Dinesh D Souza, The Greatness of Christianity: Table of Contents
Cf. Dinesh D’souza, What’s So Great About Christianity, at Amazon
CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED UPON to be “contenders” for their faith. This term suggests that they should be ready to stand up for their beliefs, and that they will face opposition. The Christian is told in 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reasons for the hope that is within you.” But in order to give reasons, you must first know what you believe. You must also know why you believe it. And you must be able to communicate these reasons to those who don’t share your beliefs. In short, you must know what’s so great about Christianity.
This is the arena in which many Christians have fallen short. Today’s Christians know that they do not, as their ancestors did, live in a society where God’s presence was unavoidable. No longer does Christianity form the moral basis of society. Many of us now reside in secular communities, where arguments drawn from the Bible or Christian revelation carry no weight, and where we hear a different language from that spoken in church.
Instead of engaging this secular world, most Christians have taken the easy way out. They have retreated into a Christian subculture where they engage Christian concerns. Then they step back into secular society, where their Christianity is kept out of sight until the next church service. Without realizing it Christians have become postmodernists of a sort: they live by the gospel of the two truths. There is religious truth, reserved for Sundays and days of worship, and there is secular truth, which applies the rest of the time.
This divided lifestyle is opposed to what the Bible teaches. The Bible tells Christians not to be of the world, sharing its distorted priorities, but it does call upon believers to be in the world, fully engaged. Many Christians have abdicated this mission. They haveinstead sought a workable, comfortable modus vivendi in which they agree to leave the secular world alone if the secular world agrees to leave them alone. Biologist Stephen Jay Gould proposed the terms for the treaty between the secular and religious worlds when he said that secular society relies on reason and decides matters of fact, while religious people rely on faith and decide questions about values.’ Many Christians seized upon this distinction with relief. This way they could stay in their subculture and be nice to everyone.
But a group of prominent atheists—many of them evolutionary biologists—has launched a powerful public attack on religion in general and Christianity in particular; they have no interest in being nice. A new set of anti-religious books— The God Delusion, The End of Faith, God Is Not Great, and so on—now shapes public debate. These atheists reject the Gould solution. They say that a religious outlook makes specific claims about reality: there is a God, there is life after death, miracles do happen, and so on. If you are agnostic or atheist, you have a very different understanding of reality, one that is formed perhaps by a scientific or rationalist outlook. The argument of the atheists is that both views of reality cannot be simultaneously correct. If one is true, then the other is false.