Understanding the Opposition

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

In the May 2, 2019 episode of The Briefing, Dr. Mohler discussed Emperor Naruhito taking the throne in Japan after his father's abdication. Al presented some fascinating history about World War II, Douglas MacArthur and then-emperor Hirohito. I saw some things that can apply to Christians and creationists when dealing with atheists and evolutionists.

Taking some lessons from history like Douglas MacArthur and the Japanese, we see that we need to understand atheism and evolutionism. Our apologetic methods must be better than those of mockers.
General Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito, September 27,1945
US Army photo by Lt. Gaetano Faillace
(Usage does not imply endorsement of site contents by the US Army)
The Japanese and American cultures were vastly different, and Americans seemed to have a superficial understanding of the Japanese people. If you know your World War II history, an invasion of Japan to end the war would have resulted in a horrendous loss of life on both sides, so the decisions were made to drop two atomic bombs to cause Japanese surrender. Some people wanted to have Hirohito stand trial as a war criminal and then execute him. However, MacArthur had different ideas. 

Shintoism was the dominant religion of Japan, and the people revered their emperors as either gods or conduits to the gods, which was probably one reason they would not surrender despite being defeated. MacArthur understood the importance of their religion to the Japanese people. The Allies had just wrecked Japan, but we operated from Christian foundations and could not leave them devastated. If Hirohito was executed, it would send Japan into a further decline or possibly cause a massive rebellion against the occupiers. Instead, a mutually acceptable arrangement was made that helped Japan recover.

Look just a few miles to the west. Those of us who know a bit about the invasion and ongoing occupation of Tibet can understand that the Chinese worldview was (and is) rooted in atheistic brutality. The Tibetans wanted to be left to their own devices. The Bon religion was prominent in Tibet until they became predominantly Mahayana Buddhist (some version of Bon are merged with Buddhism). The religion and culture were intertwined, but the ChiComs were heavy-handed and showed contempt for the Tibetans and their culture. This has backfired on the Chinese.

On a side note, the day I began writing this article, Dr. Mohler discussed another change of monarchy. King Maha Vajiralongkorn became both a deity and a king in Thailand.

While it can be fascinating to examine history and cultures that are foreign to those of us in the West, we can find some practical applications for Christians and creationists. The religion of atheism is not exactly unified. People identify themselves as weak, strong, Christian (yes, really) atheists, atheist-agnostic, and more. While there are several "leaders" of atheism, they do not necessarily get along or even trust each other. When engaging professing atheists (or agnostics), we need to find out what individuals believe and deal with them on that level, giving them a critique of their worldviews.

In a similar way, molecules-to-man evolutionism is very disjointed. Not all accept certain alleged transitional forms, there is disagreement whether or not dinosaurs evolved into birds, the evolutionary timeline is constantly being rewritten, and so on. Those of us who are serious about biblical creation science need to keep up on the material, which educates us on what is happening for both creationist and evolutionist ideas. (On social media, we often need to correct skeptics on their own mythology.) Then we can engage those who are honestly seeking answers.

Used under Fair Use provisions for educational purposes (click for larger)
Conversely, atheists and anti-creationists seldom seek to follow General MacArthur's example, seeking to at least understand where we are coming from so they can have rational discussions with us. They prefer to use misrepresentation and ridicule, and demonstrate a lack of familiarity with reason — which they ironically claim to uphold. Both atheists and evolutionists (and we have seen this many times on this site alone) argue from materialistic presuppositions and biases.

We also argue from our presuppositions and biases. However, science, logic, reason, and truth are on our side. While we seek to understand where others are coming from, we have no business setting aside the Bible. Wisdom and logic come from God, who makes science even possible in the first place. I maintain that atheism and evolutionism are not about facts and logic, else everyone would have a biblical creationist worldview. It is a spiritual problem. 

For the glory of God and properly presenting the gospel, we have to be better than those who hate us in our apologetics. That includes trying to understand where they are coming from, even if they have no desire to understand us.