Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rowan Williams on Changing a Non-Religious Person's Views

Noting his consistent engagement with the "New Atheism," Catholicity and Covenant calls our attention to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams' response to the question, "What would you say to a non-religious person to change their views?"  His response begins around 16:31 in the following video, and I've also shared that response below:

I’d say try and find the best art, the best writing and the best music that’s come out of the religious context and ask where does it come from? 
It doesn’t come from nowhere: so the poetry of a George Herbert or a T.S. Eliot, the art of a Rembrandt, the music of a Bach or Mozart, or even, Arvo Pärt, or modern composers. That’s the world that religion helps to create, and I think I’d just say: ask whether that’s a bigger or a smaller world, a richer or a poorer world and start from there.

++Rowan here offers a generous invitation to non-believers, skeptics, and atheists not only to imagine what the world would be like if the best of religious contributions to history and culture had never taken place, but also to ask: If there is genuine beauty in the contributions of religious persons to this world, and if the moral values of love, compassion, and respect for the dignity of all persons promoted by religion are worth embracing, could it be that these are "echoes of a voice" or signs that point to the reality of God?  That strikes me as a civil and respectful approach to apologetics and evangelism.


The Underground Pewster said...

Well, that is one approach that might work for some as it does touch on the basic question of is there something greater than self, but when someone's favorite art or poetry is the "Greater Works of Madonna", you might have a tough time using that argument.

Bryan Owen said...

LOL, Underground Pewster! You've made a good point.

Then again, if someone's favorite music was The Who or Foo Fighters ... :)