The Folly Of Atheism
Scripture: Romans 11:33-36
Atheism is perhaps the most difficult worldview to defend. This is because atheism is full of contradictions. In their effort to avoid admitting the existence of God, atheists often put themselves in place of God. Atheism is a very inconsistent belief system. In this post, I will address one of those inconsistencies.
Atheism is the belief system that holds to the nonexistence of God. (1) This attempt fails because, well, no one can prove that God doesn't exist!! They can only hope and make excuses. In the end, the atheist ends up in a contradiction between the way he or she lives and what he or she says. This is one of the biggest problems for atheists.
In this post, I will defend two arguments. I have found that both of these arguments are sound arguments, since none of the premises can be rationally denied. The first argument is that no one can declare that God does not exist. The second is that anyone could declare that God does exist. These two arguments eliminate atheism as an intellectually viable option. Let's take a look at the first argument.
The First Argument
No one in the world can declare that God does not exist. To do so, they must also make the claim of being all-knowing, which would place them in the position of God in order to declare that God does not exist. We know that no one may make the claim to be all-knowing. Therefore, no one can declare that God does not exist. This argument is summed up as follows:
I. In order for anyone to declare that God does not exist, he or she must also claim to be all-knowing, otherwise God may exist outside of his or her knowledge in some other way, shape, or form.
II. No one can claim to be all-knowing.
III. Therefore, no one can declare that God does not exist.(2)
I believe that this argument is very sound. None of the premises can be denied, and the conclusion follows logically from the premises. However, let's take a look at each of the premises.
The first premise of this argument states that, in order for an atheist to declare that God does not exist, he or she must also claim to be all-knowing. Otherwise, God may exist outside of his or her knowledge.
If the atheist does declare that God does not exist, then he or she may find himself or herself in hot water. If the atheist declares that God does not exist, yet He does exist outside of his or her knowledge (and there is sufficient evidence that He does), then he or she has become a liar. And who would be crazy enough to intentionally make himself or herself a liar? With that in mind, let's look at premise two.
The second premise of this argument states that no can claim to be all-knowing. Anyone who makes this claim is instantly pointed out as a liar. The fact is that no one can claim to be all-knowing.
In order to avoid admitting God, the atheist must place himself or herself in the place of God by claiming to be all-knowing. This is a self-defeating position. To claim to be all-knowing, the atheist also becomes a liar, in the same way that he did under premise one. The conclusion, then, is simple......
The conclusion of this argument is that no atheist can declare that God does not exist. Both of the premises are obvious, and neither of them can be denied. In addition, the conclusion follows logically. Therefore, the conclusion cannot be denied. This rules atheism out as a intelligently viable position to hold.
This leaves agnosticism as the most anti-theistic position, although agnosticism is just as difficult a position to defend. Atheism has been shown to be a position that is absurd to defend. It cannot be defended both logically and consistently.
The Second Argument
It is not difficult to show that God does exist. If there is even one thing in the entire universe, or within nature, that requires an Intelligent Designer, then such an Intelligent Designer must exist. Here I have given one such example. There are, however, several more that I have not yet had the chance to discuss. These will be covered in later posts, however.
This argument can be summarized as follows:
I. Everything that is designed requires an intelligent designer.
II. Nature is designed.
III. Therefore, nature requires an Intelligent Designer (God). (3)
This argument seems sound. Let's look at each premise.
The first premise of this argument states that, if there is even one thing in the universe that would require an Intelligent Designer in order to come into existence or in order to function, or in order for a function to start, then such an Intelligent Designer must exist. This premise is logically sound and flows out of every day experience.
If even one sculpture exists, then there must be a sculptor. If even one painting exists, then there must be an artist. If even one house exists, then there must be a builder. In the same way, if even one thing in nature requires an Intelligent Designer, then an Intelligent Designer must exist. To say otherwise would be foolish.
The second premise of this argument states that there are, in nature, certain things which require an Intelligent Designer. I have written about some examples. Others that I have yet to write about include: the incredible fine-tuning of the universe, irreducibly-complex systems, and the sheer complexity of the cell. Each one of these will be covered in later posts.
In order to prove this premise wrong, the atheist must first show everything in nature, and then proceed to point out how it would not require a Creator or Designer. He or she must also not make any contradictions. In addition to being time-exhausting, atheism is already riddled with contradictions.
