Evangelical Resources on Atheism
Table of Contents
- UT-Dallas Specific Information
Atheism: A non-prophet organization.
Harry Newton, Newton's Telecom Dictionary, 15th Edition
Telecom Books, 1999. ISBN: 1-57820-031-8
"A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion."
Francis Bacon, "Of Atheism" in Essays
In the post-Enlightenment world, many people find the intellectual life of post-Fundamentalist Christianity extremely unsatisfying. This is often due to rampant anti-intellectualism in the Christian church, abusive church environments, and the hypocrisy of Christian leaders and laity alike.
While I have already documented some of the postmodern developments in other pages on this site (see Evangelical Resources on Wicca and Neopaganism and Evangelical Resources on Truth and Postmodernism), I have not as yet documented much in the way of modernist responses in the current world. Thus, this page is devoted to a casual discussion of approaches that can be used to discuss the Christian faith meaningfully with self-described atheists and others who are skeptical of the claims of Jesus Christ.
Other titles are often confused with the term "atheist" because of basic philosophical similarities. For the purposes of this discussion, I will loosely use the umbrella-term "Modernist" to refer to an individual who holds to any of these philosophical schools:
- Secularism, Humanism, or Secular Humanism
- Agnosticism and Acognosticism
For the purpose of this discussion, a Modernist will be defined as an individual who rejects either Christianity or religion (traditional or not) on a rational basis primarily apart from emotional response.
All modernists share a distaste for the supernatural, the concept of a God working actively within space-time, and to anti-intellectual or existential approaches to belief - particularly with respect to religious belief. The history of modernist philosophies in the United States is interesting because of the nation's obsession with religion. Many movements, particularly the freethought movement that arose in the twentieth century, carry a distinct sectarian bent that is a clear reflection of the religious tradition of the United States. This is especially clear in the mirroring of the religious traditions of the Evangelical Consensus by various modernist movements, albeit with an anti-theistic bias. This explains the rise of "Freethought Congregations," "Atheist Prayer Meetings," and "Humanist Churches" in the fabric of North American culture.
Interestingly enough, though Modernists tend to fight voraciously with theists, Christian apologists often find themselves fighting battles on similar fronts: exposing televangelists, internet hoaxes, conspiracy theories, alleged occult and paranormal phenomena, questionable creationist arguments, money-making cults, UFOs and astronomical crazes, etc. In academic culture, Modernists often fight against Postmodernist methodologies, and in the process take on foes of Christians as well. A classic example is James F. Harris's Against Relativism: A Philosophical Defense of Method, which exposes the weak foundations of Derrida, Kuhn, Goodman, Quine, and other postmodern relativistic philosophies. Indeed much common ground does exist between the Christian apologists and modernists in this regard.
Where common ground does not exist, however, there have been epic philosophical battles between Christians and Modernists, since the beginning of the Modern philosophical era. From David Hume and Immanuel Kant of the eighteenth century, up to the twentieth century naturalist philosophers such as Bertrand Russell and Carl Sagan, Modernist philosophy has served to challenge Christian Theism to grow and progress in its understanding of the world around us and of the God who created it. Their contribution to our understanding of the Christian worldview cannot be understated, despite the mixed record of Christian response to these forms of criticism, particularly in the post-fundamentalist anti-intellectual climate of twentieth century Evangelicalism.
If you have comments, issues, or concerns, please email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ron Rhodes, "Strategies for Dialoguing with
Taken from Christian Research Journal, Winter/Spring 1989, page 7.
[ http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/Atheism.html ]
"No one is born an atheist. People choose to become atheists as much as they choose to become Christians. And no matter how strenuously some may try to deny it, atheism is a belief system. It requires faith that God does not exist."
Another copy may be found online here:
Ron Rhodes, "Strategies for Dialoguing with Atheists"
[ http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/article_main_page/0,1703,A%253D156674%2526M%253D200165,00.html ]
- Ralph McInerny, "Why the Burden of Proof is on the
[ http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth11.html ]
"In this paper, I ponder two questions:
"(1) Why can't the religious believer simply put the burden on the skeptic, and ask him to justify his unbelief, with the underlying assumption that as between theism and atheism, it is the former that is obviously true and the latter that is obviously false? (2) This not being possible in any way that is of immediate interest to religious belief, how does the believer regard his inability to prove the truth of faith in the manner the skeptic demands?"
- Stephen M. Barr, "The Atheism of the Gaps"
First Things 57 (November 1995): 50-53.
[ http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9511/articles/revessay.html ]
This review of Roger Penrose's Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness exposes some of the difficulties of pure materialistism.
- Alvin Plantinga, "Theism, Atheism, and Rationality"
[ http://www.leaderu.com/truth/3truth02.html ]
Can an atheist have a reliable epistemology?
"By way of conclusion: a natural way to understand such notions as rationality and irrationality is in terms of the proper functioning of the relevant cognitive equipment. Seen from this perspective, the question whether it is rational to believe in God without the evidential support of other propositions is really a metaphysical or theological dispute. The theist has an easy time explaining the notion of our cognitive equipment's functioning properly: our cognitive equipment functions properly when it functions in the way God designed it to function. The atheist evidential objector, however, owes us an account of this notion. What does he mean when he complains that the theist without evidence displays a cognitive defect of some sort? How does he understand the notion of cognitive malfunction?"
- Michael Novak, "The Godlessness that Failed"
First Things 104 (June/July 2000): 35-39.
[ http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0006/articles/novak.html ]
Discusses the failure of communism and why, at a fundamental level, it was unable to deliver on its ideology.
- Gregory Koukl, "The Real Murderers: Atheism or
[ http://www.str.org/free/commentaries/apologetics/comparisons/realmurd.htm ]
"The assertion is that religion has caused most of the killing and bloodshed in the world. There are people who make accusations and assertions that are empirically false. This is one of them."
This article investigates the claim the Christianity is a "bloodthirsty" religion, and then investigates historically the tragic results of atheistic ideologies, particularly in modern times.
- Gregory Koukl, "Is It Rational to Believe in God?"
Seminar in Philosophy of Religion: Apologetics TTPH 735
December 14, 2001
[ http://www.str.org/free/studies/rational.htm ]
This brief article discusses the epistemic status and rationality of theism in general, and of Christianity in particular.
- Rev. Ralph Allan Smith, "Why Bertrand Russell Was Not A
[ http://www.berith.org/essays/br/ ]
"Bertrand Russell was probably the most sophisticated and eloquent spokesman for atheism in this century. No one can doubt his credentials as a philosopher. Nor can anyone doubt that a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature had a talent for communication. The philosophical brilliance and superb communicative skills evident in his writings guarantee that Russell's influence will continue for some time to come. That is why I thought it worthwhile to provide a Christian critique of Russell's essay "Why I Am Not a Christian," even though it is based upon a speech given in 1927."
- Rev. Ralph Allan Smith, "Answering Michael Martin's 'Atheism,
Christian Theism, and Rape'"
[ http://www.berith.org/essays/martin_rape/ ]
"Michael Martin is to be commended both for addressing an important issue, the ethics of rape (though he is actually responding to Christians who challenged atheism) and, more significantly, for compelling Christians to defend the standards of Mosaic law in order to defend the character of the Christian God. His is exactly the kind of argument atheists should use. If the Bible is God'Ās Word, then its teaching about social law, even in the Old Testament, should reflect the character of the One who revealed it. Atheists are right to pressure Christians to defend what they believe. And if the Bible is what it claims to be, Christians have nothing to fear. Indeed, as a matter of historical fact, it has often been through the pressure of those who opposed Christianity that the Church has progressed."
- John W. Robbins, "Ayn Rand, 1905-1982"
The Trinity Review, May/June 1982
[ http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=57 ]
"On March 6, novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand died at her apartment in New York City. Rand, a Russian immigrant, influenced thousands of people - particularly college students - through her many books expressing her ethical and political ideas. She is correctly regarded as one of the moving forces behind the contemporary libertarian movement. In 1974, Answer to Ayn Rand, a comprehensive analysis of her philosophy, was published. Below are excerpts from the last chapter, "The Philosophy of Objectivism."
"In Who Is Ayn Rand? Nathaniel Branden boasted: No one has dared publicly to name the essential ideas of Atlas Shrugged and to attempt to refute them. With the publication of this book, that statement no longer stands. The clarification and refutation of Randís ideas attempted in this book have proceeded simultaneously; in large part, their clarification is their refutation."
