A Personal Response to the Neo-Atheists
In recent months, the Christian movement has been severely tested from two sides – from the media’s exposure of the sexual abuse scandals within the church and the voice and arguments of neo-atheists like Richard Dawkins.
A few months ago, I happened to be tuned into a popular morning program on ABC radio. Two radio presenters were discussing Dawkins’ recently published book for children entitled The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True. Two factors left me feeling incensed: firstly, that Dawkins would have the hide to write and publish a book designed to feed his lies to young minds (the book was written for children aged around 11 years); and secondly, that the two radio presenters would speak so affirmatively – and naively – about Dawkins’ teachings and propositions. I think I was particularly angry at Satan for daring to invade both adult and children’s minds with such wicked lies.
It shouldn’t amaze us as followers of Jesus that Satan’s guns are presently blazing in the last ditch, last days’ stand against God and His truth. But, instead of just over-reacting in anger, God wants us to prepare ourselves to give a reason for the hope we profess.
1 Peter 3:14-16 (ESV)
14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;
16 yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
In the weeks that followed that morning radio program, I reflected and recorded the evidences and proofs in my own experience that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is for real, not the illusion of religious zealots.
Once again it’s come home to me that at the very core of our Christian faith is the conviction that God’s Word, the Bible, is the authoritative, trustworthy revelation of God’s character and His eternal will and purposes.
I can recall when Billy Graham first came to Australia in 1959 how the press highlighted his repeated use of the phrase, “the Bible says.” We desperately need to hold fast to the same underlying conviction today. Through believing and following the message of the Bible, we find the one and only pathway of truth.
Today God’s Word, the Bible, is being attacked viciously via the media. We need, therefore, to hold firmly to our faith in the utter trustworthiness of the Scriptures so that we don’t fall prey to the Satan-inspired attacks the Scriptures. Is there anything new under the sun? Satan is still up to his same old game of planting doubt into people’s minds towards God’s Word, something he began back in the Garden when he posed the question to Eve, “Did God really say ….?”
The Bible is far more than the Christian’s Holy Book. It’s the divine source of life-sustaining spiritual food that when believed and obeyed, we KNOW from personal experienced that it is absolutely true.
This then is at the heart of my answer to Dawkins and his neo-pagan cronies. Ever since I opened my heart to Jesus to become my Lord and Saviour, I have been experiencing in everyday life the awesome power of God’s Word changing me from the inside out. In this life-long process, I have proven that God is a LIVING REALITY.
When you and I believe and obey His Word, we discover both that GOD IS and that all He has spoken and promised through His Word turns into and reality.
Psalm 34:8 (ESV)
8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Ten ways I have personally proven God’s reality through applying His Word in daily life:
- I have believed God’s Word that proclaims Jesus as God’s Good News through whom I may receive His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. I have experienced God’s power at work over decades, changing me on the deepest heart level. And not only have I witnessed God’s work in my own life but also in the lives of MANY people in many countries who have been radically transformed through putting their trust and hope in the Word and promises of God as recorded in the Bible.
- I have believed God’s Word that instructs me how I am to live my life as a follower of Jesus, and have experienced the practicality of the teachings of His Word and the blessings and joy I experience in life as I put God’s Word into practice.
- I have believed God’s Word that calls me to repent of my rebellion and disobedience against His ways, and have proven in life that when I fail to heed the Spirit’s promptings, God chastens me in order to restore His joy to my heart. Then when I return to God in repentance and confession of sin, I have proven the reality of the power of His love at work within me – setting my conscience free from the guilt of my sin, restoring His peace to my mind and heart.
- I have believed God’s Word that teaches me God’s plan for my marriage and family life, and have proven over decades of married and family life that God’s directions bring an enviable depth of harmony, unity, love and peace into a marriage relationship and also to family relationships.
- I have believed God’s Word that teaches me to bring all my burdens and needs to God in prayer, and have proven again and again how God answers my cries for help, powerfully intervening in the real circumstances of my life as well as in the lives of others I have prayed for.
- I have believed God’s Word that reveals the reality and extent of Satan’s power, and have experienced and witnessed God’s far greater power to rescue people from Satan’s temptations and attacks, setting them free from the curse and the power of Satan and his evil kingdom.
- I have believed God’s Word that teaches me to forgive those who sin against me instead of withholding forgiveness from them, and have proven in human relationships that by responding to the sins and offences of others towards me in God’s way, I have enjoyed relationships with others rich in peace and free from the bitterness and a spirit of revenge.
- I have believed God’s Word that assures me that God will receive me into His presence when I die, and have witnessed the power of this truth at work in the dying moments of believers as they depart this life with an overwhelming sense of peace and joy, with great hope and without any fear of what awaits them beyond the grave.
- I have believed God’s Word that bears witness to God’s great power to save me when all human help has failed, and have experienced His divine power in moments of total helplessness, for example, for example, when I was drowning in an Austrian lake in 1964 and God miraculously restored energy to my spent body enabling me to swim to shore, or when a young boy was being ravaged by a life-threatening illness and God heard my cry for him and his parents and healed him.
- I have believed God’s Word that calls those who refuse to believe in God “fools” (i.e. people without knowledge, understanding and wisdom), and have witnessed the effects and untold devastation of atheism inflicted upon entire nations (e.g. Russia and the former Eastern European Communist Bloc). I have also witnessed God’s sovereign intervening in the history of these nations, removing evil, godless dictators from power, and the fruit of beautiful lives of people in these countries who had thrown off atheism and embraced Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
We could all add MANY other life experiences all attesting to God’s REALITY and the truthfulness and trustworthiness of His Word in our everyday lives.
Of course, this is NOT to imply that we who seriously commit ourselves to follow Jesus and obey God’s Word are perfect examples of God’s power to transform a lost humanity. There is yet MUCH more to experience and witness as we learn more and more about God’s Word and by His grace apply its truths with saving effects in our everyday life.
No matter what arguments any human being might bring against God and His truth, we KNOW and EXPERIENCE truth in life as we humbly bow in faith before God and receive the gift of His Son, Jesus.
That’s the beginning of a life with God, filled with purpose, significance and meaning – far beyond the limits of the minds and experience of Dawkins and his tribe of God-haters.
Therefore, with God’s help, we will hold fast to our sure and steadfast hope until the end of our earthly pilgrimage.
Hebrews 10:23 (ESV)
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
To the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be all the glory, honour and praise.
Graham M. Roberts
April 27, 2012