Brummett: Watch out for “shouting demonstration from zealous religious believers..” Part 2

Ravi Zacharias, Christian apologist, discusses atheism. Pt 3

In my last post which was about Ronald Reagan, I mentioned that I was jealous of Jeremy Hutchinson because he got to meet Reagan. Now I must admit that I am jealous of my sister Vicki Parks because she got to have dinner with Ravi Zacharias when he was visiting Memphis to speak at Bellevue Baptist several years ago. I think Ravi Zacharias is the best the evangelical community has to offer since Francis Schaeffer.

In the first post on this subject I quoted from Brummett’s article “Athiesm’s Big Night in Little Rock,” (The Morning News, April 27, 2007), John Brummett stated: I’d asked Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School, if he expected trouble — a shouting demonstration from zealous religious believers, perhaps. “Could be,” he said.
The atheist scientist Richard Dawkins was the speaker that night in Little Rock and he had a haughty attitude towards Christians because he felt they did not want to recognize science. Kerby Anderson answered this concern in his commentary “Answering the New Atheists.” He observed:

The New Atheists believe that science and Christianity are in conflict with one another. They trust science and the scientific method, and therefore reject religion in general and Christianity in particular.

Sam Harris says, “The conflict between religion and science is unavoidable. The success of science often comes at the expense of religious dogma; the maintenance of religious dogma always comes at the expense of science.”{25}

Richard Dawkins believes religion is anti-intellectual. He says: “I am hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively debauches the scientific enterprise . . . . It subverts science and saps the intellect.”{26}

Are science and Christianity at odds with one another? Certainly there have been times in the past when that has been the case. But to only focus on those conflicts is to miss the larger point that modern science grew out of a Christian world view. In a previous radio program based upon the book Origin Science by Dr. Norman Geisler and me, I explain Christianity’s contribution to the rise of modern science.{27}

Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow also point out in their book that most scientific pioneers were theists. This includes such notable as Nicolas Copernicus, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, Johannes Kepler, Louis Pasteur, Francis Bacon, and Max Planck. Many of these men actually pursued science because of their belief in the Christian God.

Alister McGrath challenges this idea that science and religion are in conflict with one another. He says, “Once upon a time, back in the second half of the nineteenth century, it was certainly possible to believe that science and religion were permanently at war. . . . This is now seen as a hopelessly outmoded historical stereotype that scholarship has totally discredited.”{28}

The New Atheists believe they have an answer to this argument. Christopher Hitchens discounts the religious convictions of their scientific pioneers. He argues that belief in God was the only option for a scientist at the time.{29} But if religious believers get no credit for the positive contributions to science (e.g., developing modern science) because “everyone was religious,” then why should their negative actions (e.g., atrocities done in the name of religion) discredit them? It is a double standard. The argument actually ignores how a biblical worldview shaped the scientific enterprise.{30}

The arguments of the New Atheists may sound convincing, but once you strip away the hyperbole and false charges, there isn’t much left.

If you would like to know how to answer the arguments of the New Atheists, I suggest you visit the Probe Web page at and also consider getting a copy of the book by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow. You will be able to answer the objections of atheists and be better equipped to defend your faith.

Ravi Zacharias, Christian apologist, discusses atheism. Pt 4


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