The non-believing intelligentsia’s obsession with scripture seems sadly comical. Watching and listening to the so-called New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris makes one think that these public intellectuals are convinced of the utter lack of substance of the Bible and biblical thought. Many of these New Atheists, though, have found fame and fortune in their attacks on Christianity.
As Christian apologists have noted, though, an entire library could be built that would be filled with the treatises, lectures, and books that attack the veracity of the Bible. We would fill shelf after shelf, cabinet after cabinet, row after row, wing after wing, all radiating out from the central podium that could prop up the single book that has generated so much antagonism, all of the texts as a group seeking to overturn the truthfulness of that one rather slim text that stands alone in the central part of the library.
And still it stands.
For a group of thinkers who like to position themselves as intellectual elephants to the gnat of Christianity, their bazooka blasts never seem to hit much of a mark in terms of history.
And perhaps we could invert this image a bit. If we began to build a library of books that were influenced by the Bible, and in the English tradition by the King James Bible, well, to quote what John 21:25 says about the life of Christ, “I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” An argument could be made, in fact, that virtually the entire Library of Congress is a collection of works inspired by, or reacting against, God’s revelation of Himself through the Scriptures and the created world. We could say the same for the majority of drama, art, music, and other artistic expressions that transcend the literality of the material world and explore all of Creation and its relationship with both the human and the divine.
In some ways, secular writers and artists are like the bird that steals a thread of pure gold and weaves it into her nest, failing to distinguish between the richness of the gold and the commonness of the pine straw. Or the biologist who reduces the value of the human body to a few dollars of protoplasm. Or the botanist who studies the structures of a flower under a microscope but never sees the beauty of the entire blossom. It is, perhaps, a uniquely human impulse that attempts to reduce things to their basest minutia, but in the process we end up circumscribing the transcendence that may be found in the things that the Creator not merely inspired but also created. Like Simon the Magician, they demand that they also receive the power that is derived from the Holy Ghost, and in the process they miss out on the opportunity to admit the utterly awesome, supernatural nature of the Scriptures, and of the God of the Scriptures.
—Excerpted from my forthcoming essay, “Give Me Also This Power: Secular Writers’ Simultaneous Fascination with and Denial of the Power of the King James Bible,” in KJV 400: Legacy and Impact, ed. Ray Van Neste (Borderstone, exp. Fall 2012).
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