Atheism -- A Three-Part Article
by Kenny Chumbley
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Arguments Against Atheism, Part 1 OF 3
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Psalms 53:1
In this and the next two parts to this article, I hope to show that atheists don’t become atheists because of premises, but because of conclusions. I contend—and I’m quite comfortable being brazen about it—that no one has ever become an atheist because reason or evidence (deduction or induction) drove them to the conclusion that there is no God.
Atheists want us to think that their unbelief is logical and reasonable and that anyone who disagrees with them is a complete idiot, but nothing about atheism is logical or reasonable. The momentum of rational thought leads only to God.
When David wrote, “the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God,” the Hebrew word he used for fool is nabal (David’s wife, Abigal, had a husband named Nabal, 1 Samuel 25). Although nabal can mean foolish or stupid, it comes from a root that means "to wither." It’s translated this way in Psalm 1.3 where it is said of the godly man that “his leaf also shall not wither [nabal].” Because the righteous have constant access to life-giving water (God’s word, v 2), they are resistant to the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional drought of unbelief.
“Not so the ungodly!” (Ps. 1.4, MOF). They who say there is no God are as dry as dust when it comes to presenting a cogent argument that shows their unbelief to be reasonable. But no matter how celebrated a Carl Sagan, or how clever a Richard Dawkins, or how courageous a Stephen Hawking, their atheism is nothing but the emperor’s new clothes, warring against rational thought, moral behavior, and their own humanity.
If there is no God, atheists are obligated to demonstrate such by considerations that are either self-evident and/or empirical, for the only way we know anything is through self-evident or empirical means (I’m talking here about matters of the head, not the heart). Self-evident knowledge includes things we just know, in and of ourselves, to be true. In classical logic, such knowledge is expressed as: "a is not non-a" and if this is true, its opposite cannot be true; e.g., if it is noon, it is not midnight. Empirical knowledge, however, comes not from within us but from outside us, from the world around us that we perceive through our five senses and learn about through experimentation and observation (e.g., water freezes at 32°F). Somewhere along the line I just knew that I can’t walk in opposite directions at the same time, but I didn’t just know that the sun appears to rise in the east; it was my sense of sight that taught me about the dawn. If atheists expect to be taken seriously, they must show how innate reason or empirical investigation leads to the conclusion that there is no God.
But this they cannot do, for whether we’re talking about our reason within us or the world around us, God has not left Himself without witness. If the Lord wills, in the next paper I’ll try to show that the only viable conclusion from self-evident knowledge (reason) is that God is; in the paper after that, I’ll try to show that the only viable conclusion from empirical evidence is that Jesus is God.
Editors note: Please listen carefully to the arguments of atheists and ask yourself: are these logical and reasonable arguments, or are they ridicule. We commend the honesty of Richard Dawkins by his own statement on his Twitter account: "Treats all religions with good-humoured ridicule." Ridicule is not reasonable logic. The evidence of the stars, the complexity of life and science itself are logical premises that beg for a reasonable conclusion as to their origin. This is discussed in the next part of this article. -dbb
Arguments Against Atheism, Part 2 of 3
An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it.
-- Newton’s 1st Law of Motion
“To say that one is an unbeliever does not mean that the one believes nothing” (James D. Bales, You Believe, 10). Atheists do not believe in the existence of God, but there are many things they do believe, some of which are utterly unbelievable.
To demonstrate this, let’s talk baseball. Imagine a baseball lying absolutely motionless on home plate, and then ask yourself: can that baseball put itself in motion? Newton’s first law (above) says no; it can’t. In order for our baseball to move, an external force (e.g., a batter, a cyclone, etc.) has to put it in motion. In the absence of any outside force, that baseball is going nowhere.
If astronomers are to be believed, our "baseball," which seems to be lying absolutely still, is, in fact, sitting on a planet that is rotating on its axis at 1,000 mph, while revolving the sun at 8,677 mph, while being part of a solar system zipping along at 493,200 mph. (Now that’s what I call a fastball!) But these figures beg a question: if the universe/all matter is in motion, how did it get in motion? Since an object at rest stays at rest, and since it takes an external force to make an object move, what external force set the universe/matter in motion?
It won’t do to say that matter set itself in motion; you might as well argue that a baseball can knock itself out of the park. But just as a baseball by itself cannot produce a home run, matter by itself cannot produce motion. And no scientist or philosopher can imagine how it could be otherwise.
