I used to be an atheist. In my teenage years I didn’t believe in God. It all seemed rather strange to me and I saw no evidence for God, so I never gave him a serious thought. But later, after I came to Christ I discovered that God not only exists, but he is personable, approachable, and veryreal.
In thinking about atheism it occurs to me that most atheists have never really given serious consideration to whether or not a supreme being actually exists. They may offer a few arguments against God, but when you listen to them you realize that they haven’t really thought through the implications of their belief or even why they believe it. Mind you, that doesn’t describe all atheists, but I think it applies to a good number of them.
When it comes to the atheist, I think there are six reasons why his or her atheism is untenable. Here goes:
Atheism Denies God’s Existence But Cannot Offer Evidence That God Doesn’t Exist
Most atheists may remark that you can’t prove a negative, that there cannot be evidence for what does not exist. But I’m not sure this is certain. Everything we believe in must have some kind of evidence that the belief is true or false. I believe I’m sitting in my chair typing this article. What’s my evidence? Well, I can feel the chair as I sit. I can see it. My butt feels uncomfortable (it’s not a great chair). I can hear the wood creaking as I move back and forth. I have evidence that I am sitting in my chair.
Can you have evidence that something doesn’t exist? Let’s try this: I believe in a square circle. My belief is wrong. A square circle doesn’t exist. It is logically as well as practically impossible. I’ve seen many circles and many squares and knowing that these two things are not like each other in any respect I can safely deduce that there is no such thing as a square circle.
God, on the other hand, is not a square circle. The Bible tells us that we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26). If we are made in God’s image then I can deduce that God exists because in some respect people are like him (so he declares in Genesis). I have seen many people and knowing what people are like and seeing the claim in Genesis I can deduce that it is possible that a God exists.
This is not something the atheism can do. Usually the atheist defaults to saying that, “You can’t prove that God exists.” On the contrary, there is a great deal of evidence that God exists. But I’ll deal with that in another article at another time. Simply saying that someone can’t prove something totally doesn’t automatically make the atheist’s statement true. Especially when there is a great deal of evidence over thousands of years that testifies that the supernatural is real.
Atheism Rejects Evidence For God A Priori
This means that the atheist automatically discounts any evidence for God’s existence. His thinking goes like this:
There is no God.
Therefore, there can be no evidence that God exists.
Therefore, evidence for God’s existence is not really evidence.
Since there is no evidence for God’s existence then there is no God.
This is not a rational argument. Dismissing evidence because you believe what it may indicate isn’t real isn’t a fair and proper assessment of the evidence. In fact, I’d say that’s very unscientific in approach. Evidence must first be validated or invalidated on its merits before a conclusion can be drawn. But this is not how most who argue for atheism approach the topic.
Theism considers all evidence for whether or not God exists then comes to a conclusion after its validation or invalidation. Ironically, that’s a very scientific approach—and don’t atheists love science?
Atheism’s Ascertains Can Never Be Proved
Proving that a God outside the universe doesn’t exist requires knowing all that is outside the universe. This presents two problems: (1) No one has been outside the universe, and (2) No one can exhaustively know what is outside the universe (much less inside the universe). To make the ascertain that God doesn’t exist requires complete knowledge of what does exist, and no one has ever or will ever achieve this.
Theists can, on the other hand, make a stand on God’s existence through a cumulation of evidence. Knowing something does exist doesn’t require exhaustive knowledge. Let’s go back to my chair. I don’t need to know everything about my chair to know it exists. I don’t know what kind of wood it is. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know if its strong enough for my rotund frame, etc. But I have enough non-exhaustive evidence to know that it is real, it exists.
Let’s take that argument back to God. I don’t have to know about God exhaustively to know he exists. In fact, knowing an eternal God exhaustively would require being God since only God knows God exhaustively. But my lack of certain knowledge does not automatically means that the knowledge that I do have is invalid. God exists.
There is a large wealth of evidence through creation, philosophy, archeology, and the sciences that make the case that the Bible is an accurate testimony to what is reveals and therefore, a supreme being exists. None of these evidences are exhaustive in nature, but they don’t have to be to come to a reasonable and sustainable conclusion. God exists.
Atheism Denies All Religious Human Experience Without A Evidentiary Foundation For That Denial
Overwhelming human experience for thousands of years testifies to the existence of the supernatural. From the earliest records of humanity to the modern era, virtually every society has had a belief in the supernatural, spirits, gods, etc. While not all religious beliefs are equal, valid, or even correct, there is still a long, deep, historical validation for belief in the spiritual. Atheism generally regards this long train of human experience as deceptive, fantasy, or invalid.
The issue is not whether a specific belief is specifically true. Rather, the issue is overarching. Does the spiritual exist? We can, as an example, invalidate sun worship as incorrect. But we cannot invalidate the adherent’s personal experience, totally. Something led to his sun worship (whether false or true). What is it that led him to sun worship and does it have anything to say about a reality outside of the material world we normally experience? Humankind’s innate desire for spiritual things didn’t start in a vacuum. Hundreds of belief systems didn’t simply arise from nothing. There is something common between them that points to a deeper reality of experience. This is not to say that false religion is right, worthwhile, or justified. This simply points to a general truth that the spiritual need in man is a genuine need and therefore, there must be something outside of man that meets that need.
The atheist can appropriately point to certain belief systems and invalidate them on their merits. Christianity does this regularly, offering evidences for the inadequacies of other specific religions. But the atheist attempt at invalidating a specific religious system does not automatically invalidate them all or invalidate the ultimate reality of the existence of God.
Denying the cumulative total of human religious experience is not the same as demonstrating its ultimate futility. Christianity treats human experience as valid then looks to test for validity and for a common truth.
Atheism Contradicts Human Nature
I’ve already intimated above that religious experience is a part of human nature. Nearly every society, for thousands of years, has had some kind of religious belief system and experience. Religion didn’t spring out of politics, religion precedes politics. Most human beings have a built-in recognition that the spiritual exists in some form. We know this is innate in human beings because we do not observe this in other forms of life. Animals do not express a knowledge of spiritual things or of God. This seeking is not within them, otherwise we would see evidence of this. There is plenty of evidence that the spiritual is a non-sequitur for other species. Animals do not build altars. Animals do not gather to pray or worship. Animals do not make sacrifices to something higher than themselves. Animals do not seek forgiveness and we have no indication they express a desire or interest in eternal life.
Human beings are uniquely spiritual. C.S. Lewis argued that man only has needful desires for things that actually exist. Man desires the spiritual. The spiritual must exist.
Atheism Tries To Shoot Holes In The Beliefs Of Others, But It Can’t Fill The Holes In Its Gaping Arguments
As demonstrated above, atheism is inadequate a belief system to prove its own claims. Therefore, it usually resorts to attempts to tear down the belief system of those it contradicts. This is not a reasonable or legitimate way of arguing its claims. Unless atheism can provide concrete evidences for the non-existence of the spiritual it has no leg to stand on, or a chair to sit in.
Christianity offers something that atheism cannot: evidence. Christianity is not a system whereby people are encouraged to “have faith” without real world evidences to base that faith upon. Christianity is evidentiary in nature. One may disagree about what that evidence reveals, but that fact remains that there is a wealth of evidence for the claims of the Bible. In fact, no discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference. When it comes to making claims for religious belief, that is pretty strong ground to stand upon.