Summary And Conclusion
Both of these arguments are sound. In both, neither premise can be denied, and the conclusion flows logically from the premises. Since both of these arguments are sound, the atheist has an impossible battle in front of him. In order to hold to his atheism, he must become a walking contradiction.
Atheism cannot have a strong case. This is partly due to arguments such as these. It is partly due to lack of evidence on part of atheism. In the end, the argument for theism, and specifically for Christianity, comes out on top. This is not due to chance. It was designed this way.
(1). This is the academic definition of atheism. Paul Edwards, the atheist editor of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, wrote, "An atheist is a person who maintains that there is no God; that is, the sentence 'God exists' expresses a false proposition." (Edwards, "Encyclopedia of Philosophy). In addition, support for this definition is found from both atheist and theist sources. French-born philosopher Etienne Borne wrote, "Atheism is the deliberate, definite, dogmatic denial of the existence of God. It is not satisfied with appropriate truth or relative truth, but claims to see the ins and outs of the game quite clearly being the absolute denial of the absolute." (Borne, "Atheism"). Madalyn Murray O'Hare wrote, "We accept the technical philosophy of materialism. It is valid philosophy which cannot be discredited. Essentially, materialism's philosophy holds that nothing exists but natural phenomena......There are no supernatural forces, no supernatural entities such as gods, or heavens, or hells, or life after death. There are no supernatural forces, nor can there be. We atheists believe that nature simply exists. Matter is. Material is." (O'Hare, "What on Earth is an Atheist?").
In addition, this definition has academic support, as well. In addition to the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, there are several academic sources that support this definition. The Academic American Encyclopedia, for example, states that, "Atheism, from the Greek 'a-theos' ("no god"), is the philosophical position that God doesn't exist. It is distinguished from agnosticism, the argument that it is impossible to know whether God exists or not." Random House Encyclopedia states, "Atheism, system of thought developed around the denial of God's existence. Atheism, so defined, first appeared during the Enlightenment." The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (1995 edition), states, "Atheism is the doctrine that there is no God." The 2005 edition of this same book states, "Atheism is ostensibly the doctrine that there is no God." The Dictionary of Philosophy states, "Atheism is the view that there is no divine being, no God." World Book Encyclopedia states that, "Atheism is the belief that God doesn't exist." The Encyclopedia of Religion states that, "Atheism is the doctrine that God does not exist, that belief in the existence of God is a false belief." The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics likewise states, "Atheism is a dogmatic creed, consisting in the denial of every kind of supernatural power." Funk and Wagnall's New Encyclopedia defines atheism by stating, "Atheism denies the existence of deity." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that, "'Atheism' means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God." The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy states that atheism is, "The belief that God-especially a personal, omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent God-does not exist." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that, "Atheism is the view that there is no God." Finally, the atheist William Rowe, when contributing to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, stated, "As commonly understood, atheism is the position that affirms the nonexistence of God. So an atheist is someone who disbelieves in God, whereas a theist is someone who believes in God.........the common use of 'atheism' to mean disbelief in God is so thoroughly entrenched, we will follow it. We may use the term 'non-theist' to characterize the position of the negative atheist."
Some who hold to the definition of atheism as a 'lack of belief in God' appear to do so from a lack of understanding that almost every dictionary available, possibly including the one from which he or she received his or her definition, are descriptive and not prescriptive. One example of this comes from the Oxford Online Dictionary. You can see their disclosure here: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/words/how-do-you-know-what-a-word-means. For a further discussion about this definition, I recommend this article that reveals some of the misunderstandings behind this definition: https://philosophersgroan.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/is-a-lack-of-belief-the-best-we-can-do/. *Disclaimer: I do not agree with everything mentioned by The Philosopher's Groan in the previous article. I agree with the linguistic critique of the definition of atheism as a 'lack of belief'. I do not agree with the author's theological and metaphysical views about God.*
In addition to this, some of the words often used to support atheism as a "lack of belief" do not truly support this definition. Take, for example, the word "atypical". This is commonly cited to support the "lack of" definition. However, someone who is atypical is simply not typical. A 10-year-old child who is normal in every other way, but has an IQ of 200 is atypical. This child would lack nothing else that other normal children have. Rather, he simply has something that they do not: an extremely impressive IQ.
(2) For more on this argument, see Josh McDowell's "The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict".
(3) For more on this argument, you can see the book by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek titled, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist".