Jun 17, 2011
neil

The one argument atheists can’t answer

When the apostle Peter wrote a letter to Christians who found themsevles increasingly on the margins of society, mocked and even insulted here was his advice;

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

In our increasingly secular society how do we respond to the growing numbers of people who are not just sceptical about Christianity but are downright hostile? How do we answer militant atheists who think no good thing comes from believing in God and that the only good religion is a dead one?

Well we should answer their arguments and there are good books worth reading and giving away on why Dawkins and Hitchens et al. are wrong.  But maybe we have one knock-down apologetic argument that atheism cannot answer – the power of a transformed life.

The great defender of the Christian faith, Francis Schaeffer, said ‘the greatest apologetic is love’.

The one thing that atheism cannot explain or understand or rubbish is the extraordinary power of a transformed life.

So when the Guardian this week ran a story on the remarkable work of a church who decided to pour out their lives in sacrificial service of drug-addicts and prostitutes it was a great reminder that maybe Peter was right. When the pastor of a bible-teaching, Jesus-preaching church also says ‘”The real issues are how we should express and find love for the outcasts and the downtrodden” the world even as it accuses Christians of doing wrong still sees our good deeds and acknowledges something remarkable is going on.

John Harris author of the Guardian piece writes;

A question soon pops into my head. How does a militant secularist weigh up the choice between a cleaned-up believer and an ungodly crack addict? Back at my hotel I search the atheistic postings on the original Comment is free thread for even the hint of an answer, but I can’t find one anywhere.

The last Roman Emperor who viciously persecuted the church was Julian. He hated Christians with a vengence but even he conceded;

[Christianity] has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead. It is a scandal there is not a single Jew who is a beggar, and that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them.

 

 

2 Comments

  • Brilliant, completely agree! We spend a lot of time trying to answer questions, which isn’t wrong, but we do need to spend more time working on our lives and being light by our actions. 1 Peter 3:15 calls us to give an answer for the hope we have, but in context of 1 Peter 3 this is in answering people who have seen our good lives and asked as a result of that witness! Thanks for your post!

  • I was thinking about this the other day when reading Daniel 6, it is a real challenge to most of us I think, to live lives such that “They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.”

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