Dan Dennett is a strong atheist and American Philosopher. Dan has his BA in Philosophy from Harvard and his DPHIL from Oxford. In Dan’s academic work, he wrestles with philosophical truths that underlay in the fields of biology and the human mind. Dan has two overarching arguments: 1) Individuals who believe in an intelligent designer, namely God are not intelligent, and 2) We don’t understand our own consciousness, but half the time our brains are actively fooling us.
Dan does not like God and thinks are brains are useless. Recently, I was listening to a lecture Dan was giving and he started critiquing Rick Warren’s book: Purpose Driven Life. Dan essentially de-constructed the great commission which Warren’s argues as the driving force to enabling a life with purpose. Dan felt as though making disciples of all nations is problematic when you have five other major religions combating each other. In the world, as of 2005, there are 33% Christians, 18% Islam, 16% Hinduism, 16% non religious, 6% Buddhism, 4% Chinese traditionalist, 4% primal indigenous, and 3% other. He suggests it is dangerous committing ourselves to one religion when all of the other religions have a holy book saying that their religion is true; and the other religion is not true or from the devil. Dan is skeptical of not only religion, but of Warren’s interpretation of Christianity.
Reviewing over Dan’s work and lectures I have been thinking: What if I was born in an Islam community/country, would I still be a Christian? Would I still be exposed to Jesus considering the deep cultural and social traditions? As believers in God’s word, how do we respond to Dan’s major and thrashing critiques of Christianity? How do we say Jesus is the only true way and not come across being judgmental, condescending, or authoritative?
Bottom line: these are not easy questions to answer. To be honest, there is such a heavy gravity going against God in the secular and academic worlds. I guess this is not new news. Through out history there has always been individuals who have been resistance to institutional religion, church, and/or God. These anti-God individuals will try everything to debunk God. Who knows, maybe in and through our actions of love and justice we, as Christians, are able to present God’s peace.