I don't  have  enough  FAITH  to  be  an  ATHEIST


Forward and Introduction to the book by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek



"Clear, complete, compelling—-this terrific resource will help both Christians and seekers understand the rational basis for Christianity. I wish it had been available when I was an atheist—-it would have saved a lot of time in my spiritual journey toward God!" —Lee Strobel

author of The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith


"This extremely readable book brilliantly builds the case for Christianity from the question of truth all the way to the inspiration of the Bible. And the verdict is in: Christians stand on mounds of solid evidence while skeptics cling to nothing but their blind, dogmatic faith. If you're still a skeptic after reading I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, then I suspect you're living in denial!" —Josh McDowell speaker and author of Evidence That Demands a Verdict


"It is really true that atheism requires gobs of blind faith while the path of logic and reason leads straight to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Norman Geisler and Frank Turek convincingly show why." —Phillip E. Johnson author, Darwin on Trial, Reason in the Balance, and The Wedge of Truth


"I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist will equip, exhort, and encourage you 'to give the reason for the hope that you have ... with gentleness and respect.'"

—Hank Hanegraaff President, The Christian Research Institute, and host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast


"No amount of evidence can convert an unbeliever to belief. That is solely the work of God. But what Norm Geisler and Frank Turek have done in this book should disturb anyone claiming to be an atheist... perhaps enough to persuade them to begin a search for the God who has been there all along." —Cal Thomas

Syndicated columnist and host of After Hours

on the Fox News Channel


"False ideas aimed at undermining and destroying the Christian faith constantly bombard high school and college students. This book provides an exceptionally good antidote to these false ideas. Geisler and Turek present the crucial information needed to avoid being swept away by the onslaughts of secular ideologies that cast science, philosophy, and biblical studies as enemies of the Christian faith."

—William A. Dembski author, The Design Revolution


"Geisler and Turek have pulled together a wide array of thorny questions and, as always, have responded with skill and insight. This is a valuable addition to the contemporary writings on Christian apologetics." —Ravi K. Zacharias President, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries


"I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist is vintage Norman Geisler—a logical, rational, and intellectual defense of the Christian faith. This collaboration with Frank Turek is 'must reading' for every professional or armchair philosopher."

—John Ankerberg author and host of The John Ankerberg Show


"Anyone can understand this book's crystal-clear explanation of how morality itself points to God. Atheists may beheve in moral law, but without God they have no way to justify their belief." —J. BUDZISZEWSKI former atheist, professor of government and philosophy, University of Texas at Austin,

author, What We Can't Not Know




Contents

Foreword by David Limbaugh
Preface: How Much Faith Do You Need to Believe This Book?       

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Finding the Box Top to the Puzzle of Life

Can We Handle the Truth?


Why Should Anyone Believe Anything At All?

In the Beginning There Was a Great SURGE


Divine Design


The First Life: Natural Law or Divine Awe?


New Life Forms: From the Goo to You via the Zoo?

Mother Teresa vs. Hitler


Miracles: Signs of God or Gullibility?


Do We Have Early Testimony About Jesus?


Do We Have Eyewitness Testimony About Jesus?

The Top Ten Reasons We Know the New Testament Writers Told the Truth

       

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?


Who Is Jesus: God? Or Just a Great Moral Teacher?

What Did Jesus Teach About the Bible?


Conclusion: The Judge, the Servant King, and the Box Top


Appendix 1: If God, Why Evil?


Appendix 2: Isn't That Just Your Interpretation?

Appendix 3: Why the Jesus Seminar Doesn't Speak for Jesus

Notes

General Index

Scripture Index



Foreword


As ONE "WHO CAME TO Christ after years of skepticism, I have a particular affection for Christian apologetics. It is one of my passions. There is an abundance of evidence for the reliability of Scripture, for the authority of the Bible as the inspired Word of God, and that the Bible accurately portrays the historical events it covers, including the earthly life of Jesus Christ. Indeed, powerful and convincing proof exists that Christianity is the one true religion, that the triune God who reveals himself in its pages is the one and only God of the universe, and that Christ died for our sins so that we may live.


Proof, of course, is no substitute for faith, which is essential to our salvation and for our communion with God. Nor is the study of apologetics disrespectful to our faith. Rather, it augments it, informs it, bolsters it, and reinvigorates it. Were it otherwise, the Bible would not say, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Pet. 3:15).


I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist is the best single book I've seen to prepare believers to give the reasons for their faith, and for skeptics who are open to the truth. This book will serve as an indispensable evangelism tool, especially when dealing with nonbelievers with "intellectual" obstacles to the faith. As we know, the intellectual obstacles are usually just an excuse for nonbelievers, but when you remove the substance of their excuse they are left naked to confront their real obstacles, their real demons.


But I believe there's another important reason for the scriptural mandate to "be prepared to give an answer." It's not just to help us effectively communicate the gospel. Being prepared will also arm us with the tools to resist certain nagging doubts that we encounter in moments of weakness. It will—because it marshals the evidence for Christianity— fortify our faith.


Who can doubt that we need to be better equipped with the evidence, whether to help us better evangelize or to strengthen our own faith? As if the temptations of the flesh weren't enough for us to contend with, we are also confronted daily with negative external influences. In modern times these influences have grown increasingly sinister and insidious, as the Bible warned they would.


