When Atheists Believe
Or take the question of sin. If people are good, as French political philosopher Rousseau argued, problems can be solved by creating a utopian state. Yet all of history's utopian schemes have ended in tyranny. Meanwhile, Eastern religions see life as an endless cycle of suffering. There's no way for sin to be forgiven. And grace is an unknown concept in Islam.
This is nothing particularly novel. A long history of prominent atheists, interestingly concentrated in Britain, have traveled back to faith. These doubters began to examine the rationality of Christianity's claims. Whether in the Victorian era, with Thomas Cooper, George Sexton, and Joseph Barker, or in the 20th century, with T. S. Eliot, Graham Greene, and C. S. Lewis, all of them concluded that the Bible speaks most accurately to the human condition—the very definition of a rational choice. It is rational to choose the worldview that provides the best choice for living, consistent with the way life works.
What does this tell us? People today have a caricatured view of Christians, seeing us as followers, often hypocritical and judgmental, of an outdated book of mere illusions. But if we can explain why Christianity is so reasonable, our faith becomes a very winsome proposition, which will at least open the mind, if not the heart, of many a doubter.
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Christianity Today's previous articles on atheism include:
Reframing Human History | How we got into the atheism culture war in the first place. A review of David Bentley Hart's Atheist Delusions. (September 23, 2009)
Where to Find the Real Atheists | Lent teaches us how much we Christians hate God. (April 2, 2009)
New Atheists Are Not Great | In What's So Great About Christianity, Dinesh D'Souza is skeptical of skepticism and enthusiastic about the faith. (March 13, 2008)
Previous columns by Charles Colson are available on our website.
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- Catholics and Baptists Together
- The Man Who Birthed Evangelicalism
- Sacrilege Is Real
- Against the Stream