It is Hard to be an Atheist

COPYRIGHT WARNING

In this article:

1. The rules of debate and laws for evidence and how points of fact and objections should be conducted.
2. The Impossibility of convincing an atheist that God exists.
3. The true reasons that people will not believe in God.
4. Defeating arguments for God, comforts the conscience.
5. Points of fact concerning the universe as evidence for God.
6. Points of fact concerning man as evidence for God.
7. God as a necessary reason for everything.

It is very difficult to maintain the position of an atheist without appearing as rather untrained and uniformed. Many of the arguments set forth by the atheist, when turned in examination of their assertions—leaves the reader without a sufficient basis to conclude that God cannot exist. In fact—when the claims of the atheists are carefully examined, it can be determined that the are immensely uniformed about the subject of God, the Bible, and the true doctrines of the Christian faith. Although these are the very subject to which they speak as authorities, it can frequently be demonstrated that they have no real knowledge about any of these subjects in which they dispute.

The majority of erroneous information from atheists originates from other uniformed atheists, who learn these unsubstantiated facts from other uniformed atheists, and so on.

Under the rules for debate, in proving a particular point, the atheists often makes several fatal errors in their statements:

The most common of these error is the assertion that the implicit burden of proof for the existence of God, is on the Christian who claims that He exists.

The first rule of debate is: the burden of proof to prove a claim, resides with the party making the assertion, not the defending party.[1] The atheists cannot simply demand that the Christian show proof for God, they must come with proof that God does not exist and then it is the task of the Christian to show reasonable proof that would give a rational person grounds to conclude that God must exist.

The burden of proof from a legal basis, also requires the apposing party to prove their assertion, not the defending party:

“The burden for showing (evidence) to be false and unworthy of credit, is devolved on the party who makes that objection.”[2]

“In trials of fact, by oral testimony, the proper inquiry is not whether it is possible that the testimony may be false, but whether there is sufficient probability that it is true.”[3]

Common mistaken arguments by atheists:

Argument from ignorance:

“You can’t prove that God exists, therefore God does not exist.”
“I have not seen any evidence to prove that God exists.”

The atheist mistakenly believes that God cannot exist because they do not have enough information to conclude that He does.

Error: This argument omits the fact that no person has seen all of the evidence that is available, therefore they could not conclusively state that God does not exist. At most, all that the atheists could say is: “I don’t know if God exists, for I do not have sufficient knowledge to make such a conclusion. There are also those who hold the position that God does not exist—not due to a lack of evidence, but strictly because they chose not to believe.

Fact: There is a stunning number of empirical proofs for the existence of God, more than adequate to meet the burden of proof set forth by the rules for the laws of evidence.

“In proceeding to weigh the evidence of any proposition of fact, the previous question to be determined is, when may it be said to be proved? The answer to this question is furnished by another rule of municipal law, which may be thus stated: A proposition of fact is proved, when its truth is established by competent and satisfactory evidence. By competent evidence is meant such as the nature of the thing to be proved requires; and by satisfactory evidence is meant that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind, beyond any reasonable doubt. The circumstances which will amount to this degree of proof can never be previously defined; the only legal test to which they can be subjected is their sufficiency to satisfy the mind and conscience of a man of common prudence and discretion, and so to convince him, that he could venture to act upon that conviction in matters of the highest concern and importance to his own interest.”[4]

Argument from silence:

“There is no proof that Jesus was a real person from history, from any historical documents–except the Bible.”

The atheists infers a conclusion based on silence from secular literature.

Error: Secular literature is not interested in the person of Jesus Christ, therefore there would be no good reason that they would mention Him or the things that He was reported to have said or done. The most reliable source for the true and accurate accounts of Jesus of Nazareth, the historical person, is the New Testament accounts, which were written specifically to validate Him as a genuine person from history.

To discount the New Testament as an unreliable source, is to take up again, the argument from ignorance. A person who is not trained in ancient Biblical literature, the original Greek scriptures, or early Christian church history, is not qualified to speak conclusively that the New Testament is not reliable. Those who have earned the title of “scholar” are better able to determine the validity and reliability of the New Testament. The conclusions of experts are: the New Testament is a true and accurate account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Fact: The New Testament scriptures have greater documentation of authenticity than any known document of antiquity in the history of the world.

The documents of the New Testament have essentially come to us after 2,000 years, unchanged in all of the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. Specifically: Jesus as a real person of history, who lived, died, and rose from the dead. These 24,000 copies of the original documents were found in the custody of the Christian church and have been considered valid and authentic articles which represent the true events of the times in which they describe. Under the rules for what constitutes valid and reliable evidence, the New Testament passes every test and must be considered authentic facts of evidence, beyond any reasonable doubt.

“Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise.”[5]

“An ancient document, offered in evidence in our courts, is said to come from the proper repository, when it is found in the place where, and under the care of persons with whom, such writings might naturally and reasonably be expected to be found; for it is this custody which gives authenticity to documents found within it. If they come from such a place, and bear no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes that they are genuine, and they are permitted to be read in evidence, unless the opposing party is able successfully to impeach them.”[6]

“In recent years, no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus or at any rate very few, and they have no succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary.”[7]

“The composition of the various NT writings themselves took place starting in the late 40s and proceeded through the latter half of the first century. Subsequently, these books were copied and disseminated among the growing number of Christian congregations all over the Roman Empire, as is attested by the available manuscript evidence.”[8]

“It follows from these observations that most NT documents were recognized as authoritative, even Scripture, as early as at the end of the first or at least by the end of the second century of the Christian era.”[9]

Argument from Incredulity

Similar to Arguments from Ignorance, in this case, the atheist asserts that God cannot exist because this would require supernatural events which are unimaginable or scientifically impossible.

Error: Just because the atheists cannot imagine that God is possible, does not preclude His possibility. An person or event can be both incredible and hard to imagine, even seemingly impossible—while being absolutely true.

Argument from self-knowing

Essentially, the atheists states that God cannot exist, because if He did, the atheists would already know this as a fact.

Error: This statement is erroneous due to the fact that it relies on the premise that the atheists actually knows all facts regarding God, which he could not.

Arguments from the absence of evidence

“There is no evidence for God, therefore God does not exist.”

Error: The fact is: this statement does not fully substantiate the certainty that there is no evidence for God, it only confirms that the atheists does not himself have any evidence for God.

The facts are, there is substantial evidence for God that any rationally thinking, and reasonable person could observe, and conclude that God must exist.

The Impossibility of convincing an atheists that God exists

When a person adamantly declares to you that there is no evidence for God, or that the idea of “a god” is a myth, it is best to leave that person to their unbelief.

It is better to spend your time on those who are still searching and those who are open to examine credible evidence for the existence of God.

In my experience, trying to argue with an atheists over the existence of God, is often a waste of time and it only serves to irritate them.

I have yet to understand why the atheists spends so much time searching out Christians on the internet, only to try and convince them at great length, that God does not exist. It seems odd to me that someone would try so hard to prove something—which they claim does not exist in the first place.

I believe that their insatiable desire to disprove God, by attacking the evidence of the those who claim that God does exist, is because they know in their heart that God is real. The atheist knows that God exists, because Romans chapter 1 is very clear: when God created us, He placed a knowledge of Himself within our heart.

“…because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. —Romans 1:19-21

In Hamlet by William Shakespeare; the Queen is speaking and she says: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Have you ever spoke to a person who claimed to have no knowledge of a particular event or person, when you knew for certain that they did? This person will argue relentlessly with you that they don’t know what you are talking about—while it is clear by their aggressive denial that they do know.

The person who makes it a continual habit of arguing for the non existence of God, is likely one who actually does know that He exists, but is fighting against their own conscience.

I have discovered over the past 40 years in talking to people about Jesus, that the person who is the most vocal in their opposition to surrender their life to the Lord, is very often doing so because this is their last ditched effort to hold on to their unbelief.

Like a person who is drowning, they will fight the hardest to stay alive, in the final moments, just before they die. The atheists who is so vehemently apposed to your witness of God’s existence—is likely opposing you so vehemently—because his conscience tells him God exists.

The atheists who is adamantly questions and denies your facts and evidence for God, is just trying to hold on to the the last measure of their unbelief, before they give up. Their conscience bears witness to God every day of their life. Everything they see all around them in the world—screams that God exists, yet their stubborn will, does not bend.

Defeating your arguments—comforts their conscience

The only time the atheist finds any relief from the guilt they feel in denying God, is when they are able to defeat the objections and evidence of those who claim to believe. I have read the comments of those who argue with me relentlessly about God. Every time the conversation ends they consistently assert that they have won the argument and all my evidence is null and void.

The other day, I was discussing the existence of God with a young man near lunchtime. After about 15 minutes, I had managed to confound many of the arguments that he had, by staying on the evidence for God that exists from the universe. I asked him how the universe, which did not exist for an eternity past, suddenly came into existence—from nothing, for no reason, with no purpose, as atheistic scientists contend?