In times past nonbelievers had to decide whether Christianity was the one true religion, whether any of them were true, or whether God existed at all. But they generally were not saddled with the burden of determining whether there was such a thing as truth.


Our postmodern culture has done a number on the idea of truth. It teaches that truth and morality are relative, that there is no such thing as absolute truth. To the intellectual elite dominating our universities and the mainstream media, these ideas are considered enlightened and progressive, even though we all intuitively understand that absolute truth exists, and more importantly, we all conduct our lives with that recognition.


If you encounter one of these geniuses who is so certain that truth is a social construct denned by the powerful to remain in power, ask him if he would be willing to test his theory by leaping from the tallest building around. You might also want to quiz him on the Law of Noncontradiction. Ask him whether he believes that two contradictory things can be true at the same time. If he has the intellectual dishonesty to say "yes," ask him how certain he is that absolute truth does not exist. Is he absolutely certain?


Yes, truth is a casualty of our popular culture. And when truth goes, the authority of the gospel is undermined, because the gospel tells us all about the Truth. We can see evidence of this everywhere today. The modern notions of "tolerance" and "pluralism" are a direct result of the culture's assault on truth.


Liberal secularists insist that tolerance is the highest virtue. But they don't tell you what they mean by "tolerance." To them, tolerance doesn't simply involve treating those with different ideas respectfully and civilly. It means affirming their ideas as valid, which Christians can't do without renouncing their own beliefs. If, for example, you subscribe to the biblical prohibition on homosexual behavior as sinful, you cannot at the same time affirm that such behavior is not sinful.

The postmodern secularist doesn't have to confront these questions because he rejects the idea of absolute truth and the Law of Noncontradiction. He can just go on his merry way moralizing to everyone about tolerance and never having to explain the intrinsic contradictions in his views.


The tolerance peddlers are further exposed as frauds when you consider that they simply will not practice what they preach—-at least toward those annoyingly stubborn Christians. They are absolutely unwilling to "tolerate" the Christian premise that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. For them to acknowledge this would necessarily refute their concept of tolerance, which holds that all ideas are of equal merit. In their infinite resourcefulness, they carve out an exception to their demand for universal tolerance when it comes to their treatment of Christians.


To them, Christianity's exclusive truth claims are simply beyond the pale—so bad as to disqualify Christians from receiving tolerance from others. One secularist university administrator, for instance, disciplined a conservative professor for exposing her class to literature from a Christian viewpoint, which included an article about how teachers should approach homosexuality. The administrator exclaimed, "We cannot tolerate the intolerable." You see, it's fairly easy for these types to extricate themselves from their indefensible positions. They simply move the goalposts. Talk about denning truth through power!


But the Christians' belief that theirs is the one true religion doesn't make them intolerant of others or disrespectful of their right to believe and worship how they choose. Our modern culture is woefully confused about these distinctions, and they use the Christians' confidence in their own belief system to paint Christians as intolerant of others with different belief systems. Nothing could be more inaccurate. Besides, for the record, Christianity isn't the only religion with exclusive truth claims. All major religions have such claims. Many of the central ideas of the major religions cannot be reconciled, which gives the lie to the trendy tenet of pluralism that all religions at their core are the same.


We often hear or read that all people wherever located worship the same God through different languages and cultures. This idea, with all due respect, is absurd on its face. For example, Islam teaches that Christ was a mere prophet, not deity. As C. S. Lewis observed, if Christ is not God, then he could not have been an exemplary prophet or a great moral teacher, because he claimed to be God. If he was not who he said he was, then he was either a liar or a lunatic, hardly a great moral teacher or prophet.


As another obvious example, the claims of certain Eastern religions that God is in everything and that there is no discrete distinction between the Creator and creation is utterly irreconcilable with Christianity. The examples are endless, but the point is that while various religions may share some overlapping values, many of their fundamental beliefs cannot be squared. It may make people feel better to pretend that all religions are essentially the same, but this concept is demonstrably false.


But political correctness in our culture generally carries the day. Even many of our churches have become corrupted with these misguided notions of tolerance and pluralism. They have allowed their theology to be diluted and have permitted the authority of Scripture to be denigrated in favor of society's "evolved" ideas about morality. Only a version of Christianity that preaches that all religions are the same is tolerant and loving. Traditional, Bible-based Christianity is intolerant, insensitive, exclusive, and unloving.


How loving, though, is it to become an accomplice to the destruction of truth itself—to the evisceration of the gospel? How sensitive is it to aid people away from the path of Life? As a Christian, how can you explain Christ's decision voluntarily to subject himself to the indignities and humiliation of human form, to experience wholesale separation from the Father, to physically accept all of the real wrath of the Father for all of mankind's past, present, and future sins, and to suffer the indescribable torment and death on the cross if all other paths to God are the same? What an immeasurable insult to the finished work of Christ on the cross! What an act of deliberate disobedience to Christ's direction that we spread the gospel to the corners of the earth! For if all religions are the same, then we've made a liar out of Christ and rendered his Great Commission a useless farce because we have removed all incentive to evangelize.


I'm not suggesting that Christians should approach evangelism stridently or disrespectfully. We should certainly honor the principle that all people are equal in God's sight and entitled to equal protection of the laws as well as fair, courteous, and respectful treatment. Bur there is no moral imperative that we adopt the notion that all belief systems are equally true. There is a moral imperative that we do not.


