Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case
Q: Currently there is an emphasis on story in sharing our Christian faith, not necessarily a systematic explanation of faith. What is the value of apologetics in this cultural framework?
Jesus used stories all the time and they are an important way to engage people. Stories make a point, but they aren’t the point. If all we have is story without evidence, then we have no foundation. Many other religions use stories as well. There has to be reason behind what we believe.
Understanding the foundations of Christian faith is especially important for young people before their faith is challenged in the secular campus environment. One of the reasons young people leave the faith is that they don’t know why Christianity is true because we have never told them why it is true. Along with our books, Cross Examined shows why Christianity is true through training events for churches and high school and college students.
Q: You start with the premise that many Christians have a flawed view of God. Why is our view of God so important?
If we have the wrong view of God, we have the wrong view of life. The God of the Bible is not just “my friend in the sky” who jumps in to help like a super-hero. Many atheists have defined God in terms of finite gods such as Zeus, Thor, Ra, and more. The God of the Bible is the absolute God, who created and sustains the universe. When we are talking about God with an atheist, we need to make sure we are talking about the same definition of God.
Q: How can readers use this content in their everyday life? Some of the discussions in the book are very complex.
The best way to engage in a conversation about the existence of God with a friend is to ask questions. Often people who espouse atheism have heard some sound bites but don’t have a fully thought through framework for their belief.
Here are some helpful questions:
What do you mean by that? This will help verify the definition of terms that they are using.
How did you come to that conclusion? This will highlight the basis for their beliefs.
It isn’t our job to refute what someone else is saying, it is their job to support what they say and to offer evidence as to why they are right. For example, the materialism argument that only the material exists refutes the idea of consciousness, and yet atheists use their own consciousness to make this argument. They are stealing from God to argue that He doesn’t exist.
Q: You talk about “new atheists” in the book; what is different about atheism now versus the atheism of a previous generation?
There is an increasingly derisive attitude toward anything religious. Many of the current thought-leaders are not just atheists, they are anti-theists. They are against God, they don’t want there to be a god and they are angry.
As Christians, we have ceded ground by being anti-intellectual, with faith based on emotion. If all Christians have is emotion, then atheists are not impressed because the Christian doesn’t bring any evidence. The evidence is overwhelmingly on our side, and we should use it (1 Peter 3:18).
Dr. Frank Turek is the president of Cross Examined and the author of four books. He is a frequent speaker and writer on the evidence for Christianity. The Cross Examined website (crossexamined.org) offers extensive resources for Christians to think through their beliefs. Interested in having questions and answers about faith at your finger-tips? Download an app with quick answers at crossexamined.org.