Saturday, March 06, 2010

Author Jim Spiegel answers a reader's question

Lavinia4truth asked:

"Thank you for the book review. I respectfully wish to ask the author a question regarding atheism. How can followers of Christ effectively reach atheists with God's truth if one of the primary reasons that they have become atheists is because they have rejected that truth? If atheists choose their worldview not because of lack of evidence of God but because they desire to do so, then what is your perspective on how to effectively reach them?"

Jim Spiegel answered:

"In a word, I think the key is to reaching others is love. And I don’t mean that in the sense of mere affection or kindness, but full-bodied Christian love, which entails all of the virtues described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13: humility, patience, generosity, courtesy, compassion, and forgiveness. As an apologist and philosopher of religion, I strongly believe in the importance of being prepared to answer anyone who seeks evidence or explanations for aspects of our faith (cf. 1 Peter 3:15), but I see this as fitting within the broader context of persuasion by love and virtue. I know that’s what melted my heart and prompted my conversion, and it’s been the case for multitudes of others as well. Notice that this approach is more spiritually demanding, which might explain why it’s so easily overlooked. As difficult as apologetic arguments are to master, it’s harder to grow in virtue and practice the spiritual disciplines (e.g., prayer, fasting, sacrifice, etc.) with a view to having an impact on the lives of others. For more on this, check out J. P. Moreland’s powerful book, Kingdom Triangle, which argues for this point: We must devote ourselves to spiritual formation and the life of the Spirit as much as to training the intellect."

For those of you who are interested in learning more about Jim Spiegel and his new book, The Making of an Atheist, check out our book review here and the companion website here.

Courage and Godspeed,

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