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Yes, We Can Make the Case for Christianity with Music

At the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, we often talk about the importance of worldview. Each of us, as Christians, ought to allow our Christian beliefs to shape the way we think about every aspect of life, including the way we consider notions of beauty and artistic expression. That’s why I was delighted to hear about a new concept album from Aryn Michelle, a Christian pop and alternative rock artist. Aryn just released a series of songs (in a collection called The Realist Thing) inspired by William Lane Craig’s book, Reasonable Faith. That’s right, an apologetics album of sorts, walking through “several philosophical arguments for the existence of God and the primary evidences for Jesus Christ as his son.” Sounds interesting, right? Aryn agreed to let me interview her about this groundbreaking effort:

J. Warner:
Aryn, I will confess that I was not familiar with your work prior to this collection of songs. I was incredibly impressed with the creativity and quality of the effort, can you tell us something about your musical journey?

Aryn:
I began writing songs when I was fifteen years old. Initially I had hoped that God would use me as a "light in the darkness" in that I would be a believer writing and working in the secular music industry while always maintaining artistry from a Christian perspective. I pursued this goal for almost ten years (and two albums) before I had the revelation that perhaps working within the secular music industry was how I wanted God to use me, but was not necessarily how God had gifted and equipped me. It took me that long to realize that I needed to approach God and ask him how HE wanted to use my life and the giftedness he had given me. I could see that God had brought me up in a background of church music (I'm the daughter of a music minister), and he has given me a heart for the church and for encouraging the people of God. Even when I was not making "Christian" music, followers of Jesus tended to be the ones who responded to my music. About 5 years ago I turned my attention to write explicitly faith-based music in order to encourage believers, dig deep into God's truth and follow in obedience in using my gifts for God's calling.

J. Warner:
In your video you mention being in a place in your life as a Christian where you had many questions. Can you tell us a little bit about that and how Christian apologetics literature helped you to answer some of those questions?

Aryn:
Several years ago I approached one of our pastors and asked to meet with him to talk about some struggles I was having. I told him that while I felt confident in my heart about my belief in Jesus, I felt like my head had not caught up with where my heart was. I felt like I had been neglecting the life of the mind in regards to my faith. I didn't often have intellectual conversations with other believers about difficult questions where philosophy and theology converged. I was frustrated that it felt like no one around me was expressing an interest to seek out the answer to hard questions. He gave me the wise counsel that if I had a thirst for knowledge then I needed to ask God to reveal to me answers and also to seek out that knowledge. To read books, to dig deeper, to go out searching. He suggested a few books to start with and from that point I kept reading and eventually decided to tackle Dr. Craig's book Reasonable Faith. This book was very helpful on my journey into a deeper life of the mind because it comprehensively covered a good deal of what I was hoping to learn. I want to clearly state that I believe the testimony of the Holy Spirit is the greatest witness one can give, but I was thankful to be able to also articulate philosophical arguments for the existence of God and evidences for Jesus Christ as God's son after reading that book in particular

J. Warner:
It’s amazing to me that you actually wrote songs about the evidence for theism and Christianity. Can you tell our readers about the evidences that inspired you to write each song?

Aryn:
The album features a prelude and postlude (both entitled "Honesty") that give the listener my personal perspective and state of mind as I began and concluded this project. Beyond those two songs each one of the songs aligns with a different argument featured in Dr. Craig's book. "The Realest Things" discusses the ontological argument for the existence of God, summarized in the line "if something could be greater than God, it would be God." The next song, "The Question," discusses the cosmological argument when it asks the question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" The teleological argument is featured in the song "Order," where I give examples of intelligent design and fine-tuning in lines such as, "there's a constant in the pull of gravity, a balance of the forces strong and weak." Following that is the moral argument for the existence of God in the song "Good" which says, "If there is good, don't you think there is God?" After that song I transition into two songs dealing with evidences for Jesus Christ as God's son. The first of those songs, "Miracle Man" explores the miracles and eyewitness accounts of the works of Jesus. The next songs entitled, "The Story of Redemption" explores the self-understanding and resurrection accounts of Jesus. It was obviously a great challenge to condense such rich material into one song a piece for each argument, but my hope is that I've tried to grasp a key component of each argument in a memorable way.

J. Warner:
This is such an interesting project in that it has the ability to reach an audience that standard apologetics blogs, book and videos can’t reach. What is your hope for the concept album?

Aryn:
My primary hope for this album is that it can be an equipping tool and encouragement for believers. I wanted to give people a song in their hearts to go along with the deep thoughts in their heads. My hope is that when people are striving to call these arguments to mind that they can use the songs to help them remember and express what these arguments are about. Music is a powerful tool for engaging memory and emotions. I also hope that more artists will strive to create a marriage of creative expression and reason. Sometimes we may be tempted to think that creativity and rationality are mutually exclusive or working against each other, but I know that God has created us with a heart AND a mind to be engaged for service to him.

J. Warner:
This last question cheats a bit and includes a few related questions: Will you be singing these songs in live concert settings, ( and is it difficult to find venues that are open to such an interesting concept)? How can our readers learn more about you and what’s next, now that you’ve tackled Christian apologetics?

Aryn:
I primarily perform these songs in house concerts. For this project in particular I find private house concerts to be the best venues to share the music because it allows me an intimate setting to talk and really communicate the motivation behind the album and also the individual concepts within each song. I have also attended a few apologetics gatherings for students and been able to share the songs in that setting. I also hope to be able to take the music to churches or bible studies who may have an apologetics emphasis. I think the main point is having an environment where discussion and thoughtfulness can thrive. If people would like to stay in touch with me they can find me at my website: www.arynmichelle.com, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arynmichelleband.

Aryn’s new album is more than a great idea, it’s a great collection of songs and an excellent example of how a Christian worldview can shape every aspect of someone’s life. Aryn has employed more than God’s gifting to create this project; she’s allowed her Christian worldview to shape and inform the words in every song. The result is excellence in both word and melody. I cannot recommend it more.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, Christian Case Maker, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, God’s Crime Scene, God’s Crime Scene for Kids, and Forensic Faith.

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J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, Christian case maker and author of Cold-Case Christianity and God's Crime Scene


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