Sharing the Faith
The challenge for Christians today, as in every era, is to be prepared in season and out of season to share the rational basis for faith. This is not foremost about defending truth, but about giving it voice. For as Charles Spurgeon once counseled, "Truth is like a lion. Who ever heard of defending a lion? Just turn it loose and it will defend itself."
A few years back, I was engaged in an online discussion with “Nigel” (not his real name).
Nigel was a self-described atheist and rising star in the Brights movement – a community of philosophical naturalists aimed at “illuminating and elevating the naturalistic worldview,” as their slogan proudly states. Some of its more prominent luminaries include Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, and Daniel Dennett.
After coming across an article I had written critical of naturalism, Nigel invited me to dialog with him on his open blog. I agreed and was quickly drawn into a protracted discussion.
Over a period of several weeks, we covered topics ranging from the origin of the universe and the nature of matter to the origin of morality and the nature of God. While Nigel betrayed no movement away from his atheistic position during the course of our exchange, a man who had been following our dialog left this remark:
"I have truly been swayed by Mr. Nicholl's (sic) writings. There is a [lot] to think about in his reply. Somehow I think I've always known we were not a cosmic accident. And Nigel, you are a brilliant man. Am I to believe great minds are a product of evolution. It's not adding up any more. I'm not saying Christianity is right but I do now believe in a God. There, I said it. I'm on record. My curiosity is stoked for further responses from Mr. Nicholl (sic). Nigel, thanks for having this blog. I have some heavy things to think about now from both sides."
As I read those words my thoughts turned to Spurgeon. I realized that it wasn’t me or my skill that moved this man; it was the truth turned loose upon him.
To equip others to do just that, my newly released book, Why There Is a God and Why It Matters, is arranged around a collection of my essays that I have selected and revised to systematically address truth from the ground up: from nature of knowledge and the knowledge of nature to the competing narratives of naturalism and theism in explaining the origin of the universe, life, morality, the metaphysical questions of meaning, purpose, and significance, the role faith plays in all explanatory accounts, and how God -- in particular, the Christian God -- is the explanation that best fits the facts, notwithstanding the age-old problems of evil, suffering, and injustice.
In the preface to his book, The God Delusion, atheist popularizer Richard Dawkins makes no bones about his goal: “If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.”
In similar vein, my goals for this book are that 1) unbelievers who open it will be believers when they put it down, and 2) believers who open it will be more confident in their beliefs and in their ability to give them voice.