- Michael D. Bush, Christology & the "Y" chromosome, in Unapologetic apologetics.
Many people in that [educated, scientific] world are skeptical about the Christian faith, but they doubt not so much what we believe than our seriouness and integrity in believing it. They tend to think we are hypocrites rather than dupes. What we need in order to make Christian faith credible in the modern world, rather than a faith defined down to a "believable" but not very substantial core [à la Peacocke, Theology for a Scientific Age], is to show in our lives what we mean by what we say in our special language and practices.
This comes towards the end of a paper on the virgin conception and naturalistic incredulity. Certainly he doesn't make a blanket statement but notes a tendency. (Please note too that he is not opposing orthodoxy with orthopraxis, as if they could be divided, but saying that rather than downgrading Christian doctrine to what "people find believable", we must practice Christian doctrine to show its belief.)
"They tend to think we are hypocrites rather than dupes." If true, it's interesting. Is not the moral always at the heart and root of the intellectual rejection of truth? Is not the moral always bound up with the intellectual in witness? It was in Eden, it was in Pilate's praetorium, and it continues both in the heart of rejection of Christ's claim of Lordship, and in the evidence for it - the new life he gives, on display in the life of his Church.
The other day a friend expressed to me his frustration at his family's view that he is looking into liberal and philosophical views on Christianity only to find excuses for his heart-rejection of it. He found this judgement offensive. I sympathise: it's rather dismissive, and I suspect, not engaging with the ideas he's looking into. But it made me ponder: I don't think he imagines his rejection of Christianity to be subsequent to his study - he gave different reasons at the time. The insinuation is rather, I suppose, that he's not intellectually honest if his research is subsequent to his prior rejection of faith. Yet for the Christian, the moral and the intellectual are always indivisible, because truth and goodness are indivisible, both defined by God and proceeding from God. Of course his turning to naturalistic theology is bound up with his rejection of Christ. Similarly, my reading of such theology (and any material) is bound up with my faith in Christ! No human activity is morally neutral when performed - it is either from faith, or unbelief. So to say that someone's reading of X is because they have morally pre-decided Y is not a particular slur on them, but a statement of how we all operate, following the desires of our hearts. To put it another way, none of us are intellectually neutral when it comes to morals, or morally neutral when it comes to the intellect.
The atheist may of course object to this Christian outlook and continue to find it offensive. It assumes a Christian worldview which he doesn't share. But that leaves the very real question - why did he find it offensive in the first place? An insinuation of intellectual dishonesty. What's dishonesty to any highly but randomly evolved organism? What's integrity without God? We know we want it - we care about it. But there's no reason on earth why. [Do fire back in the comments, please!]