- On Apologetics

What do you do when an Atheist asks for evidence for why you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior? Is it enough to bring up the historical accounts of His existence; the historians being Josephus, Seutonius and my favorite Tacitus? Usually not. You will find that the Atheist will ask for more (as they should) to have themselves convinced of the truth. They will ignore you, unless there was a historical record other than that found in the Bible that testifies to Jesus' resurrection. An outside source that claims honest to God (no pun intended) that they witnessed it or have seen second hand evidence that testifies. Sadly, we Christians do not have access to this material, if there is any.

So, what does that leave us with? The Atheist thinks in terms of hard facts; and since he sees no hard facts for the religion of Christianity he discounts the truth of it. Here is the mistake that both believers and non-believers make: putting Christianity in the category of "another religion". The hard evidence for us Christians may be all of creation, but that is not how the Atheist sees it. As much as this world agrees with Christians it also agrees with Atheists. Their worldview (that is - everything happens by chance) is neither hurt nor built up by the existence of the world. They say, "Oh my, what queer chance this is that we have a solar system." Sure you could examine the evidence and point out it's nature of apparent design, but again they call it chance. Consequently, it is awfully appealing to say so, so that you can do whatever you want with no boundaries, since you have relieved yourself of a judgment.

So, basically the Atheist wants to touch, taste, smell, see or hear divine intervention. They want to apply the scientific method. In other words, they don't have a world view; they only have a realist view. In my opinion a world view is that which has taken into account the three methods for determining truth and those are Realism, Revelation and Rationalism (conveniently organized with "R's"). This is a kind of back bone to philosophy. Atheists are not true philosophers because they only apply realism and sparse rationalism.

How are we to combat this mode of thinking? It may seem a tad antithetical to our end goal, but we must make actual philosophers of them. They have a presupposed idea that revelation is only for the religious mind; that revelation is only a spiritual encounter with whatever god is butting it's head in. But what revelation actually is is much different. It is the given assent to another agent that you find to be authoritative on a certain subject. If you see that a scientist has studied his mind into a rock and has done numerous tests without any apparent bias, naturally you would probably agree with his claims to truth. You have not done any of the tests yourself, but someone you know has and you trust them. That is revelation, but most of all it is faith.

Science is useless without philosophy. Though the scientist would rather not think about his world philosophically, and he will be on his merry way measuring matters and their patterns. He gives no thought to his existence and presupposes that we are animals acting upon mere chance with two discernible sensations: Pain and Pleasure. He gives no thought as to why he exists and is content with the fact that he does. What must he ask? We are all born into this world only able to comprehend that there is an actual reality around us. A place we must function in unless we function to the point of suicide. Some become religious and attribute it all to a god, and some primarily apply the scientific method. Should we default on one or the other? If the universe exploded into existence by chance, why don't we as rational beings for the most part adopt a scientific/Atheist view point? It would only be normal for man to study his surroundings purely based on science. Instead man invented gods, and made truth claims about these gods. Most of the world now and those in history believe in a creator. It seems bizarre to call that chance. Why did man feel the need to invent gods when the Atheist claims there is no reason to. These are the kind of questions that early man asked. If the universe exploded into existence why has it flat lined at a seemingly natural pace? Why has not another universe exploded right on top of ours? If everything operates randomly with no sense, I would call it a very very very strange coincidence for there to be all this apparent order of things. Early man asked the question: Why am I here? In a world so big and vast, why am I here? They could have easily supposed that it was mere chance that put them into existence, but no - they said it was God. Why would they pick God over chance? The reason is: it is too improbable. For the natural world to have this much coincidence was irrational for them. Even the word "natural" has too much meaning for it to not to infer that there is a designer.

Atheists claim to be the free thinking rationalists here in the equation; but all they have done was take the face value of things (reality) and asserted it as the only source of truth. They never take into account the philosophical mind of man. Are they chemicals or are they based on an over reason? Here is a paraphrased quote from Lewis' Miracles: "Man turned to science because he expected natural law. And he expected natural law because he expected a legislator."

As for the message for Christians - we are not in the business of proving Atheists logically wrong. We are in the business of spreading the gospel. The gospel which answers all philosophical difficulties. Instead of telling them that your faith is your argument, make them realize that man needs faith for everything he believes. Make them realize that faith is not only for the religious, but for the Atheist as well. Because they have faith in their science just as much as we have faith in our revelation; whether the revelation is first hand or second hand someone must be seen as trust worthy if we can conclude anything. And man is just to imperfect to adhere to his worldly wisdom.


J. Hedges said...

Possibly the best blog you ever blag.

I've got nothing to say that could augment what you've said. Well done.

Evan Gunn said...

Thank you, good sir.

Becky said...

I agree, very well put Gunn.