The following essay entitled The Absurd Assertion of Atheism was posted by Kyle Jackson to a religious blog March 8, 2010. The original can be found at: http://ow.ly/1fmMg
My response follows.
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The Absurd Assertion of Atheism
“Nothing, absolutely nothing, has a more direct bearing on the moral decisions made by individuals or the purpose proposed by society, than belief or disbelief in God.” - Ravi Zacharias
It’s the one question above all others. It’s a question that challenges every thinking person and demands to be answered. The question “Does God exist?” continues to be most debated, speculated, and researched above every other one we could propose. Philosophers, theologians, and scientists have long wrestled with this question throughout the ages. For Christians, our entire faith, worldview, and reason for existence lies in this one question. If God does not exist, than He can’t possibly have a Son (Jesus), the Bible isn’t the Word of God, and there is no difference between right and wrong. Before we look at the evidence for the evidence for God’s existence let’s look at what atheism is and the dangerous implications it brings if it’s true:
Atheism simply states there is no God. According to a recent study, approximately 2.5% of the world’s population is atheist. The atheists that have had a lasting impact on society today are Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud. In today’s society the self-proclaimed atheists who are well known are Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. Books such as God is not Great, A Letter to a Christian Nation, The God Delusion, and the Blind Watchmaker have all reached the New York Bestseller list. Atheist thought is predominant in school textbooks, movies, and in our government. Atheism is on the rise in our society but why is this?
Why do atheists passionately fight for their position? What’s so enticing about atheism? If there is no God, then there is no right and wrong. There is no one to answer to for our actions that we make on a day to day basis. We are in control of our lives, our destinies, and how we want to live. Suffering and pain are unnecessary and should be avoided at all costs. Pleasure, fame, materialism, and money are all the idols to be pursued above all else. It’s survival of the fittest—whoever has the most toys wins. Live however you please, say what you want, do want you want, and when you die it’s all over and there are no consequences. This train of thought is becoming the predominant in Western society. We want our lives to be our own; we want all the glory for ourselves; we want to be God. This is the greatest lie of all–we can become like God. This is what Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden with: “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” -Genesis 3: 5. Before we look at the dangers of atheism let’s look at the main flaws in its thesis.
Atheism in itself is impossible to confirm. One would have to be omniscient and omnipresent to be able to have all the facts and know for certain that there is no God. In other words, they would have to be God in order to say there is no God. Only someone who has been present at all times and a perfect knowledge could know can make such a statement. As Ron Carlson and Ed Decker state in Fast Facts of False Teachings: “…to be an atheist you must have infinite knowledge in order to know absolutely that there is no God. But to have infinite knowledge, you would have to be God yourself. It’s hard to be God yourself and an atheist at the same time!” As stated in the Bible in Psalm 14:1, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”
Atheists state that science, evolution, or the existence of suffering and evil in the world are reasons that God cannot exist. In the recent studies in biology, astrology, geology, physics, and many other fields of science it has been confirmed that the universe is fine tuned and that science actually supports creation-not evolution. The Cambrian explosion is just one example of this. Science and creation don’t contract one another–they support each other! Also the existence of suffering and evil is not an easy question to answer but it certainly doesn’t prove that God doesn’t exist. There are many plausible arguments on why God would allow suffering and evil in the world. As Dan Story so boldly put it: “Today, people continue to rebel against God. We curse Him, ignore Him, and flaunt our disobedience. Motivated by pride, greed, and selfishness, people destroy one another and willfully abuse and pollute God’s earth…it’s amazing God has not lost His patience and destroyed all of us. Rather than condemning God for allowing evil, we should be thankful that He withholds the punishment we deserve.” We should first look at ourselves before blaming God for evil and suffering in the world! So the argument that claims that because there is evil in the world, there must be no God, is illogical. Now let’s look at the implications of atheism:
Why is the worldview of atheism so dangerous to our society? First, without God, there is no basis for what’s right and wrong. There are no morals and we are free to make our own law system without any restrictions. Lying, stealing, drunkenness, or adultery are acceptable if it feels good and benefits us in the end. Moral relativism, the quickly rising worldview of this generation, strongly supports this way of thinking. It’s a chaotic system that promotes lawlessness, corruption, and debauchery. It teaches that there is no standard on which to live and we need to tolerate everyone’s different moral values. Those who are weak, poor, or unintelligent are seen as useless and there’s no reason to show love and compassion to them. With no basis of what is right and wrong, laws seem pointless and only from one person’s point of view. There simply is no foundation for any law system, no correct way of living, and no reason to follow rules. It creates a system of chaos and calamity without a care or a cause for concern of others.
