June 8th, 2011 by M. French

Below is a great video on the continuing story of how Richard Dawkins, probably the most important militant atheist evangelist in the world, refuses to debate Christian philosopher William Lane Craig in a debate (even fellow atheists are calling Dawkins a coward). Evidently, Craig will be visiting the UK in October of this year, and will leave a chair open for Dawkins to debate him if he chooses to do so.


[Link to Video]


If you haven’t read anything by Craig, make sure to check out his website www.reasonablefaith.org, and books such as his substantive work, Reasonable Faith.

Having read both Craig’s works, and Dawkin’s The God Delusion, I must say that I understand why Dawkins doesn’t want to debate him. While Dawkins is clearly well versed in biological science, his understanding of even basic theology and Christian thought is extremely poor, resulting in a muddled, extremely simplistic argumentation against belief in God that becomes easy to dismiss when you realize he’s just taken the same questions and difficulties we’ve all dealt with, and proceeded to hurl them at all non-atheist/agnostics with a clearly spiteful, arrogant attitude that shows he has no respect for any of the 92% (or so) of the world’s population that believe there’s more to the Universe than random matter.

Craig has done quite well in previous debates, and it would be wonderful to hear him go toe-to-toe with Dawkins in a format that will reach more people (this would be quite the event), than written reviews traditionally do (here’s a section from what he’s written in response, with more in book form here).
 

Marcus French is Editor of Voice of Revolution.

Posted in News, Philosophy & Science Tagged with: , , ,

June 4th, 2011 by M. French

See the clip below for the concerns of self-proclaimed gay atheist David Starkey on the direction the UK (and the West) is heading with regard to enforcing pro-gay viewpoints on the public, such as a ruling last week from the High Court in London banning pro-family Christian couples from becoming foster parents, and another British couple that were fined for not accommodating a homosexual couple in their small hotel.

Some notable quotes:

  • “I am gay and I am atheist but I have profound doubts about this case. It seems to me that what we are doing is producing a tyrannous new morality that is every bit as oppressive as the old.”
  • “I am very, very concerned that a new sort of liberal morality is coming in, which as I said, is as intolerant, is as oppressive, is as intrusive into family life.”
  • “The way to do that is not to ban them, not to fine them. It is for them simply to put up what seems to me to be a quite proper notice in a small privately run hotel which says we are Christians and this is what we believe.”


[Link to Video]

Posted in Culture, News Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

May 6th, 2011 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com , used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org.

It’s easy to spot militant atheists who attend my presentation called I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. They usually sit with their arms folded and scowls on their faces. During a recent presentation at Michigan State, I knew I’d get push back from one such scowling student sitting to my right. He looked mad and was mad. (He wouldn’t even smile at a hilarious Homer Simpson clip!)

He shot his hand up during the Q&A and yelled out, “You mentioned the problem of evil during your presentation but you didn’t answer it! If there is a good God, then why does evil exist? Why doesn’t God stop it?”

I said, “Sir, that is an excellent question. Sometimes I bluntly answer this way. ‘If God stopped all evil, he might start with you . . . and me because we both do evil every day.’ To end evil on earth God would have to take away our free will. But if he takes away our free will, he takes away our ability to love as well. Allow me to show you a video that beautifully illustrates this in less than two minutes.” I then played this outstanding video (developed by my friend and fellow seminary graduate, Jim Zangmeister), which traces evil back to free will.

Most in the audience appreciated the clip and applauded. But the atheist was unmoved. “Why do babies die, why do tsunamis occur? These aren’t the result of free will!” he protested.

“True, they are not the result of someone’s free will today,” I explained. “But Christianity traces all of our trouble back to a free will choice by Adam. As a result, we live in a fallen world where bad things happen, but God takes the initiative to bring good from evil. In fact, you can sum up the entire Bible in one word—redemption. Paradise lost in Genesis is paradise regained in Revelation. God initiated and achieved this redemption by sending Jesus Christ who suffered and died on our behalf. So we can question God about suffering as the biblical writers did, but God didn’t exempt Himself from it. Jesus was the only completely innocent person in the history of the world, yet he suffered horribly for our redemption. He brought good from evil.”

