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by Vince Vitale
The following essay from Vince Vitale is an excerpt from his newly released Jesus Among Secular Gods, coauthored with Ravi Zacharias.
The first time I met people who encouraged me to consider God, I was in college. I began by reading the gospels, and I found myself attracted to the Christian message. I found myself especially attracted to the person of Jesus and the beautiful life that he lived. But, to be honest, I assumed that belief in God was for people who didn’t think hard enough. I assumed that smart people somewhere had already disproved belief in God. More specifically, I assumed that there was some purely scientific way of understanding the world, and that miracles had no part in it.
I can remember picking up a book in a university bookshop around that time and reading the back cover, which summarized the book as an attempt to hold on to a form of Christianity while explaining away all the supposed miracles of Jesus in scientific terms. And I remember hoping it could be done, because I was longing for the person of Jesus, but I thought the traditional account of Christianity was just too extraordinary to believe.
I had this assumption that the burden of proof for belief in God must be higher, because God is such an extraordinary option. Richard Dawkins puts it this way:
“If you want to believe in…unicorns, or tooth fairies, Thor or Yahweh—the onus is on you to say why you believe in it. The onus is not on the rest of us to say why we do not.”(1)
I bought into that way of thinking—that God is the crazy option, whereas a fully naturalistic and fully scientifically explainable universe is the sober, sensible, rational option. Without ever really reasoning it through, I accepted the cultural myth that we used to need God to miraculously explain thunder and lightning, rainbows and shooting stars. But now that we have scientific explanations for these things, we should stop believing in God.
That’s actually not a very good argument…
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