Richard E. Simmons’ Reason For Writing His New Book
“I’ve often realized that to come to faith in Christ, first and foremost, you have to understand the gospel message. I’ve always wanted to write a book presenting the evidence for God because what I’ve learned in all the reading that I’ve done, is that the evidence for God is compelling. So many of the books written on the existence of God are so weighty and hard to understand. So I wanted to write a well researched book that was easy to understand so that a 17 year old could read it and really get it.
It’s 57 short essays that can be read in 5 to 10 minutes divided into 10 sections, such as, the issue of evil and the issue of meaning. What really sped it up and actually produced the book was what I saw as the rise of atheism in our world. Pew Research and Fuller Seminary did an interesting study. They recognized that a lot of young people who grow up in Christian homes, when they get off to college or when they get into their twenties, they lose their faith.
They assembled a number of these young people and asked them how it happened. One of the largest responses they got back was, ‘we had questions and doubts about our faith growing up. And nobody ever answered them. Nobody ever gave us any satisfactory response.’ We need to give them answers when they have questions.”
How Should We Think About Evil in a Culture That Loves Evil?
“It’s important to realize that the number one reason people give for not believing in God is because they see so much horrific violence and appalling wickedness out in the world. And supposedly this universe is ruled by loving God, who’s sovereign over it.
And so they reject God because of that. But when it gets right down to it, it’s important to think logically about this. In order for there to be evil, there has to be an objective standard of goodness violated. And where does this standard of goodness come from? As Christians, we contend it’s been handed down to us by God. But if there’s no God, then human beings have to come up with the answer. Some people say that you have to come up with your own morality. And who should those human beings be? Well, usually they’re the people that are in power, but where you run into problems is when the people in power are named Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin or Vladimir Putin.
I find it interesting how Adolf Hitler’s approach to life was, ‘we’re all products of nature. Nature is cruel. So why shouldn’t I be cruel? Why shouldn’t I unleash my cruelty on the world? If a human being is nothing more than a product of nature, then why not eliminate him?’ That’s kind of the argument that so many people believe is that because there is no God, there’s no value to human life. But the problem is that we recognize that human beings have great value. Think about the people that you love like your wife and your children, and to say that human life has no value basically is a massive contradiction.”
What is The Meaning of Life?
“All thoughtful atheists recognize and have to acknowledge that life is pointless. In order for there to be meaning in life, there has to be someone that designs us such that it bestows meaning and purpose on our lives. Woody Allen believed that because life was so absurd and pointless, the only way to deal with it is through humor. The problem is the Greek philosophers came along years ago and said that we are meaning seeking purpose-driven creatures.
Victor Frankl says, life is ultimately a quest for meaning. It’s about answering the big questions. And the big questions are, ‘who am I? Why am I here? What’s the reason for my urge of life and what’s my ultimate destiny when this life is over?’ It’s interesting to compare the godless worldview with the biblical worldview in answering those questions.
The Believer Versus The Unbeliever’s View
For instance, if there is no God, and you ask these questions, you’ll say, ‘I’m just a mass of chemicals. I’m here for no reason. I have to make my own meaning, because there’s no ultimate meaning for my life. And then what happens when I die? What’s my ultimate destiny? I go into everlasting nothingness.’ That’s the response to meaning when it comes to the godless worldview.
But you turn to the biblical worldview and it answers these questions powerfully. We are creatures created in the image of God. Our lives have great worth and great importance. We are valued by God. We’re made in the image of God. We’ve been endowed with certain characteristics of God, and one of them is that we are relational beings.
Of course, people say, ‘how do you know God’s a relational being?’ Because God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, have been in relationship throughout eternity. And the second clue is in 1 Corinthians 8:6, we exist for Him. And Colossians says, we have been created through Him and for Him. God put us here to live in relationship with him. Our ultimate destination when we die is eternal life in the kingdom of God. The biblical worldview tackles these questions and life can be so fulfilling.”
Richard E. Simmons III Thoughts on Finding Purpose as a Man
“For so many men, they’re looking for purpose in their identity, and so many men today get their identity based on what they do. When in reality, you’re setting yourself up for great disappointment in life because it’s just a matter of time before you’re not able to perform up to your expectations. And a great struggle for men is trying to figure out their lives. That’s why I’m of the belief that to really find yourself and your purpose, you have to find your identity in Christ. Your worth and your value as a man is not based on your performance.
God does not judge you or love you based on how well you perform in life. He loves you because you are His workmanship. We are here to live in a relationship with God. We need to realize how greatly He values and loves us and that we are His unique work of art, and that is the root of finding true purpose in life.”
