After last week’s column about the upcoming apologetics conference, Why Jesus? 2016, occurring in Bangor, Maine, this May, a reader from Whiting wrote me a note to share his concern and disappointment that none of the conference’s headline speakers are women. Sure enough, while a number of women are scheduled to lead workshops, all of the main speakers happen to be men.
What a delight, for people who value a female perspective, that I happen to have sitting on my desk the recently released book, “A Woman’s Guide to Knowing What You Believe” (Bethany House Publishers, 2015), by Christian apologist and author Patty Houser, a national conference speaker from Virginia who teaches women how to share and defend their faith.
The secret to living a life of extraordinary faith, Houser writes, comes from, “fully engaging our minds, as well as our hearts, in our faith, because dynamic faith requires a healthy balance of both.” Instead of simply sharing feelings, this involves well-thought-out reasons.
“It also means,” she says, “that we know exactly why we believe what we do.”
Unfortunately, says Houser, who has a master’s in Christian apologetics and is the Director of Women’s Ministries for the nonprofit Solid Reasons, explaining their faith is an area that many women lack confidence. “When we state what we believe, more often than not, we give experiential reasons instead of rational ones for believing as we do. We believe God exists because we feel his presence when we are outdoors in nature. And we believe the Bible is true because we experience the peace and joy that comes from obeying his teachings.”
But are these reasons enough? Not if we’re honest, Houser says. That’s the basis behind her easy-to-read, engaging book, which is specifically geared to women who want to more know about apologetics—the rational and facts behind what we believe.
My favorite chapter was “Through the Looking Glass,” in which Houser summarizes how the world’s ten major belief systems answer eight succinct questions from, “Who am I?” to “What should be important to me?” By far, the starkest perspective, in my opinion, was from the point of view of postmodernism, which currently dominates Western culture. To every question, the postmodernist answers, “I don’t know,” Hauser says.
That is because, “postmodern philosophy asserts that truth is determined by each person and therefore is relative and situational.”
Why is understanding the rationale behind the Christian faith important? In the words of another well-known apologist, a quote from Solid Reason’s website explains, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance, the only thing it cannot be is moderately important,” C.S. Lewis.
Houser’s book—along with the upcoming conference—offers invaluable insight for those seeking to define what they believe and how to answer some of life’s most urgent questions. Maybe next time, she’ll be on the docket. Either way, you can still buy the book.