The above referenced scriptural passage instructing us to be prepared to give the reasons for our faith is immediately followed by the caution: "But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander" (w. 15b-16).


"We must be mindful of the next sentence as well. "It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" (w. 17-18). We must preach the truth, even if it makes us unpopular, even if it leads to the charge that we are intolerant or insensitive, even if it leads to our suffering or persecution. Yes, we must evangelize with gentleness and respect, but above all, we must evangelize. We must not be silenced by the tolerance police.


I frequently come into contact with people who either don't believe in Christianity or who do but have serious problems with parts of the Bible or elements of Christian doctrine. I'm certainly no expert in theology. So what do I tell these people? Beyond suggesting the daunting task of reading the Bible from start to finish, how do I help them to discover the truths that I belatedly discovered?


There are so many wonderful books available that will help, but there seem to be drawbacks with each one. They are too scholarly or too incomplete or too difficult to read. To get the complete package I usually have to recommend more than one book, which significantly decreases the chances that any of them will be read.


Not long ago a friend asked me for resources on apologetics that he could share with his non-believing sibling. I knew that we'd probably only have one shot at this in the immediate future; so I had to come up with just the perfect book. Frankly, I put off the decision because I couldn't decide among three or four of my favorite sources, none of which, by itself, would have been sufficient, in my opinion.


Just as I was preparing to cop out and.make a recommendation of multiple books instead of just one, I received a note from Frank Turek, asking me to review I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. After reading the first few chapters of the book I was convinced my receipt of the book was providential.


Finally, I thought, there is one book that covers the gamut in a highly readable format. After reading it I told Frank that this is the one book I've been waiting for as an evangelical tool-—-to explain the ideas and unveil the truth in a way that is far above my pay grade. As of the printing of this book there will now be one source I can recommend to skeptics, doubters, or Christians who need some reinforcing evidence. I already know ten people to whom I will give this book. It's truly a godsend.


Frank Turek, whom I've now come to know as a tremendous gentleman and Christian scholar, coauthored this book with the giant among giants in the field of Christian apologetics—Dr. Norman Geisler. I have a number of Dr. Geisler's other works, including Christian Apologetics, When Critics Ask, and When Skeptics Ask. Interestingly, I was first exposed to Dr. Geisler through my friend and former neighbor Dr. Steve Johnson, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and one of my spiritual mentors. Steve loaned me (I can't remember if I ever returned it!) a videotape in which Dr. Geisler was explaining the truths of Christianity in a most entertaining and captivating way. It was at that point that I decided to purchase and consume a number of his incredible books on apologetics.

I would recommend any and all of Dr. Geisler's books. But I Don't Have Enough Faith to Bean Atheist is just what the doctor ordered for a one-stop source for those who might not be willing to wade through a number of books. I have to admit, the title particularly intrigued me since I have long believed that it does take more faith to be an atheist. It certainly takes more faith to believe that human beings evolved from the random interaction of molecules (which somehow had to come into existence themselves) than to believe in a Creator.


This book also appealed to me because before tackling the issue of the truth of Christianity, it addresses the issue of truth itself, conclusively proving the existence of absolute truth. It demolishes the follies of moral relativism and postmodernism, then proceeds systematically to march toward the inescapable truths of the Christian religion. This is a book that had to be written and even more has to be published. So I'll stop the gushing now and let this book go to press. Many a hungry soul awaits the truths that are brilliantly set out in this work.

—David Limbaugh



Introduction


Finding the Box Top to the Puzzle of Life


"One who claims to be a skeptic of one set of beliefs is actually a true believer in another set of beliefs."

—Phillip E. Johnson


THE UNIVERSITY RELIGION professor gave his wide-eyed undergraduate class a clear warning the very first day of the semester. "Please leave your religious beliefs at home!" he demanded. "As we look at the Old Testament, I may make some observations that will run contrary to what you've been taught in Sunday school. It's not my purpose to offend anyone, but it is my purpose to be as objective as possible in analyzing the text."


That sounded great to me. After all, I (Frank) enrolled in that class because I was in the midst of a spiritual search. I didn't want any religious party line. I just wanted to know if there was a God or not. "What better place, I thought, to get some objectivity about God and the Bible than a secular school like the University of Rochester?


From the beginning, the professor took a very skeptical view of the Old Testament. He immediately affirmed the theory that Moses did not write the first five books of the Bible, and that many of the Bible's supposed prophetic passages were written after the fact. He also suggested that the Jews originally believed in many gods (polytheism), but that one God ultimately won the day because the final editors of the Old Testament were "religious-fanatic monotheists."


Most of the students had no trouble with his analysis, except one young man a couple of rows ahead of me. As the semester wore on, that student became visibly more agitated with the professor's skeptical theories. One day, when the professor began to criticize sections of Isaiah, the student could no longer moderate.his displeasure.


"That's not right!" he blurted out. "This is the Word of God!"

"That guy's too religious," I quietly whispered to the person sitting next to me.


"Look," the professor reminded everyone, "I told you all at the beginning that you must leave your religious beliefs at home. We will not be able to be objective if you can't do that."

