Atheists Don’t Exist

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Atheists do not give themselves enough credit for achieving such a high level of certainty while announcing definitively that God does not exist.  One can only assume that such a revelation could only be put forth if the entire universe had been painstakingly searched for the presence of a deity.  That the vastness of time and space had been conquered.  And knowledge of every dimension had been accrued and analyzed.

Of course, the atheist hasn’t really accomplished any of this.  Nor has he considered the overwhelming amount of evidence provided by science, history, philosophy, and logic.  Much of the time, they avoid accepting the burden of proof by claiming that they simply lack a belief in a God and positing that it’s the theist’s job to change their (the atheist’s) mind.  Sadly, debating from a position of weakness.

But where does this certainty come from?  Isn’t “God doesn’t exist” an incredibly bold claim, considering how easily the notion can be debunked?  From his book, The Answer to the Atheist Handbook, Romanian minister Richard Wurmbrand, who was imprisoned for his Christian beliefs by communists in 1948, discusses the folly of such atheist assertions:

“Atheists assert that there is no God.  How can they be sure?  The book you are reading was conceived in prison.  The guards regularly searched our cells for forbidden objects . . . They did not find them.  We waited until they had left.  Then we took them out of their hiding places.  You search a cell for an object and you do not find it.  But is it right to maintain that it is not there?  Who has searched the infinite universe to ascertain that there is no God?”

But what if it could be true? What if an atheist could attain this kind of knowledge?  Then we have a different problem.  For argument’s sake, he has somehow traversed the far reaches of the universe, in search of a deity.  Having achieved knowledge of all time and space.  And searched every dimension, momentously finding it lacking a Good Good Father.  Wouldn’t that person adorned with special attributes and abilities such as these, in fact, be God?

Clearly, a material being does not exist that could accomplish what atheists claim because they are not equipped for the job.  This being would have to be eternal and all powerful so as not to be constrained by time and distance.  He would need to be immaterial and limitless in order to constantly observe all of reality simultaneously in the event that, like Wurmbrand’s guards, the deity might reappear when the atheist left any particular corner of the universe.

So one needs the characteristics of God to know definitively that God does not exist.  Who has the characteristics of God?  Answer:   only God.  Crunch!  The atheist’s premise is promptly crushed under it’s own weight.

No, the intellectually honest atheist cannot be an atheist at all.  The best defense he can muster would be to claim that the evidence of God is unconvincing or the God’s existence is unknowable.  Taking the person from atheism to agnosticism.  The philosopher Alvin Plantinga refers to this when he said:

“. . . lack of evidence [for God], if  indeed evidence is lacking, is no grounds for atheism.  No one thinks there is good evidence for the proposition that there is an even number of stars; but also, no one thinks the right conclusion to draw is that there are an uneven number of stars.  The right conclusion would instead be agnosticism.  In the same way, the failure of theistic arguments, if they indeed fail, might conceivably be good grounds for agnosticism, but not for atheism.  Atheism, like even-star-ism, would presumably be the sort of belief you can hold rationally only if you have strong arguments or evidence.”

The honest agnostic cannot confirm or, more importantly, deny the existence of a Good Good Father.

God bless.

 

 

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Inconsistent Atheism

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Naturalistic Atheism describes a universe ruled only by the push and pull of blind natural forces upon matter.  Nothing else exists apart from the physical world.  Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins provided a popular illustration of this worldview in his 1996 book, River Out Of Eden:

“In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.  The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no other good.  Nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.  DNA neither knows nor cares.  DNA just is.  And we dance to its music.”

Is this consistent with the way anyone actually lives?  Do atheists actually see the universe this way?  Can society accept the ramifications of this worldview?    The answer to all three questions is a resounding no.  One only has to review the claims made above and apply them to their own life to refute them.  Described above is a rather cold world, void of meaning, justice, and any sense of good or evil.  An existence, I suspect, that most would agree is not their experience of reality.

