Every now and then, believers come across people and situations that question their faith directly or implicitly. It is fair to say every genuine Christian would eventually be faced with these seemingly-dicey questions.
On the surface, it looks like a harmless inquiry of motive and intent. Albeit, upon deeper introspection, it is a call to reason the very fundamental fabrics and substance of the Christian faith.
How do we ready ourselves to answer questions about the reason behind our hope?
Introduction to ‘Am I being fooled?’.
Apologetics, considered as a branch of Christian theology, is the field of study that involves the intellectual defense of the truth of the Christian religion.
In view of this, we can summarize the book, Am I being fooled by Emmanuel Iren.
‘Am I being fooled’ is an introduction to Christian apologetics that systematically addresses frequently-asked questions about centrally-held Christian beliefs.
FAQs addressed in this Second Edition are about God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ. All three of them are fundamentally associated with Christian tenets.
Let’s quickly review their relationship and relevance in Christianity.
- God: Christians believe in the existence of a Creator and sovereign God who authored the Bible through men.
- The Bible: Aka The faith with a definite particle. Not only do we believe that it is true, we also hold it as the highest and supreme authority for doctrine.
- Jesus Christ: The anointed One who takes away the sins of the world and has overcome death. The model man of the new covenant. If he died and rose again, then all united to him through faith died and will resurrect as well.
If God doesn’t exist, then there is no author. No Author means no Bible which implies no prophecy of God’s salvific plan and by extension, no fulfillment(ie No Messiah).
Yup, it’s that serious.
Below are some of my favorite Am I Being Fooled favorite quotes.
- Miracles don’t rely on our natural intelligence.
- I know of one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. – Dr. Thomas Arnold.
- If we use the Bible to reference our beliefs, then we must prove that it is not just a book of concocted concepts that we’ve been brainwashed into believing, but that it is true.
- It is irresponsible to blame God for man’s abuse.
Main Arguments in Am I Being Fooled?
Question 1: Is there a God?
This is one question that has been the subject of debate among theologians, scholars, and philosophers for centuries now.
While opinions on the existence of God vary widely depending on cultural, religious, and personal beliefs, the author gives us two objective methods of finding out.
The author also highlights the limitations of science and debases the counterarguments of those who reject the idea based on “lack of empirical proof.”
Question 2: Is God good or not?
This question often follows the question about the existence of God. Is God good or not is a philosophical and theological question with opinions widely varying across traditions and lore.
Some people view God as just and good. Others see him as indifferent and the rest as even malevolent.
In Chapter 5 of Am I Being Fooled, the author, Emmanuel Iren, carefully explains commonly misunderstood Bible stories like The Great Flood that have misled people to perceive God as a moral monster.
Question 3: If there is a God why is there so much evil?
The above question continues to frequent the debates of bible scholars and philosophers with no clear consensus.
It is a question that riddles not only the minds of debaters but also the hearts of those who have, sadly, known pain, loss, or a repercussion of sin.
The author emphatically addresses this question in the last chapter C6 of the second edition of Am I Being Fooled? He points out the role of man’s free will and jurisdiction over the earth as reasons why Man ought to be responsible.
Additionally, there is an evil ruler of the world who continues to abuse principles for his own wicked agendas. But God is doing something about it. Of this plan, the author says;
This is good news! This is God’s final plan to end the tyranny of death and sickness.
Question 4: Is the Bible True?
There are people who view the bible as a historically accurate account of events, while others see it as a collection of myths and legends.
To investigate the question of the truth of the Bible, an examiner ought to consider the authorship and redaction of its books as well the historical context of the Bible.
In Chapter 2, the question was addressed by
- highlighting several reasons why the Apocrypha doesn’t belong in the bible
- following the standard procedures of testing the authenticity of antique literature texts.
- mentioning verifiable prophecies and facts accurately proven to be true by historians.
Question 5: Didn’t the Bible support Slavery?
Two sticky points that have led to many to think the Bible condones slavery are; mentions of it in the Bible and Christian colonial masters in Africa/Latin Colonization who believed that slaves were their “god-given” birthrights.
In response to the first, the author takes on an exegetical approach to explain the meaning and cultural relevance of the concept that translates as “slavery”. He also juxtaposes it with modern-day slavery.
Responding to the second, he calls to remembrance the many Christian Abolitionists who believed modern-day slavery was morally unjust and an affront to the faith. Emmanuel Iren, the author, identifies this people group as a better representation of Christianity.
Question 6: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?
Jesus’s resurrection is central to our Christian belief. This is why questions about the resurrection should be carefully and diligently addressed. The author in Chapter 3 of Am I being fooled, provides evidence that Jesus did rise from the did and dissolves the notion that his body was stolen.
Personal Review of ‘Am I being fooled?’
The first salient point about this book for me is its title. The book’s title provokes alertness and curiosity in the mind of its readers because truthfully, no one likes to be deceived.
My dad came back home one evening and met the book on the kitchen table. He read out the title; “ Am I being fooled?” and said;
That’s a big question. Nobody knows who is fooling who.
We shared a laugh and afterward, it dawned on me: this is why this book is so relevant. After reading this book, one can say, categorically, if the Bible and the Christian faith are a facade or not.
Furthermore, The author on several accounts urges his readers to diligently and continuously perfect their faith in Jesus by seeking out answers to the doubts or questions they might have.
One inconvenience to expect on this journey of learning is the varying perspectives of theologians. Due to a lack of consensus on certain biblical interpretation, a bible student could suffer decision overload and is unable to make progress.
The author remedies this by presenting an a posteriori answer derived from both objective and biblical reasoning so you can move beyond that sticky situation and make progress.
However, I can’t entirely agree with his definition of a System as “how things work” in his reply to why evil exists. I reckon systems to be what makes things work. A complex mix of principles, patterns, and member elements working together. This helps put his answers into proper view that principles, if abused, will still yield results albeit negative and harmful.
Who is this book for?
- ‘Am I being fooled’ is for people who have been handed the ministry of reconciliation. For your information, that means all Christians. That being said, I can now close this chapter. Just kidding.
- Evangelist: In This book are ready-made answers to arguments you may come across as you evangelize. Ready yourself with these answers.
- New converts who want to build the right foundations and strengthen their convictions about Christ.
- Seasoned believers who might want to test, learn, and unlearn dogmas that may be heretical or dividing The Faith.