Guest Post By Joseph F. Kolapudi
As a deep thinker, Christian thought and literature has played a great part in developing my understanding of the deeper truths of faith hidden in Scripture; especially over the last few years, as my interest in apologetics has grown considerably. To date, one of my favourite apologists on the ever-pervasive debate on faith and science is Dr. John C. Lennox, as is his book, entitled Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists are Missing the Target.
Unlike most authors, who often delve into debates and argumentative discussions on science and religion, Dr. Lennox systematically and painstakingly describes the context surrounding each of the well-known arguments against Christianity from a historical and philosophical perspective, not just an apologetic one. Going as far back as Hume, Flew, Kant, and others, Lennox is able to describe their philosophy in detail, but also points to considerable flaws in both logic and reason, allowing the questions that almost all apologetics pause to ponder to be revealed in his response.
The importance of Lennox’ argument is based on the dissemination of facts, especially when comparing and contrasting the viewpoint of the New Atheists. In the first few chapters, he writes, “there is a deep irony in the New Atheists’ failure to discriminate between religions; for they clearly expect everyone else to discriminate between atheists. They themselves, as self-confessedly peace-loving people, would not be arbitrarily classified with violent extremists of their own worldview persuasion, such as Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot” (p. 61).
As much as the content of his treatise is quite complex, Lennox humorously is able to navigate his way through the irony of many of the arguments that atheist proponents, such as Dawkins and others, often bring up in opposition to questions regarding foundational truths. Lennox carefully describes such truths, such as creation, the problem of evil, and also the historicity of Christ in a way that any apologist can appreciate, especially when it comes to his personal encounters with those on the “other side” of the spectrum, who do not share such views.
The moral argument is one of the most convincing parts of the book, as Lennox deftly describes the integral nature of morality and its consequences within everyday life, its effect generationally, and its importance, even in regards to the New Atheists’ argument. In fact, he goes one step further, bringing into light the moral imperative of the resurrection of Christ, and, as he puts it, how the New Atheists often are, “talking in sheer ignorance of the facts” (p. 189). As much as evidence is required in discussion with the resurrection, Lennox argues that atheists also concede when presented with the evidence of God. In a reflective manner, Lennox helpfully mentions that, “evidence-based faith is not an unfamiliar idea – even to the New Atheists (p. 42).
Without giving too much away, Lennox provides a comprehensive explanation of faith in comparison to the New Atheist’ arguments, and in a convincing manner, is able to provide a way to see how faith in everyday encounters with those who don’t profess to believe in God is actually an opportunity to present the Gospel message as an important truth not to be dismissed.