By Lane Noble
The major “threats” to Christianity during the early two thousands came from a movement known as “the New Atheists.” This movement aimed to eradicate religion through “education” and the spread of “reason and critical thinking.” They were successful to some extent. The book sales from famous authors such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens display that. Many have said that they felt “liberated” by such books.
Christians rightly rose up to the challenge of these atheists. There were books and resources from people such as Lee Strobel, who is probably most famous for his book The Case for Christ. You also have the rise of apologetics ministries such as Reasonable Faith, Living Waters University, the Discovery Institute, and Answers in Genesis. Now, many of these ministries predate the New Atheists, but all of these sought to fight the rise of secularism, and when the New Atheists hit the battle field, weapons in hand, these ministries were ready. Nowadays, we have more ministries and missionaries effectively responding to these attacks on God’s Word than ever.
Now, this secular revolution of sorts, just as every revolution does, have turn to eat their own. Those who used to be at the top of the secular revolution such as Sam Harris and Bill Maher have been seized by the very militants they once led and thrown out into the streets. Left to starve intellectually and losing hope for the future of the world.
These former thought leaders and revolutionaries wanted a word where not only atheism was dominant, but reason and logic. They wanted public policy to be based on science and critical analysis of known facts. They wanted people to solve problems using their minds, not their gut feelings.
While it seems they’ve had major successes in secularizing the society, they haven’t succeeded in producing a more rational one. The more secular left that they’d dreamed of has become more of a cult than a movement of those who want to use reason and science to change the world. They know that this can’t go anywhere good, and thus they worry for the future of our world.
Biblically minded Christians know, however, that there is hope for the future of the world, no matter how rational it is. We also, believing that God has commanded us to love Him with all of our minds (Luke 10:27) and that we’re to subdue the Earth (Genesis 1:28), we as Christians can support reason and science. We believe in reasonable discussions about all matters of truth. We know that God cares about truth. This is something that we support completely.
This is where evangelistically minded Christians have to realize that this is where we have an opportunity. We must have compassion and sympathy for those non-Christians who desire to come to reasonable and true conclusions about the world, because this, too, is what we want. We must reach out to those non-Christians who want to have rational conversations about important topics. They have few places to go for this, and we as Christians must be ready to receive them so that we can respectively and calmly talk with them about important topics on which we disagree. In fact, there are an increasing number of them who, right now, are willing to discuss the viability of God’s Word with those who are willing to have a good dialogue with them.
Chief among the Christians that are responding to this opportunity are such notable thinkers as William Lane Craig and Tim Keller. Cameron Bertuzzi, the founder of the ministry Capturing Christianity, has also been good about this. YouTube is currently filling up with better and better conversations between Christians and secularists because these secularists are hungry for intellectual stimulation. We as Christians can provide that for them as well as something better. Through our dialogues with them, we can possibly, and I pray that we do, persuade them of the truth of the Gospel. No longer will they have to shiver in fear of the notion that humanity will destroy itself. No longer will they have to fear death because Christ has taken away the sting of death. They will finally have something more certain than the process of science to place their hope in.
We don’t have to be famous evangelists to provide skeptics of Christianity with what they’re looking for. These people can be found at your local colleges and universities. These people can be our neighbors. These people can be coworkers. They will make themselves known. You will know when you will reach them.
The culture war is hotter than its ever been, and those who refuse to join the various cults at war with each other are looking for hope during these times. We should be sure to do so. Christianity will always be a faith that is committed to truth and reason. When there are non-believers who seek such things, we should be there to provide it.