Friday, December 9, 2011

Onward Christian Soldiers (Part 3) - Onward!

10/25 can be our battle of Sterling. It was the day when the unstoppable was stopped. Dawkins, who has been the pillar of public Atheism, has crumbled. We Theists can look around and realize: We have won the battles. Then without knowing it, we have seen that our intellectual foes’ numbers in science have dwindled (or we realized we overestimated). We have regained that ground that has been ours most years since the Apostle Paul’s sermon at Athens, namely the rational high ground. But we must remember, William Wallace’s war wasn’t over after Sterling. It has just begun.

So, fellow Theists, draw your swords! Take up your lances! Let us continue to fight! Let us be bold when we ask questions or write articles or speak in public (or even in private). Let us not hide the fact that we go to church, that we believe in miracles, that there is an objective right and wrong. Let us continue to contend for our ideas. But, in so doing, let us be knightly about it. We should be proud of our victories and praise those who worked so hard to win them. But we ought not gloat over our fallen foes. For without worthy foes, from whom can we win honor? Let us encourage our foe to bandage his rational wounds and, if he will not join us, get back on the steed of his worldview and try again. God willing, when that day comes, we will not have grown lazy in our thinking and fat in our reasoning, that we may be worthy foes and that Atheists, too, may gain honor by us.

I hope that this is the dawn of  an era of wonderful warfare! I hope that there are noble and epic debates that are talked about for years to come. And I think it has already begun. The best debate I think I have ever heard occurred on October 24, 2011. Peter Millican and William Lane Craig debated on the existence of God. They showed mutual respect. They both presented strong cases. They responded to one another's points. Both gained honor by the exchange. And though he knew Craig to be a more experienced debater, Millican demonstrated astounding courage in facing him. This is modern chivalry! And I pray that we may see ever more of it!

I’ll end with a story, a verse, and a poem. I’ve heard it repeated like a post-modern mantra that debate never changes people’s minds. But it does. And this particular debate has. There is a person who has been following this debate for some. And the episode with Dawkins accounted in Part 1 was so outrageous to this person that it delivered him from Atheism back to the faith. In his words, he was “brought to God via the New Atheism's God-awful philosophy.” He recounts his view of this matter in a video he edited here). For bringing him back to God, he concludes his video sincerely with, “God bless you, Professor Dawkins.” In response to the video, another reader tells a similar story, “God Bless Richard Dawkins…If It was not for his book 'The God Delusion' I would have never discovered arguments for and against God.” For challenging us to rise to the task of rational defense, and for bringing this question to the forefront of the Western mind, I think I agree. God bless you, Professor Dawkins.

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
– Jesus (Matt 5:44-45)

Great God, that bowest sky and star,
Bow down our towering thoughts to thee,
And grant us in a faltering war
The firm feet of humility.
- GK Chesterton, “Hymn for the Church Militant." (I'll confess that I was excited about the title of this poem, thinking it'd be totally about how awesome winning is. When I found out it was about being humble and stuff, I was disappointed, but decided that this was probably an appropriate rebuff to my pride.)

Part 1 - Introduction
Part 2 - Theism in Philosophy and Science
Part 3 - Onward!

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