith path.
In commenting about the intuitive faith path, Mark gives some wise counsel to his readers by writing, “So we see that we are endowed with instincts and insights that can make enormous differences in our lives…..But we need to be careful, too. Many hearts have been broken – and lives shattered – by following the heart alone. Hunches, intuitive flashes, and “gut feelings” can serve as cautionary alerts – but whenever possible, these need to be tested against other proven methods for finding or scrutinizing truth.” (93-94) Just like the man in the book who at the last second changed his airline flight and was glad to know that he wasn’t on that plane that crashed, sometimes intuitions or hunches lead us to the right choices. But we cannot know for certain with a hunch and at times we rely so heavily on a intuitive light bulb that we forget observation, reason, and calculated decisions. It is the same with faith, we must see intuition as an ‘imperfect guide,’ (98) because the human heart is bent towards its own demise. Yet, as believers with a renewed heart, intuitive faith can lead us to some very interesting discoveries.
In his chapter on The Evidential Faith Path, Mark points out a telling sign of the world we live in by looking at scientism. He writes, “..somewhere along the way, some leading thinkers in our society have moved away from the general use and application of scientific knowledge and toward an ideology that determines in advance what kinds of conclusions will be deemed acceptable within the intellectual community.” (139). These a priori assumptions that Mark is referring to relates to luminaries like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett who seek to dismantle any notions of design in the world by their naturalistic presuppositions. If we rule out in the beginning that the supernatural is a spurious fiction, then our conclusions will only be based upon natural causes. Yet, as Mark points out, this new atheism fails at its own game, for scientism cannot live up to its claims because it can’t be proven scientifically.
Mark provides readers with a more confident faith path that includes testing truth claims, looking at the Bible for truth, and seeing how the world makes sense out a robust biblical worldview.
I think this book will go a long way in dismantling some faith paths for some and bringing confidence for others who are well down the path of sound faith.
Thanks to Tyndale Publishers for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.