Notepad Apologetics, Short Lesson #6: Secular Humanism (part 5), My Meeting with Bart Campolo (continued)

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Atheism Leave a Comment

In my prior post I told how well-known Humanist Bart Campolo pressed me on the question of how a nonChristian spouse could live with the indignity of being thought “worthy of hell” by a Christian spouse.

I have to admit, I’d never thought of the situation that way before.

I said to Bart that I personally wouldn’t be insulted if a Muslim friend, for example, told me outright that I was bound for hell if I failed to profess the shahada and serve Allah. To me it would be a compliment that a friend cared enough to warn me of impending disaster.

Bart is a quick thinker. He countered by saying that sure, Rick Mattson as a Christian apologist, accustomed to wrangling over such topics, would think of this “warning” as an act of love. But most spouses wouldn’t.

Right. I’m in for it now. The Campolo guy has been around the block a few times and is no amateur. . .

I thought for a moment and then replied by quoting his book. In Why I Left, Why I Stayed, Bart wrote that he couldn’t make himself believe in God, no matter how hard he tried. You can’t conjure up belief in something you think isn’t true.

Similarly, the Christian spouse can’t help believing in the Bible’s teaching about salvation, heaven, and hell. The Christian can’t suddenly say, “Oh, now that my spouse has left the faith, I no longer believe in hell.” A true believer wouldn’t say that. . .

At best, I came out with a draw against Bart on this issue and others. I admire him for the work he’s doing. Rather than choosing the low (negative) road of, say, the New Atheists, Bart has chosen the high road of Secular Humanism.

Yet, the real battle is underneath. It’s not about Humanism vs. Christianity – for there are many similarities, at least on the surface. The real battle is about atheism vs. Christianity.

We never got into that debate. Maybe someday I’ll get my chance, and on that question my whole confidence is in Jesus.


(This is the final post on Humanism, inside the larger series of NotePad Apologetics. Click here to return to part 1 of the Humanism series.)

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