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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Story of Paradise Lost

Sinclair B. FergusonSinclair B. Ferguson:

The story of paradise lost becoming paradise regained is the story of God’s grace bringing us from alienation from him to membership in his family. God’s grace restores us to what Adam lost for us – sonship to the God who made us, loves us, and provides for us in every detail in life.

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The Scriptures are Authoritative

Bible StudyMost ancient religious writings do not profess to be inspired by God, but the Bible professes not only to be inspired, but also to be the only inspired writing. The Bible teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven. Unlike many other ancient religious writers and philosophers, the godly men through whom the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the Scriptures are men who speak with power, certainty, and authority.

A Rejection of Atheism

AtheismHaving once been an atheist myself, I find the accounts of those atheists who ultimately reject atheism and find faith in God very interesting. One such account is that of Andrew Norman Wilson, an English essayist, journalist, author of satiric novels of British society and of scholarly biographies.

Wilson attended New College, Oxford, began a teaching career, and spent a year training for the priesthood before deciding to concentrate on writing. During this time, he became an ardent atheist. He has composed essays on religion and contributed regularly to several London newspapers.

In April 2009, Wilson wrote a personal account, “Why I Believe Again”, in the New Statesman. In it, he explained his final rejection of atheism. The following contains excerpts from that article:

A materialist Darwinian was having dinner with me a few years ago and we laughingly alluded to how, as years go by, one forgets names. Eager, as committed Darwinians often are, to testify on any occasion, my friend asserted: “It is because when we were simply anthropoid apes, there was no need to distinguish between one another by giving names.”

This credal confession struck me as just as superstitious as believing in the historicity of Noah’s Ark. More so, really.

Do materialists really think that language just “evolved”, like finches’ beaks, or have they simply never thought about the matter rationally? Where is the evidence? How could it come about that human beings all agreed that particular grunts carried particular connotations? How could it have come about that groups of anthropoid apes developed the amazing morphological complexity of a single sentence, let alone the whole grammatical mystery, which has engaged Chomsky and others in our lifetime and linguists for time out of mind? No, the existence of language is one of the many phenomena – of which love and music are the two strongest – which suggest that human beings are very much more than collections of meat. They convince me that we are spiritual beings, and that the religion of the incarnation, asserting that God made humanity in His image, and continually restores humanity in His image, is simply true. . . .

When I think about atheist friends, including my father, they seem to me like people who have no ear for music, or who have never been in love. . . .

[O]ne thing that finally put the tin hat on any aspirations to be an unbeliever was writing a book about the Wagner family and Nazi Germany, and realizing how utterly incoherent were Hitler’s neo-Darwinian ravings, and how potent was the opposition, much of it from Christians; paid for, not with clear intellectual victory, but in blood. Read Pastor Bonhoeffer’s book Ethics, and ask yourself what sort of mad world is created by those who think that ethics are a purely human construct. Think of Bonhoeffer’s serenity before he was hanged, even though he was in love and had everything to look forward to.

My departure from the Faith was like a conversion on the road to Damascus. My return was slow, hesitant, doubting. So it will always be; but I know I shall never make the same mistake again. Gilbert Ryle, with donnish absurdity, called God “a category mistake”. Yet the real category mistake made by atheists is not about God, but about human beings. Turn to the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge – “Read the first chapter of Genesis without prejudice and you will be convinced at once . . . ‘The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life’.” And then Coleridge adds: “‘And man became a living soul.’ Materialism will never explain those last words.”

READ THIS ENTIRE ARTICLE AT NEWSTATESMAN.COM. . . .

Like Chuck Colson, I believe that “Faith and reason are not enemies.” Reason is just as much a gift from God as faith. Many have simply found that Christianity is the most rational explanation of reality. A. N. Wilson seems to have discovered this in his life’s journey as I have in mine.

ALSO CONSIDER READING:

“Religion of hatred: Why we should no longer be cowed by the chattering classes ruling Britain who sneer at Christianity”

 

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