The atheist didn’t like that either. He interrupted me several times, so I finally asked him, “Are you an atheist?”

He refused to answer but then blurted out, “It doesn’t matter!”

I said, “It does matter because if you are an atheist (I later learned from his blog he is), then you have no grounds by which to judge anything evil. Objective evil doesn’t exist unless objective good exists and objective good doesn’t exist unless God exists. You can have good without evil, but you can’t have evil without good. In other words, the shadows prove the sunshine. You can have sunshine without shadows, but you can’t have shadows without sunshine. So evil doesn’t disprove God—it actually shows there must be a God because it presupposes Good. Evil may prove there’s a devil out there, but it doesn’t disprove God.”

The atheist persisted, “But if God exists, why do some babies die such horrible deaths?”

Well, if the atheist is granting that God exists, then he has a valid question. While he can’t explain evil and suffering from his atheistic worldview, I need to explain it from mine.

My explanation went this way. Although I know why evil in general occurs (see the video), I don’t know why every specific evil occurs. But I know why I don’t know why—because I’m finite and can’t see into the future. Since God is infinite and can see all the way into eternity, he may allow evil events that ultimately work together for good. In other words, he can still bring good from evil even if we can’t see how.

To illustrate, I referred back to the classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” That’s where George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, falls on hard times, becomes despondent and tries to commit suicide. He’s saved by an angel and is permitted to see how life in his town would have turned out if he had never existed. George sees that everything would have turned out far worse without him, and thus realizes that even though evil infects life, good can prevail in the end. George could only see this with God’s timeless perspective. Only God can see how trillions of free choices and events can interact ultimately for good even if some of them seem hopelessly negative at the time. (In fact, that’s one reason why God told Job to trust him.)

At that point, a man sitting ten feet from the atheist raised his hand.

“Go ahead, sir.”

He first looked over at the atheist, then back at me and said, “I know of a young woman who was raped and became pregnant. The rape nearly destroyed her.” His voice began to crack . . . “But she decided that she would not punish the baby for the sin of the father. She later gave birth to a baby boy.” (By this point he was weeping openly.) “And that boy grew up to be a pastor whom God has used to help bring many people to Christ. He ministers to people to this day. That boy grew up to be me.”

He then looked back at the atheist and said, “My mother turned evil into good, and God can too.”

The atheist left immediately after the event ended, but I did get to meet that brave pastor who spoke up. His name is Gary Bingham, and he’s the pastor of Hillside Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana. Gary told me that his mom had self-confidence issues for many years but is doing much better since becoming a Christian a few years ago. I thanked him and asked him to let his mom know that she touched many for good that night. I hope through this column she has touched many more today.

Posted in Featured Articles, Philosophy & Science Tagged with: , , , , , ,

June 28th, 2010 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org

Do the New Testament documents tell the truth about what really happened in the first century? As I wrote in my last column, authors claiming to write history are unlikely to invent embarrassing details about themselves or their heroes. Since the New Testament documents are filled with embarrassing details, we can be reasonably certain that they are telling the truth.

Notice that the disciples frequently depict themselves as dimwits. They fail to understand what Jesus is saying several times, and don’t understand what his mission is about until after the resurrection. Their thick-headedness even earns their leader, Peter, the sternest rebuke from Jesus: “Get behind me Satan!” (What great press the disciples provided for their leader and first Pope! Contrary to popular opinion, it seems the church really didn’t have editorial control of the scriptures after all.)

After Jesus asks them to stay up and pray with him during his greatest hour of need, the disciples fall asleep on Jesus not once, but twice! Then, after pledging to be faithful to the end, Peter denies Christ three times, and all but one of them run away.

