Union Matters!

Believer on Sunday, Atheist by Thursday

September 20, 2019

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Author and professor emeritus Ronald P. Byars at home.

Regular worshipers may be believers on Sunday but (nearly) atheists by Thursday. The general public, not making fine distinctions, lumps mainline Protestants together with fundamentalists fighting to hold on to a privileged status already lost. Circumstances favor religious skeptics, who find themselves with rising influence. Church members in mainline denominations feel caught between a rock and a hard place. Thus comes the critical question of the moment: is Christian faith of an intellectually serious and recognizably generous sort still possible? Union Presbyterian Seminary Professor Emeritus of Preaching and Worship Ronald P Byars's new book "Believer on Sunday, Atheist by Thursday" invites readers to explore basic questions about faith itself, and classically inclined Christian faith in particular.

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Faith is a kind of knowing, but a knowing that makes use of doubt and asserts that it is possible to be confident without claiming absolute certainty. Faith is less like agreeing with an argument and more like falling in love. Faith involves learning how to see with the eyes of the heart. Faith embraces realities that can be perceived even by a child, but that cannot always be directly expressed in the kind of language we use for discussing serious matters. Living in faith is and will always be an against-the-grain way of imagining the world. Union alumnus Jessica Tate wrote the Foreward to the book and spoke with Dr. Byars about it via Skype.

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