William Lane Craig
Over the years I’ve heard many people say something along these lines: “No one has ever been argued into following Christ.” Usually, people nod approvingly and add something about how God doesn’t need defending. I understand why people say this, and there is something true behind the claim, but it is, nevertheless, false.
I’ve read essays by people who describe becoming followers of Christ based on a good argument or set of arguments. Augustine, for example, describes his own conversion as in part a response to the arguments against Manicheanism and for Christianity. It was not the arguments alone that accomplished this, but they played a significant role.
Even though we never met, Dallas Willard played a significant role in my decision to become a philosophy professor. I remember reading his classic book, The Spirit of the Disciplines, when I came across the following passage:
“As a response to this world’s problems, the gospel of the Kingdom will never make sense except as it is incarnated – we say “fleshed out” – in ordinary human beings in all ordinary conditions of human life. But it will make sense when janitors and storekeepers, carpenters and secretaries, businessmen and university professors, bankers and government officials brim with the degree of holiness and power formerly thought appropriate only to apostles and martyrs” (pp. 243-244).
My local NPR affiliate, WEKU, had a discussion today (to be rebroadcast this Sunday at 6:00pm) on the topic of whether or not religion is obsolete in the 21st century. I sent an email in for discussion during the program, and after it was read on the air, Ed Hensley of the Kentucky Secular Society replied. I’ll post the email, summarize what Ed Hensley said, and then give my response, because I think these are crucial issues for how we approach questions concerning religious faith.