Originally posted at Naples Daily News by Laura Gates.
Dinesh D’Souza has this message for Christians in America: “Step it up.”
“This is a special time where we, as Christians, are called to do more for our faith and for our country,” he implored, addressing a crowd of about 1,550 gathered for the Bonita Christian Forum Monday night.
D’Souza is a best-selling author, documentary filmmaker and political analyst who doesn’t shy from controversy.
He’s tackled subjects like racism, wealth and human suffering and taken on President Barack Obama with the second-highest grossing political documentary of all time: 2016: Obama’s America.
It is the only movie Giuseppe Capilli and Susanna Foglino have ventured to the theater to see in the last 15 years. Snowbirds from Italy, the couple said they’ll head to the theater again for D’Souza’s next film on Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party — planned for release right before the Democratic National Convention in July.
“I was a fan since the beginning,” Capilli said of D’Souza’s work. He became acquainted with the prolific author through reading D’Souza’s 1997 biography of Ronald Reagan.
Along with his political commentaries, D’Souza is an outspoken Christian apologist, frequently debating high-profile atheists in academic settings.
On Wednesday, he will debate liberal progressive Bill Ayers at the University of Michigan on the topic, “What’s so exceptional about America?”
“He is a man of unsearchable intellect on history, politics, theology and philosophy,” said Pastor Doug Pratt, as he introduced the speaker at First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs Monday. “He is a man who sometimes controversially, and always fiercely, speaks what he believes. He is a fresh voice for our times.”
Monday’s address centered on the status of Christianity in America today.
“We are living in a very remarkable moment in the history of this country and also the history of this world,” asserted D’Souza as he opened his presentation to the forum. America is no longer a Christian society, he said.
“Christianity, for the first time for a lot of people in our culture, is strange,” he noted. “It’s our job to be the vehicles to get the knowledge of Christianity — and what it means to us and how it makes our lives better — to them.”
D’Souza brings the perspective of an immigrant from India who loves his adopted country. Born into a Catholic family in Mumbai, D’Souza came to the U.S. as an exchange student in 1983 and never left. He became a self-described “Dartmouth Reaganite” and eventually landed a position in the Reagan administration as a policy analyst.
While he grew up in a religious minority in India, his faith was enlivened through exposure to Evangelical Christianity in his 30s, D’Souza explained. He now takes on what he calls “new atheism.”
“I would describe them as missionary atheists,” he said. “They want converts.”
Far from being mere unbelievers, content to let others believe what they will, these atheists use American institutions like universities and Hollywood to influence young minds, D’Souza said.
“The majority aren’t really unbelievers at all,” he asserted. “I would actually call them wounded theists. It’s not that they don’t believe in God; they’re angry at God. They have a beef with God.”
The problem for the American atheist, D’Souza argued, is, “The atheist of today is standing on a Christian mountain.”
The values of democracy and the “unalienable rights” presented in the Declaration of Independence are founded on Biblical principles, he said. Many Eastern nations do not share the West’s outpouring of compassion during times of natural disaster, nor do they value all human life as equal, D’Souza argues.
Much of the reason America is exceptional is that it is a nation founded on Christianity, he said.
“We’re in a fight for the culture, with institutions of the culture dominated by people who are very hostile to our values,” D’Souza added.
However, this age of internet and social media presents many opportunities for Christians to make their mark on the culture.
“All of us in this room are actually more influential than we think,” D’Souza encouraged. “This audience has a huge amount of power, most of it unused.”
Read more at Naples Daily News.
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