But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Pet. 3:15)
Atheists and skeptical critics of Christianity…in their books…often attempt to universally stereotype Christians as being socially and culturally brainwashed through childhoods in which religion was introduced at an early age…which then forms a persistent and lasting belief in a God who does not in fact exist…a conditioned belief in religious precepts, moral rules, and rituals that have no basis in reality.
What is implied and inferred here by atheists is that Spirit-born Christians specifically…because of the doctrine of repentance from sin…and salvation alone through the cross of Christ…thereby admitting our need for God which is abhorrent to humanists…are a factually deluded group of losers in a worldly sense…who were misled as children through no fault of our own…and who must now as adults throw off the crutch of religion that we are leaning upon to get through life…and think our way free from myths and children’s bedtime stories…into the modern, rational, and liberated mindset of atheism.
I would counter by saying that no matter how successful some people are in this life…however we define success…worldly or otherwise…that every person without exception is to some extent a loser…someone who falls short…in that no single person alive today can claim to be morally, ethically, intellectually, athletically…or in any other way…absolutely perfect.
Every sane person on the planet would admit to being an imperfect person.
We all share this universal trait of imperfection…in common in varying degrees…which makes no sense coming from the atheistic philosophy of naturalistic materialism.
Genetic mutation, variant traits chosen by natural selection, geographical isolation, reproductive barriers, the separation of genetic pools, and any other microevolutionary process…could not create the universal recognition and awareness of moral imperfection in human beings alone…according to a higher standard of right and wrong that transcends above the ability of materials particles and energy to create.
But that is a subject for another book.
Atheists and skeptics often tell their personal story of having religion crammed down their throats during their childhood…at home or at school or both…and then being liberated by science or free-thinking philosophy in their middle to late teens…abandoning a faith that was never personally real for them as individuals.
The basic problem here is that atheists and skeptics do not believe that God exists at all.
This program of thinking necessarily downgrades all religions equally into the zone of having man-invented gods and religious precepts…that therefore have no objective authority…no transcendent standard outside of human inventive imagination…upon which to base a reliable worldview…a sustainable game-plan for life.
In the clever, pragmatic, and worldly sensible program of humanism…we make ourselves into autonomous gods.
In this essay, I would like to offer my own alternate experience…which was and still is to this day…supernatural to the core…based not upon adherence to a religion…but instead founded upon the rock-solid certainty of a calling of God…a journey of faith…after the pattern of the biblical narrative stories of faith.
This experience informs my interpretation of the Bible, my acceptance of miracles, my rejection of the philosophy of naturalistic materialism, and the high value I place in the biblical journeys of faith.
It forms the basis for the writing of this book…my other six books on Christianity…and my eight books written…so far…on building construction.
What is really sad…from my perspective…is that people like Richard Dawkins write books saying that belief in the God of the Bible is a delusion…when as atheists they have no idea what they are talking about.
If we scrape the meringue off the top of a lemon meringue pie…we are left with only a lemon pie. If we scrape the cream off the top of a chocolate cream pie…of course we are left with only a chocolate pie.
If we remove God off the top of the reality of life…out of our worldview…then we are left with the philosophy of naturalism…that our natural world is the sole explanation for the origin and continuance of the phenomenon we observe and experience in this life.
Atheists downgrade the Bible and Christianity into the zone of man-made, make-believe religion…which when critiqued through the equation of naturalism can only spit-out naturalistic answers.
The atheistic program is rigged from the outset. The last people qualified on earth to opine on the divine origin of the Bible, the existence of God, and the transcendent message of Christianity…are atheists.
Atheists and skeptics are welcome to write books critical of the Bible and Christianity.
But their beginning negative bias that God does not exist creates inescapable garbage in/garbage out research programs…an example of confirmation bias applied over the entire database of issues being examined…that cannot rise above the over-arching paradigm of their starting worldview…that invalidates their ultimate conclusions.
I am not a Christian because I was raised in a Christian home…or attended church growing up…or hung-out with friends who were believing Christians. I did not attend a Christian elementary school or high school. I was not convinced of the truth of the Bible and Christianity through apologetic arguments presented to me as a teenager. I did not have an older Christian man or woman, relative or acquaintance, as an attractive role model to follow.
I am a Christian because I met God…the real God…the creator of the universe…personally.
This obviously lifts the discussion into a zone where atheists and skeptics cannot enter…because at the outset their worldview says that God does not exist at all…and therefore I cannot possibly know God on a personal basis…and am honestly mistaken or deluded.
In this essay, I want to first briefly establish a context for any honest truth-seeker evaluating genuine Christian experience.
If a researcher wants to honestly and reasonably evaluate the game of tennis…for example…the worst approach would be to intentionally visit the local tennis courts at a nearby high school on a windy Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
There the researcher would find novice beginners miss-hitting the tennis ball over the rear chain-link fence…or hitting it sideways into the adjacent courts…shouting “sorry” and “a little help” to adjacent court players being asked to return the errant tennis ball every five minutes.
If a person wants to observe real tennis…the place to go is to professional venues to watch tournaments…in person if possible…such as Wimbledon, the French Open, the U.S. Open, the Australian Open, or tournaments at colleges and universities.
The place to go to evaluate real Christianity…is the Bible. The gospels, the book of Acts, and the letters to the first-century Christian churches…give the genuine and authentic…God-authorized…examples of the Christian faith, doctrines, and practices when energized by the Holy Spirit.
The biblical narrative stories of faith describe people experiencing a personal relationship with God…which passes unnoticed as non-factual data…far underneath the perceptual radar of atheists analyzing the Bible…because the working hypothesis for the skeptic is that God does not exist.
There are Christians around the world…that accurately represent and define the pinnacle…the peak…the apex of Christian character, service, and ministry to other people…according to their precise callings of God.
But these select people…like the professional tennis players…are relatively few in number.
We certainly can find high-quality Christians equivalent in our analogy to college and high school team-level tennis players…but the largest number of Christians would be categorized alongside the large number of casual weekend tennis players learning the game…and miss-hitting the ball.
But the point of having public tennis courts spread-out all over the globe…is to make the game of tennis available to all…beginning novice or expert.
From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.