"But you're not being objective," charged the student as he stood up. "You're being overly skeptical."


Some in the class began to heckle the student.

"Let the professor teach!"

"Sit down!"

"This isn't Sunday school!"

The professor tried to defuse the situation, but the flustered student stormed out and never returned.


While I had some sympathy for the student and could see that the professor had his own anti-religious bias, I also wanted to hear more of what he had to say about the Old Testament, and particularly about God. When the semester ended, I was somewhat convinced that the professor was right—the Old Testament was not to be taken at face value. However, I still didn't have an answer to my most basic question: Does God exist? I felt completely unfulfilled when the last class ended. I had no closure, no answer. So I approached the professor, who was surrounded by students asking final questions.


"Professor," I said, after waiting until just about everyone else had left, "thanks for the class. I think I've learned a new perspective. But I still have one huge question."

"Sure, go ahead," he said.

"I enrolled in this class to find out if there really is a God or not. Well... is there?"

Without a moment's hesitation he snapped, "I don't know."

"You don't know?"

"No, I have no idea."


I was stunned. I felt like scolding him by saying, "Wait a minute, you're teaching that the Old Testament is false, and you don't know whether there's a God or not? The Old Testament could be true if God actually exists!" But since final grades were not in, I thought better of it. Instead, I simply walked out, frustrated with the entire semester. I could have respected a qualified "yes" or "no" with some reasons given, but not "I don't know"—I could get that from an uninformed man on the street. I expected a lot more from a university religion professor.


I later learned that my expectations were too high for the modern university. The term "university" is actually a composite of the words "unity" and "diversity." When one attends a university, he is supposed to be guided in the quest to find unity in diversity-—-namely, how all the diverse fields of knowledge (the arts, philosophy, the physical sciences, mathematics, etc.) fit together to provide a unified picture of life. A tall task indeed, but one that the modern university has not only abandoned but reversed. Instead of universities, we now have "plura-versities" institutions that deem every viewpoint, no matter how ridiculous, just as valid as any other—that is, except the viewpoint that just one religion or worldview could be true. That's the one viewpoint considered intolerant and bigoted on most college campuses.


Despite the denials streaming from our universities, we believe that there is a way to discover unity in diversity. And if one were to discover such unity, it would be like seeing the box top of a jigsaw puzzle. Just as the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle are difficult to put together without the picture on the box top, the many diverse pieces of life make no sense without some kind of unifying big picture. The question is, does anyone have the box top to this puzzle we call life? Many world religions claim that they do. Are any of them correct?


Religion and the Box Top


World religions are often attempts to provide a box top that allows you to see how the many pieces of life's puzzle make a complete, cohesive picture. This picture usually—and for good reason—begins with some sort of claim about God. What someone believes about God affects everything else that he or she believes. When Mortimer Adler was asked why the "God" section was the largest in the Great Books of the Western World series (which he edited), he insightfully observed that it's because more implications flow from the subject of God than from any other subject. Indeed, the five most consequential questions in life are these:


Origin: Where did we come from?

Identity: Who are we?

Meaning: Why are we here?

Morality: How should we live?

Destiny: Where are we going?


The answers to each of these questions depend on the existence of God. If God exists, then there's ultimate meaning and purpose to your life. If there's a real purpose to your life, then there's a real right and wrong way to live it. Choices you make now not only affect you here but wiU affect you in eternity. On the other hand, if there is no God, then your life ultimately means nothing. Since there is no enduring purpose to life, there's no right or wrong way to live it. And it doesn't matter how you live or what you believe—your destiny is dust.


So which world religion, if any, answers the God question correctly? Does any religion provide the true box top for life? The common wisdom says no, for a number of reasons.


First, many say it is unreasonable to believe that one religion could be exclusively true. If one religion were really true, it would mean that billions of religious people from every other religious faith are wrong today and have been wrong throughout the centuries. (And that's a big problem if Christianity is true because Christianity seems to teach that non-Christians are going to heU!) There's also the not unfounded fear that those who think they have the truth wiH be intolerant of those who won't accept it.


Easygoing Americans are more apt to believe that no religion is the truth. This sentiment is often illustrated by the favorite parable of many university professors: the parable of the six blind men and the elephant. This is where each blind man feels a different part of the elephant and therefore reaches a different conclusion about the object in front of him. One grabs the tusk and says, "This is a spear!" Another feels the trunk and says, "This is a snake!" The one hugging the leg claims, "This is a tree!" The blind man holding the tail thinks, "I have a rope!" The one feeling the ear believes, "This is a fan!" And the one leaning on the elephant's side is certain, "This is a wall!" These blind men are said to represent world religions because they each come to a different conclusion about what they are sensing. Like each blind man, we are told, no one religion has the truth. No one religion has the complete box top. Religions are simply different paths up the same mountain. This, of course, greatly appeals to the broadly tolerant American mind.


In America, truth in religion is considered an oxymoron. There is no truth in religion, we are told. It's all a matter of taste or opinion. You like chocolate, I like vanilla. You like Christianity, I like Islam. If Buddhism works for you, then it's true for you. Besides, you ought not judge me for my beliefs!