I asked him, “why does the universe exist at all, when for an eternity past, there was nothing?”

He told me, “I don’t know, and neither do you…” His answer was correct. The reality of this answer is: since scientists still don’t know how it happened, it is possible that it came about by an intelligence. It is far easier to believe that an intelligent being is responsible for the universe—than to assert that it all happened by accident.

It takes less faith to believe that a person made a car, than to claim that it came into existence all by itself—and the universe is immensely more complex than your car.

Scientists refer to the universe as a elegant machine that exists by a simple set of mathematical formulas, governed by physics. There is no example anywhere in the history of the world where a machine, which exists with technical parts which allow it to function—came into existence without an intelligent being causing it to exist.

Why then do some scientists state that the universe, which is immensely more technical than any machine on earth—came into existence by happenstance?

As my stomach began to growl and my wife asked me repeatedly when we were going to eat, I informed this young man that our conversation would have to end for the time being. I said good-bye and went on to eat my lunch. When I returned to the site where our last conversation had ended, this young man had made 7 subsequent posts after my closing remarks, each one concluding that he had won the argument, and all my points and evidence was overcome by his objections and logic.

In fact, he had done no such thing. This young man had not answered the most basic question: where did the universe come from, and why does it exist in its present form? Scientists concede that the universe that should have resulted from the initial expansion of gases, during the first picoseconds of the big bang, should have produced a much different universe from the one we observe today. This universe would not have developed second generation stars, which are required to produce carbon—necessary for human life.

Stephen Hawking describes the models that scientists have developed for a universe which began under the conditions that were present at the moment of the Big Bang:

“Why did the universe start out with so nearly the critical rate of expansion that separates models that recollapse from those that go on expanding forever, that even now, 10 thousand million years later, it is still expanding at nearly the critical rate? If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in 100 thousand million million, the universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached its present size.”[10]

When all of the evidence is scrutinized, there is no possibility that our universe came about without a transcendent intelligence, engineering which directed and controlled its development, over the past 13.7 billion years.

This young man, in order to suppress his conscience—while his heart speaks to him every day that God exists, had to defeat my evidence or no relief would be found. This may sound like an elementary or unprovable theory, but I have seen the very same scenario acted out by many, many young atheists in the past—precisely in the same way.

Regardless of the evidence presented, not a single one of those who claim their is no evidence for God—will ever stipulate that any evidence presented to them, is compelling. For this reason, we must conclude that their arguments are not from a difficulty with evidence, but a difficulty with their will.

Ignoring evidence

The preeminent fact remains that in order to conclude that God does not exist, the atheist has to ignore the evidence from the scientific community, which presents compelling evidence that God is the source of the universe.

The stunning reality that Mathematicians and Physicists have discovered is : the universe displays clear characteristics of coming into existence at a singular moment, and was intricately controlled to exact a precise result—both characteristics that require design, engineering, and extreme control—by an intelligence of infinite power.

For example, scientist today who measure the temperature of the remaining radiation from the Big Bang, are puzzled by the data.

The temperature of the Cosmic Background Radiation is nearly identical (to 5 decimal places) in every direction of the sky. If the Big Bang took place earlier in some areas of space than others, there would be vast differences in temperature between these regions. In fact, the temperature variations are no more than 0.002% .[11]

This indicates that all areas of space experienced the Big Bang as precisely the same moment, without being able to define a singular cause.[12]

Physicists Alan Guth concluded that this could not occur by accident:

“infinitely many separate regions of space underwent Big Bang explosions all at once—some physical mechanism must have causes both the exploding and the synchronizing.”[13]

What was this mechanism? This is clear evidence of an intelligence acting in the first moments of the universe, to exact a precise outcome. No scientist today knows how this happened, since it appears that is was directed by some unseen force to exact this outcome.

Mathematician, Max Tegmark was asked a few questions regarding the Big Bang, the following are his responses:[14]

Q: What caused our Big Bang? A: There’s no explanation— the equations simply assume it happened.
Q: Did our Big Bang happen at a single point? A: No.
Q: Where in space did our Big Bang explosion happen? A: It happened everywhere, at an infinite number of points, all at once.
Q: How could an infinite space get created in a finite time? A: There’s no explanation— the equations simply assume that as soon as there was any space at all, it was infinite in size.

