The Origins of Aggressive Atheism
KEVIN HARRIS: Welcome to Reasonable Faith with Dr. William Lane Craig. I’m Kevin Harris. Before we get to today’s topic, there is something that you have to hear. This is why we do what we do.
TIM STRATTON: Hi. My name is Tim Stratton. I’m a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director here in Kearney, Nebraska. About ten years ago I was hired here at the Kearney Evangelical Free Church to be the Youth Pastor to work with high school and college students. I started Life Group – a Bible study – for young men. It didn’t take long for me to realize that although I was passionate about sharing the Gospel and telling people about Jesus many young people were having a hard time accepting it, having a hard time believing it. In fact, one young man who was the son of an elder at the church became an atheist in front of my face. He came up to me after a couple of years of being in my Bible study and said, “Tim, I’m not coming back to youth group this year. I’m not coming back to Bible study either.” I said, “Why?” He said, “I’m an atheist now.” And I said, “You know that is not true!” He said, “No, I don’t know that, Tim. I really don’t think God exists.” And I said, “You know that’s not true!” And he said, “I don’t know that, Tim. I’ve been reading Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking and Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens over the summer. They’ve convinced me that God doesn’t exist.” And I said, “Why would you believe that?” And he said, “Well, I’ll tell you what, Tim. If you can answer just one of these questions from these guys – one of their objections – I’ll stick around.” And he probably gave me ten or twelve to pick from. I couldn’t answer any of them. I was powerless. I was impotent to answer any of these questions. In fact, they were good objections. It kind of shook me to my core so to speak. This young man walked out of the church, and he has never been back since.
That sparked something in me. I went home that night and I was praying and although these objections shook me (they seemed good and shook my faith just a little bit) I went to God and I prayed, “What do I do?” I felt like God said, “Tim, if you are going to be a shepherd, you need to learn how to defend the sheep.” I felt like, “God, you’ve got the wrong guy. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know where to turn. How am I supposed to learn how to interact with these atheistic scientists and philosophers?” Well, I began a journey. I was introduced to the work of a guy named Dr. William Lane Craig. I started going to his Reasonable Faith website, buying his books, watching his videos, listening to his podcasts, watching his debates, and wow! My life was transformed by the renewing of my mind, as we see in Romans 12:2. Studying the work of Dr. Craig helped me to see a bigger and more beautiful picture of God. My faith skyrocketed because now I had reasons to believe it – good reasons.
Well, this ultimately led to even going to Biola University to get a Masters Degree in Christian Apologetics. While attending Biola University, I also became a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director. Now we have Reasonable Faith club meetings on the university campus here in Kearney on Tuesday nights in the science hall. On Sunday mornings we meet here at the church. I’ll tell you what. I am seeing lives transformed. I am seeing young Christian students who have had their faith rocked not just get their faith back but have it stronger than ever. I am seeing atheistic students lose their faith in atheism and come to Christ. In fact, I am even seeing professors come to Christ in the process…
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