- Robert M. Bowman Jr. "Answers to Atheists United"
[ http://www.apologetics.com/default.jsp?bodycontent=/articles/worldview_apologetics/bowman-responsetoau.html ]
"In a web page linked to the home page of Atheists United entitled "Why You Should Be an Atheist," a list of "Some Questions about Your Belief" is presented (http://www.atheistsunited.org/html/pamphlets/Article.htm). Here are my answers."
- J.P. Holding and Contributors, "You May be a Fundamentalist
[ http://www.tektonics.org/fundyath.html ]
"An amusing little list in the tradition of Jeff Foxworthy's "You Just Might be a Redneck if..." was sent to us by a reader and we have expanded it since. See how many of these you can apply to people you know!"
- James Patrick Holding, "Calculated Contempt: Why Bible Critics
Do Not Deserve the Benefit of the Doubt"
[ http://www.tektonics.org/calcon.html ]
"It doesn't take very long to realize that a thorough understanding of the Bible - and this would actually apply to any complex work from any culture - requires specialized knowledge, and a broad range of specialized knowledge in a variety of fields. Obviously the vast majority of believers spend their entire lives doing little more than reading the Bible in English (or whatever native tongue) and importing into its words whatever ideas they derive from their own experiences. This process is one of "decontextualizing" - what I have here called "reading it like it was written yesterday and for you personally." Of course if the church as a whole is locked into this mentality, you may well suspect that critics (whether Skeptics or other) and those in alternate faiths are no better off.
"Let's anticipate and toss off the obvious objection: "Why did God make the Bible so hard to understand, then?" It isn't - none of this keeps a person from grasping the message of the Bible to the extent required to be saved; where the line is to be drawn is upon those who gratuitously assume that such base knowledge allows them to be competent critics of the text, and make that assumption in absolute ignorance of their own lack of knowledge - what I have elsewhere spoken of in terms of being "unskilled and unaware of it."
- Doug Erlandson, "A New Perspective on the Problem of
[ http://cspar181.uah.edu/RbS/JOB/de.html ]
"Finally, one might object that the Biblical theist will convince no one but other Biblical theists with this theodicy. Precisely. However, unless one can show that the problem of evil by itself places the theist in a logically self-contradictory position (which I argued at the outset it doesn't), this is all the Biblical theist really needs to do. The road of traditional theodicies is strewn with the corpses of those who have tried to do the impossible. By starting with the assumption that God must create a world designed for the greatest good of man, they have offered theodicies that collapse under their own weight and compromise the very theism they wish to defend. As far as I can tell, the new perspective I have sketched does not do this.
" But shouldn't theodicy try to do more? No, for the primary purpose of theodicy is not to convince the anti-theist of Biblical theism but to show that given the presuppositions of Biblical theism, the existence of evil is not inconsistent with an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect God. Conversely, the only way in which evil provides counter-evidence to the God of the Bible is through prior acceptance of anti-theistic presuppositions."
- Paul C. Vitz, "The Psychology of Atheism"
[ http://www.semper-reformanda.org/atheism.html ]
"Let me conclude by noting that however prevalent the superficial motives for being an atheist, there still remain in many instances the deep and disturbing psychological sources as well. However easy it may be to state the hypothesis of the "defective father," we must not forget the difficulty, the pain, and complexity that lie behind each individual case. And for those whose atheism has been conditioned by a father who rejected, who denied, who hated, who manipulated, or who physically or sexually abused them, there must be understanding and compassion. Certainly for a child to be forced to hate his own father-or even to despair because of his father's weaknesses is a great tragedy. After all, the child only wants to love his father. For any unbeliever whose atheism is grounded in such experience, the believer, blessed by God's love, should pray most especially that ultimately they will both meet in heaven. Meet and embrace and experience great joy. If so, perhaps the former atheist will experience even more joy than the believer. For, in addition to the happiness of the believer, the atheist will have that extra increment that comes from his surprise at finding himself surrounded by joy in, of all places, his Father's house."
- Ray Cotton, "The Holocaust: Ideas and Their
[ http://www.probe.org/content/view/695/141/ ]
"In conclusion, we are drawn to say that the Nazi's "final solution" was the untimely child of the union of Christian anti- Semitism and German nationalism, but Christian anti-Semitism is an oxymoron and is the product of an disobedient church, be it Catholic or Protestant. Jesus Christ, the One we adore was a Jew, the Apostles from whom we have the New Testament Scriptures were Jews, and all the teaching of the New Testament is built upon the foundation of Jewish Old Testament Scriptures. In contrast, the anti-Semitism of Nazi Germany was the logical conclusion to the ideology that German nationalism was built upon, that of atheistic naturalism.
"Therefore, the anti-Semitism of the church became the convenient, albeit invalid, excuse while the real reason for the Holocaust was the atheistic anti-Semitism of German nationalism based on a naturalistic worldview."
- Jonathan Barlow, "A Reformed Response To Richard
[ http://www.crta.org/apologetics/Richard_Dawkins/barlow_science_a_religion.html ]
"The article presently under examination is a transcript of a speech made to the American Humanist Association by Richard Dawkins on the occasion of his being named "Humanist of the Year, 1996". Filled with his customary rhetorical excess (and also his much-appreciated humor), Dawkins' speech provides a good opportunity for Christians to take note of the role of presuppositions in every intellectual endeavor and the role of self-deception in unbelief."
- Paul Copan, "The Presumptuousness of Atheism"
[ http://www.gospelcom.net/rzim/publications/essay_arttext.php?id=3 ]
"Atheist Antony Flew has said that the "onus of proof must lie upon the theist." Unless compelling reasons for God's existence can be given, there is the "presumption of atheism." Another atheist, Michael Scriven, considers the lack of evidence for God's existence and the lack of evidence for Santa Claus on the same level. However, the presumption of atheism actually turns out to be presumptuousness. The Christian must remember that the atheist also shares the burden of proof, which I will attempt to demonstrate below."
This aritcle is also available from the Christian Research Institute:
[ http://www.equip.org/free/DA252.htm ]
- John Piper, "Is God Less Glorious Because He Ordained that
The Jonathan Edwards Institute
Evangelicals Seeking the Glory of God
[ http://www.desiringgod.org/library/topics/suffering/god_and_evil.html ]
"So the answer to the question in the title of this message, "Is God less glorious because he ordained that evil be?" is no, just the opposite. God is more glorious for having conceived and created and governed a world like this with all its evil. The effort to absolve him by denying his foreknowledge of sin (as we saw this afternoon) or by denying his control of sin (which we have seen this evening) is fatal, and a great dishonor to his word and his wisdom. Evangelicals who are seeking the glory of God, look well to the teaching of your churches and your schools. But most of all, look well to your souls."
- Richard J. Vincent, "The Problem of Evil and The Cross of
[ http://www.theocentric.com/theoarchives/000099.html ]
"In short, at the cross of Christ, God's greatness, God's goodness, and the reality of evil co-exist without diminishing or modifying any one of these truths. God sovereignly ordains and overrules all events surrounding the cross; God reveals His love, mercy and goodness through the cross; all the while, Christ's crucifixion remains a result of real human evil and injustice."
- William Lane Craig, "The Resurrection of Theism"
Truth: A Journal of Modern Thought, vols. 3 & 4 (1991): "New Arguments for the Existence of God."
[ http://www.leaderu.com/truth/3truth01.html ]
"I think it is clear as a result of these contributions that philosophical theism is very much alive and well today-indeed, when one recalls the bleak days of the "Death of God" movement in the sixties, it is not unfair to speak of a veritable resurrection of theism. The selections in this volume show that specifically religious epistemology is philosophically au courant and that new life has been breathed into the cosmological and teleological arguments as well. One could say the same of the ontological and moral arguments, too, though these have not been featured in this volume. Although the authors contributing to this volume include some of theism's ablest defenders, what is remarkable is that there are scores of others not included in this volume, many of whom are equally or even more gifted, and many of whom are young and up-coming as philosophers, who are also defending the theistic world view. It is an exciting time to be doing Philosophy of Religion."
