Warning: I’m going to ask you to think today.
What would you say to Mr. Benson?
I was relaxing, happily following a succession of links from blog to blog, when I came across Ryan Benson’s “Stump an Atheist” site. Since I used to be an atheist, I was quite curious to hear his perspective. After reading his “about” page, several recent posts, and his hilarious FAQ, I found that I totally agree with him: he is the friendliest atheist on the web.
As he says in his introduction:
Don’t let the title of this blog mislead you; I’m not on a crusade to convert. This is not a challenge to you; it’s a challenge to me. I am not a New Atheist writer; I am a writer who happens to be a new atheist.
He tells his story on his “About” page and in more detail in a separate link—how he was raised in the church, but never really learned what his faith was all about. It was in the process of researching what he thought he believed, that he realized he wasn’t able to believe in God.
To me, that is tragic. My journey went in the other direction (I was raised to be an atheist, but God decided to introduce Himself to me when I was 18). While he calls himself a “failed Christian,” I would argue that it’s the church that has failed. All too often our churches teach us about God, rather than helping us know God for ourselves.
What really impressed me was Benson’s humility. He specifically states that he is not certain he is right. In fact, he writes:
I’ve challenged my atheistic beliefs independently and through friendly debates with Christian friends—often with a foggy, half-hope that my opponents could stump me, bringing me back to the faith—but I have yet to find any convincing arguments for the existence of God, which is why I made this blog: I need you to stump me.
Wow. It seems to me that such an invitation should not be ignored.
I’m praying that God would reveal Himself to Ryan. And I’m prayerfully working on a response to his honest and most reasonable question.
Obviously, I’m not the first Christian to comment on his beliefs.
What questions can we, as believers, ask that would stump an atheist? Is it even possible? And is that our goal? Will winning an “argument” convince anyone or anything?
What aspect of God should we talk about? What can we say to him that would allow God to become real in his life?
Is this a matter for philosophy, or personal experience? Where does faith fit into all this? How about the work of the Holy Spirit?
What can I possibly write that might make a difference? What should I include in my response?