Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Monday, June 04, 2007

    Irrelevant Atheist Arguments

    Atheism has changed over the last 20 years. It used to be defined as a belief in the non-existence of God. Today, it is defined as a philosophy that finds the arguments for the existence of God to be insufficient. This change in definition is an attempt by the materialist to establish his worldview by default, rather than have to defend it. By doing so, the atheist can force the theist to try and prove the existence of a supernatural God by way of materialistic methods, and thus enabling the atheist to refer to any other method as “insufficient”. This can be seen in the following atheistic arguments that I’ve seen grow in popularity in recent times. These arguments assume a materialistic worldview, and attempt to shield the materialist from having to deal with the actual question “Does God Exist?”

    1.) “Atheists believe in one less god than the Christian. We are all atheists when it comes to the existence of Zeus, Thor, or the flying spaghetti monster.”

    Aside from the inability to explain why belief systems in a materialistic worldview hold any significance beyond the brain cells that created them, this argument establishes absolutely nothing in regard to the question, does God exist? The question of God’s existence is independent of the non-existence of other deities. If an atheist wants to waste his time refuting the existence of Thor, let him have at it. He’ll have my full support, though it’ll be hard for him to find many Thor-worshippers to debate him. This is simply a vain attempt by the atheist to vaunt his worldview above all others without having to defend it. He hopes that, by lumping all religions together, he can refute one and thus, by default, defeat them all. It most be noted that Christianity was refuting false gods long before atheism got into the act. Rather than borrow from the Christian worldview, the atheist needs to come up with his own arguments.

    2.) “Religion has been the major cause of many tragic historic events and human rights violations.”

    Aside from the failure to establish how any objective “human rights” can exist in a materialistic worldview, this argument fails to deal with the existence of God. Imagine a man walking down a highway. He hears a loud noise and turns to see a Mack Truck bearing down on him at full speed, only a few feet away. “If that truck is real”, he says to himself, “the results are going to be bad for me. However, if the truck isn’t real, I’ll be OK. Therefore, I’m not going to believe that it exists.” Obviously, this is nonsense. The question of God’s existence must be answered independent of the results of belief in God. Even if belief in God were to result in maximum evil and no good whatsoever, that would have no bearing on God’s existence. If God exists, He exists. The results of that are what they are. Fortunately, the Christian God is not only real, but good. Christianity has been the greatest source of good in the world, but that is another subject for another time. (I don’t want to be guilty of the same kind of irrelevant arguments for God’s existence.)

    It also must be pointed out that atheism has proven to be no champion of human rights. If atheists will quit expecting Christians to apologize for the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition, then we in turn will stop expecting them to apologize for the atheistic societies founded by Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, and Adolf Hilter.

    3.) “Believers in God aren’t necessarily more “moral” than non-believers”.

    Aside from assuming an objective moral standard for which that cannot account for in a materialistic world, this argument once again fails to deal with the existence of God. The question of God’s existence is independent of either the piety or the hypocrisy of His professed followers. Jesus said that there would be both wheat and tares growing together in the kingdom until the harvest. In any case, hypocrisy in the church has no bearing whatsoever on God’s existence. Even if every professing Christian were a hypocrite, this fact would have no bearing on the truth of God’s existence. (That said, I would hope that this argument would be a wake up call to the church. Like it or not, it’s probably true.)

    Besides, my dear atheist. What will the hypocrisy of professing Christians profit you? If every professing Christian you ever met were to join you in Hell, what benefit would that be to your soul? Will you flame be any cooler, or your gnawing worm be any less hungry? Why do you hide behind such irrelevant arguments in order to avoid seeking redemption for your souls? Repent of your atheism. Turn from the bitterness of your sinful nature and taste the sweetness of Christ.


    Swordbearer said...

    Another EXCELLENT post!
    I'm grateful for the way you are able to see through the issues and reveal the truth, ... in a manner that exposes the false foundations, deceitfulness, and vanity of atheist arguments.

    jdlongmire said...

    Great post - very well targeted.

    funinspace said...

    Turn from bitterness??? LOL I would not ask ANYONE to join me or you in your NT view of eternal punishment…finding it a rather debase and repulsive of construct. I prefer my three friends possible, plausible, and probable, over pretensions of “proof” of "fill in the blank philosophy".

    I demand no apologies from Christians for behavior of humans who happened to claim the theology that you also hold dear. I consider the actions of Vasco De Gamma the same as Pol Pot…very human.

    But since I’ve only been atheist for about 10 years, it’s nice to know I might still change with time…

    funinspace, Atheist@large

    Puritan Lad said...

    Eternal Punishment is not a popular doctrine, even among professing Christians. Proof positive that one cannot know or understand God until he truly understands the depravity of his nature and it's resulting hopelessness.