Richard Dawkins, an English evolutionary biologist, may currently be atheism’s best- known apologist. In his book, The God Delusion, he talks about motion in his chapter titled “Arguments for God’s Existence.” He doesn’t deny that it’s logical to think that at some point in the past there had to be an unmoved mover or and uncaused cause; he just denies that the God of the Bible is the terminus that set everything in motion. (Dawkins thinks that omniscience and omnipotence are mutually exclusive, and that anyone who believes these qualities can coexist in the same being is delusional. [Interestingly, when he does that he leaves the world of logic and lands in the world of ridicule -- see Editor's Note above-dbb.]). Since he rules out the supernatural as the explanation for motion, what does Dawkins posit instead? “Some other physical concept as yet unknown.” This is the rubbish atheists talk when science and reason are against them; this is how men talk when they’ll believe anything before believing that a Supreme Being exists.
I maintain that atheism is irrational/contrary to reason and that its denial of Newton’s first law of motion is just one of the things that proves it. When all the forensic dust settles, atheism believes that a baseball—without any external force acting upon it—can put itself in play. You want to talk absurdity? That’s absurd! If baseball was played nonstop from now till infinity and beyond, that would never happen. So, since “anything that is in motion [has been] moved by something else” (William Lane Craig, Apologetics, An Introduction, 63), how can matter in motion be explained? The only rational and reasonable explanation is that Someone—not something—made it move. I believe that Someone is God.
Arguments Against Atheism, Part 3 of 3
Here is a teacher of religion [who] professes to stake his entire claims upon his ability, after having been [put] to death, to rise again from the grave. (R. M’Cheyne Edgar, The Gospel of a Risen Saviour, 32).
Atheism likes to portray Christianity as the non-thinking man’s sugar stick. In many circles (often, academic), to profess faith in Christ is to commit intellectual suicide. But in truth, it is unbelief that has set itself against reason and evidence; it is unbelief that believes the unbelievable and grasps at impossible straws.
The strongest reason for believing in the existence of God is empirical. By empirical, I mean knowledge that comes to us through our five senses. “The empirical approach to the being of God is so obvious and so straightforward that we should expect it always to be the major approach. The most convincing reason for believing that the moon is in the sky is not the inferential approach concerning the existence of the tides, but the direct evidence that men see it” (Elton Trueblood, Philosophy of Religion, 143). The empirical approach means that I believe in the God of the Bible because He has been seen:
- On the basis of accepted principles of textual and historical analysis, the Gospel records are seen to be trustworthy, primary source testimony for the life of Jesus.
- In the Gospels, Jesus claims to be God in human flesh and says that His resurrection from the dead will prove His claim to deity.
- The Gospels provide detailed, sound, eye‐witness testimony demonstrating that Jesus was, in fact, alive after He had been put to death.
- The eye‐witness testimony to Jesus’ resurrection passes every legal test used to establish the veracity of a witness.
- The resurrection cannot be dismissed on a priori, philosophical grounds; its reality is unimpeachably established by the canons of proper historical investigation.
- Something came from nothing;
- Life came from non-life;
- Consciousness suddenly appeared in lifeless matter;
- Spontaneous generation continued to occur over billions of years without any explicable cause;
- Uniformity (no scientific principle can ever or has ever changed), leading to the steady state theory, which turns the universe into a cosmic perpetual motion machine;
Anyone who will take the time to look at the evidence will see that what I’m saying is so. And understanding the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus doesn’t require some sort of thinking that differs from ordinary thinking. When an individual takes the kind of reasoning he employs in his normal, everyday life and applies it to the issue of Christian truth, Christianity will be shown to be true over against all other worldviews.
So why doesn’t everyone get it? The answer is simple—not everyone wants it. Unbelief is driven morally, not intellectually. Otherwise only the intellectually gifted could be saved. Unbelief does not want the life implicit in belief—it doesn’t want the life of the strait and narrow. Unbelief comes from a hardened heart, not an enlightened mind (Ephesians 4.17–19), and it will believe and behave as it wants, regardless of how specious or stupid it must become in the process. This is what I meant in Part 1 when I said that atheism results from conclusions, not premises. Concluding that Christ won’t allow it to go the way it wants to go, atheism denies Christianity rather than accept the host of evidence that can be marshaled in its favor.
The resurrection stands as the central event of history. To deny it is the height of human
arrogance and irrationality.
No. 146, 147 and 148; The Prairie Papers
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Also of interest on this topic: Is Jesus God? and Why I Believe the Bible.
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Jesus gives his conditions for eternal life: God's Plan of Salvation