Q & A With Dr. Craig: Knowledge of God and His Will
We have lots of questions that we get at ReasonableFaith.org, and the question of the week so often encompasses many of the questions that we get. And so be sure that you go to the archives of the question of the week, and keep up with the question each week. Let me go over a few here, Bill, that we’ve also received that are worthy of discussion, I think. And they’re on a variety of issues. So here we go.
Dr. Craig, thank you for your outstanding equipping ministry. Please don’t use my name on this, and you’ll understand why. I’m a minister and professor of theology at an evangelical seminary. Last Easter my twenty-six year old son let us know that he no longer believes in God. Falling prey to the spate of New Atheist books, he says that there’s no convincing reason to believe. Of course, I agree with your recent answer to Wagner from Brazil regarding the culpability of unbelief. My question, as I’m carrying on a dialogue with my son, is this: Would you speak as bluntly about this with an atheist as you did with Wagner? You see, I don’t want my son to take offense, and bring our discussion to an abrupt end. Though, as far as I can tell, nothing I’ve said over the last several months has made a dent in his unbelief—confirming the very point that it is his stubborn will power, not lack of evidence, that is his problem. Any insight for a heart broken dad would be appreciated.
Dr. Craig: Boy, well I try to give Wagner a straight-forward answer in the question of the week. When we’re dealing with people in a counseling situation, however, a straight-forward answer is not always the most tactful. Paul says that we should speak the truth in love. And so in dealing with a delicate situation like this one, where a father is talking with his own son, it may be that one doesn’t unload with the straight-forward truth, but one attempts to ask questions or to elicit what the other person is feeling. And I would say, in a case like this, the young man is a twenty-six year-old adult. We’re not dealing here anymore with a teenager. And so he needs to be treated as such. And I suppose I would only tell him that his unbelief is culpable, which is what I said to Wagner, if he asks me straightforwardly, ‘is unbelief going to be judged by God? Is unbelief a sin?’ I would say, well, yes it is according to the Bible; unbelief is a serious sin and it will be judged by God. But the real question for his son is ‘are there good reasons to believe in God?’ ‘Are there persuasive reasons to disbelieve in God?’ And I think he could focus with the son on those questions rather than on the culpability of the son’s unbelief. I would only answer that question if the son brought it up. I wouldn’t lead with that. What I would lead with would be questions about the source of the son’s unbelief. What is it that prompts him to abandon what his parents have taught him and raised him in? What arguments of the so-called New Atheists does he find convincing? And then attempt to deal with those, and of course all the time keep the son in prayer…
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