I wrestle often on this blog and others who argue that religion is a matter of “faith,” or personal preference. This “faith” is supposedly opposed to reason and science, which present objective, verifiable facts.
This notion escapes me. I present reasoned arguments for the faith that do not precede from unverifiable assumptions (see this series of posts for an example). I present a Jesus who acted in history, a history that is verifiable in the same way the most important decisions in our culture are: eye-witness testimony and historical witness (see here).
This is in line with Newbigin’s recommendations as expressed in the article:
[Newbigin] challenges the post-Enlightenment separation between so-called objective facts in the public realm (taught at school and presented without the need for the preface "I believe") and the subjective values of the private world of religion and ethics. He argues that the church needs to humbly yet boldly enter the public sphere with a persuasive retelling of the Christian story—not as personal spirituality, but as public truth. He takes the logic for this public dialogue from the scientific community. A scientist does not present research findings as a personal preference, but with hope for universal agreement if the findings stand up to investigation. In the marketplace of ideas, we should likewise present the gospel not as personal preference but as truth that should gain universal acceptance. This allows us to commend the faith with the humble admission that we might not have exhaustively grasped the truth, but that we have truth that needs to be investigated and seriously engaged.
Like it or not, presentation of Christianity as an objectively true, verifiable religion is the best approach we can take.