The Christian Atheist
1 Through the Looking Glass: Who is The Christian Atheist?

1 Through the Looking Glass: Who is The Christian Atheist?

February 9, 2021

Who is the Christian Atheist? John Wise is a philosophy professor who spent the bulk of his academic career as an atheist. In 2019 he underwent a dramatic (re)conversion to faith in Christ, and now, seeing the world through the dual lenses of Christianity and atheism, he seeks to understand how a 21st century worldview, a respect for science and a commitment to truth are reconciled in the Incarnation of Christ.

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2 Truth Above All and At All Costs: Machinery of the Looking Glass, Part 1

2 Truth Above All and At All Costs: Machinery of the Looking Glass, Part 1

March 15, 2021

My conversion from Christianity to Atheism started with commitment to a fundamental principle, Truth above all, and at all costs. It will be seen that this SAME principle led me back to Christ, the Way to, and source of, all Truth. The Machinery of the Looking Glass tells the story of how God used my intellectual odyssey through philosophy as both student and teacher to ground a renewed faith in Christ, one in which the conflicts of reason and faith are resolved in the person of Jesus Christ. You can have respect for science, a 21st century worldview, be rational and be Christian.

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3 Lessons from the Classroom: The Machinery of the Looking-glass, Part 2

3 Lessons from the Classroom: The Machinery of the Looking-glass, Part 2

March 23, 2021

The odyssey of my return through the Looking-glass, to a recognition that faith in Christ is a fully rational response , if not the only one, to the evidence given us, was not simple, quick, or short. In this episode, I trace out the long-curve of a growing understanding, based on teaching Plato and Socrates in the university classroom over many years, that human reason must face its fundamental limitations with intellectual humility. The primary danger of the human intellect is arrogating to itself a knowledge which it cannot justly claim. This is the error of ideology that bathed the 20th century in blood and horror. Christ is the Way to peace and Truth.

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4 Lessons from Immanuel Kant: The Machinery of the Looking-glass, Part 3

4 Lessons from Immanuel Kant: The Machinery of the Looking-glass, Part 3

April 12, 2021

Immanuel Kant, in the face of the overwhelming forces of science and philosophy in his day, undertook the monumental task of limiting the claims of knowledge to transcendent insight, in order to allow for the possibility of morality, of human freedom. That is, Kant made it clear that while we can think of human beings as determined by natural and social forces, we can also think of them as free, autonomous agents without contradiction. We choose which of these explanations we believe to be true, but we live "as if" we are free agents in the world. Faith, then, is not contrary to reason, but is the very foundation upon which reason operates. Faith, I learn from Kant, is a human universal; it is essential and not accidental to reason, and while not all objects of faith are rationally justified, some are, and against them the ignorance of the critic cannot stand. 

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5 Lessons from Jean-Paul Sartre: The Machinery of the Looking-glass, part 4

5 Lessons from Jean-Paul Sartre: The Machinery of the Looking-glass, part 4

April 19, 2021

Atheistic existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre seems an unlikely character to play a prominent role in my turn from atheism to Christ, but his influence on my thinking is profound. In many ways Sartre reflects Kant's conclusions that faith is a basic component of human experience, and that reason builds upon faith as foundation. It was Sartre who convinced me that my atheism was as much a faith-position as my theism had been. In Sartrean language, both theism and atheism are metaphysical and not ontological positions. That is, they are the result of our manner of explaining the facts of our ontological reality. As such, metaphysical explanation can be accepted or rejected, believed, or not. Ontological theory, though, Sartre thinks of as incorrigible, as imposed upon us by the nature of our conscious experience of the world. We live it; we are our experience. For instance, we exist our freedom ontologically, but we can metaphysically explain it away as determinism, or affirm it, through belief. This distinction between metaphysics and ontology looms large in the machinery of the looking-glass, as does the fact that Sartre makes it clear that a notion of God is inherent in human existence.

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6 Lessons from Jordan Peterson, Machinery of the Looking-glass, Part 5

6 Lessons from Jordan Peterson, Machinery of the Looking-glass, Part 5

April 26, 2021

The Canadian psychologist, Jordan Peterson, came onto the scene at precisely the right moment in my odyssey from atheism to Christ. He reminded me of the profundity of the Biblical narrative, taking seriously from a psychological and academic perspective a text I had dismissed from my consideration years ago. It was his practical insights and his uncompromising stand for TRUTH above all, however, that captured and held my attention, that helped pave my path toward the Looking-glass.

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7 The Looking-glass: Machinery of the Looking-glass, Part 6

7 The Looking-glass: Machinery of the Looking-glass, Part 6

May 3, 2021

My wife, Jenny, became my portal back to Christ, an incarnation of the reality of God in human form. One of the constant refrains of my renewed Christian faith is the mirror of the large structures of creation in the smaller. The Incarnation of God in man as the Redeemer is seen at smaller scale in God's image in man, in the relationship of Church to Christ, of man to woman, of man to creation, etc. I see God through Jenny, and His perfection is mirrored in her perfection for me, and it was that mirror that was decisive in my step back through the Looking-glass.

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8 The Denouement: Machinery of the Looking-Glass, Part 7

8 The Denouement: Machinery of the Looking-Glass, Part 7

May 10, 2021

As my life unraveled, the intellectual noose tightened. Eventually, as C. S. Lewis said about his own conversion, I had to acknowledge that "God is God." My wife Jenny became the REAL incarnate ideal that reflected my own intellectual dishonesty as well as the larger reality of the Incarnation of God in Christ. Reason is not opposed to faith, but finds its foundation therein. Jesus Christ is the fusion of Reason - Logos, literally both "word" and "reason" in Greek - and Faith, the divine and the human: The Incarnation.

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9 Afterthoughts - The Escape Back to Reason

9 Afterthoughts - The Escape Back to Reason

May 17, 2021

Rationality is a more expansive notion than mere intellect. I make the case that faith in God and Christ is a rational response in our world today, and that value (which is also part of human rationality) is a good basis on which to choose theism over atheism.

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10 Atheism and Arguments for God’s Existence

10 Atheism and Arguments for God’s Existence

May 24, 2021

There is a long history of arguments for God's existence offered by the faithful - the cosmological, the teleological, the ontological. As means to the conversion of atheists I find these arguments nearly useless, because I knew them quite well as an atheist without ever being compelled to reverse my atheism.

This episode is a clarion call to Christians, as Paul put it, "to stand," having faith in God's truth and power. Faith results in action; it cannot help to do so. Trust that The Way is Truth for all men. Proclaim Him, think clearly, be honest, acknowledge what you don't know.

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