Tabletalk: What is the most common objection to the Christian faith you hear from atheists, and how do you answer it?
John Blanchard: The theory of evolution, and science in general, have often been thrown at me as reasons for rejecting the Christian faith, and one must develop ways of dealing with these. It can easily be shown that evolutionary ideas have no explanation for human dignity, rationality, or morality, while science's limitations can be pinpointed just as easily. For example, Richard Dawkins' claim that "truth means scientific truth" is not even a scientific statement. On its own terms, it can't be true; it is no more than a silly sound bite.
Yet the most common objection to the Christian faith is usually framed in the question, "Where is God when things go wrong?" On Popular Christian Apologetics tours, I am asked to speak on this subject more often than on all the other options combined. People are puzzled, skeptical, or simply angry that a sovereign, loving God could allow atrocities, wickedness, injustice, and hideous evil to take place on His watch. It is impossible in a few sentences even to summarize how I answer these concerns, but I often begin by positing the case if there were no God. This would reduce 9/11 to a spectacular, noisy, colorful rearrangement of atoms of molecules; it would turn solemn services of mourning for national tragedies into pointless pantomimes; it would make it futile for anyone who is suffering from physical, mental, or psychological pain, or trauma of any kind to seek supernatural help.
Most people have never thought this through, and when I sense that this is the case, I point them to a loving Creator, the violation of whose law is the root cause (though obviously not always the immediate cause) of all suffering. The next steps (though there is no rigid formula here) are to show from Scripture the immeasurable depth of God's love, His amazing grace, the staggering sacrifice of His Son in the place of sinners, and His willingness to rescue us from our sins and to have us live with Him forever in the new heavens and the new earth (Rev. 21:4).