I hope this email finds you well. I am a Christian and have a friend who is going through some unbelief, and he sent me this video to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pOI2YvVuuE which illustrates his thought process. He doesn’t believe in God anymore, and doesn’t believe Christianity is any more right than any other religion. My question is, how would you best respond to this? Thank you and God Bless.
I know Michael Shermer personally. In fact, I have helped to arrange two debates between Shermer and my good friend Doug Jacoby. I even used one of Shermer’s books in a class that I teach. My suggestion is that, if possible, you ask your friend to watch a debate between Shermer and a believer, rather than simply watch him give his logical-fallacy-laced presentation to a friendly audience. You can get a copy of the debate “Does God Exist” at www.ipibooks.com. Shermer is one of the more reasonable of the anti-God element in our culture–he is a nice guy, which is a relief by comparison to Dawkins and Hitchens (recently deceased). But his arguments are basically a lot of rhetoric with relatively little substance.
What you will find in the debate that Shermer is trounced, not because Doug is a better debater, but because his case for God not existing is so weak. In the end, his only real argument is that non-existence is the fallback position. He literally had absolutely NO EVIDENCE that God does not exist. This is truly a weak position.
It is hard to respond to this lecture by Shermer because he gave me nothing to respond to. In other words, he was asked to prove that God does not exist, yet he presented no evidence that God does not exist. He did not address any of the classic arguments for the existence of God, such as the argument from design or the moral argument or the cosmological argument. He simply gives an argument from evolution. The problem with this is that the existence of evolution is NOT an argument against the existence of God. How is the existence of evolution evidence that God does not exist? To be honest, this is really not even an argument. If evolution is real, who/what created the universe in which evolution can happen? Why is it that the laws of the universe are so spectacularly tuned so that something like evolution can even happen. Why does the universe exist? Why can human beings understand the universe? Why does mathematics work? Shermer addresses none of these questions.
He uses an evolutionary argument, combined with a psychological argument, in which he tells us that evolution favors the tendency to assume something is real that is not because that gives the creature an evolutionary advantage. OK. I will agree with him on that, but is that evidence that God is not real? Does this explain the fine-tuning of the universe or the existence of a sense of justice and purpose and of absolute moral truth in human beings? Does it explain how life was created and why the conditions for life even exist at all? Has God used evolution to create the many different species on the earth? I say yes, but the existence of evolution is not an argument against God. He uses the logical fallacy known as a false dilemma here. If evolution can explain the existence of a particular phenomena then that proves that no other explanation can even be considered. This is certainly not the case, as it is possible that God exists even in a world in which evolution favors humans believing in thieves in the night.
Now, your friend has a very broad range of questions so it is hard for me to respond to all of his doubt. I would need a more specific question than “He is having faith issues and is not sure Christianity is the right religion” Can you give me a more specific concern he has about Christianity? Can I give you a suggestion? Can you get a copy of my book “Reasons for Belief”? It will probably address many or most of his doubts about the Bible and the truth of Christianity. You can get a copy at www.ipibooks.com.www.ipibooks.com.
There is plenty of evidence of the truth of the Bible. There is the fulfillment of prophecy, the slam-dunk evidence for the resurrection, the consistency of the Bible and the fact that it works, there is the historical reliability of the Bible and more. It is your job to simply put that evidence in his hands. There is a massive amount of information you can use at the web site, so I suggest you simply look around at the articles and power points.