10 Questions from the Atheists

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Here in Australia, considerable attention was given to the recent Global Atheist Convention held in Melbourne. The event generated a lot of interest in the local media, particularly focusing not so much on the arguments made but on the (allegedly) unnecessary insults handed out by prominent platform speakers. One Australian, Christian senator was described by Richard Dawkins and Robyn Williams as having

the intelligence of an earthworm

a comment which was met with rapturous applause by the delegates.

It's interesting that atheist commentator I reference above considers this sufficient demonstration that

we were all open to rational debate

I leave it to the reader to decide whether such pejorative language is "rational debate", because I have other fish to fry.

I think its important for Christians to understand what arguments and assumptions atheists are bringing to the table. We live in a world where atheism is, as the conference organisers right claim, on the rise. If we are to provide reasonable and coherent answers to the challenges that this brings to the Lordship of Jesus over all things then we must, at the very least, understand what the nature of the objection is.

So, as the Atheist Convention progressed, I started listening to the atheist. Actually, more accurately, I started reading them talk to each other. On Twitter. The hashtag used was #atheistcon, and it makes for fascinating reading. What comes across straight away is that these are intelligent, articulate people who have, in the main, begun to think at more than a surface level about these things. They are, it has to be said, hostile towards religious expression and many communicate in their tweets the same disdain that Dawkins and others communicated from the platform.

But none of that, I suspect, is news to many of you. So why write this post?

Well, because yesterday someone tweeted a link to a video on youtube entitled "10 questions that every intelligent Christian should answer". Watching it, it comes across as a good example of the level of objection being raised in the popular arena against Christianity and therefore the sort of things Christians are going to hear at the water cooler, the coffee machine and down the pub. It certainly reflects the sorts of challenges that I'm hearing regularly.

So my intention is to work through those 10 questions (whether or not I might be considered an intelligent Christian) in an attempt to both provide answers to those genuinely seeking them and also to help you think through what responses we can make.

I'll hold back, for now, making any comments and observations about the video until I begin the answers. For now, have a watch and let me know what you think about the general approach here.

 

 
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3 Responses to “10 Questions from the Atheists”

  1. kate says:

    interesting video.

    I wonder whose definition of ‘rational’ he is working from? Clearly its his own and anyone who differs is just plain wrong, not to mention stupid.

    “Our world only makes sense when we understand God is imaginary”. In other words – eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. How does that help the starving children?

  2. Kirstie says:

    Find_Replace “Because God is imaginary” with “Because we live in a fallen world where sin and the effects of sin are rife”

  3. Anne says:

    Flattery will get you everywhere….?

    The video (which I could not get to the end of as I was about to throw my computer at the wall) played on the listener’s ego by frequently flattering them as “intelligent and college educated”. The technique is an effective one as it leaves the listening thinking that if they disagree then they are stupid.

    However any intelligent listener would have quickly realised that the whole video is built on a rhetorical trick of NEVER actually providing the Christian answer to ANY of the questions, yet presuming to know exactly what answer had formed in the mind of the “educated” Christian listener. That answer is then dismissed as irrational: “It makes no sense, and you know it”. But the answer was never given. How easy it would be to win a debate if your opponent never gets to voice their answer to your arguments !

    There are definitely answers to all of his questions. But will that conversation end up being a fruitful or an inane one ? It occurs to me that Jesus was continually confronted by the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law trying to trip him up with convoluted questions. He answered some, but also at times chose not to answer. Seeing through their ploy, He instead asked them a question, one which highlighted their deceitfulness. I think we can learn a lot from His approach when considering some of these questions. To engage in debate on some of these issues would be to risk denying the Gospel it’s real force. It would feel to me like trying to drive a Ferrari around a dodgem track.

    Just a thought.


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