Talking Politics and Faith with Dinesh D’Souza
Whether you consider yourself as Left, Right, Conservative, Liberal, or anything in between, chances are as the Presidential campaign closes in, you have found yourself in political discussions. For some, these discussions turn into debates or heated arguments. For others, they enjoy the conversation that results from the differing opinions. Political commentator, Dinesh D’Souza has been on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, PBS and other TV shows. He has authored more than a dozen books with more than half of them reaching the New York Times Bestsellers list. He also produced 2016: Obama’s America, which was the second-highest-grossing political documentary of all time. We interviewed D’Souza two years ago and talked to him about his faith journey and how he went from political commentator to Christian apologist.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:1-2
D’Souza reflects on his faith journey and how people around him inspired him to a deeper understanding.
“Initially not at all. I grew up in a Catholic family in Bombay, but my family was nominally Catholic. We’d beautifully go to church every Sunday but it was not a very involved or active Christianity. It just reflected ancestry. It was the Portuguese legacy in India; my ancestors were converted to Catholicism, which is why I have a Portuguese last name. I was part of the Indian-Christian community. It was important to me…I would say I discovered my faith for the first time in adulthood. In the conservative world I met conservative Catholics who were very serious about their faith. And I also met Evangelical Christians for whom faith was not just a Sunday phenomenon, but it was actually infused in their everyday life. And it involved the idea of not simply just following commandments and revering God, but having an interior relationship with Christ; and I saw that made them better people. Even if it didn’t make them better people, it made them aspire to be better people. So it showed me a Christianity that was deeper, stronger, and bigger than the Christianity I had seen as a kid and I identified with it.”
“For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” Romans 13:3-5
D’Souza had spent the majority of his career in politics, but after seeing a debate he shares why he decided to move into his second career of Christian apologetics.
“My own faith had deepened, but my work was in a different area-mainly politics. At that time, I was a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. One day I turned on the TV and I see someone I know, Christopher Hitchens, a prominent atheist debating a pastor…and really making the pastor look bad. I realized that is not a fair debate. The pastor is not trained to do this. The pastor probably went to divinity school and is trained to teach the Bible. Whereas Christopher Hitchens is a very formidable political figure with a strong liberal arts background and he was sort of ridiculing this guy and I thought, ‘Pick on someone your own size.’ So I got the idea to jump into that debate, over God and Christianity. I thought it would be interesting to me to bring my work and faith closer together. So I sent a note off to Christopher Hitchens basically saying, ‘Hey why don’t you and I do a debate?’ And then I began to work on a book called, ‘What’s So Great About Christianity,” which came out in 2007. From [that time] I essentially moved into a second career. I didn’t give up my main focus of politics, but I began to write in Christian apologetics and I also began to debate a lot of the leading atheists around the world. I’ve debated about 10 of them and some of them more than once – Hitchens the most because our debates were the feistiest, there was a huge demand, and they’re the most widely watched debates between a Christian and an atheist on the web.”
Deepen your faith. Whether you have been a Christian for one month or for many years, each of us can take the opportunity to study Christianity so that we can explain it to others. Don’t feel like you have to do it on your own. There are lots of great resources out there including books by Dinesh D’Souza, Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell. McDowell and Strobel both were atheists trying to disprove Christianity, but through their process both became Christians. Their books are also helpful for those that aren’t believers but have questions or are critical of Christianity.
Share your faith. Don’t feel like you have to be a professional apologist. It doesn’t have to be a debate either. Sharing your faith can be as simple as grabbing coffee with a friend and telling them how you became a Christian. When people have spiritual questions, take the opportunity to study rather than become defensive. You can even let the person know that you don’t know the answer, but that you are going to check it out and would love to meet up in the future to discuss it more.
Be a light. Whenever there is a discussion about politics, things can often get heated. People are passionate about certain candidates and topics. Remember that you don’t have to agree with the person, but God calls us to love everyone even our enemy. Pray this week that you could be an ambassador for Christ in any controversial conversations. Ask Him to give you the words to share, ears to listen and humility to admit when you are wrong or don’t know the answer.
To read our entire interview with political commentator, Dinesh D’Souza click here. Always on the go? Subscribe to our digital issue and take it with you.
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