Another danger of atheism is the lost of purpose. With God there is a reason for our existence and we have an identity. Without God, there is no purpose, no meaning, and we have no identity. In the worldview of atheism, everything happens by chance and it’s all one big chaotic mess of a universe. There’s no reason on why we’re here, why we feel pain and suffering, why we long for certain things, and why we can’t seem to be completely satisfied. With this train of thought, everything we accomplish in life, every act of love, every sacrifice–has no meaning and it’s all a waste of time. So then we buy into the lie to live for ourselves, gain wealth and power, and get as much pleasure as we can simply because when we die–it’s over; so why waste time building up things that wouldn’t last past the grave? As King Solomon wrote: ”Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.” -Ecclesiastes 1:2-4 When we lose our purpose; we lose hope, and when we lose hope; we only gain despair.
The final danger of atheism is the lost of relationships. If God doesn’t exist, than building loving, meaningful relationships is futile. Once someone dies, they’re gone forever–that’s it. There is no hope seeing them again no matter what they believed. Love is seen as a cruel emotion that shouldn’t be used and avoided with all costs because nothing has lasting value. Why love, if it’s all for nothing? Again with this worldview, the only logical conclusion is to live for one person–yourself. So with the atheist reasoning, relationships are given little to no emphasis and above all else; you own survival is seen as the ultimate good. When you die; you die, death is the final blow to your existence.
So with all of this said we can now see that the question “Does God exists?” is of utmost importance and changes the entire basis of our existence. In the upcoming three weeks we will examine the three main proofs of God’s existence: cosmology, intelligent design, and morals. We will look at the scientific reasons, philosophy reasons, and the common sense reasons. This research is by no means exhaustive but it’s a good basis for proving to someone that God does indeed exist. The evidence is simply overwhelming for God’s existence and I hope by the end of this month that your faith will be stronger because of these truths. Then you can boldly tell the world “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist!”
**Next week we will start off with a look at the cosmology argument and the often asked question: “Who made God?”. Also we’ll briefly look at why Earth is so privileged and the amazing facts behind its unique location. Then in two weeks we’ll get a brief look at the incredible design of life and why science supports creation. Finally, at the end of the month, we’ll look into the moral argument and why we have a sense for what’s right and wrong.
(Kyle Jackson is a member of Northside Christian Church and is the author of the Shoutitforlife blog.)
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The following is my reply which can also be found at: http://tinyurl.com/yeksvs9
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Mr. Jackson’s article displays a high level of ignorance about atheism and I would like to correct a couple of his more blatant mistakes:
“Atheism simply states there is no God.”
Atheism is not a positive assertion about the non-existence of any god or gods; instead, it is the absence of belief in god. This is a fundamental difference and one I would encourage the author to better understand before writing any further articles on the subject. Yes, there certainly are some atheists who positively assert the non-existence of any and all supernatural beings, but that does not reflect the nature of atheism itself. Simply being without a belief in god is sufficient to define atheism in its broadest meaning.
“If there is no God, then there is no right and wrong. There is no one to answer to for our actions…”
Wrong. And shamefully so!
This attempt to malign the morality of a group of people simply because they lack religious belief is not only contemptible but entirely dishonest. Atheists are not without a sense of right and wrong, they simply do not attribute their morality to any supernatural being. Of course there is someone to answer to! Not only must we answer to ourselves for our actions, we must also answer to each other and to the greater society in which we live. Who is the more moral individual: the person who behaves rightly because he/she fears punishment from above, or the person who behaves rightly purely because it is indeed right to do so? The debate about the origins of morality continues; in the meantime, perhaps Mr. Jackson could refrain from making spurious and mean-spirited comments about the morality of those who do not share his personal belief system simply because he finds it convenient to do so! I suspect that his willingness to offer such ill-thought statements may elucidate more about his own true sense of morality than he intended.
“Atheism in itself is impossible to confirm.”
Let me state this again as clearly as I can: atheism is NOT a positive assertion about the non-existence of any god or gods. Atheism contains no dogma, no system of belief, and makes absolutely no assertions that require confirmation. It is simply the lack of belief in supernatural gods. Rather it is for religious believers, people who make many(!) positive assertions about the nature of the universe, to offer evidence in support of their belief system. This is something atheism cannot do because it holds no beliefs to confirm. The continued insistence on misrepresenting the nature of atheism is either a display of utter ignorance about the subject, or a transparent effort to obfuscate the real issue. The burden of proof lies with those who forward positive assertions about the nature of the universe.
The rest of Mr. Jackson’s essay seems to follow largely from his unfortunate misunderstanding of atheism and is therefore false by definition. He also makes some profoundly ignorant statements about science which are so blatantly, painfully incorrect as to not even be worthy of rebuttal. Suffice it to say that if any reader is not fully capable of discerning for themselves the glaring errors presented in Mr. Jackson’s portrayal of scientific understanding, they would do well to improve their own understanding of science.
I am not attempting to proselytize for atheism; however, I do encourage people to take the time to understand the meaning of the word before they criticize it. I also hope people will realize that human morality is an innately human trait and not the plaything of religion.