Monday, November 16, 2009

Atheists questioning their atheism

Gene Veith posted this on his blog Cranach: The Blog of Veith. It is a summation of an article by Chuck Colson in Christianity Today noting how several prominent atheists have changed their tunes

Well-known scholar Antony Flew was the first, saying he had to go "where the evidence [led]." Evolutionary theory, he concluded, has no reasonable explanation for the origin of life. When I met with Flew in Oxford, he told me that while he had not come to believe in the biblical God, he had concluded that atheism is not logically sustainable.

More recently, A. N. Wilson, once thought to be the next C. S. Lewis who then renounced his faith and spent years mocking Christianity, returned to faith. The reason, he said in an interview with New Statesman, was that atheists "are missing out on some very basic experiences of life." Listening to Bach and reading the works of religious authors, he realized that their worldview or "perception of life was deeper, wiser, and more rounded than my own."

He noticed that the people who insist we are "simply anthropoid apes" cannot account for things as basic as language, love, and music. That, along with the "even stronger argument" of how the "Christian faith transforms individual lives," convinced Wilson that "the religion of the incarnation … is simply true."

Likewise, Matthew Parris, another well-known British atheist, made the mistake of visiting Christian aid workers in Malawi, where he saw the power of the gospel transforming them and others. Concerned with what he saw, he wrote that it "confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my worldview, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God." While Parris is unwilling to follow where his observations lead, he is obviously wrestling with how Christianity makes better sense of the world than other worldviews.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Exhortation of the mind to the contemplation of God. – It casts aside cares, and excludes all thoughts save that of God, that it may seek Him. Man was created to see God. Man by sin lost the blessedness for which he was made, and found the misery for which he was not made. He did not keep this good when he could keep it easily. Without God it is ill with us. Our labors and attempts are in vain without God. Man cannot seek God, unless God himself teaches him; nor find him, unless he reveals himself. God created man in his image, that he might be mindful of him, think of him, and love him. The believer does not seek to understand, that he may believe, but he believes that he may understand: for unless he believed he would not understand.

St. Anselm: Basic Writings, Second Edition. Open Court, 1962.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Luther On the Faith of Infants and the Place of Reason

Let us look at the reason why they hold that children do not believe. They say since they have as yet not come to use their reason, they cannot hear God’s Word. Children have not come to the use of their reason, you say, therefore they cannot believe. What if you have already fallen from faith through this reason and the children had come to faith through their unreason? My friend, what good does reason do when faith and God’s Word are concerned. Is it not a fact that reason resists faith and the Word of God so that because of it, no one can come to faith or put up with God’s Word unless reason is blinded and put to shame? A man must die to reason and become a fool, so to speak, yes, and must become more unreasoning and irrational than any young child if he is to come to faith and accept God’s grace, as Christ says (Matt. 18:3) “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of haven.” How often Christ points out to us that we must become children and fools and how often He condemns reason!

Again, tell me, what sort of reason did the little children have when Christ caressed and blessed and assigned to heaven? Surely they, too, were as yet without reason. Why, then, does He order that they be brought to Him, and why does He bless them? Where did they get the faith that made them children of the kingdom of heaven? The fact is that just because they are unreasoning and foolish, they are better fitted to come to faith than the old and reasoning people whose way is always blocked by reason, which does not want to force its beg head through the narrow door.

What Luther Says, 142 Objection: Unreasoning Infants Cannot Believe, p51.

Luther On Infant Baptism

I still maintain, as I have maintained, that the surest Baptism is infant Baptism. For an old person may deceive, may come to Christ as a Judas and permit himself to be baptized. But a child cannot deceive. It comes to Christ in Baptism as John came to Him and as the little children were brought to Him, that His Word may come over them, touch them, and thus make them holy. For His Word and work cannot pass by without effect; and in Baptism they are directed at the child alone. If they were to fail of success here, they would have to be entire failures and useless means, which is impossible.

What Luther Says, 139 Baptism of Infants Surely Efficacious, p50. Emphasis mine.