- Hugo Meynell, "Hume, Kant, and Rational Theism"
[ http://www.leaderu.com/truth/3truth08.html ]
"I conclude by summing up the argument which I have put forward in this article. Plato discovered the real intelligible world which lies behind the merely sensible world, and which (as Aristotle emphasized after him) is to be found by inquiry into the sensible world. The whole subsequent development of science is a massive vindication of this discovery. Plato's Christian successors soon caught on to the fact that one intelligent will, which conceives and intends it rather as human beings conceive and intend their own actions and products, is ultimately the only satisfactory explanation for the existence and nature of such an intelligible world. Hume, as a consistent empiricist, in effect denied the world's intelligibility, and his account of knowledge, which has proved a fruitful source of atheism, leads just as ineluctably to scepticism. Kant, who was impressed by the sceptical conclusions which followed from Hume's premisses, strongly reasserted the intelligibility of the world as apprehended both by common sense and by science; but wrongly inferred that, since such apprehension plainly involves mental creativity, the world thus apprehended must be a merely seeming world of appearances dependent on human minds, and not, as would be held by all who are not subjective idealists, existing and being as it is largely prior to and independently of those minds. The right conclusion is (following the idealists, and Kant's objections to Hume) that the world shows signs of mental creativity, but (following common sense and materialist objections to idealism) that it is absurd to say that this mental creativity is human. The creativity is consequently to be attributed to a Mind (or minds) other than the human."
- Bob and Gretchen Passantino, "Imagine There's No Heaven:
Contemporary Atheism Speaks Out In Humanist Manifesto 2000"
[ http://www.answers.org/apologetics/atheism1.html ]
"Atheism, rejection of any belief in God, has come far in the past century. Shaking off the negative connotations of the term as being mean-spirited and closed-minded, contemporary God-doubters often redefine or even reject the term.
"Today those who reject the traditional Judeo-Christian worldview tend to present themselves in a much more sophisticated, rational, tolerant, and attractive manner. Rather than being against God, they merely "have no belief" in God. They prefer to redefine the term or use agnostic (one who does not know), skeptic (one who critically doubts), or humanist (one who looks for ultimate meaning to existence within the evolved human being).
"Some God-doubters have embraced postmodernistic relativism and doubt whether anything is absolute, knowable, or objective. Many other God-doubters reject such relativistic nihilism and embrace certain absolutes, scientific knowledge, and objective reality. (Sadly, they fail to acknowledge that their absolute worldview has no foundation or justification, which is found in rational Christian theism.) This worldview is expressed cogently in the Humanist Manifesto 2000, the "creed" of the humanists who discount belief in God, the supernatural, and the soul in favor of the Laws of Nature, chance over time, and human consciousness as the byproduct of brain impulses. Rejecting both religion and the self-refuting irrationalism of the postmodern nonbelievers, the Humanist Manifesto 2000 challenges humans to create a Utopian world without God.
"Although humanists and Christians oppose each other on many fronts, absolutist humanists and Christians agree that there is such a thing as truth in morality and science. They oppose the postmodern humanist's denial of these truths. Many humanist writers, like their Christian counterparts, have shown that the postmodern humanist's denial of truth is both self-refuting and inconsistent with what seems obviously true. This insight is important for Christians who seek to defend their faith in our contemporary culture. For if the Christian worldview can better account for these truths than can the humanist, it shows the superiority of the Christian worldview. More than that, it is an invitation to atheists to know Jesus, the truth that can set them free (John 8:32)."
This aritcle is also available from the Christian Research Institute:
[ http://www.equip.org/free/DR503-1.htm ]
- Bob and Gretchen Passantino, "Atheism vs. Christianity, A
Response to Unanswered Questions"
[ http://www.answers.org/apologetics/zindler.html ]
"One key to effective debating is the ability to discern which points of contention within a debate constitute major issues that must be dealt with in the limited time available and which points are minor or secondary and so, given the time constraints, safely may be left aside. In this debate there is a welter of such minor points which do not deal directly with the existence of God, usually in the form of unsupported assertions made by Mr. Zindler and quite properly left unanswered by Dr. Craig. This addendum to the debate is designed as a supplement to assist those who may be interested in knowing how a Christian might respond to such assertions. While Mr. Zindler did not articulate all these points clearly, they are spelled out here in their most commonly presented forms, along with a brief refutation and suggestions for further reading. The points are dealt with in the order in which they were raised by Mr. Zindler in the course of the debate."
- Atheism: a Dialogue between Chuck Colson and An Atheist Friend
[ http://www.thirdmill.org/files/english/practical_theology/PT.HOF_Chuck.Colson.Dialogue_11.03.03.pdf ]
A written dialogue between Chuck Colson and an atheist friend.
- Rick Brownell, "What if God Were Very Good?"
[ http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/brownell.html ]
"This essay is not an attempt to belittle the often logical and rational arguments that atheists present against the 'goodness' of the Christian God of Scripture. The issue of God's goodness is challenging to theology and philosophy, and is a debate that thrives in the minds of Christians and atheists alike. Yet neither the atheist nor the Christian can ever hope to explain the 'goodness' of God solely in terms of their own understanding of reality.
"In order for this debate to take place, both the atheist and the Christian must first assume that God does exist, and that He is some kind of real Being in the universe Who acts deliberately and with power in this world that He created. Though the atheist might wrestle with whether God's goodness is obvious within his perception of the reality he experiences in this world, to argue the point, both sides must also believe that God's character and acts can be easily scrutinized, and criticized or defended in human terms, in much the same way some news reporter might criticize or defend a politician's actions. Without both points of view making these assumptions first, there would be no on-going debate on the subject of God's goodness."
- Gannon Murphy, "Can You Prove That God Exists?"
[ http://www.geocities.com/mnapologetics/art1a.htm ]
"The simple answer to the question of whether or not the existence of God can be proven is yes! The existence of God can be proven using logical principles. Of course, it is true that it is impossible to prove theism through empirical methods. In other words, we cannot setup an experiment in a laboratory where God will appear for us in a test tube or under the conditions of some other controlled environment. But we must understand that the scientific method, while extremely valuable, is only one of the many vehicles that we have at our disposal for investigating truth claims and for learning about reality." ...
"I believe that, upon examination of the evidence, this source can be demonstrated to be the God of the Bible, the Creator and Sustainer of all life as well as the one who gives it meaning, purpose, and hope. In fact the Bible, Godís revelation of Himself to humankind, can be proven to be Divine rather than human in origin through a careful examination of manuscript evidence, historical and archaeological evidence, predictive prophecy, and its repository of life-changing wisdom. A further examination of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ also reveals Him to be just who He claimed to be, God cloaked in human flesh."
- Fred Klett, "The Absurdity of Atheism"
[ http://www.chaim.org/atheist.htm ]
"So you're an atheist. Mazel Tov, at least you aren't wishy washy. As a former atheist myself, I won't condemn you. How could I? Some atheists think they've taken a heroic stand, but could it be that they really don't want to face up to the possibility that God is indeed there? I hope you'll be intellectually honest enough to consider what I have to say and see if it makes sense.
"No one who has prejudged an issue can be convinced of anything contrary to what he wants to believe. There are still those who insist the earth is flat and no one can convince them otherwise, no matter what the evidence. There are always folks, no matter if religious or atheistic, who stubbornly believe what they prefer, no matter if reason and fact show otherwise. Someone like this has the unspoken philosophy: Don't confuse me with the facts. My mind is already made up. Ask yourself: Am I open-minded or narrow minded? Am I willing to change my mind if I can be shown atheism doesn't make sense?"
- Douglas M. Jones III, "Is Christianity
[ http://www.reformed.org/webfiles/antithesis/v1n3/ant_v1n3_unintel.html ]
A review of the arguments presented in George Smith's Atheism: The Case Against God:
"Anti-Christian literature can be very edifying. Such literature often addresses the reader in authoritative and table-pounding tones which suggest that enlightenment has finally arrived. One can envisage squealing college freshmen devouring these works to free their consciences from the Sunday school bondage of their earlier "naive" days. Humanist publishing houses rave about the newest refutations of Christianity, and atheist debaters enthusiastically push these wares at the back of auditoriums. But when all is said and done, the arguments contained in some of the better texts are really quite silly and dogmatic, thus serving to edify the believer by confirming the Christian view of reality. Such is the case with George Smith's Atheism: The Case Against God."
- Jason Engwer, "Are Secularist Claims About American History
[ http://members.aol.com/jasonte2/reason.htm ]
"Atheists, agnostics, and other critics of Christianity often try to discredit the religion by comparing the best of non-Christians to the worst of Christians. What ought to be done is to compare the best to the best and the worst to the worst. I think such comparisons are irrefutably favorable to Christianity. Comparing the leading apologists for atheism to an inquisitor of the Middle Ages or an ignorant televangelist is one thing. Comparing them to somebody like William Craig or N.T. Wright is something else.
