In secular discourse it seems that doubt reigns supreme. We are called by atheists today to think carefully and doubt Christian beliefs. Why? Because Christian beliefs are obviously biased and are based on emotional longings craving after something more than this world has to offer rather than on solid evidence. Or so our atheists friends say.
But the accusation can be and needs to be flipped. If it is true that my belief has a strong emotional component to it (and I’d be the first to admit that it does) then shouldn’t it be true that an atheists lack of belief has a strong emotional component to it also? Christianity is a scary religion where you are called to give your life over to someone else and let them be in charge. This causes most people to have a strong emotional reaction against it and therefore a person’s lack of belief has a significant emotional component to it just as my belief also has a significant emotional component to it.
If we then agree with our atheist friends that any belief structure that has a significant emotional component to it should be questioned then is follows that an atheist should doubt their own doubts and be skeptical of their own skepticism.
Pastor Tim Keller gives atheists this word of advice on our topic:
Be skeptical of your own skepticism. Why? Because you realize that you are not completely objective. Maybe you have a very religious parent whom you dislike. Or you may have had a bad experience with an inconsistent and insensitive group of Christians. On top of that, as we have observed, few people can entertain an invitation to give up their freedom without some prejudice against it. You’re afraid of the claims of Christianity being true – that’s fine. If we’re honest, we all are. You’ll never be fair-minded with the evidence if you don’t acknowledge that you can’t be perfectly fair-minded. So what should you do about this? You could simply slow down, so you don’t come so quickly to skeptical conclusions. Also, you should recognize that if Christianity is true, it is not just a set of rational, philosophical principles to adopt— it is a personal relationship to enter. So, to take seriously at least the possibility that it is true, why not consider praying? Why not say, ‘God, I don’t know if you’re there but I do know what prejudice is like, and I’m willing to be suspicious of it. Therefore, if you are there and if I am prejudiced, help me get through it.’ Break the ice with Jesus— talk to him. No one has to know you are doing it. If you’re not willing to do that, I suggest that you’re not willing to own the prejudice that we all start with.
You can read the rest of the quote from Keller here.
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