The philosopher Immanuel Kant said that all of philosophy aims to answer three basic questions: What can I know? What can I do? What may I hope? He then linked these three questions to three more: Does God exist? Is man free? Is there life after death? But these aren’t just questions for philosophers. These are the sorts of questions that every thinking human in every era, at one point or another, faces in his most sober moments of self-reflection.
Lack of seriousness about life’s biggest questions is a mark of our increasingly secular, relativistic age—and a mighty unflattering one. As Peter Kreeft has lamented, of all the great civilizations that have ever existed, ours “is the first that does not have to teach its citizens any answer to the question why they exist. As society grows, it knows more and more about less and less. It knows more about the little things and less about the big things.”
The Pew Research Center, for instance, has shown in recent years that the fastest growing “religious” group in America is the religiously unaffiliated. How, then, do we evangelize in a society where this is the growing trend? The first step is to understand the problem.