The second major problem with truth in religion is that some pieces of life seem to defy explanation—they don't appear to fit any religious box top. These include the existence of evil and the silence of God in the face of that evil. These are especially powerful objections to anyone claiming that an all-powerful (theistic) God exists. Many skeptics and atheists argue that if one true, powerful God actually exists, then he would intervene to clear up all the confusion. After all, if God is really out there, then why does he seem to hide himself? Why doesn't he just show up to debunk the false religions and end all the controversy? Why doesn't he intervene to stop all the evil in the world, including all the religious wars that are such a black mark on his name? And why does he allow bad things to happen to good people? These are difficult questions for anyone claiming that their theistic religion is true.


Finally, many modern intellectuals imply that any box top based on religion wouldn't be legitimate anyway. Why? Because, they say, only science yields truth. Not only has evolution removed the need for God, they say, but only what is testable in a laboratory can be considered true. That is, only science deals in matters of fact, while religion stays merely in the realm of faith. So there's no sense trying to muster evidence or facts to support religion, because that would be like mustering facts to prove that chocolate ice cream tastes better than vanilla ice cream. You can't prove preferences. Therefore, since they insist that religion is never a matter of objective fact but merely subjective taste, any box top derived from religion couldn't provide the objective picture of life we're looking for.


So where does all this leave us? Is the search for God and for life's box top hopeless? Should we assume that there's no objective meaning to life, and each invent our own subjective box top? Should we be content with the professor's "I don't know" answer?


"We don't think so. We believe that there is a real answer. And despite the powerful objections we have identified (which we will address in later chapters), we believe that the answer is very reasonable. In fact, we believe this answer is more reasonable and requires less faith than any other possible answer, including that of an atheist. Let's begin to show you what we mean.


What Kind of God?


Before we go any further, let's be sure we're clear on terminology. Most of the world's major religions fall into one of these three religious world-views: theism, pantheism, and atheism.


A theist is someone who believes in a personal God who created the universe but is not part of the universe. This would be roughly equivalent to a painter and a painting. God is like the painter, and his creation is like the painting. God made the painting, and his attributes are expressed in it, but God is not the painting. Major theistic religions are Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.


By contrast, a pantheist is someone who believes in an impersonal God that literally is the universe. So, rather than making the painting, pantheists believe God is the painting. In fact, pantheists believe that God is everything that exists: God is the grass; God is the sky; God is the tree; God is this book; God is you; God is me; etc. Major pantheistic religions are of the Eastern variety such as Hinduism, some forms of Buddhism, and many forms of the "New Age."


An atheist, of course, is someone who does not believe in any type of God. To follow our analogy, atheists believe that what looks like a painting has always existed and no one painted it. Religious humanists would fall into this category.


Here's an easy way to remember these three religious world-views: theism—God made all; pantheism—God is all; atheism—no God at all. In fig. 1.2 theism is depicted as the hand holding up the world, pantheism as the hand in the world, and atheism as nothing but the world.


The Three Major Religious World-views


THEISM

GOD MADE ALL


PANTHEISM

GOD IS ALL


ATHEISM

NO GOD AT ALL



One other term that we will use frequently is agnostic. That's someone who is unsure about the question of God.


So now that we've defined our terms, let's get back to this issue of faith and religion.


Faith and Religion


Despite its apparent persuasiveness, the claim that religion is simply a matter of faith is nothing more than a modern myth—it's just not true. While religion certainly requires faith, religion is not only about faith. Facts are also central to all religions because all religious world-views— including atheism—make truth claims, and many of those truth claims can be evaluated through scientific and historical investigation.


For example, theists (e.g., Christians, Muslims, Jews) say that the universe had a beginning, while many atheists and pantheists (e.g., New Agers, Hindus) say that it did not (the universe is eternal). These are mutually exclusive claims. They can't both be right. Either the universe had a beginning or it did not. By investigating the nature and history of the universe, we can reasonably conclude that one view is right and the other wrong.


The alleged resurrection of Christ presents another example.

Christians claim that Jesus rose from the dead, while Muslims say that Jesus never even died. Again, one of these views is right and the other wrong. How can we know which one is right? By evaluating each of these conflicting truth claims against the historical evidence.


Notice that not only do different religions attempt to answer these questions, but scientists also have something to say about these matters. That is, science and religion often address the same questions: "Where did the universe come from? Where did life come from? Are miracles possible? and so on. In other words, science and religion are not mutually exclusive categories as some have suggested.


Certainly not all religious claims are open to scientific or historic investigation. Some are unverifiable dogma. Nevertheless, the validity of many religious beliefs can be checked out. Some beliefs are reasonable-— they can be proven with a high degree of certainty-—-while others are clearly unreasonable.


The Problems with Christianity


Is Christianity reasonable? We believe it is. However, unless one makes a thorough investigation of the evidence with an open mind, belief in Christianity may appear to be problematic. First, there are many perceived intellectual objections, like those mentioned above (the problem of evil, and the objections of many scientists).


Second, there are emotional obstacles that sometimes obstruct the acceptance of Christianity. Christian exclusivism, the doctrine of hell, and the hypocrisy of Christians are emotional roadblocks to just about everyone. (In fact, hypocrisy in the church probably repels people more than any other factor. Someone once said the biggest problem with Christianity is Christians!)


Finally, there are volitional reasons to reject Christianity, namely, Christian morality, which seems to restrict our choices in life. Since most of us don't want to answer to anyone, yielding our freedom to an unseen God is not something we naturally want to do.


