When I first watched the video, I immediately struggled with it, but I thought maybe I was way off because people that I really respect posted it or commented on it... For whatever reason, it just didn't sit well with me. Basically Glyn Barrett's argument (before which he states he can prove the existence of God in 2 minutes) is that the atheist professor doesn't know everything there is to know in the universe (the professor agrees to this) and since this is true, then God just might exist but the professor just doesn't know this because of his limited knowledge. Boom! Drop the mic!
Under this logic then I'm guessing its very possible that
Mermaids are for real,
and of course, Big Foot lives right down the street (or in Montana).
Now for sure, Barrett is right, we do not know everything - this is true, although I'm fairly certain this professor might know quite a bit. But there are serious problems with the whole video in my opinion - especially in Glyn's posture and tone. Problems that have caused a major disconnect between today's emerging post-christian world and the Church. If you were able to see the video then you may get what I'm talking about.
So here are three quick things that I thought when I first saw the video.
1. Arrogance - this is really why initially I was put-off. Christians speaking with zero humility. It's arrogant, dismissive, yuck! No wonder some of my agnostic and atheistic friends are not interested in the faith. No wonder students are walking away from the Church - this just isn't attractive, warm, or, dare I say it, loving.
2. Anti-Intellect - Why not deal with what was presented in a way that shows the faith is reasonable, historical, logical...? Take a shot and wrestle a bit with evidence. Say something that helps those in the audience actually see that Christians have something to say - that we can contribute to life's biggest questions. Go ahead, you were invited to have a seat at the table - so sit down and humbly contribute. Listen, listen, listen, and then respond with humble, not loaded, questions.
3. A safe one-sided story - I'm not even sure if this story is true, but at any rate, he is talking to a room full of laughing and applauding people. But the other side isn't being fairly presented on the stage (at least not in this short video). This is what tends to happen in the Church. But I guarantee that there are some skeptics, doubters, and struggling believers there in the crowd. I wonder if they are feeling dismissed? I wonder if they feel safe to ask a question? I wonder if they leave thinking that there isn't room for them in the church?
Christians have to relearn what it is like to live in a world that is no longer sympathetic to their faith. We can't act like we are the dominant voice and influence any more.
Honestly, there is much more to say here. And maybe I'll talk more a bit later, but if I was put off by this video, I wonder what my agnostic friends are thinking?
There are great Christian thinkers who are humbly engaging with todays world in ways I hope many of us follow. They are brilliant yet humble and are making inroads on very tough terrain. I can think of Ravi Zacharias, N.T. Wright, and others...
To read more about the post-christian world and how we might respond, check out: Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World.