A common question among believers and non-believers when finding out that I became a Christian not so long ago and/or upon hearing my background in unbelief is along the lines of: “How did you become a Christian?” Depending on the person asking the emphasis is either on “How”, “you”, or “Christian”. Each variant requires it’s own emphasis on specific parts of the same story, which you can read in the “About” section of this blog. Now, I will admit that my testimony, as with most others, is highly subjective and emotionally based, so I think a more important question to ask, which no one ever does, is: “Why are you still a Christian?”
So, why am I still a Christian?
Three reasons: Logic, Reason, and Science. I first had to come to understand that if I am going to believe in an all-powerful God, then I need not be afraid that He can be explained away by any of these, because if God can be explained away then He must not be omnipotent, and therefore not worthy of worship. Once I realized this I was free to investigate all of my prior objections to monotheism and Christianity, and along the way I read and heard some seemingly sound new (to me, at least) objections to the existence of the Christian God. Yet, here I am, still a Christian, and a stronger one to boot!
So, what happened? I found that the arguments for God seemed to me to be stronger than the ones against. How I researched and continue to research my objections is by reading books, essays, and watching debates by and between Atheistic, Christian, Islamic, etc. scientists and philosophers. I feel that the Christian apologetic philosophers almost aways have the stronger case.
One common objection I see (and use to hold myself) is that you can’t trust Christian scholars on this matter because they are already biased for the existence of their own God. This seems valid only until you realize that the Atheistic scholars are also biased to the non-existence of God. In fact everyone is biased in one way or another, but it seems to me that where the Christian, who believes in an objective morality, meaning that we believe there are some things that are right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so (think of murder), believes lying and deceit would be morally wrong. In the Christian’s case the moral lawgiver is God, so any act that is wrong is actually against God. The Atheist, however, is held by no moral obligation; good and evil are all based on one’s own brain chemistry. According to the Atheistic worldview (more specifically the Naturalist); the difference between truth and lies is just a matter of blind evolution and personal preference. So it seems to me that the Atheist has more grounds to falsify information than the Christian.
Now, by no means am I suggesting that non-Christian scientists and philosophers are unethical, for the peculiar thing is that even though they may protest to there being no objective morality, they adhere to the same morals we do. I feel this is because God’s standards are written on our hearts and minds.
Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them. -Romans 2:14-15
Neither am I suggesting that Christians are perfect and never lie either, it is unfortunate that many Christians have such bad behavior. Such is the nature of the flesh.
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. –Galatians 5:17
What I am trying to get at is if you assume that one source is untrustworthy because of bias, you should assume that all sources are untrustworthy on the grounds that we are all biased!
This, however, doesn’t mean that all sources are trustworthy, while I try to give any argument the benefit of the doubt, I do think it is important to check out sources of where the author got his information and check it for yourself, try to understand how the author came to a certain conclusion. Often false information comes from a misunderstanding of the material rather than intentional deceit.
It is also important to familiarize yourself with logical fallacies. Either an argument is logically valid or logically fallacious. For example either (A) God exists or (B) God does not exist. If A is true, then B is false and vice-versa. Since A and B contradict each other it would be fallacious to say that God exists AND God does not exist. I found that many of my prior objections to God were in fact logically fallacious. And while, as a Pagan I prided myself on always asking “why”, I never asked the question far enough. I was satisfied with the purely emotional answer. If I am to be intellectually honest with myself I have to be willing to admit that I may be wrong. However, when I think about the arguments and add to them my personal experience, I am left without a reasonable doubt that Christianity is true. And as Pascal wagered if I am wrong I really haven’t lost much at all.
In the next few weeks/months/whenever I get to writing it, I plan to post how I answered each question.
- Antony Flew Abandons Atheism (cfcspn.com)
- Moral Arguments for the Existence of God (pileusblog.wordpress.com)
- Doubting your doubts. (brodieheg.wordpress.com)