Yet despite these intellectual, emotional, and volitional obstacles, we submit that it's not faith in Christianity that's difficult but faith in atheism or any other religion. That is, once one looks at the evidence, we think it takes more faith to be a non-Christian than it does to be a Christian. This may seem like a counterintuitive claim, but it's simply rooted in the fact that every religious worldview requires faith—even the worldview that says there is no God.


Why? Because as limited human beings, we do not possess the type of knowledge that will provide us with absolute proof of God's existence or nonexistence. Outside of the knowledge of our own existence (I know I exist because I have to exist in order to ponder the question), we deal in the realm of probability. Whatever we've concluded about the existence of God, it's always possible that the opposite conclusion is true.

In fact, it is possible that our conclusions in this book are wrong. We don't think they are because we have good evidence to support them. Indeed, we think our conclusions are true beyond a reasonable doubt. (This type of certainty, say, 95-plus percent certain, is the best that fallible and finite human beings can attain for most questions, and it is more than sufficient for even the biggest decisions in life.) Nevertheless, some faith is required to overcome the possibility that we are wrong.


The Faith of an Atheist


While some faith is required for our conclusions, it's often forgotten that faith is also required to believe any worldview, including atheism and pantheism. We were reminded of this recently when we met an atheist named Barry at one of our seminars. Barry was incredulous that a mutual friend, Steve, had become a Christian.


He said, "I can't figure Steve out. He claims to be intellectual, but he can't answer all the objections I pose to him about Christianity. He says he doesn't have all the answers because he's new and still learning."


I (Frank) said, "Barry, it's virtually impossible to know everything about a particular topic, and it's certainly impossible when that topic is an infinite God. So there has to come a point where you realize you have enough information to come to a conclusion, even if unanswered questions remain."


Barry agreed but still didn't realize that he was doing exactly what he was chiding Steve for doing. Barry had decided his view—atheism-— was correct even though he did not have exhaustive information to support it. Did he know for sure there is no God? Had he investigated every argument and evidence for the existence of God? Did he possess exhaustive information on the question of God? Could he answer every objection to atheism? Of course not. Indeed, it would be impossible to do so.


Since Barry, like Steve, is dealing in the realm of probability rather than absolute certainty, he has to have a certain amount of faith to believe that God does not exist.


Although he claimed to be an agnostic, Carl Sagan made the ultimate statement of faith in atheistic materialism when he claimed that "the Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be."1 How did he know that for sure? He didn't. How could he? He was a limited human being with limited knowledge. Sagan was operating in the realm of probability just like Christians are when they say God exists. The question is, who has more evidence for their conclusion? Which conclusion is more reasonable? As we'll see when we look at the evidence, the atheist has to muster a lot more faith than the Christian.


You may be thinking, "The atheist has to muster a lot more faith than the Christian! What possibly could Geisler and Turek mean by that?" We mean that the less evidence you have for your position, the more faith you need to believe it (and vice versa). Faith covers a gap in knowledge. And it turns out that atheists have bigger gaps in knowledge because they have far less evidence for their beliefs than Christians have for theirs. In other words, the empirical, forensic, and philosophical evidence strongly supports conclusions consistent with Christianity and inconsistent with atheism. Here are a few examples of that evidence that we'll unpack in the ensuing chapters:


The scientific evidence overwhelmingly confirms that the universe exploded into being out of nothing. Either someone created something out of nothing (the Christian view), or no one created something out of nothing (the atheistic view). Which view is more reasonable? The Christian view. Which view requires more faith? The atheistic view.


The simplest life form contains the information-equivalent of 1,000 encyclopedias. Christians believe only an intelligent being can create a life form containing the equivalent of 1,000 encyclopedias. Atheists believe non-intelligent natural forces can do it. Christians have evidence to support their conclusion. Since atheists don't have any such evidence, their belief requires a lot more faith.


Hundreds of years beforehand, ancient writings foretold the coming of a man who would actually be God. This man-God, it was foretold, would be born in a particular city from a particular bloodline, suffer in a particular way, die at a particular time, and rise from the dead to atone for the sins of the world. Immediately after the predicted time, multiple eyewitnesses proclaimed and later recorded that those predicted events had actually occurred. Those eyewitnesses endured persecution and death when they could have saved themselves by denying the events. Thousands of people in Jerusalem were then converted after seeing or hearing of these events, and this belief swept quickly across the ancient world. Ancient historians and writers allude to or confirm these events, and archaeology corroborates them. Having seen evidence from creation that God exists (point 1 above), Christians believe these multiple lines of evidence show beyond a reasonable doubt that God had a hand in these events. Atheists must have a lot more faith to explain away the predictions, the eyewitness testimony, the willingness of the eyewitnesses to suffer and die, the origin of the Christian church, and the corroborating testimony of the other writers, archeological finds, and other evidence that we'll investigate later.


Now perhaps these three points have raised in your mind some questions and objections. They should, because we're leaving out a lot of the detail that we'll unpack throughout the book. The main point for now is that you see what we mean when we say that every worldview— including atheism—requires some degree of faith.