"One of the issues that's often debated between Christians and their critics is the relationship between religion and government. I'm going to be analyzing some claims made by two critics of Christianity, Steven Morris of Atheists United and Farrell Till of the Internet Infidels, and I want to quote both of them at this point to give the reader some idea of where this article is headed. After these two quotes, I'll move on to an analysis of the claims of each critic."
- Hank Hanegraaff, "Is Atheism Logical?"
[ http://www.equip.org/free/CP0110.htm ]
"The atheistic world view is inadequate for many other reasons as well. First, atheism cannot adequately explain the existence of the world. Like all other things, the world in which we live cries out for an explanation which is clearly beyond itself - however, the atheist is unable to provide one. Second, the atheistic world view is unable to provide the necessary preconditions to account for the laws of science, the universal laws of logic - and, of course, absolute moral standards. In short, the atheistic world view cannot account for the meaningful realities of life."
- Christian Research Institute, "The Folly of Denying
[ http://www.equip.org/free/DA251.htm ]
"'Is there really a God?' Though there are a variety of possible responses to this question, there are three traditional responses that predominate in Western society: (1) God does not exist - atheism; (2) we cannot know whether God exists - agnosticism; and (3) a personal God does exist - theism. This article will demonstrate how, in witnessing to an atheist, one can move from atheism to agnosticism, from agnosticism to theism, and from the concept of an impersonal God to the personal God of Scripture."
- Dustin Shramek, "Atheism and Death: Why the atheist must face
death with despair"
[ http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/8449/atheism.html ]
"The title of this paper may catch some off guard. You or someone you know might be an atheist and you feel as though you have no despair when contemplating your death. I don't doubt that there are many atheist that, in fact, have no despair over death. But, for the atheist to live without despair, they must do so inconsistently. In my paper, I will show why it is logically inconsistent for an atheist to live and face death with happiness."
"To do this I want to present two major arguments. The first is from the theist point of view that life is meaningless without God and thus death is hopeless. This is derived from two of the world's top philosophers, William Lane Craig and Ravi Zacharias (both are theists). It should be noted that this argument will be supplemented with the thoughts of several respected atheistic philosophers so one does not think they are being biased."
"The second part of the paper will show why death is a necessary evil within the atheistic world view. To demonstrate this I will be drawing from the works of a major contemporary, atheist philosopher, Thomas Nagel. Both arguments are convincing by themselves, but I hope to show that with the two of them together, it is even more compelling to believe that the atheist must face death with despair. I don't doubt that many atheist have been able to boldly face death without fear, but I do believe that they were being inconsistent in their world view."
- Kenneth R. Samples, "Putting The Atheist on The Defensive,
Parts One and Two"
Christian Research Journal, Fall 1991.
[ http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/cri/cri-jrnl/crj0131a.txt ]
"It may come as a surprise to many Christians to discover that all atheists are not alike. Atheists argue differently depending on what it is that grounds their unbelief. In this first of two installments I will discuss two ways in which atheists attempt to explain and defend their atheism. I have labeled them "offensive atheism" and "defensive atheism." I will also offer suggestions as to how Christians can successfully answer some of the claims made by atheists and effectively present the claims of Jesus Christ. In Part Two I will examine some of the traditional arguments for God's existence."
- Rick Wade, "A Conversation with an Atheist"
[ http://www.probe.org/content/view/108/141/ ]
"In the fall of 1999 I became involved in an e-mail conversation with an atheist who wrote in response to a program I'd written titled The Relevance of Christianity. In this program I contrast Christianity and naturalism on the matters of meaning, morality, and hope. She wrote to say that she was able to find these things in her own philosophy of life without God. If such things can be had without God, why bother bringing Him in, especially given all the trouble religion causes?" ...
"We have attempted to respond to Stephanie's three main objections to believing in God: there's not enough evidence; it adds nothing to what we can know from science; and theism is bad for people. These are stock objections atheists present. I think they have good answers. The next step is to try to take the atheist to the place where she or he can "see" God. Removing the reasons for rejecting God is one step in the process. The next step is to show her God. I can think of no better way to do that than to take her to Jesus, who "is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature" (Heb. 1:3). I recommended that Stephanie read one of more of the Gospels, and she said she would read John. This is the point of apologetics, to take people to the Lord in the presence of whom they must make a choice. Now we'll wait to see what happens."
- Rick Wade, "The Enlightenment and Belief in God"
[ http://www.probe.org/content/view/631/91/ ]
"In the Enlightenment, people were shaken by a new way of thinking that challenged the simple acceptance of tradition and religious authority, but their confidence was restored through science and technology. Today, people are shaken by the loss of this confidence. We are seeing now that putting our confidence in our own ability to understand our world and fix it provides a shaky foundation. The need today is for both a reminder that truth can be known - ultimately through God's revelation in Christ - and modesty in our knowledge, which recognizes that we do not now, and never will, know everything."
- Jimmy Williams, "Does God Exist?"
[ http://www.probe.org/content/view/676/64/ ]
"Most will agree that the most basic, fundamental question concerning existence is not that nothing is here, but rather that something is here. I am a part of some kind of reality. I possess a consciousness, an awareness that something is transpiring, unfolding, happening. And you and I are part of it. The reality borne out of our personal observation and experience is that we are participants in a space-time universe which is characterized by a series of events. The mind naturally asks the question, "What is it?" Where did it come from?" Did the cosmos, what we see, simply come into being from nothing, or has this material universe of which we are a part always been here? Or is something or someone which transcends this material universe responsible for bringing it into existence and us with it?
"All of these questions relate to the philosophical concept of metaphysics. Webster defines it thusly: "That division of philosophy which includes ontology, or the science of being and cosmology, or the science of fundamental causes and processes in things." When we seek to answer these basic questions, then, we are thinking "metaphysically" about the origin and the causes of the present reality. And at this basic, fundamental level of consideration we really are left with few options, or possible answers, to account for or explain the universe."
- John A. Bloom, "Why Isn't the Evidence Clearer?"
[ http://www.probe.org/content/view/639/64/ ]
"In his book, Contact, Carl Sagan satirically asks why God doesn't place a glowing cross in the sky at night to serve as irrefutable proof of Jesus' resurrection? One could extend this line of thought further and ask why God doesn't have His own television channel and toll-free "hotline"?
"Despite Sagan's ridicule, he has a legitimate point. Why must we read a two-thousand-year-old book and study ancient history for proof of the existence of God? Why isn't the evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible made obvious to everyone, no matter how rebellious or blinded by sin? What we are really asking is, "Are there any reasons for the evidence to appear obscure other than the possibility that the God of the Bible doesn't exist?" This question should be addressed seriously, and, as we do so in this brief discussion, I think we will find that the answer is more profound than many realize."
- Science & Religion: Oil & Water?
A Leadership U Special Focus
[ http://www.leaderu.com/focus/scienceandreligion.html ]
"Science and religion? At odds by definition." That has been the underlying assumption of mainstream education, law and popular opinion for many years. True, the purview of science is limited to questions of observable fact or the effects of observables, to cause and effect, while religion majors on life's "whys." But are the two branches of knowledge incompatible and unrelated? If so, does this mean that they are enemies, as many believe?
"Popular scientist Carl Sagan said famously, "The universe is all that is, or was, or ever will be." Yet, a rising tide of researchers - especially in the physical sciences - proclaim ample evidence for an intelligent designer, pointing from the creation to a Creator. While this ties an intelligent agent to the natural world, it does not make the leap of tying this creator to the revealed Creator of Bible - that is outside its purview and stated goal. That would be improper representation of supernaturalism, according to the thinking of Stephen M. Barr, featured below. Barr maintains that, "Supernaturalism is out of place in physics, astronomy, chemistry, or botany. However, it is necessary in anything that touches upon the nature of man, for man is made in the image of God." Barr maintains that the so-called war between science and religion is actually ongoing disagreement between religion and materialism.
"Physicist and Christian Richard Bube quipped, "There are proportionately as many atheistic truck drivers as there are atheistic scientists." Indeed, it seems that an increasing number scientists, like five-time Nobel Prize nominee and world-renowned chemist Dr. Fritz Schaefer, integrate faith with scientific pursuit. In an interview with U.S. News & World Report, Schaefer said, "The significance and joy in my science comes in...discovering something new and saying to myself, 'So that's how God did it!'"
"For skeptics, is holding unwaveringly to materialism not a bascially religious commitment? If indeed there is more to the world than what can be quantified and examined by science, then is science's perspective authoritative - even on matters of science?