The scared, scattered, skeptical disciples make no effort to give Jesus a proper burial. Instead they say a member of the Jewish ruling body that sentenced Jesus to die is the noble one—Joseph of Arimathea buries Jesus in a Jewish tomb (which would have been easy for the Jews to refute if it wasn’t true). Two days later, while the men are still hiding, the women go down and discover the empty tomb and the risen Jesus.

Who wrote all that down? Men—some of the men who were characters in the story. Now if you were part of a group of men trying to pass off a false resurrection story as the truth, would you depict yourselves as dimwitted, bumbling, rebuked, lazy, skeptical sissies, who ran away at the first sign of trouble, while the women were the brave ones who discovered the empty tomb and the risen Jesus?

If men were inventing the resurrection story, it would go more like this:

Jesus came to save the world, and he needed our help. That’s why we were there for him every step of the way. When he was in need, we prayed with him. When he wept, we wept with him (and told him to toughen up!). When he fell, we carried his cross. The gates of Hell could not prevent us from seeing his mission through!

So when that turncoat Judas brought the Romans by (we always suspected Judas), and they began to nail Jesus to the cross, we laughed at them. “He’s God you idiots! The grave will never keep him! You think you’re solving a problem, but you’re really creating a much bigger one!”

While we assured the women that everything would turn out all right, they couldn’t handle the crucifixion. Squeamish and afraid, they ran to their homes screaming and hid behind locked doors.

But we men stood steadfast at the foot of the cross, praying for hours until the very end. When Jesus finally took his last breath and the Roman Centurion confessed that Jesus was God, Peter blasted him, “That’s what we told you before you nailed him up there!” (Through this whole thing, the Romans and the Jews just wouldn’t listen!)

Never doubting that Jesus would rise on the third day, Peter announced to the Centurion, “We’ll bury him and be back on Sunday. Now go tell Pilate to put some of your ‘elite’ Roman guards at the tomb to see if you can prevent him from rising from the dead!” We all laughed and began to dream about Sunday.

That Sunday morning we marched right down to the tomb and tossed those elite Roman guards aside. Then the stone (that took eleven us to roll into place) rolled away by itself. A glowing Jesus emerged from tomb, and said, “I knew you’d come! My mission is accomplished.” He praised Peter for his brave leadership and congratulated us on our great faith. Then we went home and comforted the trembling women.

There are other events in the New Testament documents concerning Jesus that are also unlikely to be made up. For example, Jesus:

• Is considered “out of his mind” by his own family who come to seize him to take him home (Mk 3:21,31).

• Is deserted by many of his followers after he says that followers must eat his flesh and drink his blood. (John 6:66).

• Is not believed by his own brothers (John 7:5). (Disbelief turned to belief after the resurrection—ancient historians reveal that Jesus’ brother James died a martyr as the leader of the church in Jerusalem in A.D. 62).

• Is thought to be a deceiver (John 7:12).

• Turns off Jewish believers to the point that they want to stone him (John 8:30-59).

• Is called a “madman” (John 10:20).

• Is called a “drunkard” (Mt. 11:19).

• Is called “demon-possessed” (Mk 3:22, Jn 7:20, 8:48).

• Has his feet wiped with hair of a prostitute which easily could have been seen as a sexual advance (Lk 7:36-39).

• Is crucified despite the fact that “anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse” (Deut 21:23).

If you’re inventing a Messiah to the Jews, you don’t say such things about him. You also don’t admit that some of you “still doubted” Jesus had really risen from the dead, especially while he’s standing right in front of you giving the great commission (Mt. 28:17-19).

Finally, anyone trying to pass off a false resurrection story as the truth would never say the women were the first witnesses at the tomb. In the first century, a woman’s testimony was not considered on par with that of a man. An invented story would say that the men—the brave men—had discovered the empty tomb. Yet all four gospels say the women were the first witnesses – all this while the sissy-pants men had their doors locked for fear of the Jews. (After I made this point during a presentation, a lady told me that she knew why Jesus appeared to the women first. “Why?” I asked. She said, “Because he wanted to get the story out!”)

