Tag Archives: atheism

Affirm, Critique, Transcend

Nancy Pearcey, Saving Leonardo:

Biblical truth is so rich and multi-dimensional that it can affirm what is true in every worldview, while at the same time critiquing its errors and transcending its limitations. In this way, Christianity makes possible the greatest intellectual and artistic freedom.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity:

If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake.

Don’t Tell Them They’re Adorable

Read this, brothers and sisters, and feel free to cheer. Out loud. Laugh. Let a yes and amen fall from your lips.

Atheism is an idea. Most often (thank God), it is an idea lived and told with blunt jumbo-crayon clumsiness. Some child of Christianity or Judaism dons an unbelieving Zorro costume and preens about the living room.

Behold, a dangerous thinker of thinks! A believer in free-from-any-and-all-godness! Fear my brainy blade!

Put candy in their bucket. Act scared. Don’t tell them that they’re adorable. Atheism is not an idea we want fleshed out.

Atheism incarnate does happen in this reality narrative. But it doesn’t rant about Islam’s treatment of women as did the (often courageous) atheist Christopher Hitchens. It doesn’t thunder words like evil and mean it (as Hitch so often did) when talking about oppressive communist regimes. His costume slipped all the time – and in many of his best moments.

Atheism incarnate is nihilism from follicle to toenail. It is morality merely as evolved herd survival instinct (non-binding, of course, and as easy for us to outgrow as our feathers were). When Hitchens thundered, he stood in the boots of forefathers who knew that all thunder comes from on high.

From N.D. Wilson’s latest piece of wild-eyed, razor-brained awesome, Death by Living. Go buy a copy and savor it like a bar of Ghirardelli dark.

Book Review: A Shot of Faith (to the Head)

117981746On the playground of ideas, twenty-first century Christians seem to get the worst of it. The bloody noses. The stolen milk money. The utter lack of confidence that comes with being unable to defend yourself from the bullies occupying swing, slide, and sandbox.

And little wonder, with cranky atheists like Sam Harris running around. Rather than get in a scuffle, many believers look for the nearest gopher hole and stuff themselves into it. They’ve been told the Christian faith is irrational, naive, and even dangerous – and judging from the way they react when challenged to “give an answer”, they almost believe it.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

What if I told you (while doing my best Morpheus impression) that Christianity is neither irrational, naive, nor dangerous? What if I told you that atheists are the irrational ones? What if I told you their beliefs can’t withstand the keen examination they demand from others?

Well, after telling you, I’d hand you a copy of Mitch Stokes’ book, A Shot of Faith (to the Head). Then I’d say, Go get ’em, Tiger. And you’d waltz right back onto the playground equipped with your very own bully-proof vest.

A Shot of Faith is a great book that does three things extremely well. First, it engages with the reader in a challenging yet accessible way; second, it stresses the practical over the theoretical; third, it takes the offensive against atheism.

Accessible. Dr. Stokes is a wonderful teacher. Instead of indulging in a massive info-dump, he takes time to clearly and patiently articulate each point, neither coddling the reader nor overwhelming him. It’s a fine line to walk, but he does it beautifully.

Practical. The concepts and arguments you study in this book are meant to be used, not merely toyed with in the privacy of your own mind. These are weapons you’re dealing with, soldier. They are not intended to be collected like stamps and then shelved, to be admired another day. Grasp them tightly and get them dirty. You want to know these things, not just be familiar with them.

Taking the offensive. That the Christian faith is utterly defensible is something Stokes’ demonstrates repeatedly; but what he also makes clear is the fact that the atheist’s “faith” cannot be defended, and he equips readers to take advantage of that in several ways. This is an important aspect of apologetics which I think is often overlooked in our day. Believers shouldn’t rest content with dodging and parrying attacks – they should be attacking, too. The “pulling down of strongholds” mentioned in II Cor. 10:4 sounds like an offensive maneuver, wouldn’t you agree?

In conclusion, therefore: do yourself favor, buy this book, and let Dr. Stokes shoot you in the head. It’s really quite invigorating.

Do You Have Any Preference?

“I reminded him of the debate between philosopher Frederick Copleston and the atheist Betrand Russell. At one point in the debate, Copleston said, “Mr. Russell, you do believe in good and bad, don’t you?” Russell answered, “Yes, I do.” “How do you differentiate between them?” challenged Copleston. Russell shrugged his shoulders as he was wont to do in philosophical dead ends for him and said, “The same way I differentiate between yellow and blue.” Copleston graciously responded and said, “But Mr. Russell, you differentiate between yellow and blue by seeing, don’t you? How do you differentiate between good and bad?” Russell, with all of his genius still within reach, gave the most vapid answer he could have given: “On the basis of feeling – what else?” I must confess, Mr. Copleston was a kindlier gentleman than many others. The appropriate ‘logical kill’ for the moment would have been, “Mr. Russell, in some cultures they love their neighbors; in other cultures they eat them, both on the basis of feeling. Do you have any preference?”

– Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God (p. 182)

A Fourth Option, Mr. Harris

Sam Harris:

Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes, or He doesn’t care to, or He doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.

Or maybe there’s a fourth option, Mr. Harris.

Maybe God is neither impotent, nor evil, nor non-existant. Maybe He is, in fact, GOD: wholly sovereign, wholly wise, wholly good. Not subject to your whims and wishes. Not dangling on a string from your finger. Not concerned with what you think is “fair” or “unfair,” “right” or “wrong.”

Maybe He is, in fact, working all things (yes, Mr. Harris, even catastrophes) for His glory. Maybe He moves as He pleases and does what He pleases because He is the infallible architect of a Greater Good which you, in all your fallible human wisdom, cannot see or understand.

Maybe. Just maybe. And if so…

Who are you, Sam Harris, to reply against God? Who are you to call Him to account? Must He consult you on the “fairness” of His actions? Are you, O creature, wiser than your Creator? Will you judge the Judge? Will you dictate morality to the One in whom morality has its very existence?

God is not on trial here, Mr. Harris. He never was. He doesn’t answer to you, or to me, or to anyone or anything. He wouldn’t be God if He did.

“I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.” (Isa. 45:7)