Thoughts on answering the fool.
Steven Vredenburgh, “Evangelizing Atheism: Missing the Mark in Recent Christian Film,” in Christian Scholar’s Review, Fall 2020. This is a helpful article in reminding us that, in answering the fool according to his folly, we have to be careful not to be like him, lest his folly become our folly, and we lose our footing in faith.
Vredenburgh offers a critique of the film God’s Not Dead and argues that it fails in its twofold purpose of convincing the atheist of the reality of God and bolstering the faith of the faithful by casting the faith into a framework of reason, science, and philosophy, and depending on a “god of the gaps” argument to persuade the unpersuaded.
He offers historical evidence as to how this rational approach to apolo-getics has actually weakened the faith in former days, as science and philosophy fleshed out more of their own perspective, and made it possible for atheism to gain ground rationally.
He argues that a better way to defend the faith is through stories of personal experience and doubts about God’s goodness among those who persevere in faith, especially in the face of suffering. He cites the film Silence as a more valuable approach to opening the heart to faith because of its honesty in portraying the doubts of believers and the persistence of faith.
I was not much enthralled with the second part of this article; but I believe he makes some sound arguments in the first. We do not believe the Gospel and the existence of God because we can reason it out scientifically or rationally. We believe it because we can’t notbelieve it, since the Holy Spirit Himself is bearing witness to the reality of God and of our relationship with Him in the very depths of our being.