In other words: Scientists do not know what caused the Big Bang; the beginning of the universe. It is interesting how the Bible describes the beginning of the universe: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”[15] How did God accomplish this: “by the word of God…” He simply spoke and the universe came into being.[16]

Remaining facts that scientists do not know:

1. What caused the universe?
2. Why did it began everywhere, all at once, instead of a central location?
3. How could infinite space be created in finite time?

All mathematical equations describe time and space coming into existence at precisely the same moment. This is not possible by any naturalistic process. There is only one reasonable answer: it was caused to come into existence by a transcendent power and intelligence.

Considering the facts, it is very difficult to be an atheist, indeed

The evidence of the human species

Other than the universe, the second compelling piece of evidence for the certainty that God must exist, is found in us; human beings. We are not like any other creature. We possesses attributes and abilities that science and philosophers have yet to fully understand. These qualities are stunning reminders that we originated from a purposeful creation—by an infinite intelligence. The Bible describes man as made in the “image” and likeness of God. It is by examining, and considering the nature of man, that we can begin to understand the nature and existence of God. For He said that He has made us “like Him.”

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” —Genesis 1:27

Self awareness is amongst several capacities of the human species, which identifies us as an extension of our Creator

One of the compelling qualities of human existence and the unique consciousness of the mind, is observed in the self awareness of human beings.

Self awareness does not suddenly occur at birth, it develops gradually through a succession of different behaviors all of which relate to the self.[17] According to Dr. Philippe Rochat, Professor of Psychology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia: There are 5 levels of self awareness which begin during the early development of an infant and continue during the first two years of their life.[18]

0: No awareness of self, whatsoever. Gazing at self in a mirror, the image that is seen by an infant is nothing more than an extension of their environment.

1. A person sees their image as something different from the rest of the environment. An animal who sees themselves in a mirror, is completely unaware that this image is them. They simply perceive what they are seeing as another animal.

2. A person begins to notice that when they move in the mirror, this motion is caused by their own body. This is the beginning of self awareness.

3. A person recognizes the image in the mirror as self. This is observed by a child of about 18 months who states that the baby they see is “me.”

4. A person understands that the image they see in the mirror is not another person, but themselves. They notice a difference in the age of themselves in photos and between their image and the image of other people.

5. A person can understand how they look to other people and in the minds of the public, in general. At this point a person is fully self aware. When looking at a photo, their personal image is the first person they see.

This ability is unique amongst all other creatures of earth. It is what separates us from the animals and is a clear indication that we exist with this capacity—by design. The Bible describes this capacity as one which came from our Creator. He has made us “like” Himself.

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” —Genesis 1:26

Creativity: Human beings derive a certain satisfaction from designing and building things. Whether it is a painting or a house, the entire process of creation is one in which all human beings experience a degree of fulfillment and joy. Even writing a book has left a mark of permanent satisfaction in my being, as I am certain that it has for others who have also gone through the experience of constructing words into sentences, as an expression of the ideas and concepts of their mind. We see this exhibited by the words of the Bible, in those instances when God creates.

“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” —Genesis 1:31

This is a subtle but compelling evidence that we came from God. For we exhibit the same creativity and ability to build things (albeit, on a much smaller scale), and the power of creation—which the Creator of all things possesses.

Reason: Man can think in a way that is unparalleled amongst other creatures. In fact, scientists today have yet to fully understand the full capacity of the human mind. It appears that a human being may have an unlimited capacity for learning. God is the ultimate mind. There is nothing that He does not know. He is self existent and relies upon no other part of Creation for His own existence, or personal relevance. His mind is infinite and does not require learning. The perfection of God’s understanding of all things, His knowledge of all things and His perfect goodness—are all qualities that only He possesses. His justice is perfect, His love is perfect. This attribute of Reason, is a part of His nature and one in which He has created man with—which exists as evidence that we came from Him.

Moral law: Human beings possess and awareness of right and wrong, from a very early age. Whether a particular behavior of another person is correct, or unjust—we are able to determine this by an innate ability of conscience from within the heart of our being. Again, this is an important part of who God is and His perfection in all that He says and does. Perfection in moral behavior is an attribute that every human being admires, respects and desires for themselves. Even those who do not accept the existence of God, admit that moral perfection is an admirable and desirable quality in a person whom they have seen these qualities exhibited.

“Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” —Genesis 3:22

Anger: Often viewed as a negative, in reality this quality of anger is one in which God possesses in perfection. When we see a person suffering or experiencing an act by another person which causes them pain or death, we naturally feel a sense of rage. This is a correct usage of anger. In our fallen condition as human beings, we often use anger in a selfish way. When we do not receive what we want or expect, or a person hurts or takes advantage of us, we react with anger. Often this anger results in physical harm or death that we inflict upon those who are the source of our suffering. God has the right to become angry when He views the effects—evil actions have upon His creation—made perfect by Him, but corrupted, diminished, and destroyed by the wrongful actions of human beings. God is right is His anger, which brings His judgement against those who do such things. As the originator of all moral law, and the only person who rightly understands what is truly right and wrong, God’s anger or wrath is exhibited in judgement. Only after a very long period of forbearance and longsuffering—waiting for the guilty to change their thinking—does God exact judgement. This is God’s right as the origin and Creator of all things.

Love: An insatiable and ever-present desire of man, is for love. Both to receive genuine love—which is often fleeting and impossible, and the desire to give or express love. These are unique qualities of the human existence, unknown to any other species. We were created by God to be loved by Him. It is His love that we are all craving, without being aware of this reality. Those who come into a new relationship with God, speak of an immediate awareness of God’s love for them and the reality that His love was the missing piece they had searched for all of their lives. Human love can never fully satisfy this inner need that is longed for by every person, from the moment they come into this world. If we listen to the lyrics of songs that are written by human beings, and where a majority of their time, attention, and passions are directed, we observe their search for true love. The Bible describes God as love. Not that He is the possessor of all love, but that He is Himself, in His nature—the very essence of Love, because Love is God.

“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love…” —1 John 4:16

Self Determination: As God, He determines His own existence and the outcome of all events. God has granted a measure of self determination to man, as a part of His love and desire to make us free moral agents. Man can determine what his own life will be. He can even determine what his eternal life will be. God has placed into the hands of all people, the privilege of choice. God has made eternal life—in perfection—in His presence, a reality and freely available to every person. He has permanently removed the curse of sin, evil, and death, and offered a choice to man. If a person does not experience the beauty, perfection, love, and peace of an eternal existence with God, it will be by their own right of self determination—which God has freely allowed every person.

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life…” —Deuteronomy 30:19-20

“…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” —Joshua 24:15

It is hard to be an atheist because the very concept that God does not exist is foreign to the mind and heart of man. Of course God exists, and man knows this fact. Everything that he sees, all around him—at all times, screams that God exists. It is by an admission that God must exist, and an acceptance that He is truly good, though at times, those who claim to know Him—are not. A person should not let anyone else think for them. A person should not allow anger, hurt, disappointment, or any unanswered questions—prevent them from knowing God. For in Him we find the reason for our own existence and the important purpose for our being.

An intelligent being will look at the evidence which exists in the universe and come to only one rational conclusion: God must exist by necessity. For there is no other rational, reasonable, or logical explanation for this universe and the incredible and unequalled qualities of the human species, except that an intelligence of unlimited capacity, wisdom, and love, exists to make these things a reality.


NOTES:
[1] When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim. Michalos, Alex (1969). Principles of Logic. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall. p. 370. “usually one who makes an assertion must assume the responsibility of defending it. If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed.”
[2] Dr. Simon Greenleaf, Harvard Law School, “A Treatise on the Rules Which Constitute Valid Evidence.”
[3] Simon Greenleaf. The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence (Kindle Locations 270-271). Kindle Edition.
[4] Ibid. Locations 278-284 Kindle Edition.
[5] The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice by Simon Greenleaf. Chapter : “An examination of the testimony of the Evangelists”. Published by Kregel Classics, a division of Kregel, Inc., P.O. Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501. ISBN 0-8254-2747-9
[6] Ibid, Simon Greenleaf.
[7] Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels by Micjhael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200
[8] Ibid, Locations 464-467
[9] Ibid, Locations 532-534
[10] Stephen Hawking, A Brief History, Page 138.
[11] Tegmark, Max (2014-01-07). Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality (Kindle Locations 1765-1768). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
[12] Tegmark, Max (2014-01-07). Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality (Kindle Locations 1781-1782). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
[13] Tegmark, Max (2014-01-07). Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality (Kindle Locations 1790-1791). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
[14] Tegmark, Max (2014-01-07). Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality (Kindle Locations 1747-1754). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
[15] Genesis 1:1
[16] Hebrews 11:3 …the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
[17] Bertenthal, B.; Fischer, K. W. (1978). “Development of Self-Recognition in the Infant”. Developmental Psychology 14 (1): 44–50. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.14.1.44.
[18] Rochat, Phileppe (2003). “Five levels of self-awareness as they unfold early in life”. Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4): 717–731. doi:10.1016/s1053-8100(03)00081-3.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s