An Open Letter to Spencer Hawkins re: Contra Christian Apologetics
by Tom Gilson
I didn’t set out to write two open letters in a row here, but I was thinking of emailing Spencer Hawkins about his book Contra Christian Apologetics: A Skeptic’s response to the arguments for God, and then decided instead to post it here.
Thank you again for sending me a copy of Contra Christian Apologetics. I’ve enjoyed our online interactions, and I certainly appreciate the tone you set in the introduction to your book. I am quite sure that, unlike some other skeptics I’ve interacted with recently, your desire is to represent Christians’ beliefs fairly and to handle the arguments with an open mind.
Regarding the Argument From Reason
When I read your quick dismissal of Rice Broocks’s treatment of the argument from reason (your chapter titled “Proof Number One”) I thought maybe you had missed your own objective. You quoted Broocks (in his book God’s Not Dead),
God must necessarily exist in order for atheists not to believe in Him. There is no other explanation for the capacity to reason (even poorly). Atheism and naturalism can’t account for reason.
You said, “One would think a claim as extraordinary as this would require a defense; however, Broocks doesn’t offer one.” When I looked it up in Rice Broocks’s book God’s Not Dead, however, I found that he indeed hadn’t said much at all in support of that assertion. I think it’s because this isn’t by itself one of his “Nine Key Proofs,” as you say it is, but is instead part of an extended chapter dealing with the reason science and Christianity are friends, not enemies.
But you’re right: he made a bold assertion with little explanation, merely nodding at the idea that evolution would have difficulty producing reasoning abilities in humans. You go on to explain how you think that was likely possible after all. But then you get to the point I wanted most to write about. It’s on page 8 in your book…
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