A good read for those dealing with non-believers.
A charge that some people make is
that religion in general and Christianity in particular are irrational.
It’s ridiculous to believe in God, they say; there’s no evidence that
God even exists! Richard Dawkins, in his best selling book The God Delusion, makes this very claim, saying that faith in God is just like belief in Santa Claus!
But of course, there’s a major problem with comparing faith in God to belief in Santa Claus. I don’t know anybody who came to believe in Santa Claus in adulthood. Yet I know many Christians—often former atheists—who discovered God as adults.
This alone should tell you that God and Santa are utterly different.
(If they weren’t, one wonders why Richard Dawkins didn’t write “The
Santa Delusion.”) Furthermore, thousands upon thousands of great
thinkers— now, and throughout history, have believed in God. That alone
suggests that belief in God is hardly “irrational.”
But what about the other claim:
“You can’t prove God exists!” What might a believing person say to
skeptics? Well, I might start by gently pointing out that there are many
good arguments that, whilst not proving God exists, certainly suggest God’s existence is extremely
likely. There are philosophical arguments, such as the cosmological
argument: (i) everything that begins to exist had a cause; (ii) the
universe began to exist; (iii) therefore the universe had a cause. Most
philosophers would say that’s a powerful argument.
There are also arguments from design.
The universe and the laws of nature look, as one physicist once put it,
suspiciously like a put up job. Or we might talk about the purpose that
seems to be inherent in life. Most of us intuitively know that life has
meaning and purpose. Indeed, a question one might fire back at our
atheist friends concerns this very point: how does the atheist avoid
nihilism, the view that life is meaningless, pointless, and nothing
really matters. The question for the nihilist becomes “Why not suicide”?
The Christian would also want to
point out that the deepest things that matter to us as humans all lie
beyond the physical and the material: morality and meaning, love and
friendship, beauty and truth. All of these don’t fit happily with
atheism: “Darwinian mistakes,” Richard Dawkins once called them. That to
me is tragic.
But perhaps the most powerful evidence for God is the one the Bible uses most consistently. The Bible doesn’t offer an argument for
God, rather it points to God’s involvement in the world. Most
significantly, that would be how, in the person of Jesus Christ, the God
who created the world took on flesh and stepped into our world to
rescue and save it. This is not a distant, remote, theoretical God, but a
God who is very much alive. That’s a quite different proposition—and if
that God exists, that changes everything. C. S. Lewis put it
this way: “I believe in Christianity in the same way as I believe that
the sun has risen. Not because I see it, but that by it, I see everything else.”
Andy Bannister is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Toronto, Canada.
Labels: spiritual awakening