“For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness.” -Corinthians 1:22-23
Ministry among the college students at Purdue University has given me a platform for interaction with many different worldviews. Over a year ago, I seized an opportunity that God placed into my lap regarding equipping our students on the worldview of atheism. At that time, I blogged for brief period due to the nature of the circumstances at hand. The entire discussion can be read at www.primofide.blogspot.com.
One of the fruits of this opportunity was my growing awareness of the “New Atheist” movement which tends to aggressively proclaim the dangers of belief in God. John Piper in his usual passionate and insightful proclamations comments on the new atheists.
Atheists and the Gospel
Probably the most well known new atheist is Richard Dawkins who wrote the book The God Delusion and His most recent book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. While surfing the net for Richard Dawkins, I came across a fascinating debate between he and Christian John Lennox. I found Dawkins to be a highly skilled orator, certainly passionate, and persuasive in regard to what he believes. I also concur with Dawkins’ concerns about a lack of critical thinking among many religious folks (the same could be said of most people in general—secular or religious). However, Lennox, while an equally skilled, orator was logically superior. Lennox was able to articulate a more comprehensive, consistent, and coherent worldview while pointing out the deficiencies of Dawkins’ worldview. But I am not an unbiased observer.
Biased or not, all could observe exactly what the Bible predicted would be the response to the Gospel of Christ from those hardened in unbelief. At the end of the debate, Lennox gave his closing argument and ended with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Richard Dawkins was given the final word.
“Yes, well that concluding bit rather gives the game away doesn’t it? If all that stuff about science and physics and the complications of physics and things…what it all really comes down to is the resurrection of Jesus. There is a fundamental incompatibility between the sort of sophisticated scientist which we hear part of the time from John Lennox …. And then having produced some sort of a case for some sort of deistic god; perhaps some god like the great physicist who adjusted the laws of the constants of the universe…that’s all very grand and wonderful and then suddenly we come down to the resurrection of Jesus. It’s so petty. It’s so trivial. It’s so local. It’s so earthbound. It’s so unworthy of the universe.” —Dawkins
“New” Atheists, Old Response
Two thousand years ago, the debate was the same. Scriptures describe precisely this response from those who reject God’s wisdom for their own. When Paul preached in Athens notice the response in Acts 17:32, “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer..” The relatively recent and “new” assertions of Charles Darwin, and subsequently Richard Dawkins, are actually old and expected from those who reject God.
“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chose, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God” (1 Cor 1:27-29).
May we be counted in the weak and foolish things of the world. And may God work in the New Atheists’ hearts to drawn them to a saving faith in their Creator. One day every knee will bow and tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Are you and I living our lives this day with a bowed knee toward and a tongue confessing that Jesus is Lord?