In light of these embarrassing details—along with the fact that the New Testament documents contain early, eyewitness testimony for which the writers gave their lives—it takes more faith to believe that the New Testament writers were not telling the truth.

Posted in Philosophy & Science Tagged with: , , , , , ,

June 10th, 2010 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org

What are your most embarrassing moments? You don’t want to admit them. And if you do admit them, you certainly won’t add to your shame by inventing embarrassing moments about yourself to make you look even worse. Who’s going to lie to make himself look bad? People will lie to make themselves look good (especially politicians), but no one will lie to make himself look bad.

That’s why when historical accounts contain events embarrassing to the authors (or heroes of the authors) those events are probably true. Historians call this the principle of embarrassment, and it’s one reason why I think the writers of the Bible are telling the truth. There are far too many embarrassing details about the supposed heroes of the faith to be invented.

Just take a look at the Old Testament storyline. There’s little chance the Jews would have invented it. A story invented by Hebrews would more likely depict the Israelites as a noble and upright people. But the Old Testament writers don’t say this. Instead they depict their own people as sinful and fickle slaves who, time after time, are miraculously rescued by God, but who abandon him every chance they get. For example, after witnessing miracle after miracle that frees them from slavery in Egypt, they can’t resist worshiping the Golden Calf when Moses spends a few extra nights on the mountain. Talk about ungrateful folks with short memories! (We seem to suffer from this in America too).

Michelle MalkinThe Old Testament writers record a Hebrew history filled with bone-headed disobedience, distrust, and selfishness. Their leaders are all world-class sinners, including Moses (a murderer), Saul (a paranoid egomaniac), David (an adulterer, liar, and murderer), and Solomon (a serial polygamist). These are supposed to be the “chosen people”—the ones through which God brings the Savior of the world? Yes, and the Old Testament writers admit that the ancestors of this Messiah include deeply sinful characters such as David and Solomon and even a non-Hebrew prostitute named Rahab. This is clearly not an invented storyline!

While the Old Testament tells of one embarrassing gaffe after another, most other ancient historians avoid even mentioning unflattering historical events. For example, there’s been nothing found in the records of Egypt about the Exodus, leading some critics to suggest the event never occurred. But what do the critics expect? Peter Fineman imagines what a press release from Pharaoh might say:

“A spokesman for Rameses the great, Pharaoh of Pharaohs, supreme ruler of Egypt, son of Ra, before whom all tremble in awe blinded by his brilliance, today announced that the man Moses had kicked his royal butt for all the world to see, thus proving that God is Yahweh and the 2,000-year-old-culture of Egypt is a lie. Film at 11:00.”

Of course no press secretary for Pharaoh would admit such an event if he wanted to keep his head! The Egyptian silence on the Exodus is understandable.

By contrast, when the Egyptians scored a military victory, they went to press and exaggerated greatly. This is apparent from the oldest known reference to Israel outside the Bible. It comes from a granite monument found in the funerary temple of Pharaoh Merneptah in Thebes. The monument boasts about the military victory of the Pharaoh in the highlands of Canaan, claiming that “Israel is laid waste, his seed is not.” Historians date the battle to 1207 B.C., which confirms that Israel was in the land by that time. We know this account is exaggerated because, as history attests, Israel was not laid waste. Its seed lived on and sprouted into a great empire under David 200 years later. And its seed lives on to this day more than 3,200 years later.

How does the New Testament measure up to the principle of embarrassment? While embarrassing testimony is alone not enough to ensure historical reliability—early, eyewitness testimony is also necessary (which the New Testament has)—the principle of embarrassment is even more pronounced in the New Testament. The people who wrote down much of the New Testament are characters (or friends of characters) in the story, and they often depict themselves in an extremely unflattering light. Their claims are not likely to be invented.

