December 1, 2020

iMonk 101: A God Shaped Void? Maybe Not

This piece from two summers ago- A God Shaped Void? Maybe Not– explores some important questions about evangelism, our assumptions about those we are evangelizing, and especially our dialogue with atheists and young people.

It’s the kind of rethinking of evangelicalism I like to do, and it will challenge you, especially if you were raised in the church with all kinds of assumptions about those outside of it.

Is there really a God-shaped void as Augustine described? What if we listened to what atheists said about themselves? Could we still evangelize, or must they buy our assumptions first?

If you live and work around serious unbelievers, this will be a crucial essay for you.

READ: A God Shaped Void? Maybe Not.


  1. Michael,

    Speaking of evangelism, I’ve founf the greatest evangelism tool ever to hit the internet. Thought you and your readers might be interested.

    Grace and Peace,

  2. Thank you for re-posting this article. Like you, “the ‘house’ of my personal experience is completely furnished with the furniture of a Christian society…” yet I live in a post-Christian society. No wonder when I speak “Christian” with my neighbors they sort of stare. Should I speak louder and more slowly, hoping they’ll understand? “T H A T’ S *F O U R* L A W S…” Maybe not. Maybe I need to do an immersion language study program in “post-christian”.

    This makes me want to read Tim Keller’s book “The Reason For God.” In an interview with Steve Brown, Keller said that though he loves CS Lewis and his book “Mere Christianity”, that the people he talks with don’t think along the same lines as Lewis did. He wrote “Reason” as a way to “speak in the language” of the folks he hangs out with. Keller, like you, has done that immersion study. Yeah, guess I’ll be calling Rosetta Stone…

    Your stuff always make me think.


  3. Thanks for bringing this post back up. Defininately a deep thinking post and one that I’ve added to my list of “stuff to think on.”

    I appreacite the quote from the London Times article.

    It is a strange tension to
    A). Beleive that “God has set eternity in the hearts of every man; yet they have not understood it from the beginning” (Ecclesasites)
    B). There is no one who seeks God (Psalm 14).


    C). Yet see people on a search for truth like the Catholic Convert you wrote about, like the Ethiopian Eunuch, and the merchant looking for the fine pearl.

    Could the God shaped whole exist, yet we don’t pay attention to it until something causes us to notice it?

    Chris W

  4. Wasn’t it Pascal who spoke of the God shaped void (hole) and Augustine who said “our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee”?

    Maybe I am missing something?

    btw… still enjoying your blog Michael. Most appreciate the variety and the fact that you are an encourager (recent post on “The Shack” one of many many proofs) and that you seek to unite rather than divide is refreshing! It’s rare, and we need more bloggers who aren’t solely tyring to convert others (and they can be subtle!) to their way of thinking—or their way of church, or their way of…

    Keep it up please—you are an example of what a great blog and excellent writing should and can look like.

  5. I understand the uneasy feeling of being out of control of the conversation. Freely discussing (rather than preaching) with someone their beliefs which differ from your own can be difficult. It requires some homework. You need to understand what they believe and why. Without that you might as well be speaking a foreign language. It’s easy to come away feeling frustrated and like you didn’t make your case as well as you would’ve liked.

    Open-ended discussions are always going to be more effort than learning some lines and preaching them. But hopefully they should be more productive for everyone.

  6. When you said consuming you got it right, people have to keep consuming more and more and more to keep the empty feeling away. Are they happy, as long as they keep the endorphines flowing as long as they can keep their truth to mean something. They worship the creature not the creator.