An Open Letter to Sam Harris (from Dave McDonald)

An open letter to atheist Sam Harris – from Dave McDonald
I came across this post via John Dickson, director of CPX, ancient history guru, general brain, and pastor at the church my grandparents attend. It is an open letter to Sam Harris (the prominent atheist), from Dave McDonald. He is a pastor at Crossroads, a church in Canberra. I don’t know much more about him, but I have heard him described as a faithful servant, who is a powerful minister for the gospel. (Just in case there’s some confusion: he is not to be confused with my dad, who goes by almost the same name; spelt not McDonald, but Macdonald. Also a faithful, committed, encouraging man. But that is a story for another day).
One particular instance of this was while I was at the AFESNational Training Event” (NTE) last year. We were praying for Dave in his struggle with cancer. 
Out of this same struggle come posts like this one; have a read. My thoughts are below. I’d be interested to hear what you think as well. 
The post is from Dave’s blog, “Macarisms“, which does a bunch of stuff, including talking through the interaction of his walk with God and his battle with cancer.

I found this interesting, but also not hugely ground-breaking. It definitely addresses that idea held by many an atheist I have encountered – that “religion” is a way to provide a hope, regardless of its truth. What I personally appreciated was the suggestion that we need to move away from comparing atheism with “religion”. The famous, oft-cited (mostly true) suggestion that monotheists are almost atheists, but atheists just have only one less god touches on that idea. You really need to evaluate every faith or philosophical system based on it’s evidences. Many an atheist would disagree, but I find it pretty clear that one must, if they expect to compare any faith system (be it Buddhism, Islam or Atheism) with Christianity, then they must (as Dave said) investigate Christianity’s central claim; that Jesus existed, died and rose. I fail to understand (and perhaps it is my failing) why you would not treat this as the first port of call when dealing with Christianity. It really does not matter whether it is comforting or not, good for the world or not, or anything else: those are things to be discussed after we have discovered if it is objectively true or not. For me, everything else could be explained in either light, it all pivots on Jesus. And I thought that Dave  implied all that, much more neatly than I could myself.


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