One of the things I love about Christianity is it ties in everything that we experience in the world together. Not only that, but it helps me make better sense of everything. However, one thing that I see as a struggle today is many Christians feel as if they are losing ground to the secular community. Is Christianity dying, and is non-religion winning? I feel like sometimes Christians feel as if they are losing the battle with their arguments, because as we gain more knowledge, atheistic arguments just seem more plausible. I am here to make the argument that this is not so.
The debate between Christians and atheists certainly has changed over time, at least in the last 100 years or so. Arguments have been formed, revised, and thrown out on both sides as time has gone on. Let’s go all the way back to about 6000 years ago. Man did not have the technology or knowledge that we have today. All of their ideas about ancient cosmology and other sciences were very different than today. One of the biggest things was most people did not see any distinction between the natural and supernatural worlds. In fact, there were no such concepts around back then. Things really started to change over the centuries with advances and discoveries in science that no one would have ever thought could possibly happen.
Many of the first people to arrive in America were Christians who were very grounded in their faith. Philosophical ideas from all sides were thrown around and, for a while, atheism didn’t seem to stand a chance. Most of the philosophers, writers, and scientists were Christians. However, in the 1700s-1800s, Christianity started to lose it’s ground. Christians started to become intellectually lazy, focusing on strictly the spiritual, physical, and social aspects of Christianity, completely ignoring the mental. This was a bad mistake on the Christian part. This is why secularism started to gain its ground. In the midst of all of this, Darwinian evolution arose and this completely revolutionized the way scientists thought about biological life. New discoveries were starting to be discovered about ancient cosmology, and science seemed to cover up all of the evidence that Christians were using. Science was gaining major ground, and it was able to explain things that many people never thought it would be able to. Then, in the past decade, four men rose to fame. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennet. Each of these men, being experts in very different things, began to attack theism from many different angles, revolutionizing the way the Western World viewed religion. So, what are we to do with all of this? One of the biggest things to note is that the argument has changed from strictly philosophy, to science. Scientism has taken over the minds of many people.
As Christians, what we have to realize is what constitutes a valid argument. When discussing issues of God, we cannot resort to scientific consensus, but to philosophy. We have to learn to ask the right questions. If you view everything from a scientific standpoint, chances are you are not going to come up with God as a conclusion. If you view it from a philosophical standpoint, and possibly combined with science, I think it would be very probable to come up with God as a valid conclusion. Examples of scientific questions are: Why does the earth revolve around the sun? Why does biological life change over time? How old is the universe?
Some philosophical questions are: Why are we here? Is there an afterlife? Is morality objective or relative? Is there a God? Why is there something instead of nothing?
There is clearly a different standard between these two sets of questions. Asking the right questions is the most important thing when it comes to argument, and this is where atheists have failed in their arguments. They have successfully done a good job at making many people view everything from a scientific standpoint, and this has diminished our culture’s view at asking the right questions. Atheism has not succeeded in proposing valid arguments, it has succeeded at getting the argument off topic and asking the wrong questions. In order for Christianity to thrive, we have to come together and take the issue of God’s existence from a different viewpoint.