Belief in Christ Is a Conclusion, Not a Delusion

by Rice Broocks

Rice Broocks, Christianity and atheismThe world’s most famous atheist, Richard Dawkins claims that belief in God is a delusion. In his estimation, the over 90 % of Americans who believe in God are really suffering from a form of mental illness.

In the book the The God Delusion, he affirms the words of Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) and writes, “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion.” [1]

The net result of this kind of writing is a steady injection of an irrational type of skepticism into the collective cultural bloodstream. Dawkins followers pick up on these types of “campaign slogans” and take them to further extremes.

“This book will teach you how to talk people out of their faith.” [2] boasts Peter Boghossian from Portland State University. In his book A Manual for Creating Atheists, he admittedly attempts to imitate Christian evangelistic training manuals and workbooks in order to assist atheists in their de-conversion efforts.

His central claim is that faith is a faulty epistemology. He claims that believers pretend to know things because of faith that are not based on reason. He echoes the taunts, comparing faith in God to belief in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. These type of statements amount to insults, not arguments.

The Christian faith doesn’t advocate abandoning reason in order to believe. Our faith should be solidly grounded in evidence.

Paul wrote to the Romans (Rom. 1:20) that the nature and attributes of God were clearly seen through what was made (nature). The evidence of the beginning of the Universe as well as space and time (out of nothing) points to a transcendent cause that is both space-less and time-less.

The information found in the human DNA is overwhelming evidence of an intelligent mind behind life. Paul went on to speak of the reality that the law of God was written in the human heart (Rom. 2:15-16). This means that whether anyone has ever read the Bible, they are aware of good and evil. C.S. Lewis would make this his central claim in Mere Christianity: “Consequently, this Rule of Right and Wrong, or Law of Human Nature, or whatever you call it, must somehow or other be a real thing—a thing that is really there, not made up by ourselves.”[3]

And then there is the claim that God became man in Jesus Christ. History confirms the reality of His life and death. It also testifies that His tomb was found empty shortly after His death. Christianity started in the very place it would have been easiest to disprove—in Jerusalem, three days after His crucifixion.

It is also the only religion that places the weight of the truth of its claims on one historical event: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul would write to the Corinthians that “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).

The early believers proclaimed that Christ had been raised from the dead according to the Hebrew prophets. The words of Isaiah written hundreds of years before Christ are stunning examples of this:

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isa. 53:4-5)

All of this and much more beyond the scope of these short remarks amounts to evidence for the existence of God. Skeptics incessantly repeat the phrase, “There is no evidence for God.” Yet when you ask them, “What would you accept as evidence?” they pause and either propose some outlandish request for God to write in His name in the sky (or theirs) or honestly admit they haven’t really considered the question.

In the end, they are guilty of circular reasoning by concluding there is no evidence for God because God doesn’t exist.

As we go out to share the gospel with a skeptical world, we are to be prepared to give the reason for the hope within us (1 Pet. 3:15). This is what is meant by apologetics. I believe it is inseparable from evangelism. This is not the task of a few specialists or professional ministers, but every believer.

With a little study in this area, your evangelistic efforts can become more effective as well as more frequent. Instead of shying away from conversations for fear of being asked a difficult question or challenge to your faith, you will find yourself searching for opportunities to engage with unbelievers.

Should you meet someone who seems merely to echo the standard skeptical slogans, you can respectfully offer him or her one of your own: Belief in God is a conclusion, not a delusion. This means that based on the evidence, it is a reasonable conclusion to believe that God exists and the Christian faith is true.

 

[1]  Dawkins, Richard. 2008. The God Delusion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 28.

[2]   Boghossian, Peter. 2013. A Manual for Creating Atheists. Pitchstone Publishing, 1.

[3] Lewis, C. S. 2009. Mere Christianity. HarperCollins, 20.

Rice BroocksRice Broocks (@ricebroocks) is the co-founder of the Every Nation family of churches, which includes more than 1,000 churches in more than 60 countries. He has spent the last 20 years with Every Nation focusing on equipping college students around the world to defend their faith. Author of God’s Not Dead: Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty, Broocks also serves as the senior minister of Bethel World Outreach Church in Nashville, Tenn. He holds a DMiss from Fuller Theological Seminary.