"For believers, if all truth is God's truth, why should followers of biblical religion worry about what science uncovers? Won't objective observation reveal whatever created order may exist in the universe? Shouldn't biblical believers in particular be at the fore, investigating "their Father's world"? We have gathered thinking from the realms of science and religion (many individuals cross over those lines) to address this abiding issue."
- Stephen M. Barr, "Retelling the Story of Science"
Copyright (c) 2003 First Things 131 (March 2003): 16-25.
[ http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0303/articles/barr.html ]
Stephen M. Barr is a theoretical particle physicist at the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware.
"We often hear of a conflict between religion and science. Is there one? Certainly, some religious beliefs are scientifically untenable: for example, that the world is six thousand years old. However, for Jews and Christians not committed to a narrowly literalistic interpretation of Scripture, that kind of direct and clear.cut contradiction between scientific facts and religious doctrines does not exist.
"What many take to be a conflict between religion and science is really something else. It is a conflict between religion and materialism. Materialism regards itself as scientific, and indeed is often called "scientific materialism," even by its opponents, but it has no legitimate claim to be part of science. It is, rather, a school of philosophy, one defined by the belief that nothing exists except matter, or, as Democritus put it, "atoms and the void."
- Otto J. Helweg, "Scientific Facts and Christian Faith:
How Are They Compatible?"
USA Today, March 1997, pages 84-86.
[ http://www.leaderu.com/science/helweg.html ]
Otto J. Helweg is Dean of the College of Engineering and Architecture, North Dakota State University.
"The causes of the science versus Christianity battle may be traced to three errors. First, the proponents on both sides often fail to define the term, "evolution." Second, both sides have failed to see science as a product of a Christian world view. And, finally, both sides confuse the realms (limits) of science and theology."
- Dr. J.P. Moreland, "The Real Issue: Is Science a Threat or
Help to Faith? A look at the concept of Theistic Science"
[ http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/threat.html ]
"In sum, there are several aspects to the integration of science and theology, and theistic science is a legitimate part of such integration. Theology doesn't need science to be rational. There is nothing wrong in principle, however, with bringing one's theology into the practice of science. Intellectual bullying aside, it is time for Christians to rethink these matters and allow theistic science to be a part of how they love God with their minds."
- Dr. Henry F. Schaefer, III. "Scientists and Their Gods
(also known as Science and Christianity: Conflict or
[ http://www.leaderu.com/offices/schaefer/docs/scientists.html ]
Dr. Schaefer, the Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and the director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia, discusses the history of science and distinguished researchers who were themselves Christians.
- Brian Harvey, "The Democratization of Science"
Copyright (c) 2000 First Things 101 (March 2000): 17-20.
[ http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0003/opinion/harvey.html ]
"The modern illuminati did not for a moment consider their own standpoint at risk. After all, they were enlightened; they believed in reason, in science. Who could reasonably doubt these? They did not foresee the ways in which the instrumental modes of rationality cultivated by the Enlightenment - which not only greet all claims to knowledge with skepticism, but also treat accepted means for adjudicating the value of those claims with suspicion - actually erode the capacity of reason to order our lives together. And so it is that in matters of religion and science populism expropriated the Cartesian method of radical doubt and elevated it into an art form. Hatch.s observation that "dissenters confounded the establishment with an approach to theological matters that was nothing short of guerrilla warfare" thus illuminates the inability of most scientists to respond in persuasive fashion to the debate about natural selection and the Big Bang."
- Impact Apologetics
[ http://www.impactapologetics.com/ ]
Impact Apologetics has numerous audio resources on many apologetic topics, such as Dr. Gary Habermas' audio tape "Atheism and Evil: A Fatal Dilemma."
- Mars Hill Audio
[ http://www.marshillaudio.org/ ]
See "Topic Information: subject Atheism":
[ http://www.marshillaudio.org/resources/topic_detail.asp?ID=371 ]
"Thank you for your patience while we collect our thoughts to prepare an essay on this topic. While you wait, here is a sneak preview of reference material that will be incorporated into the coming essay: Craig Gay's The Way of the (Modern) World: Or, Why It's Tempting to Live As If God Doesn't Exist is published by Eerdmans. Gay acknowledges his debt to sociologist Peter Berger, who has written a great deal about the effects of modernity on religious conviction. Making Sense of Modern Times: Peter L. Berger and the Vision of Interpretative Sociology, edited by James Davison Hunter and Stephen C. Ainlay (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986), contains a number of essays summarizing Berger's thinking about social theory, modernization, and the "problem" of religion in the modern world. Berger's The Precarious Vision (Doubleday, 1961) is one of the earliest works in which Berger describes why it is difficult for a fully contemporary person to maintain a Christian view of reality that is not in some way precarious. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (Doubleday, 1967), includes discussion of the process of secularization and of how secularization affects the plausibility of religious truth claims. The Homeless Mind: Modernization and Consciousness (co-written by Brigitte Berger and Hansfried Kellner; Random House, 1973) contains some discussion of the devastating effects of uncertainty brought about by modern social structures. In The Heretical Imperative (Anchor Press, 1979), Berger describes modernity as "a near-inconceivable expansion of the area of human life open to choices." In such a context, what are the challenges to religious belief and practice? Finally, one of Berger's more recent collections of thoughts on these matters is A Far Glory: The Quest for Faith in an Age of Credulity (Free Press, 1992)."
- Stand to Reason: Radio Broadcasts
[ http://www.strradio.org/ ]
Numerous radio programs have dealt with particular objections of atheists. Specifically, see these tapes:
- "Debate Tactics - Radio Interview with William Lane Craig" with Gregory Koukl and William Lane Craig
- "You Bet Your Life: A Simple Case Against Atheism."
- "The World According to God"
- "Culture War: The Nature of Reality (Masters Series 1997)" by Frank Beckwith
- "Theism, Atheism, and the Big Bang Cosmology (Masters Series 2000)" by William Lane Craig
- Reasons to Believe: Radio Network
[ http://www.reasons.org/resources/multimedia/rtbradio/index.shtml?main ]
Reasons to Believe radio broadcasts focus on the natural relationship of Science and Faith. Broadcasts regularly tackle extremely difficult questions about the Bible, the latest findings of cosmological science, as well as other questions of the day and issues brought up by callers. Programs are available via webcast, as are past programs.
- The Craig-Atkins Debate: What is the Evidence For/Against the
Existence of God?
[ http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/craig-atkins.html ]
Both audio and video of this debate are available.
- The Craig-Washington Debate: Does God Exist?
William Lane Craig and Corey G. Washington
with annotations by Corey G. Washington and William Lane Craig
[ http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/washdeba-intro.html ]
- The Craig-Jesseph Debate: Does God Exist?
William Lane Craig and Douglas M. Jesseph
1996, North Carolina State University
[ http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/jesseph-craig0.html ]
- The Craig-Atkins Debate: What is the Evidence For/Against the
Existence of God?
[ http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/craig-atkins.html ]
This debate is only available in video or audio form.
- A Classic Debate on the Existence of God
University of Colorado at Boulder
Dr. William Lane Craig & Dr. Michael Tooley
[ http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/craig-tooley0.html ]
- John Frame, "Responses to Atheist Philosopher, Michael
[ http://www.crta.org/apologetics/martin_TAG.html ]
- Justifying Non-Christian Objections
Douglas Wilson & Farrell Till
[ http://www.reformed.org/apologetics/credenda-agenda/wilson-till.html ]
- Is Non-Christian Thought Justifiable?
Douglas Jones, Keith Parsons, Michael Martin
[ http://www.reformed.org/apologetics/jones_martin.html ]
- God and Evolution: An Exchange
Copyright (c) 1993 First Things 34 (June/July 1993): 32-41.
[ http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9306/articles/johnson.html ]
- How Did We Get Here?
Phillip E. Johnson and Kenneth R. Miller
[ http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/odyssey/debate/ ]
"In 1996, NOVA Online asked two leading spokesmen in the evolution/creation debate to discuss the question, "How did we get here?" The participants have agreed to keep their letters to less than 500 words and have been given equal time to write them. It should be noted that neither Miller nor Johnson were involved in the production of NOVA's Odyssey of Life."
- Bob and Gretchen Passantino, "The 2002 Great Debate: Atheism
vs. Christianity Testing the Case: Which View Prevailed?"
[ http://www.answers.org/apologetics/debate.html ]
- Letters to an Anti-Theist
James White and Dennis McKinsey
[ http://aomin.org/antitheist_intro.html ]
"The following letters were written during 1986/87. They comprise the correspondence between Mr. James White, Director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, and Mr. Dennis McKinsey, the editor of a periodical entitled "Biblical Errancy." As Mr. McKinsey feels free to publish letters written to him in his periodical, and as there is no copyright on "Biblical Errancy," we have felt free to include Mr. McKinsey's responses. Only that material relevant to the matters addressed in the debate between Mr. White and Mr. McKinsey will be reproduced here.
