Why I’m Not Sure that Christians Attending an Atheist Event is a Good Idea (but I Could Be Persuaded)

On March 24, an event billed as “the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history” will be happening in Washington, D.C. The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, in partnership with several other stateside atheist and humanist organizations, is sponsoring what they call the Reason Rally.

In response to the Reason Rally, several Christian apologetics organizations have established True Reason, which will, in their words, “demonstrate a humble, loving, and thoughtful response to the Reason Rally.

When I first heard about True Reason and their plan to hand out water bottles to thousands of atheists, my reaction was similar to Han Solo as he approached the Death Star and muttered to himself “I have a bad feeling about this.” Then I wondered why I was having such a strong, instinctive reaction to something that a lot of smart, reasonable, loving Christians seem to think is a good idea?

The answer turned out to be something that I should have realized in the first place—that talking exclusively about “reason” and ignoring experience, emotion, and imagination cannot hope to communicate what it really means to know Christ.

Click here to read the entire (frustratingly noncommittal) post.

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2 Replies to “Why I’m Not Sure that Christians Attending an Atheist Event is a Good Idea (but I Could Be Persuaded)”

  1. Hi Leslie,

    “The answer turned out to be something that I should have realized in the first place—that talking exclusively about “reason” and ignoring experience, emotion, and imagination cannot hope to communicate what it really means to know Christ.”

    To preach at an event like Reason Rally using experience, emotion and imagination would be like going to Switzerland and shouting a sermon in English at the top of your lungs. You won’t connect with the people and probably just be seen as rude. I don’t think apologists deny the function of these three things in knowing Christ, they are simply focusing on what is keeping atheists at this event from trusting those things, namely the view that claiming to know Christ is irrational. Perhaps a Christian presence at such events, even one that employs reason, will simply increase hostility between those of faith and those without but you can hardly blame them for trying to learn their language.

    1. Matt,

      Yea, that’s sort of the conclusion I came to as well. I think it’s absolutely necessary for Christians to be able to demonstrate the reasonableness of faith and lovingly dialogue with those who only “speak” reason. I also won’t argue with someone who feels called to go. But my suspicion is that the language barrier is too big to allow much meaningful interaction.

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