John Dickson is a historian and a Christian apologist. In his book, If I were God I’d make myself clearer(Matthias Media, 2002), he aims to address the issue – in a world where there are a multitude of beliefs, how do we find the truth about God, if there is one?
Dickson begins by pointing out that even amongst people who claim to have no faith there is a great interest in spiritual things. Yet rarely in Western society will these people engage in a sincere discussion of spiritual issues. Rather they prefer to be distracted with the material things that fill their lives – houses, cars, fashion, investments, even though they sense there is more to life than things.
Next Dickson points out that it is nonsense to say all religions are basically the same or all lead to the same end. For example some religions believe people have one life for which they are accountable to God, while others believe people have many lives (reincarnations)? How can both be true? Some religions believe in many gods, others believe in one God. How can you agree with both views? If we are to have religious tolerance it must be on the basics of respect for one another not by saying everyone is right, as this amounts to intellectual suicide. An interesting set of statics that Dickson includes at this point is that less than 3% of the world’s population have an atheistic conviction, while over 50% of the world are monotheistic. The rest either believe in many gods, a supernatural power or are agnostic.
Dickson concludes with his main point that is of all religions Christianity is the one which is most able to be verified by eternal sources. Christianity claims that at a certain point in history, Jesus was born, lived, claimed to be God, died and rose again. His followers wrote letters soon after these events where they quoted names of actual people and places; leaving behind a great wad of information they could be checked. Accounts of Jesus’ life are also quoted in histories outside of Biblical accounts.
Dickson hopes his book with arouse people’s curiosity and nudge them towards investigating Christianity further. I found his book helpful and a useful resource for directing genuine enquirers.