Randal Rauser has done another post defending the innocence of atheism. A few comments:
1. In his methodology, experience trumps Scripture. Of course, that doesn’t surprise me. That’s what I’d expect from Randal.
2. But at the risk of stating the obvious, God is the world authority on human nature. There is nothing illegitimate about my interpreting human behavior in light of God’s interpretation. To the contrary, that is far and away the wisest course of action.
Of course, if you don’t believe the Bible is God’s word, then that changes the presumption. And at that point you’re groping in the dark.
3. At the same time, it’s terribly gullible to merely judge men’s motives by their self-witness. Men have a vast capacity for self-deception. Indeed, the Bible has a word for that: hypocrisy.
The hypocrite is nota calculating conman. To the contrary, the hypocrite may be utterly convinced of his stainless rectitude. There’s a total disconnect between his self-image and reality.
I’m reminded of a book by Peter Schweizer entitled Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy.
In fact, Randal is, himself, a textbook case of self-deception. He fancies himself a tolerant, empathetic individual Yet he unconsciously stereotypes those who disagree with him. He can’t resist drawing invidious comparisons between his own enlightenment and those benighted Christians on the right who just don’t know any better. They must be “angry” or “indoctrinated.” He prides himself on “critical introspection,” but he only applies that analysis to his theological opponents.
Many men are poor judges of their own character. And, ironically, some folks with the lowest morals have the highest self-esteem.
4. The question of whether a true Christian can suffer a crisis of faith is a red herring.
5. He says “I begin the book with an amazing scene from Woody Allen’s ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’ in which the uncle of the protagonist, a pious Jewish man, says he would choose God over truth. Yikes. No thinking Christian could (or should) ever say such a thing. No thinking person of any stripe should. If I’m wrong I want to know about it.”
Of course, that’s a false antithesis. At the same time, it betrays the superficiality of his outlook.
Truth only matters if God is real. Apart from God, truth is not a virtue. Indeed, when you lose God, you lose truth. For truth is grounded in the mind of God.