The immediate problem here is that Dawkins tells us life is without meaning because the universe is controlled by blind physical forces and genetic replication.  He’s using science in an attempt to convince us that something immaterial does not exist.  Does anyone else see a problem?  Of course, science can only report on things that can be tested.  So is it any wonder that Dr. Dawkins cannot discover meaning through the lens of his microscope? Or record it’s weight?  Or identify its origin?  The use of observational science to respond to a philosophical problem is inappropriate since these kind of questions simply cannot be answered by science.  So, instead, scientists, like Dawkins, must discount the existence of meaning, and a meaning-giver, right from the start.

Here’s what I mean by meaning.  According to James Anderson’s inciteful article from www.thegospelcoalition.org called, “Can Life Have Meaning Without God?”, meaning involves the careful consideration of at least three concepts:  purpose, significance, and value.  Folks who may be afraid to sound boastful need not worry that proclaiming meaning for their life is as conceited as it sounds. After all,  after some personal introspection, don’t you think that most people see their lives as having a fundamental goal (purpose), a contribution to the grand scheme of things (significance), and a betterment of the world (value).  According to Dr. Dawkins, atheists don’t believe this, or do they?  One only has to look at Dawkins’ own biography to see that he seems to believe that his life has meaning.  From his wikipedia page:

“He studied zoology at Balliol College, Oxford, graduating in 1962; while there, he was tutored by Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Nikolaas Tinbergen. He continued as a research student under Tinbergen’s supervision, receiving his MA and DPhil degrees by 1966, and remained a research assistant for another year.”

“In his scientific works, Dawkins is best known for his popularisation of the gene as the principal unit of selection in evolution; this view is most clearly set out in his books:[36]

The Selfish Gene (1976), in which he notes that “all life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities”.

“Dawkins is an outspoken atheist and a supporter of various atheist, secular, and humanistic organisations. He is a patron of the British Humanist Association, and a supporter of the Brights movement.”

Wouldn’t studying zoology at Oxford, being tutored by a Nobel Prize winner, and earning Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees denote a life of purpose?  What if you were a writer of  successful scientific books aiming to accurately describe the universe?  Wouldn’t you say that pursuit is significant?  And why else would he support atheist, secular and humanistic organizations if he did not think his doing so would be of value?  No, Richard Dawkins says that life is without meaning, but lives in a manner that says quite the opposite.

You might say, “But wait.  Maybe the good doctor meant that meaning is not granted from outside one’s self.  Couldn’t he simply choose to commit his life to the noble pursuits of science and education thereby giving purpose, significance, and value to his own life?”

In response, that view sounds reasonable until you realize that if it were true then any one person’s self-created meaning would be equal to all other self-created meanings of the world.  In other words, Hitler’s meaning would be just as purposeful, significant, and valuable as Ghandi’s.  From Anderson’s article, “The only way we could non-arbitrarily discriminate between all these subjectively meaningful lives—to deem one better or more worthy than another—is by smuggling some objective values through the back door. Sooner or later the meaning-from-within camp has to pilfer from the meaning-from-outside camp.”

Furthermore, do you have the ability to bestow meaning onto your own life?  Can you give your own life meaning if your life lacks meaning from the beginning?  Anderson asks, “How can meaningful choices arise out of a meaningless life?”  The truth is that we lack the authority to give our own lives meaning due to our limited view of the big picture.  Wouldn’t any self-created meaning be based solely on our own personal whims?

Moreover, declaring that your life or anyone else’s life lacks meaning denies the obvious effect that one life may have on others.  In other words, even if German industrialist hero Oskar Schindler would have testified that his life was without meaning, the 1,200 Jewish laborers that he saved during the Holocaust, when asked, would certainly disagree.  Schindler’s actions during that horrible time in history meant the survival of generations of Jews.  An incredibly meaningful life indeed.