Even skeptics have faith. They have faith that skepticism is true. Likewise, agnostics have faith that agnosticism is true. There are no neutral positions when it comes to beliefs. As Phillip Johnson so aptly put it, "One who claims to be a skeptic of one set of beliefs is actually a true believer in another set of beliefs."2 In other words, atheists, who are naturally skeptical of Christianity, turn out to be true believers in atheism. As we shall see, if they are honest with the evidence, they need a lot more faith to maintain their atheistic beliefs than Christians need to maintain theirs.


Discovering the Box Top


We claim that there is strong evidence supporting Christianity. How will we proceed through this evidence? Since about 1996, we have traveled together around the country conducting a seminar called, "The Twelve Points That Show Christianity Is True." In it, we proceed logically from question of truth all the way to the conclusion that the Bible is the Word of God. This book generally will follow this same logical, twelve-point progression:


Truth about reality is knowable.


The opposite of true is false.


It is true that the theistic God exists. This is evidenced by the:


a. Beginning of the universe (Cosmological Argument)


b. Design of the universe (Teleological Argument/
Anthropic Principle)


c. Design of life (Teleological Argument)


d. Moral Law (Moral Argument)


If God exists, then miracles are possible.


Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God (i.e., as acts of God to confirm a word from God).


The New Testament is historically reliable. This is evidenced by:


a. Early testimony

b. Eyewitness testimony

c. Uninvented (authentic) testimony

d. Eyewitnesses who were not deceived


The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God.

Jesus' claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by:


a. His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself;

b. His sinless life and miraculous deeds;

c. His prediction and accomplishment of his resurrection.

9. Therefore, Jesus is God.


Whatever Jesus (who is God) teaches is true.


Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God.


Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God (and anything opposed to it is false).


Before we begin presenting this line of reasoning, please note five points:


First, we are not suggesting that the above points are true by definition. Most of these points are premises that need to be justified by evidence. For example, point 3 claims, "It is true that the theistic God exists." That claim isn't true just because we say so. It needs to be backed up by good evidence, by good reasons. We'll give those good reasons when we get to that point in the book.


Second, notice that we are starting at the point of complete skepticism. That is, we are starting with a person who says he doesn't even believe in truth. We need to start there because if the prevailing view of the culture is right-—-that there is no truth—then it can't be true that a theistic God exists or that there is a true word from that God. However, if there is truth, and that truth can be known, then we can go on to investigate the truth of God's existence and the other points that follow (e.g., miracles are possible; the New Testament is historically reliable; and so forth).


Third, if this line of reasoning is sound (and that's a big "if" that this book will attempt to show), it necessarily disproves other religions where they differ from the Bible. (This sounds incredibly arrogant and presumptuous, but we'll address that later.) This would not mean that all other religions are completely false or that they have no truth. Nearly all religions have some truth. We are simply saying that if the Bible is true, then any specific claim that contradicts the Bible must be false. For example, if the Bible is true, and it says that there is a God beyond the universe who created and sustains the universe (theism), then any claim that denies theism (e.g., atheism) must be false. Likewise, if the Bible is true, and it claims that Jesus rose from the dead, then the Qur'anic denial of that fact must be false. (By the way, the reverse would also be true. If the evidence showed that the Qur'an was true, then the Bible would be false wherever it contradicted the Qur'an.)

Fourth, we give evidence for Christianity because we ought to live our lives based on truth. Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living.3 We believe that the unexamined faith is not worth believing. Furthermore, contrary to popular opinion, Christians are not supposed to "just have faith." Christians are commanded to know what they believe and why they believe it. They are commanded to give answers to those who ask (1 Pet. 3:15), and to demolish arguments against the Christian faith (2 Cor. 10:4-5). Since God is reasonable (Isa. 1:18) and wants us to use our reason, Christians don't get brownie points for being stupid. In fact, using reason is part of the greatest commandment which, according to Jesus, is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" Matt. 22:37).4


Finally, we are often asked, "If Christianity has so much evidence behind it, then why don't more people believe it?" 


Our answer: Although we believe the evidence we're about to present shows that the Bible is true beyond reasonable doubt, no amount of evidence can compel anyone to believe it. Belief requires assent not only of the mind but also of the will. "While many non-Christians have honest intellectual questions, we have found that many more seem to have a volitional resistance to Christianity. In other words, it's not that they don't have evidence to believe, it's that they don't want to believe. The great atheist Friedrich Nietzsche exemplified this type of person. He wrote, "If one were to prove this God of the Christians to us, we should be even less able to believe in him"5; and "It is our preference that decides against Christianity, not arguments." Obviously, Nietzsche's disbelief was based on his will, not just his intellect.


At this point a skeptic might reverse the argument by claiming that it's the Christian who simply wants to believe. True, many Christians believe only because they want to, and cannot justify their belief with evidence. They simply have faith that the Bible is true. And merely wanting something to be true doesn't make it so. However, what we are saying is that many non-Christians do the same thing: they take a "blind leap of faith" that their non-Christian beliefs are true simply because they want them to be true. In the ensuing chapters, we'll take a hard look at the evidence to see who has to take the bigger leap.


The skeptic might then ask, "But why would anyone want Christianity to be false? Why would anyone not want the free gift of forgiveness?" Good question, but we think the answer lies in the volitional factors we touched on earlier. Namely, many believe that accepting the truth of Christianity would require them to change their thinking, friends, priorities, lifestyle, or morals, and they are not quite willing to give up control over their lives in order to make those changes. They believe that life would be easier and more fun without such changes. Perhaps they realize that while Christianity is all about forgiveness, it's also about denying yourself and carrying your cross. Indeed, Christianity is free, but it can cost you your life.


