Last Tuesday Nightline ran a special episode entitled, “Does God have a future?” It was a debate between New Atheists Sam Harris and Michael Shermer and New Agers Deepak Chopra and Jean Houston. The first group argued that science has disproved God while Chopra insisted that there was some life force that unites us all.
I had as much interest in the debate as Michigan fans have in the NCAA tournament—it’s hard to care too much when your team isn’t playing—but it did pass about twenty minutes on my treadmill and gave me the following thoughts.
1. It seems significant that Nightline can have a debate on God and leave out the vast majority of people, whether they are Muslims, Jews, or Christians, who hold to the traditional view of God as a distinct being. This may be more evidence that we are living in a post-Christian America, which may not necessarily be a terrible thing for the church.
2. It is odd to watch a debate where both sides vehemently disagree even though they are pretty much saying the same thing. What is the difference between saying there is no God and reducing God to some impersonal life force? Deepak Chopra does not believe that God is a distinct, personal being—a claim which in previous eras would have qualified him as an atheist. This makes Harris and Shermer more appealing to me, because at least they clearly see the truth of what they believe.
3. The next time Nightline holds a debate on God, they might want to invite someone who actually believes in him.