Try Christian 'Unapologetics'
- 2004 1 Jul
Most Christians shy away from apologetics – the art of engaging unbelievers in reasoned discussions to convince them that Christianity is more than a myth or superstition.
We try to read apologetics books and find them hard to understand. We listen to detailed lectures, then put the thick notebooks on a shelf. We are reluctant to engage skeptics because we're afraid we won't be able to remember all the different reasons for Christian belief – or because we don't want to get drawn into an argument.
Perhaps most importantly, we think it's all a matter of faith anyway – that no one can prove what's true when it comes to religion and morals.
Now, however, God has done something very dramatic – something so remarkable that it actually removes the last intellectual obstacles to Christian faith. He has given us proof that Christianity is true in a way that no other religion, worldview or belief system can claim to be true.
Call it Christian "unapologetics."
One school of traditional apologetics focuses on philosophical arguments that God's reality is a logical necessity. Another school marshals large amounts of evidence to show it is reasonable to believe in Christianity. But most apologists reject the idea that anyone can prove Christianity is true. Most of us feel uncomfortable with that idea. Our culture has trained us to believe that only science can prove something is true. We are told that religion and morals are based on values, not facts – and no one can prove a value is true, right? A value is just a preference, a personal conviction, but not something anyone else has to agree with.
'Arrogant' & 'Intolerant'
We have been taught that it is arrogant for one person to insist that other people ought to agree with his religious truth. We are called "intolerant" if we claim, for example, that Jesus is the only way to God or that what God calls sin really is wrong for everyone, even those who aren't Christians.
Those false ideas came out of the 19th century, when most intellectuals and scholars were trying very hard to prove that the world could be explained without a Creator. They argued that the physical world is all that's real. They told us that science proves what facts are true. We were taught that a religion is true only for those who believe it and that morality is merely the opinion of an individual or society. Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and Charles Darwin are perhaps the best-known examples of men who tried to prove that the modern world no longer needed the "superstition" of Creator God.
Their legacy: Several generations of people who thought science had proven that God is not real and that the world around us is merely the result of natural forces working by chance over long periods of time.
The fact is, science is now proving just the opposite.
For the better part of a century, researchers on the leading edge of virtually every field of science have been amassing evidence that the universe cannot possibly be explained by nature, chance and time. Living creatures have certain features that are too complex to have ever evolved by chance. Life itself never would have emerged by chance because the conditions for life require an impossibly delicate balance. Most scientists agree that matter, space and time have not always existed. It even appears that information is as important as matter and energy in making the world work.
Translated: Science is leading us directly to the conclusion that this world can only be explained as the work of an "intelligent designer" – a Creator God.
Never Without A Witness
Not that we have ever been without a witness to God's reality. Romans 1 plainly says that in creation God has revealed enough about Himself that people have no excuse for refusing Him the honor He is due. But now science is proving that natural forces never could have created the universe by chance. The most rational – most scientific – hypothesis is that the universe is the work of an intelligence far greater than anything we can imagine.
The impact of all this is enormous. We have understood for years that the resurrection of Jesus is a well-documented historical fact. Now we are at a point where we also can say that science has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the Creator God is real.
As hard as it may be for some to believe, God has in our day removed the last intellectual obstacle to Christian faith. He has given us a bridge from facts to values. He has, for all practical purposes, given us proof that Christianity is true in a way that no other religion, worldview or belief system can claim to be true.
We're not talking about philosophical arguments. We're not talking about evidence that it is reasonable to be a Christian. We're talking about the truth of Christianity being proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The difference is so dramatic that we're calling it "unapologetics."
We have been publishing our arguments for unapologetics for several years, but a highly esteemed voice, Norman Geisler, the dean of Christian apologetics, in his new book, I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, also declares that Christianity's assertions are proven beyond reasonable doubt.
The implications of unapologetics are far reaching. As the fact of creation works its way into the thinking of everyday people, it will push aside the myths of naturalism and evolution. We should, in our lifetimes, see the day when "God is a superstition" and "Jesus' resurrection is a myth" become as laughable as "The earth is flat."
Christians will be able to share their faith with even greater confidence, focused on expressing God's love for lost friends, neighbors and co-workers without worrying about being drawn into arguments about whether God is real or whether Jesus really rose from the dead. It will be clearer than ever that unbelievers deny the truth about God and Jesus because they want to live life their way, not because there's no proof of what is true.
The scientific fact that God is real and the historical fact that Jesus is alive also should validate for unbelievers what God's Word has to say about the way our Creator expects us to live. Because the Risen Lord pointed to the Scriptures as God's Word, Christians alone can show the world how to know for a fact what is right and wrong. Christians alone can prove why human beings deserve to be treated with dignity.
Faith in Jesus isn't a matter of opinion or a leap of faith; it is truth based on scientific and historical fact. And Christianity holds out humanity's only hope -- not just for an eternity in God's presence, but also for peace, justice and freedom in this life.
Mark Kelly is the author of "Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt: The end of Christian apologetics," available at http://kainospress.com.