Let’s put it this way: If you and your manly friends were concocting a story that you wanted to pass off as the truth, would you make yourselves look like dim-witted, uncaring, rebuked, doubting cowards who ran away at the first sign of trouble while the women were the brave ones who remained faithful? No way! But that’s exactly what we find in the New Testament. That’s one reason why I don’t have enough faith to believe that the New Testament tells an invented story.

I’ll highlight some of the New Testament’s more embarrassing details in the next column—even a few details that some could interpret as embarrassing to Jesus. In the meantime, you can find a cumulative case for God and Christianity in the book from which this column is adapted: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

Posted in Philosophy & Science Tagged with: , , , , , ,

May 29th, 2010 by M. French

Our friends at the Justice House of Prayer: San Diego used an open Q&A time at a lecture from notorious militant atheist Richard Dawkins as an opportunity to call for him to repent in the video below:


[Link to Video]

Open Question and Answer sessions provide a great opportunity to be a voice in your community (I did something similar during a session with gay activist Wayne Besen last year). Learn more about JHOP:SD’s work confronting humanism at their site www.godsdelusion.com.

Posted in News, Revolution & Justice Tagged with: , , ,

April 21st, 2010 by M. French

“[Brown] sounded like someone who cares about you, Ehrman sounded like someone who wants to yell at you. … I don’t know, I’m disappointed and kind of shocked by it.”

— Atheist after The Great Debate between Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Bart Ehrman on April 15th, 2010 at Ohio State University on the topic Does the Bible Provide an Adequate Answer to the Problem of Suffering? Hear the rest of the interview via the video below:


[Link to Video]

You can hear the debate here and watch Dr. Brown’s closing remarks here. A DVD of the debate is forthcoming.

Posted in News, Philosophy & Science Tagged with: , , , ,

August 30th, 2009 by M. French

Interview with Leonard Ravenhill from 1989: [Link to Video]

One quote from the video to take notice of:

The moral desolation in America and the stagnation in America is not due to the strength of Humanism, it’s because of the weakness of evangelism. People don’t get born again when they come to the altar. They come down then they leave it down. They’re not born. People can’t be born in 5 minutes, put off ten million sins and transgressions and violations of the law of God. They can’t change a way of life, put off the old man, put on the new man, by just standing there in tears.

As we continue to put forth efforts to reach the lost, confront evangelistic atheism, and build a “stone wall” of intercession to confront gay activism in society, we must remember that we’re not part of an institutional religion but a powerful spiritual community of people that have encountered the Living God and are forever changed. Have you had that encounter? Have you died to this world and been risen in Christ?

Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: , , , , ,

June 19th, 2009 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org

My friend David has a knack for cutting through the smokescreens people throw up when they’re trying to avoid making commitments, be they commitments to God or to other people. Last week, with one comment, he blew away all the smoke that a young agnostic was hiding behind. It was a demonstration of tremendous insight, and it required some courage to say.

For several weeks David was teaching through a series on Christian apologetics, which involves providing evidence for the truth of Christianity. In addition to the biblical mandate to provide such evidence, David thought it would be wise to do so because 75 percent of Christian youth stop attending church after age 18. Many of them abandon the church because they’re bombarded by secularism in college and they’ve never been taught any of the sound evidence that supports Christianity.

Last week, after David finished a presentation refuting the “new atheists”—Dawkins, Hitchens and the like—a young man approached him and said, “I once was a Christian, but now I’m an agnostic, and I don’t think you should be doing what you’re doing.”

“What do you mean?” David asked.

“I don’t think you should be giving arguments against atheists,” the young man said. “Jesus told us to love, and it’s not loving what you’re doing.”

David said, “No, that’s not right. Jesus came with both love and tuth. Love without truth is a swampy, borderless mess. Truth is necessary. In fact, it’s unloving to keep truth from people, especially if that truth has eternal consequences.”

David was absolutely right. In fact, if you look at Matthew chapter 23, Jesus was more like a drill sergeant than he was like Mister Rogers.

