A while back, I posted this blog listing several states of the human condition vis-a-vis God. In this post, I want to take a closer look at the unbeliever. These are our atheists who worship at the altar of science, refusing to acknowledge the existence of a creator. In general, this group consists of men that remain unaware of a creator, men that reject a creator, choosing instead to believe in the big bang theory, and vehemently refuting the idea of intelligent design.
Types of Atheists
As far as types of atheists, we have the humanist atheists who focus on living a moral life in a natural universe. We have the anti-theists who fiercely oppose religion and go out of their way to discredit it. Then we have the accommodating atheists who find common ground between those who support and those who oppose religion. And lastly, we have the religious atheists who follow religions that don’t believe in the existence of God -Unitarians, Buddhists, some Hindus, and some Jainism.
The Atheist Objection
The atheist treats God as unnecessary. He believes that science explains everything, therefore there is no need to introduce the existence of a supernatural God-entity in the equation. He advances many reasons for his disbelief in a deity: the theory of evolution; the problem of logic; the problem of evil; verificationism; sociological explanations of religion; the inapparency of God, the problem of religious diversity stemming from faulty Biblical Hermeneutics, etc. He believes that ancient science lacked the means to study evolutionary advances in life, leaving God as the only other possible explanation available at the time. He reasons that owing to current scientific advancements, there’s no longer a need for the belief in the existence of a God.
The Atheist Questionings
To the believer, the answer is very clear: Science affirms that the entire cosmos was created out of nothing; all of life’s design and complexity points to an Intelligent Designer. Not so for the atheist. Atheists will generally have unanswered questions that prevent them from coming to faith. It is Epicurus that asked: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” Famous British atheist, Bertrand Russell made this observation about the supposed sensibilities of God: “And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence.”
Apologetics aspires to answer these questions using various approaches. In my research, I found this paragraph that succinctly offers one such approach based on the different worldviews each group holds. “Evidence-based arguments will only carry you so far as your evidence holds out. But if you base your faith simply on evidence, then when your evidence fails you, so will your faith. No one will accept evidence before they accept a worldview. We interpret what we understand in evidence-based on our worldview. That is why we have to incorporate Presuppositional Apologetics, or an “Argument from Reason” before we can attempt to throw the evidence at them. The Atheist’s viewpoint makes a lot of presuppositions. If we show them the inconsistency in their presuppositions, their worldview falls apart. Then if we show them that the Christian worldview is always consistent – we have an opportunity to present the Gospel.”
The Problem of Evil
The problem of evil boggles the atheist’s mind because he believes that people can be good of their own accord, or that people are inherently good, a faulty premise to begin with because the Bible is clear that we are all born sinners, and that there are no good people. People cannot be inherently good with this much evil in a world dominated by said good people. “If there is a God, why is there so much evil in the world?” The Christian worldview teaches that God created all things and that He called all things good. Evil then is not an actual thing but a corruption of that which was good. Only God can create; the devil cannot. He can only attempt to alter that which God has created, thus making good evil. The problem of evil then is actually an argument for God, not against Him. “The Problem of Evil is without a doubt a very strong argument for Theism. Also, there are clear arguments from Scripture, from Reason, and Ontological Arguments.”
The Problem of Morality
I enjoy listening to apologist Dr. Frank Turek, author of “I don’t have enough faith to be an Atheist”. He often asks this of the humanist atheist, “Morality has to have an authority for it to work. Someone has to decide what is right and what is wrong. So, as an atheist, where does your morality come from?” It’s hard to argue for a morality that is ensconced in the bible while denying the veracity and validity of the very same scriptures. The moral atheist does his best to live by everything the bible says, all while rejecting the very same bible. He lives by the moral code of the bible while denying its authority over him. It’s a much harder road to take and a futile one too; hard because he does not get help from the Holy Spirit, futile because it gifts him nothing beyond this life.
Argument for Theism
It is C.S. Lewis, one of our early Christian apologists, that said “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning.” The idea that life has no meaning, that our actions have no consequences beyond this life, is false. The laws of logic and morality all indicate a creator God. The laws of nature evidence design in creation. The only way to understand life and to come to the true understanding of God is through Biblical Christianity; it is the only one that is logically consistent in its worldview. All arguments of reason, logic, morality, and evidence point to God as creator, and He Himself has revealed this to us through Scripture.
Scriptural Argument for Theism
I understand the challenge associated with providing scriptural arguments for God when one doesn’t believe scriptures to be the infallible word of God, Sola Scriptura. I once suffered this same doubt until I began my journey in apologetics, leaving me no doubt of both the validity and veracity of scripture as the infallible word of God. Once scripture is accepted as the authoritative word of God, it lights up with plenty of verses vouching for the existence of God. The verses need no explanation as they speak for themselves. Starting with the poignant arguments found in the Pauline Epistles authored by the Apostle Paul, I share some of those verses here to close out this post.
Romans 1:18-32: “18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts… 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts… 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” This chapter clearly explains the consequences of rejecting God the creator- and the problem of evil as a result of that rejection.
Job 20:5 “That the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless but for a moment?”
Psalm 10:4 “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
Psalm 53:1 “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good.”
Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
If you say in your heart there is no God, scriptures call you a fool, meaning you’re lacking in wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5. Ask God to help you believe in his existence, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when he grants your request, then your new journey with him can begin. He is waiting for you.