Why Are Atheists Steamrolling Our Students?

“Gotcha” interviews and supercuts are sort of the thing on the Internet right now, and they’re pretty manipulative, no matter who is doing them. That’s just as true in this case, where an atheist with “Street Epistemology” interviews a Christian young woman at what looks to be a Christian college, about why she believes in the God of the Bible. The resulting conversation is mortifying.

I’m not going to bash this girl, and no one should. But her answers (and those of almost every person interviewed in this series) illustrate an important point: Christians have pretty uniformly adopted a subjective, experience-centric, and distinctly postmodern outlook on their faith. “Christianity is true for me because it’s what I believe, and it makes me feel good.” This sentence or some variation of it will fall from the average evangelical’s lips after about twenty-five seconds of questioning.

It goes without saying that faith built on such a foundation will crumble at the first mild breeze of skepticism. And does on a regular basis. No wonder. It relies on the shifting and subjective sands of human emotions and experience. If Christianity is true merely because I believe it is true, then an unbeliever can (and should) retort that Christianity is false because he believes it is false. The “burning in my breast” is just as valid as the lack of burning in yours. And the person who insists that “Christianity is true for me” is really saying (whether they know it or not) that Christianity isn’t true for anyone.

This needn’t be the case. As Tim Keller argues, belief in God (and eventually in the God of the New Testament) is not only warranted, but more natural and philosophically sound than atheism, which lacks satisfying explanations for the moral order of the universe, or the fact that the universe exists, in the first place.

He also shows that skepticism, while portraying itself as neutral and purely logical, is frequently the result of social conditioning, and requires its own heaping helping of faith in the rational faculties of its adherents (something Alvin Plantinga argues naturalistic evolution precludes). More than that, the skeptic frequently pretends to “see through” all religious beliefs, or will make arguments that presuppose a kind of parity among divine contenders. But religious claims are not all equally credible. The Abrahamic God doesn’t stand or fall alongside Zeus or Thor. And atheists and secularists have no right to assume the mantle of objectivity, as if their beliefs are not influenced by culture and time like the Christian’s beliefs are.

This young woman isn’t really at fault for the sorry state of her Christian apologetic. The evangelical church, including her parents and every teacher she’s ever sat under, has failed to arm her for the most basic confrontations with skeptics. There’s no excuse for this. We can do better. We must.

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