Minister and self-described "public advocate for the Christian faith" Dr. Tom Dickson assured Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt on Sunday that there was ample evidence for the story of Jonah living in the belly of a fish for three days and other Bible tales to convince atheists.
During a Fox & Friends segment titled "Keeping the Faith," Earhardt pointed out that 19 percent of Americans were skeptics who did not believe that the Bible was sacred, up from 10 percent in 2011.
Dickson explained that many people were turned off by the Bible because it had been used as a "tool for oppression and slavery and violence."
But he argued that those were "universals of human culture, you don't need the Bible to have war, violence and slavery. They were there in Greece and Rome before the Bible."
According to Dickson, "the Bible gave to Western culture its tradition of charity for the poor, love of enemy, human rights. These things didn't come from Greece and Rome, they came from the influence of the Bible."
"I hear a lot of people saying, you can't prove it," Earhardt noted. "Did someone really get swallowed by a whale, did Noah really build this Ark? What's your response to those skeptics?"
"I think there's probably more less evidence than the average devout Christian would hope for, but way more evidence than our average atheist friend would ever imagine," Dickson opined. "Especially around the figure of Jesus. The study of the historical Jesus in serious universities -- secular universities the world -- is a giant topic. Because the evidence is overwhelming and we can know an awful lot about him."
However, Dickson said that the question of why God allowed humanity to suffer was a "real problem" for believers.
"The God we bring our doubts to, our questions is a God who is near us, who loves us, who is tender, who has experienced pain himself," he remarked. "You know, when my 9-year-old girl grazes her knee and runs to me, her question isn't, 'Oh daddy, what's the origin of evil?' She just wants to know that I've got her, that I'm tender, that I understand. And we have that picture of God."
"Yeah, we do," Earhardt agreed. "Reminds me of the footprints poem of God carrying us on the beach through our roughest times. Thank you so much. What a wonderful message it is. What a wonderful message on this Sunday morning when so many people are watching, getting ready for church this morning."