Are we seeing a resurgence of belief in God?

By Christian Today |
The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God
The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God: Why New Atheism Grew Old and Secular Thinkers Are Considering Christianity Again | Book cover
Premier Christian Radio host Justin Brierley is optimistic about a steady resurgence of belief in God, while historian Tom Holland believes the confident atheism spearheaded by the likes of Richard Dawkins in the 2000s has "crumbled and collapsed".

They were joined in Westminster Chapel by Paul Woolley and Grace Fielding of The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC) for a conversation inspired by Brierley's book, The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God, published last year.

"The moment I published the book cover on social media, I was deluged with sceptics asking 'what surprising rebirth?' because all of the data suggests the opposite," said Brierley.

"We are all quite familiar with the statistic that tells us that we have increased in church decline in the West."

He continued: "I didn't have data to say that 'x' number of secular intellectuals are now talking positively about Christianity and I certainly didn't have any data saying there's an influx into the pews. However, I did just sense that the conversations that were naturally opening up did seem to reflect a difference in the atmosphere."

Brierley, who has hosted conversations between Christians and atheists for over 15 years on his radio show 'Unbelievable', says he has seen a change in the thinking of atheists.

"More of the atheists coming on the show are saying 'I'm not a Richard Dawkins kind of atheist' and distancing themselves from this New Atheist movement," he said.

Holland echoed these sentiments, saying, "I completely agree with Justin that this kind of confident evangelical atheism has crumbled and collapsed. I think it has so many contradictions within it that it hasn't really been able to put down firm roots."

He continued: "I think certainly in Britain, and less so in the United states, what we have now is a situation where most people simply do not know enough about Christianity or the Bible even to be against it.

"Justin's book is about the rebirth of the belief in God. I think there is a slight degree of optimism in thinking that there is a revival, but I do think that this idea of Christian civilization in the West remains as vital as it has ever done," he said.

Brierley shared with a listening audience that his optimism stems from the "cultural memory of Christianity" still being "strong enough".

"We are still seeing it come back. When Queen Elizabeth died for instance, there was a national outpouring of grief and religious observance," he said.

According to Brierley, questions pertaining to faith have changed over the years and it is crucial for Christians to acknowledge this. He stated that great efforts were made in the mid-2000s to respond to the deep-rooted "scepticism" of Dawkins and others.

"Christian apologetics was all about creating five arguments for the existence of God and four arguments for the resurrection. I just wonder whether it is time to change tack in that sense because I don't think that is where most people are starting now," he said.

He continued: "If we try too much to present Christianity as just a 'follow this formula and sign on the dotted line at the bottom', that might work for some people but for a lot of people you have got to start somewhere else.

"For me it is about connecting with people's heartfelt desires, longings and emotions. You've got to start with the heart and go from there."

The full conversation can be heard on The Whole Life podcast later this month.

Originally published by Christian Today