Last week, I found out that Richard Dawkins was going to be speaking at a Barnes and Noble. I couldn’t miss this opportunity to hear him speak in person. To get in, you had to buy his newest book, “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.” I was already planning on buying the book, so this was ideal. I got there at 4:30 and waited in line to be seated for a couple hours. The whole time I was talking to two other guys who were standing behind me in line. One guy was from Washington, D.C. and took a 3 hour train to see Dawkins, and the other guy got to the Barnes and Noble at 9 AM to make sure he would get to hear Dawkins. Needless to say, I was dealing with people who thought of Richard Dawkins as a god. We talked Dawkins other book, “The God Delusion” and I told them that I was pleased he actually addressed the arguments for the existence of God (no other pop atheist has). They agreed and asked me about the other pop atheists. I told them I was not too impressed with Hitchens—although he is a brilliant speaker. However, Sam Harris is my favorite pop atheist—mainly because his ideas are more coherent and he actually has a degree in philosophy, so this is more his field. No doubt, they thought I was one of them. I wasn’t trying to be misleading… I actually have read all their books… and enjoyed them! I believe they strengthen the Christian faith rather than threaten it. Christians just need to be educated, which I think Impact is doing a good job at. We continued talking about different arguments for the existence of God. I would point out the major flaws in the atheistic arguments, but I never revealed my true identity. This was a learning experience for me.
We finally sat down and the talk about God simmered down from the three of us. There were about 200 people in the room, and I am certain that 98% of them were all hardcore atheists. The entire room was bashing Christianity. I continued listening to people around me, specifically the people in front of me that were bashing everything about Christianity rather loudly. I heard the girl attack our view of human life and abortion, she attacked the South as where uneducated Bible thumpers were, they attacked Noah’s Ark and our view of science, they attacked homeschooling for religious reasons, and much much more. At one point of time the girl in front of me said, “Yeah, you would NEVER see a Christian at one of these things. You’d probably see a Jew. They are a lot more open minded, but you would never see a Christian. They’re close-minded and ignorant. I mean it’s basically like believing in the Flying Spaghetti Monster!”At this, I laughed.Not because I thought SHE was funny, but because I thought IT was funny—I was a living contradiction of everything she had just said. She was SO wrong.The atheists in front of me and another IMPACT’er who had just arrived, Corinne Cordasco, turned around and said rather happily “So when did you guys become atheists?!” I said very happily back, “Oh no, we’re not atheist! We’re Christians!!” You could see and feel the shock on every one’s faces. It was silent for a couple seconds as they regained composure, “Oh really?” he said.
I turned to the guy next to me (the guy who I had been talking to about Dawkins and all the other pop atheists) and told him I didn’t mean to be deceiving. I am actually quite a big fan of Dawkins—probably his biggest Christian fan. Everything I said was the truth… he just never asked if I was an atheist!
The people in front of us continued to talk to us about the existence of God and science (why they always jump to science I will never know. I spent just as much time convincing them that I am a lover of science and that I am NOT against it). They seemed very intrigued.Basically everything I had learned from Summit and Impact flooded back to me. They asked questions like “Well who created God?” I explained the Principle of Causality and God being the first cause and how he was outside of time and space. They never seemed to grasp this and kept saying, well then we can apply the same thing to the universe and say no one created it, it has always just “been there.” That is when I started explaining what I had learned from Geisler about the second law of thermodynamics and how the universe has a distinct moment when it came into being, and everything that has a beginning has a cause. However they kept rejecting my arguments and repeating theirs as if I had said nothing.Some of the other things they said were “Okay, I am god. Prove me wrong,” “You don’t believe in evolution?! You don’t believe in science!!” “You’re parents were Christians and therefore you are a Christian” “Why don’t you believe in Zues and Thor and all the pagan gods? No one believes in those. Your Christianity is just a product of your culture. If you were raised several hundred years ago, you’d believe in those gods!” etc.
Obviously, all their arguments were very hollow and in need of a foundation and maybe some philosophy courses. It was fun and very intellectually stimulating to talk to them about it, knowing this was what they really believed.
I heard Dawkins speak for about 45 minutes and then was able to ask him a question. He states that evolution is “non-random” and not blind so I asked him a very pointed question about that. He said it was a good question, but failed to give me a sufficient answer.Although it is “non-random” there is no intelligent being in the background driving it. It is merely nature, and although natural selection is non-random, mutations are accidental. But natural selection flows from mutations… so its foundation is accidental…
Anyways, Dawkins signed both of my books and Corinne’s book after he spoke. After we exited, our new atheist friends were waiting for us—they wanted to go out to eat with us! Me, Corinne, and a classmate from Kings, John Mark, all grabbed a bite to eat and continued talking about the existence of God for the next hour and a half. It was great! We exchanged Facebook sites and told them we should get together again.
Out of the many things that were discussed, I learned a majority of it from IMPACT 360. These things DO happen and I believe we are best fulfilling 1 Peter 3:15 in “always being ready to give an answer to everyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in you” by studying and analyzing the other philosophies with a Christian perspective. We have answers and they are reasonable. We have the Truth. We can only pray that perhaps God will use us as a tool to save someone’s soul.