How can I build that bridge from coherent atheistic nihilism to evidence for Christianity?

Greetings!

As a Philosophy major at a secular university, I am coming across scores of university students who not only suppose that there is nothing supernatural about the universe, but they are convinced to the very core of their being that that is so. Even more so, most of my classmates are convinced that, following the logical consequences of their worldview, life has no meaning, no value, no purpose, which is indeed true. However, it weighs so heavily on my heart that they have resigned to this meaninglessness and nothingness that their worldview has led them to, and are entirely convinced that there is no other way. It breaks my heart that they would rather keep the hopelessness that living a coherent atheist worldview provides, rather than seek truth above and beyond materialism.

For me, on the other hand, the nihilist, materialist, atheist worldview is absurd, and does not correlate to the reality that each of us truly does seek value and purpose and meaning in our lives. For me, it is clear that to say “there is no God” is folly - but for them, with all of the sincerity of their hearts, to say “there IS a God” is folly. It makes no sense to them. Nothing makes sense to them.

I am a little dumbfounded at this phenomenon and I do not know what to do to cause them to see the absurdity of nihilism and help them see that there really can be hope based on solid truth. I know a lot of arguments for the existence of God, the resurrection of Christ and the coherence of the Christian worldview, but I do not know how to build a bridge from nihilism to the evidence for Christianity.

I’m not sure that I have expressed myself well, but I guess my question is: How can I build that bridge from coherent atheistic nihilism to evidence for Christianity? How can I help guide them toward a search for truth-based hope, when they have already resigned and are totally convinced that there is no such thing? How can I help them not only see that the coherent consequences of atheism lead to nihilism, but that nihilism in itself is absurd?

Thank you for your time.

Kelsey Rose

6 Likes

Hi Kelsey –

I hate to go all Obi Wan-Kenobi on ya, but sometimes our best evidence is not evidence as we usually think of it – it’s appealing to what our friends know deep down in their hearts.

Life really has no meaning or purpose – really? Why do they get up in the morning? Go to school? Work so hard to get a degree? Why does their heart know they were made for more than this?? Why do words like these from Richard Dawkins cause our minds and spirits to revolt? “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” Why do we know better than to really believe that in our day to day thoughts and interactions? Why was this song so popular and why does it resonate so deeply? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXcrEVFZOXs

Purposelessness is a hard philosophy to live out – and the harder you try (the more you purpose to live in a purposeless way) the more it messes with your heart and mind (just ask Nietzsche!). It seems apparent that God has built a measure of intuitive understanding into our souls that just laughs at our philosophical musings! (See: Roman 1:18-20, where it tells us people “suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”)

Add to this internal info the abundant evidence for a Creator from science, history, archaeology, philosophy, Scripture, etc., and it starts to add up to a very compelling case.

Yes, many of our friends will still stay closed. What else can we do? Remain their friend. Show them unconditional love. Serve them. Be there for them when no one else is. And PRAY THAT GOD WILL TOUCH THEIR HEARTS, OPEN THEIR EYES, AND INFLUENCE THEIR THINKING. This is not just a personal or intellectual battle. It’s first and foremost a spiritual one. So pray, pray, pray … then drink some great c☕️ffee, and pray some more!

FYI, in my book Confident Faith (in a later chapter) I list 10 barriers that can keep people from Christ. That section might be helpful to you. Here’s the bullet point list:

BARRIER 1: LACK OF INFORMATION
BARRIER 2: LACK OF OPENNESS
BARRIER 3: INTELLECTUAL DOUBT OR DISAGREEMENT
BARRIER 4: LACK OF EXPERIENCE
BARRIER 5: LIFESTYLE ISSUES
BARRIER 6: PERSONAL HURTS
BARRIER 7: CONTROL ISSUES
BARRIER 8: APATHY
BARRIER 9: FEAR
BARRIER 10: OVERSIMPLICITY (yes, I made up that word : )

Let me add that I don’t know of anyone on the planet who speaks more perceptively about these issues of the heart than Ravi Zacharias. Here’s a list of videos in which he addresses some of these matters. I would recommend listening to several of them to see if one or more of them might be perfect tools to help your friends understand that they “were meant for something more.” Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Ravi+zacharias+meaning&app=desktop

May God lead and use you, Kelsey, to bring light and life to those around you!

Mark

4 Likes

2 posts were split to a new topic: What advice do you have in terms of sharing our faith with family members?

2 posts were split to a new topic: What advice do you have for us in sharing the gospel with strangers?