There's a difference between proving a proposition and accepting a proposition. We might be able to prove Christianity is true beyond reasonable doubt, but only you can choose to accept it. Please consider this question to see if you are open to acceptance: If someone could provide reasonable answers to the most significant questions and objections you have about Christianity—reasonable to the point that Christianity seems true beyond a reasonable doubt—would you then become a Christian? Think about that for a moment. If your honest answer is no, then your resistance to Christianity is emotional or volitional, not merely intellectual. No amount, of evidence will convince you because evidence is not what's in your way—you are. In the end, only you know if you are truly open to the evidence for Christianity.


One beauty of God's creation is this: if you're not willing to accept Christianity, then you're free to reject it. This freedom to make choices—even the freedom to reject truth-—-is what makes us moral creatures and enables each of us to choose our ultimate destiny. This really hits at the heart of why we exist at all, and why God might not be as overt in revealing himself to us as some would like. For if the Bible is true, then God has provided each of us with the opportunity to make an eternal choice to either accept him or reject him. And in order to ensure that our choice is truly free, he puts us in an environment that is filled with evidence of his existence, but without his direct presence— a presence so powerful that it could overwhelm our freedom and thus negate our ability to reject him. In other words, God has provided enough evidence in this life to convince anyone willing to believe, yet he has also left some ambiguity so as not to compel the unwilling. In this way, God gives us the opportunity either to love him or to reject him without violating our freedom. In fact, the purpose of this life is to make that choice freely and without coercion. For love, by definition, must be freely given. It cannot be coerced. That's why C. S. Lewis wrote, "the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of [God's] scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to over-ride a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo."?


We hope the evidence we present in this book will, in some small way, woo you to God. Keep in mind that it's not our evidence, it's his. We are simply compiling it in a logical order. By using real-world stories and illustrations as often as possible, we intend to make this book readable and its reasoning easily accessible.


Summary and Conclusion


As we have seen, many religious truth claims can be investigated and their plausibility determined. Since all conclusions about such claims are based on probability rather than absolute certainty, they all—including atheistic claims—require some amount of faith. As we look at the evidence in the ensuing chapters, we'll see that conclusions such as "God exists" and "the Bible is true" are certain beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, it takes a lot more faith to be a non-Christian than it does to be a Christian.


However, we have also acknowledged that evidence alone cannot convince someone to become a Christian. Some atheists and non-Christians may reject Christianity not because the evidence is inadequate but because they don't want to accept it. Some people choose to suppress the truth rather than live by it. In fact, we humans have a fatal tendency to try to adjust the truth to fit our desires rather than adjusting our desires to fit the truth.


But wait. Isn't there a third alternative? What about remaining agnostic like the Old Testament professor at the beginning of this chapter? He said he didn't know if God exists. Some may think that such a person is open-minded. Perhaps. But there's a big difference between being open-minded and being empty-minded. In light of the evidence, we think agnosticism is a decision to be empty-minded. After all, isn't the reason we should be open-minded so that we can recognize truth when we see it? Yes. So what are we to do when there's enough evidence to point us to the truth? For example, what should we do when we see evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that George Washington was the first president of the United States? Should we remain "open-minded" as to who the first president was? No, that would be empty-minded. Some questions are closed. As we'll see, there's enough evidence regarding Christianity to draw a reasonably certain conclusion.


As Mortimer Adler observed, our conclusion about God impacts every area of our lives. It is the key to finding unity and diversity and ultimate meaning in life. It is literally the most important question for every human being to address. Fortunately, if our reasoning is correct, we will discover the box top to life's puzzle at the end of our journey. So let's take the first step on that journey. It begins with the question of truth.


Chapters 1-2 will cover:


Truth about reality is knowable.


The opposite of true is false.


It is true that the theistic God exists. This is evidenced by the:


a. Beginning of the universe (Cosmological Argument)


b. Design of the universe (Teleological Argument/
Anthropic Principle)


c. Design of life (Teleological Argument)


d. Moral Law (Moral Argument)


If God exists, then miracles are possible.


Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God (i.e., as acts of God to confirm a word from God).


The New Testament is historically reliable. This is evidenced by:


a. Early testimony

b. Eyewitness testimony

c. Uninvented (authentic) testimony

d. Eyewitnesses who were not deceived


The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God.

Jesus' claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by:


a. His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself;

b. His sinless life and miraculous deeds;

c. His prediction and accomplishment of his resurrection.

9. Therefore, Jesus is God.


Whatever Jesus (who is God) teaches is true.

Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God.

Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God (and anything opposed to it is false).

………………..


THIS  IS  A  FINE  BOOK  FOR  ANYONE  WANTING  TO  PROVE  GOD  EXISTS,  JESUS  IS  THE  SON  OF  GOD,  AND  THE  BIBLE  IS  THE  INSPIRED  WORD  OF  GOD.


THIS  BOOK  OF  445  PAGES  CAN  BE  OBTAINED  FROM  CHRISTIAN  BOOK  DISTRIBUTORS,  FOR  A  VERY  MODERATE  PRICE.