Faith Under Fire, featuring apologist Lee Strobel (PAX, Saturdays 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET) is described as a Christian counterpart to The O'Reilly Factor. Spokesmen representing two different sides of an issue battle it out, but their issues are moral and religious, not political. Faith Under Fire, in the words of the announcer, shows "conflicting beliefs put to the test."
Recent topics include the reliability of Scripture, Islam, goddess worship, and racial segregation in the church. To his credit, Mr. Strobel does not stack the deck. He brings on hard critics of Christianity, some of whom make strong arguments, though the Christians who defend the faith acquit themselves well.
Fans of the art of debate will appreciate moments like Cal Thomas forcing a liberal believer to admit that he "disagrees" with Jesus on His being the only way to salvation. Or Hugh Hewitt persuading an atheist who believes that religion is intrinsically intolerant and oppressive to admit that he is "intolerant" of religion and would like to use political oppression against it. The discussion among three gay professing Christians-one whose orientation changed, one who embraced the all-but-forgotten option of celibacy, and one who affirmed his homosexual conduct-was strangely moving.
The show is a good reminder that Christianity has an intellectual content and can hold its own in the marketplace of ideas. And yet, neither side ever persuades the other, with the arguments often canceling each other out.
Clearly, Christianity is not just the solution to an intellectual puzzle or something all would believe in, if they just hear the right arguments. Rather, Christianity is a state of being, and belief is a gift of grace.