But the young man would have none of it. Without acknowledging David’s point, he immediately brought up another objection to Christianity. David succinctly answered that one too, but again the kid seemed uninterested. He fired a couple of more objections at David, who began to suspect something else was up—something I’ve noticed as well.

I’ve found that the machine-gun-objection approach is common among many skeptics and liberals. They throw objection after objection at believers and conservatives but never pause long enough to listen to the answers. It doesn’t matter that you’ve just answered their question with an undeniable fact—they’ve already left that topic and are rattling off another objection on another topic as if you hadn’t said a word. They don’t really seem interested in finding answers but in finding reasons to make themselves feel better about what they want to believe.

After all, a skeptic of one set of beliefs is actually a true believer in another set of beliefs.

David recognized that’s exactly what was happening in his conversation. So after the kid fired off another objection, David decided to end the charade and cut right to the heart. He said, “You’re raising all of these objections because you’re sleeping with your girlfriend. Am I right?”

All the blood drained from the kid’s face. He was caught. He just stood there speechless. He was rejecting God because he didn’t like God’s morality, and he was disguising it with alleged intellectual objections.

This young man wasn’t the first atheist or agnostic to admit that his desire to follow his own agenda was keeping him out of the Kingdom. In the first chapter of his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul revealed this tendency we humans have to “suppress the truth” about God in order to follow our own desires. In other words, unbelief is more motivated by the heart than the head. Some prominent atheists have admitted this.

Atheist Julian Huxley, grandson of “Darwin’s Bulldog” Thomas Huxley, famously said many years ago that the reason he and many of his contemporaries “accepted Darwinism even without proof, is because we didn‘t want God to interfere with our sexual mores.”

Professor Thomas Nagel of NYU more recently wrote, “It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time.”

Certainly the new atheists such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins have problems with cosmic authority. Hitchens refuses to live under the “tyranny of a divine dictatorship.” Dawkins calls the God of the Bible a “malevolent bully” (among other things) and admits that he is “hostile to religion.”

It’s not that Hitchens and Dawkins offer any serious examination and rebuttal of the evidence for God. They misunderstand and dismiss hundreds of pages of metaphysical argumentation from Aristotle, Aquinas and others and fail to answer the modern arguments from the beginning and design of the universe. (Dawkins explanation for the extreme design of the universe is “luck.”)

Instead, as any honest reader of their books will see, Hitchens and Dawkins are outraged at the very thought of God. Even their titles scream out contempt (god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything and The God Delusion). They don’t seem to realize that their moral outrage presupposes an objective moral standard that exists only if God exists. Objective morality—as well as the immaterial laws of reason and science—cannot exist in the materialist universe they attempt to defend.

In effect, they have to borrow from a theistic worldview in order to argue against it. They have to sit in God’s lap to slap his face.

While both men are very good writers, Hitchens and Dawkins are short on evidence and long on attitude. As I mentioned in our debate, you can sum up Christopher’s attitude in one sentence: “There is no God, and I hate him.”

Despite this, God’s attitude as evidenced by the sacrifice of Christ is: There are atheists, and I love them.

Posted in Philosophy & Science Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

June 5th, 2009 by M. French

Editor’s Note: We’re continuing to look at Francis Collins’ book The Language of God, other posts here.

From Atheism to Belief

Collins opens his book The Language of God with a look at his journey “from atheism to belief.” Raised on a dirt farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Collins grew up without spirituality being an important part of his life, recalling “an upbringing that was quite conventionally modern in its attitude toward faith – it just wasn’t very important.” (An attitude I can thoroughly relate to, having grown up in a similarly “modern family.”)

After earning his PhD in physical chemistry at Yale, he turned his attention towards biology by enrolling in medical school at UNC in Chapel Hill. Considering himself an atheist at this point, a simple question from a dying patient thoroughly challenged his beliefs (or lack-there-of).