"In the spring of 1986 a copy of the March edition of "Biblical Errancy" was sent to James White. The full title of the paper is: "Biblical Errancy: The only national periodical focusing on Biblical errors, contradictions, and fallacies, while providing a hearing for apologists." The periodical is six pages long. After reviewing some of the supposed "contradictions" found in the May issue of this paper, Mr. White wrote the first letter of three to Mr. McKinsey. This letter was printed in the August, 1986 edition of BE. This precipitated a rather lengthy exchange, both in the size of the letters as well as the number of issues of BE in which the debate appeared. The following gives the letters written by Mr. White, and the replies of Mr. McKinsey, just as they appeared in "Biblical Errancy." The final section comprises Mr. Whites reply to Mr. McKinsey's final words."
- 1st Letter to Mr. McKinsey from Dr. James White
- 1st Reply to Dr. James White from Mr. McKinsey
- 2nd Letter to Mr. McKinsey from Dr. James White
- 2nd Reply to Dr. James White from Mr. McKinsey
- 3rd Letter to Mr. McKinsey from Dr. James White
- 3rd Reply to Dr. James White from Mr. McKinsey
- Dealing With Common Questions and Objections
- Answering Common Questions and Objections: Part I
- Answering Common Questions and Objections: Part II
- The Hall of Shame
"It is my prayer that this short look at some of the issues raised by anti-theists in their seemingly never ending quest to discredit the Bible as God's Word has been helpful to you, the reader, no matter what your current position or belief. If you are a Christian, I hope you have been strengthened in your faith and encouraged to "be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15). If you are an atheist, or a skeptic, I certainly don't think that this short examination of a narrow spectrum of subjects is sufficient to cause you to change your thinking. Rather, my hope for you is that you will realize that there are answers to the questions posed by people such as McKinsey, and that you will take the time to honestly examine the claims of Christ and His Word."
- Mortimer Adler, M. How to Think About God: A Guide to the
Twentieth Century Pagan
Macmillan, 1980. ISBN: 0-02-016022-4
- Mortimer Adler, Truth in Religion: The Plurality of
Religions and the Unity of Truth
Macmillan, 1990. ISBN: 0-02-500225-2
"Only if, with regard to the diversity of religions, there are questions about truth and falsehood do we have a problem about the pluralism of religions and the unity of truth.
"That problem is not concerned with preserving religious liberty, freedom of worship, and the toleration, in a particular society of the world, of a diversity of religious institutions, communities, practices and beliefs. It is concerned only with the question of where, in that diversity, the truth lies if there is any truth in religioun at all."
- Ravi Zacharias, A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of
Baker Books, 1993. ISBN: 0801099382
- Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God?
Word Publishing, 1994. ISBN: 0-8499-3943-7
"May I underscore a very important point here, as do may other books that deal with the subject of atheism? Atheism is not merely a passive unbelief in God but an assertive denial of the major claims of all varieties of theism; atheism contradicts belief in God with a positive affirmation of matter as ultimate reality. Some atheists avoid this frontal attack upon theism and try to soften that absolute denial of God. Their argument asserts that God's existence is rationally unprovable, and is therefore at best a meaningless proposition. In effect, their atheism is arrived at by default. This approach is often taken so as to be conveniently relieved of the burden of defending one's own alternative view. In actual terms both the soft and the hard form of atheism accomplish the same goal and end up denying God's existence either implicitly or explicitly. Any attempt to escape the ramifications of its absoluteness is unsuccessful."
From p17, Can Man Live Without God?, emphasis in original.
- Norman L. Geisler, Frank Turek. I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be
Crossway Books. ISBN: 1581345615
- Ravi Zacharias, Norman L. Geisler, Eds. Who Made God: And
Answers to over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith
Zondervan, 2003. ISBN: 0310247101
- Gregory A. and Edward K. Boyd, Letters from a Skeptic: A Son
Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity
Victor Books, 1994. ISBN: 1-56476-244-0
- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
A classic work of modern apologetics, C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity provides probably the best popular explaination of the moral argument for God that can be found. Many reprints have been made through the years as the book has achieved such overwhelming popularity and endured through some incredibly turbulent decades. Originally an atheist himself, C.S. Lewis was challenged about the validity of Christian faith by none other than J.R.R. Tolkien.
"My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. ... Of course, I could have given up my idea of justice by saying that it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too - for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist - in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless - I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality - namely my idea of justice - was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning."
- Francis A. Schaeffer, The God Who is There
Intervarsity Press, 1968. ISBN: 0-87784-711-8
Whereas C.S. Lewis's apologetic is done within a primarily modern framework, Francis Schaeffer's writing is directed toward what would become known more broadly later as postmodernism. This included an increasing skepticism toward the rationalist experiment, a mood of despair, and a growing acceptance of mysticism in secular culture.
- Francis A. Schaeffer, Escape from Reason
Intervarsity Press, 1977. ISBN: 0877845387
Chronicles the secular culture's flight from rationality and the purposeless and despair that inevitably results. In particular, the peak of the "escape from reason" is monistic mysticism, which we see in the rise of various postmodern religious movements, from the broad New Age movement to Neopaganism, and beyond.
- Francis A. Schaeffer, He Is There and He Is Not Silent
Tyndale House Publishers, 1980. ISBN: 084231413X
In this work, Schaefer deals with fundamental spiritual questions and brings together a conclusion on how we can know an infinite personal God.
- Paul Chamberlain, Can We Be Good Without God?
Intervarsity Press, 1996.
"This book comes to grips with two of the most basic questions of life and human existence. First, is there any real right and wrong (objective moral standards), the kind that does not depend on anyone's view or opinion? Second, if there are such standards, why? How can there be? What is their foundation?"
From p11, Can We Be Good Without God?
- Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ: A Journalist's
Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
Zondervan, 1998. ISBN: 0310209307
"Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates from schools like Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandeis who are recognized authorities in their own fields.
"Strobel challenges them with questions like How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence exist for Jesus outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?"
- Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith: A Journalist
Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity
Zondervan, 2000. ISBN: 0-310-23528-6
- Lee Strobel, The Case for Easter: Journalist Investigates the
Evidence for the Resurrection
Zondervan, 2004. ISBN: 0310254752
- Lee Strobel, The Case for Creation: A Journalist
Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God
Zondervan, 2004. ISBN: 0310241448
- Norman L. Geisler, The Roots of Evil
Probe Ministries, 1978. ISBN: 0-310-35751-9
A short but thorough treatment of the problem of evil from a theistic standpoint. Dr. Geisler's writing style takes a complex philosophical problem and breaks it into understandable pieces without dodging important points.
- Michael B. Yang, Reconsidering Ayn Rand
Enclair Publishing, 2000. ISBN: 1579212182
A former Objectivist turned Christian considers the philosophical flaws latent in Ayn Rand's work.
"Indeed, I had absorbed the information presented in these key books and felt confident that Objectivism was right about Christianity and altruism. With time, however, I began to notice that the way many Christians lived did not fit the box that Rand had put them in. For example, some Christians were vibrantly confident and successful. They were also keenly aware of, and interested in, intellectual issues. All the while, they manifested genuine love and compassion toward other people. What could account for this discrepancy? If Christianity were an altruistic system, and if altruism could result in only self-abnegation, envy, and irrationality, such people as these should not exist. Furthermore, it was not so easy to attribute the "good" in these people to reason, and the "bad" to faith, as Rand often did.
"This question and other factors prompted me to start examining the Bible during my first semester at Harvard Medical School. After all, I had never read the book myself. I had been relying on professional Objectivists and Libertarians to tell me what was in it. My goal in examining the Scriptures was to prove that my Objectivist mentors were right after all. I anticipated that my questions would be resolved, and my arguments against Christianity would be strengthened. Confidently, I said to myself, I'll read the Bible, and then I'll be able to tell Christians exactly why they are wrong."
From p22, Reconsidering Ayn Rand (emphasis in original)
- William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and
Good News Publishing, 1994. ISBN: 0891077642
- J. P. Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind: The Role of
Reason in the Life of the Soul
Navpress, 1997. ISBN: 1576830160
- J. P. Moreland, William Lane Craig.
Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview
InterVarsity Press, 2003. ISBN: 0830826947
- Norman L. Geisler, Ronald M. Brooks. When Skeptics Ask:
A Handbook on Christian Evidences
Baker Books, 1990. ISBN: 0-8010-1141-8
- Norman L. Geisler, Thomas A. Howe. When Critics Ask: A Popular
Handbook on Bible Difficulties
Baker Books, 1992. ISBN: 0-8010-1142-6
- Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian
Baker Books, 1999. ISBN: 0-8010-2151-0
The following list includes some of the more intense resources that argue specific points put forward by atheists. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but this will certainly get one started.
- Richard Swinburne, The Evolution of the Soul
Oxford University Press, 1986. ISBN 0-19-824483-5
A defense of dualism.
- Gary R. Habermas, J. P. Moreland.
Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality
Wipf & Stock Publishers, January 2004. ISBN: 1592445098
- Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Latest Scientific
Discoveries of the Century Reveal God
Navpress, 2001. ISBN: 1576832880
No fundamentalist six-day creationist, Dr. Hugh Ross studied Quasars at Cal Tech before beginning a study of the major world religions to determine which, if any, had an accurate cosmology. Of all the ancient texts he studied, only the Bible passed the test.
- Hugh Ross, The Fingerprint of God
Whitaker House, 2000. ISBN: 0883686279
- Alvin Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity
Oxford University Press, 1989. ISBN: 0198244142
- Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the
Life of Christ
College Press Publishing Company, June 1996. ISBN: 0899007325
- N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian
Origins and the Question of God)
Augsburg Fortress Publishers, April 2003. ISBN: 0800626796
- Michael J. Wilkins, James Porter Moreland. Jesus under
Zondervan Publishing Company, 1996. ISBN: 0310211395
- Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the
InterVarsity Press, 1987. ISBN: 0-87784-992-7
- R. Douglas Geivett, Gary R. Habermas.
In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God's Actions in
InterVarsity Press, February 1997. ISBN: 0830815287
- William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland. Naturalism : A Critical
Analysis (Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Philosophy)
Routledge, 2000. ISBN: 0415235243
- Robert C. Koons, Ph.D. Realism Regained: An Exact Theory of
Causation, Teleology, and the Mind
Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0195135679
This technical work critiques the dogmas of materialism and various forms of anti-realism. The Abstract, Table of Contents, Introduction, and Conclusion of this book are available on Dr. Koons' website:
Robert C. Koons
[ http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/philosophy/faculty/koons/main.html ]
- J. Budziszewski, What We Can't Not Know: A Guide
Spence Publishing Company, 2003. ISBN: 189062649X
- John Warwick Montgomery, Tractatus Logico-Theologicus:
2nd revised edition
CILTPP Inc., 2003. ISBN 3-932829-80-8
Written in the style of early Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Theologicus provides a clear, articulate defense of Christianity.
- Christian Thinktank
Website of Glenn M. Miller, who has spent thirty years exploring
various issues in apologetics, questioning the foundations of the
See specifically: Over-dex of Objections
- Tektonics Apologetics Ministries
The website of J. P. Holding, addresses difficult problems about the
Bible and origins of the Christian faith posed by skeptics, atheists, and
cultists with Holding's particular flair and sense of humor.
"Tekton Apologetics Ministries is committed to providing scholarly
answers to serious questions which are often posed on major and minor
elements of the Christian faith. We believe in the importance of sound
Christian doctrine which is based on a careful exegetical analysis of
scriptures from the Holy Bible. We also believe that it is important to
incorporate the findings of various theological and scientific disciplines
in order to properly assess the veracity of scriptural evidences, and to
carefully evaluate issues which are relevant to the Church as a
Tekton Apologetics Ministries Mission Statement
- Bible Query
Website of Christian Debater, which includes a detailed index of
alleged Bible contradictions and articles detailing objections to the
"Why So Many Questions?
"I have attempted to hunt down every objection, difficulty, and
alleged contradiction every non-Christian and Christian has asked. I tried
to show some of the archaeological support for the Bible, discuss Bible
and science issues, and give multiple answers in some places where
Christian scholars disagree. I often look at things skeptically, but
praise God Jesus died for skeptics, too. I also believe the Bible in the
original manuscripts is the inerrant word of God. However, I am extremely
skeptical of other things, such as the claims that the universe could have
started by random chance.
"I have tried to be thorough in ferreting out as many potential
questions as possible, but I am certain there are questions I have missed.
If you encounter additional questions not covered in these papers, please
send them to the address listed on the other side. We want to give you an
answer and consider your input for future versions. Also, if you believe
an answer can be improved, please send your comments as well.
- Leadership U
Leadership U engages the academic debates with vigor bringing a
Christian worldview to challenge the accepted orthodoxy of our times. The
website provides articles written by a wide variety of credentialed
academic Christians on a variety of relevant issues, with new additions
made regularly. The site is also powered by Sun Microsystems hardware.
- Apologetics Index: Atheism
Anton Hein's website with a brief listing on Atheism.
- Probe Ministries
A Richardson based Christian ministry specializing in apologetics and
"Probe Ministries was founded in 1973 by James F. Williams Jr.,
who sought to form a ministry that would bridge the frontier between the
agonizing questions man asks and the profound answers the Gospel offers.
Beginning with the vision and no staff, Probe has grown today to form a
working unit of 15 scholars and 10 support staff, along with the service
of numerous volunteers. As the organization has served Christ faithfully
for 27 years, Probe now stands ready to dramatically expand its ministry
for Christ the next 27 years."
- Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
"In a generation not unlike ours, Jesus declared, "You will
know the Truth and the Truth will set you free." Throughout history
the message of Christ has faced significant challenges from other
worldviews, from the academy, and from culture. And understandably so, for
Jesus claimed to be unique in every way.
"Is a message so exclusive plausible? We believe it is, and we at
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries seek to reach and challenge those
who shape the ideas of a culture with the credibility and the beauty of
the gospel of Jesus Christ. To the questions of the skeptic and the
believer we offer an apologetic - we give an answer - to the counterclaims
of secularism and other worldviews. We address the intellectual and
essential assumptions of our culture, realizing that for some, the door to
the heart is through the mind, and for others through the
- Reasoning From the Scriptures Ministries
- Does God Exist?
This journal is a part of a program of service titled Does God Exist? The
purpose of the program is to provide thinking, seeking people with
scientific evidence that God does exist and that the Bible is His Word. It
is our conviction that all men can logically, intelligently, and
rationally believe in God. In addition to this bimonthly journal, the Does
God Exist? program offers books, audio-cassette tapes, correspondence
courses, video tapes and other materials. These materials are offered
either free or on a loan basis. We also are more than willing to
correspond with you and provide you with whatever help we can for whatever
needs you might have.
- Stand to Reason
"Stand to Reason trains Christians to think more clearly about
their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for
classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public
- Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
CARM's website has a detailed section dealing with the most common
objections of atheists to theism in general and Christianity in
particular. Also included are important tips when dialoguing with
"Atheism ranges from strong to weak. Some atheists outright
affirm there is no God. Others atheists say they choose not to exercise
faith in the concept of God thereby neither acknowledging or denying God.
Is atheism a valid option?"
- Modernism versus Postmodernism
Atheism's naturalistic worldview is possible because of the efforts in
the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to establish it as not
merely an academically respectable worldview, but as the only respectable
scientific worldview. At the peak of the Enlightenment experiment, a new
skepticism toward the modern world and its ability to solve all human
problems began to gain momentum. This new movement, in its myriad of
forms, has today become popularly known as "postmodernism."
While the Modernists inherited the naturalistic and atheistic worldview
that the material world is all that exists, Postmoderns are much more
flexible and dynamic in their views of God and the material world, often
espousing pantheistic, panentheistic, and even animistic views of the
world very haphazardly. As a result, atheism has been somewhat stifled as
other movements, such as the broadly-named "New Age" movement
and various Neopagan movements have born their
own spiritualities in the absence of compelling Modernist arguments.
As a result, an atheist today is a Modernist caught in Postmodern
times. While traditional theism has fallen on hard times in the postmodern
culture, naturalism is quickly becoming passť as well.
- Atheists and American Evangelicalism
Many self-avowed atheists have a difficult time understanding the
complexities of American Evangelicalism, and tend to lump all non-liberal
Christians into a single grouping, regardless of their affiliation:
In many ways this is understandable, as it is not unusual for
self-avowed atheists - particularly those in the southern United States -
to have come from church backgrounds which were self-avowed
Fundamentalist, Pentecostal, or simply anti-intellectual environments.
