Faith Reborn: A Personal Apologetics by Doug Erlandson
An inspiring story of one man’s journey from unbelief to faith.
Genre: Non-fiction Christian Apologetics Memoir
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In his preface to Faith Reborn: A Personal Apologetics, philosopher and theologian Doug Erlandson argues that while the arguments typically presented in Christian apologetics are important, “it is also important that we discover how and why real people come to have a particular worldview.” To this end he presents the story of why, though raised in an evangelical Christian home, he became a “scientistic materialist” while an undergraduate at Wheaton College and how, after twelve years of wandering through atheism, pantheism, and panentheism, he again became a Christian during his seventh year as a philosophy professor at the University of Nebraska while discussing Romans Chapter 9 with a former student.
Throughout the book he weaves his autobiographical account of the factors that led him to question his non-Christian worldview around a serious presentation of Christian apologetics. Among the topics he covers are the design and cosmological arguments for the existence of God, the difficulties with the evolutionist account of the origin and proliferation of the species, how he wrestled with and finally made peace with the idea of God’s sovereignty over the universe, why he came to believe in the reliability and inspiration of Scripture despite having accepted the “higher” critical view for many years, why materialism cannot explain either the nature or the origin of the mind, and why many of the traditional Christian responses to the problem of evil are unpersuasive and why we must approach the issue from a theocentric perspective. Dr.
Erlandson also relates his fascination with and study of probability theory to the evidence for the bodily resurrection of Christ and shows how his study of the relationship between probability and rationality caused him to see the genius of Pascal’s Wager. The last two chapters of Faith Reborn include a frank discussion of his moments of lingering doubt and how that Wager has not only served to strengthen his faith but also the context in which it can be rightly used as an important apologetical tool.
Dr. Erlandson writes that he has never regretted the twelve years he spent away from the faith, for, as he puts it, “I gained an appreciation for why unbelievers think the way they do, why they find their position persuasive, and why they resist the arguments typically presented by Christian apologists. Even after all this time I feel that I can still get into the head of the unbeliever and see why he or she is resisting what I now believe to be the truth. At the same time I believe that I know where the soft underbelly of unbelief lies, for even when I was an unbeliever, I was able to discern weaknesses in that worldview, weaknesses that those who held that view often covered up with intellectual bravado.”
Doug Erlandson was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1946. He received his B.A. from Wheaton College (Ill.) and his doctorate in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. Doug was an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln 1972-1980 and since 1994 has been an adjunct instructor of philosophy at Southeast Community College in Lincoln.
Doug is the author of The Job Shuffle, Faith Reborn, Spiritual Anorexia: How Contemporary Worship is Starving the Church, Philosophy Basics, and Godly Contentment: Kingdom Living in an Age of Economic and Social Uncertainty.
Doug and his wife are co-owners of Licorice International, a candy store in Lincoln’s historic Haymarket District.