by Brett Kunkle
How do you know God is real? I experience His presence. I feel His warmth. He’s alive in my heart. I have a relationship with Him. I just have faith. At least, these are the kinds of answers most Christians will give.
In March, I took 21 students from Upland Christian Academy on their first Berkeley Mission. We invited atheists to tell us how they know God is not real. The very concept of God is incoherent. Science has done away with the need for God. There is no evidence. There is no proof. Evolution is a scientific fact. The inductive arguments for God simply fail. Belief in God is irrational.
Do you notice the difference between the typical Christian responses and the atheist answers? Christians tend to talk in terms of feelings and emotions. Atheists tend to talk in terms of science and rationality. And what might happen to a young Christian, raised in the Christian community among believers who reduce all God-talk to feelings and sentiments, when he or she encounters these atheists? It creates dissonance as Shelley, an
Upland senior, illustrated during one of our debrief times. “ I feel bad for the atheists because it seems like they’re simply following science and reason. In fact, they seem to be more scientific and rational than Christians. How can we fault them for that?”
This false perception can be dangerous to a young person’s Christian convictions and the purpose of the Berkeley Mission is to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:5), such as these. But this perception is our own fault. The church has succumbed to a culture that has cordoned off Christianity from all areas of knowledge and reason. Instead, we are relegated to the outskirts of personal private faith, which can only draw upon the resources of feelings and experience. The language Christians use betrays this very fact…
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