Many atheists, unfortunately, experienced abusive church backgrounds or
were simply unsatisfied by the pat responses to difficult questions that
their Sunday School teachers gave. However, many of the same habits they
denounce in "Fundamentalists," they themselves pick up and use.
While I can sympathize with the rejection of authoritarian and abusive
backgrounds, and the rejection of anti-intellectual church culture, to use
these problems and one's own bad experience to reject Christianity
outright is to reject Christianity for emotional and non-rational reasons.
This would be like refusing to try a fruit because one accidentally ate
one once that was rotten. Some atheists, such as Dan Barker and Farrell
Till, had their experience in these sorts of backgrounds, where serious
intellectual questioning of their faith was discouraged. Unfortunately,
they believe that as former pastors, their experience of Christianity was
normative and that they have mastered whatever intellectual rigor
Christian thought has to offer. Sadly, this is not the case. Their
arguments are primarily against a nearly cultic caricature of what
Biblical Christianity is, and have minimal interaction with the academic
Evangelical discourse's renewed intellectual rigor that has marked late
twentieth century Evangelicalism. Essentially, former Christians turned
atheist are not the "experts" on the Christian faith that they
often claim to be.
[ http://www.christian-thinktank.com/ ]
Website of Glenn M. Miller, who has spent thirty years exploring various issues in apologetics, questioning the foundations of the Christian faith.
See specifically: Over-dex of Objections
[ http://www.christian-thinktank.com/objedex.html ]
[ http://www.tektonics.org/ ]
The website of J. P. Holding, addresses difficult problems about the Bible and origins of the Christian faith posed by skeptics, atheists, and cultists with Holding's particular flair and sense of humor.
"Tekton Apologetics Ministries is committed to providing scholarly answers to serious questions which are often posed on major and minor elements of the Christian faith. We believe in the importance of sound Christian doctrine which is based on a careful exegetical analysis of scriptures from the Holy Bible. We also believe that it is important to incorporate the findings of various theological and scientific disciplines in order to properly assess the veracity of scriptural evidences, and to carefully evaluate issues which are relevant to the Church as a whole."
Tekton Apologetics Ministries Mission Statement
[ http://www.biblequery.org/ ]
Website of Christian Debater, which includes a detailed index of alleged Bible contradictions and articles detailing objections to the Christian faith.
"Why So Many Questions?
"I have attempted to hunt down every objection, difficulty, and alleged contradiction every non-Christian and Christian has asked. I tried to show some of the archaeological support for the Bible, discuss Bible and science issues, and give multiple answers in some places where Christian scholars disagree. I often look at things skeptically, but praise God Jesus died for skeptics, too. I also believe the Bible in the original manuscripts is the inerrant word of God. However, I am extremely skeptical of other things, such as the claims that the universe could have started by random chance.
"I have tried to be thorough in ferreting out as many potential questions as possible, but I am certain there are questions I have missed. If you encounter additional questions not covered in these papers, please send them to the address listed on the other side. We want to give you an answer and consider your input for future versions. Also, if you believe an answer can be improved, please send your comments as well.
[ http://www.leaderu.com/ ]
Leadership U engages the academic debates with vigor bringing a Christian worldview to challenge the accepted orthodoxy of our times. The website provides articles written by a wide variety of credentialed academic Christians on a variety of relevant issues, with new additions made regularly. The site is also powered by Sun Microsystems hardware.
[ http://www.apologeticsindex.org/a19.html ]
Anton Hein's website with a brief listing on Atheism.
[ http://www.probe.org/ ]
A Richardson based Christian ministry specializing in apologetics and worldview integration.
"Probe Ministries was founded in 1973 by James F. Williams Jr., who sought to form a ministry that would bridge the frontier between the agonizing questions man asks and the profound answers the Gospel offers. Beginning with the vision and no staff, Probe has grown today to form a working unit of 15 scholars and 10 support staff, along with the service of numerous volunteers. As the organization has served Christ faithfully for 27 years, Probe now stands ready to dramatically expand its ministry for Christ the next 27 years."
[ http://www.rzim.com/ ]
"In a generation not unlike ours, Jesus declared, "You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free." Throughout history the message of Christ has faced significant challenges from other worldviews, from the academy, and from culture. And understandably so, for Jesus claimed to be unique in every way.
"Is a message so exclusive plausible? We believe it is, and we at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries seek to reach and challenge those who shape the ideas of a culture with the credibility and the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To the questions of the skeptic and the believer we offer an apologetic - we give an answer - to the counterclaims of secularism and other worldviews. We address the intellectual and essential assumptions of our culture, realizing that for some, the door to the heart is through the mind, and for others through the imagination."
[ http://www.ronrhodes.org/ ]
[ http://www.doesgodexist.org/ ]
This journal is a part of a program of service titled Does God Exist? The purpose of the program is to provide thinking, seeking people with scientific evidence that God does exist and that the Bible is His Word. It is our conviction that all men can logically, intelligently, and rationally believe in God. In addition to this bimonthly journal, the Does God Exist? program offers books, audio-cassette tapes, correspondence courses, video tapes and other materials. These materials are offered either free or on a loan basis. We also are more than willing to correspond with you and provide you with whatever help we can for whatever needs you might have.
[ http://www.str.org/ ]
"Stand to Reason trains Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square."
[ http://www.carm.org/ ]
CARM's website has a detailed section dealing with the most common objections of atheists to theism in general and Christianity in particular. Also included are important tips when dialoguing with atheists.
[ http://www.carm.org/atheism.htm ]
"Atheism ranges from strong to weak. Some atheists outright affirm there is no God. Others atheists say they choose not to exercise faith in the concept of God thereby neither acknowledging or denying God. Is atheism a valid option?"
Atheism's naturalistic worldview is possible because of the efforts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to establish it as not merely an academically respectable worldview, but as the only respectable scientific worldview. At the peak of the Enlightenment experiment, a new skepticism toward the modern world and its ability to solve all human problems began to gain momentum. This new movement, in its myriad of forms, has today become popularly known as "postmodernism."
While the Modernists inherited the naturalistic and atheistic worldview that the material world is all that exists, Postmoderns are much more flexible and dynamic in their views of God and the material world, often espousing pantheistic, panentheistic, and even animistic views of the world very haphazardly. As a result, atheism has been somewhat stifled as other movements, such as the broadly-named "New Age" movement and various Neopagan movements have born their own spiritualities in the absence of compelling Modernist arguments.
As a result, an atheist today is a Modernist caught in Postmodern times. While traditional theism has fallen on hard times in the postmodern culture, naturalism is quickly becoming passť as well.
Many self-avowed atheists have a difficult time understanding the complexities of American Evangelicalism, and tend to lump all non-liberal Christians into a single grouping, regardless of their affiliation: Fundamentalist.
In many ways this is understandable, as it is not unusual for self-avowed atheists - particularly those in the southern United States - to have come from church backgrounds which were self-avowed Fundamentalist, Pentecostal, or simply anti-intellectual environments. Many atheists, unfortunately, experienced abusive church backgrounds or were simply unsatisfied by the pat responses to difficult questions that their Sunday School teachers gave. However, many of the same habits they denounce in "Fundamentalists," they themselves pick up and use.
While I can sympathize with the rejection of authoritarian and abusive backgrounds, and the rejection of anti-intellectual church culture, to use these problems and one's own bad experience to reject Christianity outright is to reject Christianity for emotional and non-rational reasons. This would be like refusing to try a fruit because one accidentally ate one once that was rotten. Some atheists, such as Dan Barker and Farrell Till, had their experience in these sorts of backgrounds, where serious intellectual questioning of their faith was discouraged. Unfortunately, they believe that as former pastors, their experience of Christianity was normative and that they have mastered whatever intellectual rigor Christian thought has to offer. Sadly, this is not the case. Their arguments are primarily against a nearly cultic caricature of what Biblical Christianity is, and have minimal interaction with the academic Evangelical discourse's renewed intellectual rigor that has marked late twentieth century Evangelicalism. Essentially, former Christians turned atheist are not the "experts" on the Christian faith that they often claim to be.
Atheists and other modernists provide a great vigor in the field of understanding the historical and philosophical basis of the Christian faith. Many who were opposed to theism in general and Christianity in particular have gone from trying to prove Christianity is false to becoming some of Christianity's greatest spokespersons. This is because Christianity is not an existential blind leap of faith, but belief grounded in historical and scientific fact. While they may seem tough and rigid on the exterior, atheists and modernists are not beyond setting aside their intellectual elitism to honestly consider the case for Christian faith.