Discussion of the Holocaust can easily lead us to the next troubling aspect of Dawkins’s worldview:  justice and good or evil.  Again, we can call on another quote.  This one is a particularly over-the-top rant from the Dawkins’s bestseller on atheism, The God Delusion:

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant    character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

If you compare the quote above from The God Delusion and the first quote from River Out Of Eden, you’ll notice the mention of justice in both instances.  More specifically, he says there isn’t “any justice” and that here the OT God is “unjust”.  How can this be?  Which quote is true, if either?  See, by painting God as unjust, he presupposes the existence of something just, since injustice is a deficiency of justice.  Dr. Frank Turek explains this compellingly about evil in his terrific book, “Stealing From God”:

“Evil is like rust in a car; If you take all the rust out of a car, you have a better car; if you take the car out of the rust, you have nothing. . . In other words, evil only makes sense against the backdrop of good.  That’s why we often describe evil as negations of good things.  We say someone is immoral, unjust, unfair, dishonest, etc.”

So to paraphrase Dawkins’s delusional quote:  God is not good.  This again takes an objective moral stand that is denied credibility in his first quote where he declares there is “no design, no purpose, no evil and no other good.”  Dawkins cannot resist because he has to know at some level that objective moral truths and values exist.  Meaning that there is truth beyond the push and pull of natural forces.  He cannot sustain his own view that the world is ruled only by moral opinion.

Undoubtedly, we would not recognize a society that lived out this worldview consistently.  This view allows the existence of a Holocaust that is not objectively wrong or evil.  The nazis could never be blamed for the horrors inflicted upon the Jewish people, since they were simply “dancing” to the music of their DNA.  This atrocity, that is, if atrocities could exist here, wouldn’t be their fault.  Calling acts such as these war crimes could only be considered, at worst, a mere difference of opinion.  Without the grounding of something or someone objectively good, each action in the universe would have equal value, none worse than another.

In his book, mentioned above, Dr. Frank Turek discusses a great example as to how far a consistent atheist would have to go to maintain his worldview, which occurred during a debate between Turek and David Silverman, president of American Atheists.  Dr. Turek pressed his opponent that without the existence of God, there is no objective morality (meaning right or wrong are not based on opinion).  Eventually, Silverman, in his pursuit of consistency, had to admit that there was no way to hold the nazis accountable for what they did.  The immoral nature of the Holocaust cannot be affirmed by the atheist worldview.  The kicker here is that Silverman is himself a Jew!  A world of consistent atheism is a world of complete madness.

Someone may say, “Wait, wait.  People have done horrible things in the name of Christ, haven’t they?  Are Christians any better?  What about their inconsistencies?”

Of course, Christians have fallen short.  You can look for examples throughout history or even the facebook pages of some believers.  But you should not judge a philosophy by its misuse.  And you are right, there are inconsistencies, but we have a name for those inconsistencies.  We call it sin.  And unlike atheism, Christianity has a solution for this problem:  The life-saving blood of Jesus Christ.

We have a Lord who stepped down from his throne in heaven and took our punishment because He loves us that much.  The reality of Him reveals lives of purpose, significance, and value and a universe where the shadows (injustice and evil), as Turek puts it, prove the sunshine (objective good).  Atheism only has these created, blind natural forces, physics against molecules, that fail miserably to describe reality as society observes it.  

God Bless.

A Good Good Father indeed

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The idea to start the Good Good Father Apologetics blog came to me after hearing the Casting Crowns version of “Good Good Father” song on their live worship album.  At first, I didn’t know why the song had this effect on me.  Yes, it’s catchy.  And it elicits an emotional response.  All things good worship songs do.  But after a more careful study of the lyrics, I can see how this song was possibly designed to pull at our hearts, or more specifically mine.

See, for a few years now, I have immersed myself in the study of Christian apologetics, which, simply defined, means mounting a defense for Christian faith.  So to start out this blog, I thought I would go through and highlight a few verses explaining why this song affected me so much and, since art is subjective by nature, might affect you.

“Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like.”

One only has to acknowledge the multitudes of religions and denominations from which to choose in order to discover the many ideas (stories) of who God is.  Most, however, are in direct contradiction of others.  Which is the one true God?  Is there only one?  If God exists and wants a relationship with us, isn’t it immensely important to understand His character?

