Engaging in a debate over the question, “Does God exist?”, will not likely result in one of the debating persons changing their conclusion. I have a number of friends who profess atheism, and most of them are entrenched in their position—just as I am entrenched in my conviction that God exists.
If I engage an atheist friend in dialogue, I harbour no expectation of “winning them over” to my position. What I would want to communicate is “the math”, which led to my conclusion. It is a common charge of atheists that “faith is not evidence based” and therefore references to faith should not be included in the discussion. This, in my opinion, is an unfair categorization of faith. In a debate between Oxford scholars, John Lennox (Christian) and Richard Dawkins (Atheist), Lennox asked Dawkins if he had any faith that his wife loved him. Dawkins immediately responded in the affirmative, to which Lennox countered, “Do you have any evidence to support your belief that your wife loves you?” Dawkins again responded in the affirmative.
Lennox: “So your faith is evidence based then?”
Dawkins: “Leave my wife out of this!”
I gather that Lennox and Dawkins regularly debate on this issue, and yet there is no indication that either has adjusted their conclusions even slightly.
I regard there to be some value in sharing with others the influences upon our worldview and our theology, but I agree with D.A. Carson who suggests in the video below that we typically approach the topic of God’s existence in an unhelpful and presumptuous way.
Carson certainly doesn’t settle the matter for us, but he does provide (in my opinion) a much more helpful trajectory to deal with the subject of how we discover God’s existence.
What do you think?