Something that should have been mentioned in the first post in this series on atheism and Christianity is that I don’t think rational arguments—like those Jesse and I are attempting to make—are in themselves enough to lead one to a Christian faith. Alister McGrath says it much better than I can, so I’ll let him explain:
Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish. To demonstrate the reasonableness of faith does not mean proving every article of faith. Rather, it means showing that there are good grounds for believing that these are trustworthy and reliable. It also means showing that the Christian faith makes sense of what we observe and experience.
So it’s with this in mind that I engage in this debate; not under some expectation that the arguments themselves have enough power to convince, but rather in the hope that the debate may remove obstacles to faith.
As part of my blog series on Christianity and atheism with Jesse, I’ve responded to his latest post which deals with Pascal’s Wager.
Not directly related to the wager, there seems to be an underlying thread in the post that suggests Christians are in the business of conning people—purposefully hiding the truth. Naturally, Christians are as capable of deceit as the next person, however to imply (unless I’ve badly misunderstood) that deceit is more or less a part of Christian doctrine itself, doesn’t sit well. Basically because there seems to be a lack of evidence for this—with the exception of some tele-evangelists. I think a distinction between individuals and creed is needed. But anyway, that’s taking this conversation down a different path—psychology I guess—and one that can easily lead to playing the man, not the game. Maybe it’s best to move on. Continue reading
I recently asked my friend Jesse whether he’d be interested in having a debate about his atheism, and my Christianity. The motivation for having this conversation, at least on my part was a bit selfish: I needed something to write about! Beyond that, I think we’ve both got fairly strong beliefs, and we both enjoy talking/writing about issues, so a blog-debate seemed appropriate. Continue reading
Stephen Fry, British actor, comedian, sometimes intellectual, and the long-time face of QI was interviewed recently by the ABC’s Tony Jones. Asked about his views on God, Fry raised the question of why an all-powerful, loving god, would create or allow pain and suffering in the universe it had made. It’s hardly a new question, but clearly it’s one that I think all of us, whether believers or not, ask ourselves—and God—from time to time. I must admit, that whenever I hear it asked, I feel a bit uneasy since it seems like a legitimate gripe, and the answers aren’t always clear. Continue reading
In an increasingly violent Middle East, where strategic alignments and military alliances are as hard to untangle and comprehend as ever, perhaps the sole remaining point of unification across the region is the condemnation of the Islamic State (IS). Since sweeping into public consciousness in mid-2014, the brutality of the group’s actions, in accordance with their strict, Salafist interpretation of Islam, may have served to draw in thousands of Muslims with similarly unpleasant doctrinal views, but has also led to rapid censure from Riyadh to Tehran, Baghdad to Cairo, Damascus to Ankara.