The Reason Rally
On March 24, Richard Dawkins and a number of outspoken atheists plan to gather in Washington D.C. for what is being called “the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history.” One of the goals of the Reason Rally is to celebrate atheism and advance secularism in society.
Here’s what stands out to me: Underlying this movement seems to be the idea that science and reason ultimately support naturalism—that truly reasonable people reject a belief in God. But something about this seems kind of odd…
Atheism and Reason
It’s interesting that the new atheism has often caricatured Christian belief as “blind faith,” while using reason as a theme for their entire movement. Here’s what’s odd to me: If atheism is true, why should we trust our reason at all? Naturalistic evolution is all about survival-enhancing behaviors—not true beliefs. For example:
Imagine you were lost in a jungle and came upon a hungry lion. But for some odd reason, you thought the hungry lion was actually cute little bunny. Then, you said to yourself, “I’m gonna go pet that cute little bunny.” But for another odd reason, you had the false belief that the best way to pet the animal was to run into a cave and hide. So, every time you saw a hungry lion, you ran into a cave to hide. If false beliefs could promote a survival-enhancing behavior, it seems that using reason may not be a reliable way to arrive at truth within the naturalistic framework.
Here’s my point: If human reasoning was just the product of natural selection, why should we trust our reasoning? When it comes to celebrating reason, it seems to me that naturalism—as a worldview—isn’t the best fit.
Still, many atheists have been emotionally hurt by Christians. And I believe positive things can happen when reasonable people get together, honestly see each other as real people, and respectfully dialogue about worldview issues. I hope some of this can happen in Washington D.C.
The Christian Response in D.C.
Something you might not know is that I used to live in Maryland and spent a good amount of time playing tourist in Washington D.C. (Although I haven’t been back east since 2003). I just learned that some of my brothers and sisters from around the world—people who believe that Christianity is a reasonable worldview—also plan to gather in D.C. on March 24 to “demonstrate a humble, loving and thoughtful response to the Reason Rally.” They’re mobilizing people via a Web site called TrueReason.org
They plan to hang out in small groups, giving out bottled water and talking with anyone who’s interested in discussing religion, faith, and reason. A special resource on atheism and Christianity is also in the works–a collaboration among professional apologists and members of the Christian Apologetics Alliance. More on this later.
But the Christian response isn’t limited to our nation’s capital. We’re presenting reasons to believe from coast to coast. And on March 24, I’ll be equipping believers to give a rational defense of our reasonable faith in my local area.
Defenders in California
Here on the West Coast, we’ve got a very cool apologetics training event happening the same weekend as the Reason Rally. To organize this, I’ve once again partnered with Biola University and Bridgeway Christian Church for Reasonable Faith in an Uncertain World II.
We got such a great response last year, that I’ll once again be speaking alongside top defenders of the faith like J.P. Moreland, Craig Hazen, John Mark Reynolds, and Sean McDowell.
If you live within a couple of hours from the Greater Sacramento area, I’d like to invite you to join us for accessible apologetics training in Rocklin, California. This all happens on March 23 and 24.