I am shifting gears a little after some time of focusing on all the negative aspects of religion and Christianity. A pristine second-hand copy of What’s So Great About Christianity? by Dinesh D’Souza became available to me recently, and I just started reading it today. It tackles the current onslaught of atheistic attacks on Christianity by addressing the primary arguments within the framework of traditional Christianity. This is the kind of Christianity that takes the Bible to be the revealed word of God, the primary source of revelation. In this walkthrough of the book, I will leave aside any pre-conceived judgements and take it as it is, until I have completed it.
Here’s a snippet from the Introduction:
Taking as my foil the anti-religious arguments of prominent atheists like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitches, and the others, in this book I will demonstrate the following:
- Christianity is the main foundation of Western civilisation, the root of our most cherished values.
- The latest discoveries of modern science support the Christian claim that there is a divine being who created the universe.
- Darwin’s theory of evolution, far from undermining the evidence for supernatural design, actually strengthens it.
- There is nothing in science that makes miracles impossible.
- It is reasonable to have faith.
- Atheism, not religion, is responsible for the mass murders of history.
- Atheism is motivated not by reason by by a kind of cowardly moral escapism.
That’s quite an audacious list of claims, and I am very interested to see how D’Souza addresses each one. I have read up to chapter three so far, and the preceeding chapters have largely been a sociological survey of the current success of Christianity as the world’s fastest growing religion. Vibrant Christianity, it seems, is an emerging force particularly in South America, Asia and Africa. This comes as no surprise to me, considering that my greatest sources of encouragement came not from Western churches or ministries but from the testimonies of Christians in very different material circumstances who seem to have a rich and deep faith. I can attest to the depth of joy and gratitude that third-world Christians hold from my experience on a mission trip to PNG a number of years ago. Those two short weeks still remain richly embedded in my memory as the highlight of my life up to this time. Additionally, some of the greatest sermons I ever heard were from ministers of third-world countries. They were all less concerned with words and eloquence than the depth of the spiritual life. They had no desire to impress, no need for material wealth, just a burning passion for God.
I think I’m going to enjoy this book, even as I feel the resistance rising within to many of its statements.