What is The Psychology of Belief and Unbelief?
“People come to their beliefs so often because of factors that have nothing to do with what is true, because ultimately we should seek to believe the truth. There’s so many things that influence us when it comes to our relationship with God. The defective father theory is absolutely fascinating. So many young men and women get their view of God based on how well their father treats them and the kind of relationship they have with their father.
I think it’s so crucial to have a father that really loves you and demonstrates that because that will have an impact on the way you see God. The thing about pride is really big with men. Paul Vitz was an atheist up until the time he was 30, but he realized he didn’t know why he was an atheist. He realized his professors had such an impact on him. He noticed two things about them. They were ambitious and they hated religion. They had no belief in God. So he wanted to please them and live up to their standards.”
Why is it Important For People to Have Evidence to Believe?
“I built a whole argument that God exists. I made a very strong argument for it. I’m dealing right now with a guy who’s a neurosurgeon, and he said, ‘I’m not sure I believe in God.’ After we went through a lot of the material in the book, he says, ‘yeah, I do believe in God.’ My next step was wanting to go through and say, well, who is this God? And let’s talk about Jesus. We haven’t gotten back together, so He believes in God, but he doesn’t know who God is.
I believe there are a lot of strong arguments for the existence of God, but I think the two strongest arguments are, the fine tuning of the universe and the person of Christ as the Son of God. I’ve learned that the evidence for Jesus being God is overwhelming and yet people just don’t know. And so I’m a big believer in looking at the evidence and believing responsibly.
When I was researching for my book, Reliable Truth, I did some research on the resurrection. And one of the things that I noticed was the five or six scholars who had set out to disprove the resurrection. They all set out to disprove the resurrection. They couldn’t put a dent in it. And all six of them became Christians.”
How is The Person and Work of Jesus Christ Apologetic Evidence?
“I always make this statement that if I had to go into a court of law and try to prove to a jury that Jesus was the son of God and that He was God, I would make four arguments. First, He had a massive impact on history. HG Wells, who’s one of the greatest historians to ever live who was not a Christian, says Jesus Christ was the most dominant figure in all of human history. You’ve got Plato, who taught and wrote for 50 years, as well as Socrates and Aristotle, who taught for 40 years.
And here you have this Judean peasant Jesus who has only three years of public life. He never writes down anything, and yet He is the most dominant figure in all of human history. How do you explain that time revolves around His birth (BC and AD)? The second argument is evidence for the resurrection. The third argument is the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies. Jesus, the most dominant figure in all of human history, didn’t have any power. He had no wealth, grand education, or a magnetic personality.
Yet He is the most dominant figure in human history. How did he do it? He did it through humility; the power of living a humble life. And that to me is a picture of how God wants us to impact the world, through living humbly. I love what Napoleon said about Jesus. ‘I, along with Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great sought to conquer the world, and we all failed. Yet, this Judean peasant stretches His hands across the centuries and controls the destinies of men and nations.’ I think that says it all right there.”
About Richard E. Simmons III
Richard E. Simmons III is the founding director of The Center for Executive Leadership, a faith-based ministry in Birmingham, Alabama focused on counseling businessmen and professionals, which he started in 2001. Richard and The Center’s team currently meet weekly with over 500 people in small groups and one-on-one studies and coaching sessions in the Birmingham, Alabama area.
Richard is the best-selling author of The True Measure of a Man, Reliable Truth, The Power of a Humble Life, and more. His approach is structured and methodical, and his passion is transforming lives through gaining wisdom and applying truth to every area of life. Last year Richard wrote The Reason for Life, which deals with our search for meaning and purpose. His newest book, Reflections on the Existence of God is a series of short essays seeking to answer life’s most enduring question: Does God exist?
As Richard’s oldest child was about to start college, he was moved to write his compelling book, Sex at First Sight, addressing the topic of the hookup culture. The messages in that book are currently touching hearts and forming, or reforming, lives in ways that God alone can know and own. Richard’s first book, The True Measure of a Man, has been changing men’s lives and their concepts of themselves as men for more than ten years, and was adapted for prison ministry in recent years as The True Measure of a Man – Prison Edition. That book, and its associated study guide, is transfiguring the lives of men in prison facilities throughout the southeast United States.
Richard was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama and educated at Sewanee, The University of the South. He worked in the insurance industry for 28 years, many of those as CEO of Hilb, Rogal and Hamilton before starting The Center. When he’s not spending time with his wife Holly and their three children, Richard enjoys teaching, counseling, writing, or speaking to men’s groups across the country. Tune in to Richard’s Reliable Truth Podcast on your favorite podcast app.
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