Does Atheism Require More Faith?

I want to tell you about an important new book I hope will be widely disseminated. Though its subject is the truth of Christianity, it needs to be read by far more than just “the choir.”

I didn’t come to faith in Christ effortlessly. I began my adult spiritual journey as a skeptic seeking answers for life’s ultimate questions. In the process I did a great deal of reading on Christian theology and apologetics (defense of the faith).

I discovered, to my initial surprise, that there is an extensive body of evidence supporting Christianity’s exclusive truth claims. Knowledge of this evidence doesn’t automatically lead one to faith, but it certainly helps to remove obstacles we sometimes unwittingly use as excuses for neglecting our spiritual “business” or flat out rejecting the truth.

Some Christians seem threatened by the very idea of marshaling evidence in support of their faith. But the Bible itself tells us that we should “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).

It is healthy to have doubts and work through resolving them, which only fortifies your faith and better positions you to withstand challenges you may encounter along the way. Christianity has nothing to fear from a thorough investigation of the evidence. That’s why I was fascinated when I happened onto a column by Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. a few weeks ago, wherein Dionne discussed a recent article he’d enjoyed in the New Republic by Leon Wieseltier.

In the article, Wieseltier “praises atheists for taking the question of God’s existence so seriously that they force believers to do the same … There is no greater insult to religion than to expel strictness of thought from it.”

I certainly agree that a Christian’s faith must hold up to intellectual scrutiny. But do atheists actually take the question of God’s existence as seriously as Wieseltier and Dionne suggest? I have my doubts.

Indeed, widely respected Christian apologists Norman Geisler and Frank Turek dispute that notion in their new book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. Geisler and Turek confront the conventional wisdom that Christians are an unthinking lot whose faith is devoid of intellect and that atheists need no faith to sustain their belief system.

The authors show that Christian faith and reason are not mutually exclusive, but complementary and that there is an abundance of evidence for the truth of Christianity. Conversely, they show that it is impossible to be an atheist without a substantial amount of faith.

They note, for example, that naturalistic biologists claim “that life generated spontaneously from nonliving chemicals by natural laws without any intelligent intervention.”

These scientists believe that a “one-celled animal known as an amoeba (or something like it) came together by spontaneous generation…” But we now know there is incredible complexity in “the message found in the DNA of a one-celled amoeba (a creature so small, several hundred could be lined up in an inch).”

“The message found in just the cell nucleus of a tiny amoeba is more than all 30 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica combined, and the entire amoeba has as much information in its DNA as 1,000 complete sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica.” And “we must emphasize that these 1,000 encyclopedias do not consist of random letters but of letters in a very specific order — just like real encyclopedias.”

You get the point: Atheists have to have enormous faith to believe that such complex messages exist in the absence of intelligent design.

But when you closely examine the evidence supporting many Christian claims, you’ll find that they “are certain beyond reasonable doubt.” As such, “it’s not faith in Christianity that’s difficult but faith in atheism or any other religion. That is, once one looks at the evidence, we think it takes more faith to be a non-Christian than it does to be a Christian.”

The authors admit there are obstacles to a belief in Christianity. In the course of the book, they systematically address the perceived intellectual objections, emotional obstacles and volitional reasons to reject Christianity. The authors’ treatment of these issues is compelling.

I felt so strongly about the value of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist that when the authors honored me with a request to write the foreword for it I readily agreed. This is the ideal all-in-one book for you to share with your doubting friends and to bolster your faith in Truth. You owe yourself a read.