According to Collins:

My most awkward moment came when an older woman, suffering daily from severe untreatable angina, asked me what I believed. It was a fair question; we had discussed many other important issues of life and death, and she had shared her own strong Christian beliefs with me. I felt my face flush as I stammered out the words “I’m not really sure.” Her obvious surprise brought into sharp relief a predicament that I had been running away from for nearly all of my twenty-six years: I had never really seriously considered the evidence for and against belief.

That moment haunted me for several days. Did I not consider myself a scientist? Does a scientist draw conclusions without considering the data? Could there be a more important question in all of human existence than “Is there a God?” And yet there I found myself, with a combination of willful blindness and something that could only be properly described as arrogance, having avoided any serious consideration that God might be a real possibility.

Suddenly all my arguments seemed very thin, and I had the sensation that the ice under my feet was cracking. This realization was a thoroughly terrifying experience. After all, if I could no longer rely on the robustness of my atheistic position, would I have to take responsibility for actions that I would prefer to keep unscrutinized? Was I answerable to someone other than myself? The question was now too pressing to avoid.

Following this encounter, Collins investigated the major religions of the world, eventually stumbling upon a book from C.S. Lewis called Mere Christianity.  The argument from Mere Christianity that challenged Collins the most was the argument from the Moral Law. The opening pages of Lewis’ book describe this law:

Every one has heard people quarreling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kind of things they say. They say things like this: ‘How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?’–‘That’s my seat, I was there first’–‘Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm’–Why should you shove in first?’–‘Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine’–‘Come on, you promised.’ People say things like that every day, educated people as well as uneducated, and children as well as grown-ups.

Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behaviour does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behaviour which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: ‘To hell with your standard.’ Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does there is some special excuse. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that something has turned up which lets him off keeping his promise. It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behaviour or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed. And they have. If they had not, they might, of course, fight like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the word. Quarreling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football.

Where did the Moral Law come from? Finding no satisfactory explanation in Darwinian evolution for its presence (especially when considering selfless altruism, which Collins describes as “a scandal to reductionist reasoning”), Collins became stunned by the logic of Lewis’ straightforward explanation:

If there was a controlling power outside the universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts inside the universe – no more than the architect of a house could actually be a wall or staircase or fireplace in that house. The only way in which we could expect it to show itself would be inside ourselves as an influence or a command trying to get us to behave in a certain way. And that is just what we do find inside ourselves. Surely this ought to arouse our suspicious?

Collins comments that this Moral Law, which had been “hiding in [his] own heart as familiar as anything in daily experience,” “shone its bright white light into the recesses of [his] childish atheism,” forcing him to consider its origin, and ultimately bringing him to consider the question: “Was this God looking back at me?”

According to Collins:

I had started this journey of intellectual exploration to confirm my atheism. That now lay in ruins as the argument from the Moral Law (and many other issues) forced me to admit the plausibility of the God hypothesis. Agnosticism, which had seemed like a safe second-place haven, now loomed like the great cop-out it often is. Faith in God now seemed more rational than disbelief.

Personal Reflections & a Challenge

Like Collins, I grew up in a household without any real consideration of spirituality or religion, and like Collins I found myself a non-believer in God upon entering college (I described myself as a “hardcore agnostic,” believing that one could not know whether or not God exists), and finally, like Collins, I was deeply touched by the writings of C.S. Lewis upon my initial conversion into faith in Jesus (though unlike Collins, I came into faith after trying to prove to some friends that Christianity was a lie and their faith was in vain).

I invite you to take the journey that Collins, I, and countless others have undertaken, and seriously consider the evidence for the existence of God from the Moral Law and elsewhere. But do not take on this search with your eyes closed and ears blocked, convincing yourself that you’re really considering the questions, but never actually softening your heart enough to really look at the evidence.  Collins described his state as one of “a combination of willful blindness and something that could only be properly described as arrogance” when he was asked about his beliefs regarding God, where are you?

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