“But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of nightAnd you tell me that you’re pleased.  And that I’m never alone.”

Traditional Christian apologetics is mostly about evidence and reason.  On this blog, I’d like to include the more subjective evidence of personal experience.  After all, through the course of a Christian’s life, I suspect there have been many “whispers”.  The question is are we listening? Those who listen for Him are the recipients of some of the strongest evidence for our “Good Good Father”, even though the nature of this evidence cannot be tested in the scientific sense.

“You’re a Good, Good Father.  It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are.”

Casting Crowns frontman Mark Hall, during the message portion of the cd, powerfully claims that God is a “Good Good Father”.  That is the kind of relationship God wants with us.  He is not a book.  He is not a lifestyle or a worldview.  We cannot worship a book.  We cannot cry out to a worldview.  More people need to hear this.

“And I’m loved by you.  It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.”

Who am I?  Who are we?  My belief is that one of the fundamental problems with modern culture is that folks identify themselves by what they do and not who they are.  I am one God loves.  I am not a liar, even though I have lied.  I am not a loser, even though I have lost.  I am not any of the horrible things I tell myself I am because of my past.  See, the difference here is that all those things, all those terrible things, I could stop doing.  I mean, it’s at least possible, right?  Maybe not probable, but since these things are actions (lying, hating, hurting others), theoretically, they can be stopped.  So when I really think about it, how could I really be something that I could change?  How could that be my identity?  But the Bible tells me that “I’m loved by you (God)”.  You are too.  This is our identity.  “It’s who I am”.  It’s who you are.  That cannot be stopped, even if you tried.

“Oh, and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide.  But I know we’re all searchingFor answers only you provide.”

Sometimes those “searching for answers” settle for things of comfort like drugs and alcohol, sex, or entertainment.  Others try to find the answers in science.  A more respectful venture to be sure but unfortunately just as fruitless, since science cannot prove or disprove the presence of a creator.  It merely describes the reality of creation.  Our God is extremely powerful, immaterial, intelligent, and personal.  Such a being cannot be confined by time and space.  But science can only work Inside the physical world, while the one true God exists outside of it.  Therefore, science will always be the wrong tool for the job.

“Cause you are perfect in all of your ways.  You are perfect in all of your ways”

Simply put, if He wasn’t perfect, he wouldn’t be worthy of worship.  Though critics will constantly try to point out things about Him that are imperfect, they forget He knows the way things ought to work out.  So he is “perfect in all of your (His) ways”.  In the atheist worldview, there are no “oughts”.  The only world that exists for the atheist is one ruled by physical laws.  A world without good or evil.  Purpose or truth.  Respectfully, this simply isn’t a worldview that reflects reality.

On the Good Good Father Apologetics blog, I’ll be posting some original content but mostly sharing articles and videos that supply believers with the tools to vigorously, but respectfully, defend their faith.  For my non-believing friends, I hope to at least show that faith/trust in a Good Good Father is reasonable.

So if any of this is of interest to you, please feel free to share and like this blog.

God Bless,

Dave

 

Full lyrics to Good Good Father below.  Enjoy:

“Good Good Father”

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like.  But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night.  And you tell me that you’re pleased.  And that I’m never alone.

You’re a Good, Good Father.  It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are.  And I’m loved by you.  It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide.  But I know we’re all searching for answers only you provide.  Cause you know just what we need before we say a word.

You’re a Good, Good Father.  It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are.  And I’m loved by you.  It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.

Cause you are perfect in all of your ways.  You are perfect in all of your ways.  You are perfect in all of your ways to us.

You are perfect in all of your ways.  You are perfect in all of your ways.  You are perfect in all of your ways to us.  

Oh, it’s love so undeniable  I, I can hardly speak.  Peace so unexplainable I, I can hardly think.  As you call me deeper still [x3].  Into love, love, love.