I want to get this out before I don’t.
The Vertias Debate
Last week, we went on our belated vday date to a Veritas forum at Princeton Univ. featuring Gideon Rosen and an internationally well known apologist, who recently wrote Gunning for God, as well as other impacting books defending Christianity against bombastic athiests like C.Hitchens and R.Dawkins- John Lennox.
The topic was on sufferring- how to make sense of it if God is a good and perfect God.
Two hours were devoted to arguments that alternated back and forth, almost even getting off tangent, but circulating back to Rosen’s deep bewilderment that logically, a “good” God can stand to permit, or even cause suffering to the innocent. I wish I had the time to write point by point each argument by both sides, but one thing that I did admire from John Lennox was how he allowed himself to be sentimental within an intellectual arena, admitting that a recent experience caught their family in a devastating circumstance as his niece passed away due to a brain tumor.
Experience for the Christian is ultimately the upper hand sometimes, not in debates, but in conviction. The athiest cannot, really cannot have the grasp to understand the peace and hope a Christian can feel when something tears their life to a standstill, tempting them to lose faith in the reality of the ugliness and unfairness of life. You see, an athiest approaches this threshold and the only choice is acceptance, alongside confusion and bitterness. The Christian has this choice AND a lifeline- the comforting hope that as lonely and hurtful this world can be, God’s love still remains, and there is a time when the gossamer things of this life will pass away into a perfected state. Rosen couldn’t understand that peace in Lennox’ soul, that conviction that was just so unwavering and unbreakable, yet unexplainable. It’s the mysteries of God that a Christian can stake their lives for, but the athiest cannot understand with their timetables and scientific equations and finite philosphical theories.
Amidst all the intellectual jargon and logic jumps, there is nothing like that conviction…and it resonated inside me, to the point that I was moved. I looked around the room and told Perze that the athiest can leave this room counting points. John Lennox probably looked around the room as I did and counted souls. That’s why Lennox kept bringing the dialogue to the cross. When a Christian leaves that dialogue, there are more than just points invested.
When I do have some time, I’ll try to expand on some of the intellectual points that were mentioned and used. My notes were pregnant with ideas. Please be patient as I work some of them out, and hopefully can discipline myself to write some worthy material for future reading.