Atheism vs. Christianity

What is an Atheist, and Agnostic, or a Skeptic?

Atheism.  The word “atheism” comes from two Greek words:  “a”, meaning “no”, or “without”, and “theos”, meaning “God” or “deity”. An atheist is a person who does not believe in God, or for that matter any deity.

Agnosticism.  Agnosticism comes form two Greek words:  “a”, meaning “no” or “without”, and “gnosis”, meaning Frequently Asked Questions“knowledge”.  Agnosticism literally means “no knowledge” or “without knowledge”.  Thus an agnostic is a person who claims he/she is unsure (having “no knowledge”) about the existence of God, or a deity.

Skepticism.  The word skepticism comes from the Latin word scepticus, which means “inquiring”, “reflective”, or “doubting”.  A skeptic is a person who is tentative in his/her beliefs, neither denying, nor affirming God’s existence. He or she is hesitant, doubtful, if there is a God.

Atheism is a faith system.  Atheists cannot offer definitive proof that God does not exist, and so there is by necessity an element of faith required to hold their viewpoint.  Isaac Asimov, the late science fiction writer and scientist, was being intellectually honest when he said “Emotionally I am an atheist.  I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.”

Answering Typical Objections from Atheists

Objection:  There is no God or all powerful Creator. Humans created a belief in God. God is a myth.  I do not believe God created humans. I view the God of the Bible as cruel, ordering His people to murder women and children.  While Christians maintain that God’s existence is apparent by the things which are made, I view the The Heavens Declare the Glory of Godevidence for God as not obvious – why has he not made himself more plainly known?

Answer:  Logically, this position is indefensible.   A person would have to be “all knowing” (omniscient), and “all present” (omnipresent) to be able to say from their own pool of knowledge that there is no God.  How can you, a person within limited knowledge, living in a certain point in time and in once small corner of the universe, claim to know without doubt that God does not exist.

You would have to BE an all knowing God to claim such a thing.  And you are obviously not God.

Scriptures:

  • Jeremiah 32:27 ESV: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?
  • Psalm 147:5 ESV: Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
  • Isaiah 40:28 ESV: Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
  • Romans 1:20 ESV: For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Objection: Belief in God ought to be rejected, because it is based on faith, not reason.  I will not accept a belief in God because faith is not a “valid cognitive procedure”.

Answer:  Any worldview requires a certain amount of “faith”.  Carl Sagan, the noted astronomer, is a good illustration.  His statement that “the cosmos is all that ever was, or ever will be” is not defensible from a logical standpoint.  Sagan was a finite being with limited knowledge, confined to being in one place, at only one time.  How can he make such a sweeping statement?What is Heaven Like?

The fact is, Sagan was operating in the realm of probability, just as Christians do, when they maintain the indeed God does exist.  The question is, who has more compelling evidence for their conclusion? Which is more reasonable? Christians believe that that atheism requires more faith than Christianity does, because in point of fact there is more hard evidence that Christianity is true! The less evidence one has for a position, the more faith one must muster up to believe it.  Substantial evidence in favor of a belief in God incudes:

Evidence from science – that the universe had a beginning (AKA “the big bang”).  According to the law of cause and effect, things which have a beginning must have had a cause.  The universe had a beginning according to science.  Therefore, the universe had a cause.  That First Cause we call God, or the Creator.

The second law of thermodynamics – that the natural tendency of things in a closed system (like the universe), Evidence for Designis for things to eventually slow down, wear out.  If the universe is wearing down, then wind the clock back – there must have been a time when it was more wound up.  Go further back and you arrive at a definite beginning of the universe in space and time.

The expanding universe, as evidenced by the “red shift” of light given off by stars and galaxies expanding away from us (discovered by Edwin Hubbel).  This is evidence, when turning back the clock, that the stars and galaxies were previously closer together.

The general theory of relativity (one of the most respected theories of science) requires that there was once a beginning of space, time and all matter.

The KOBE satellites have detected the after effects of the “big bang” – the left over “background radiation”, according to scientists.Cosmic Background Radiation

The moral argument – we are all endowed with a conscience, a sense of right and wrong.  How do we judge what is right and wrong?  By what standard?  Clearly we have a standard by which we are judging this is right, and that is wrong. Without a Moral Law Giver (God)m these more absolutes cannot exist.

The argument from design – the world and all of nature displays a marvelous design, which is not explainable by pure Darwinistic evolutionary processes.  Such random, chance processes cannot explain the marvelous design of the eye, the design of a bird’s wing, or the amazing micro-biological machines we see under the microscope.  There is significant evidence of design in nature.  And where there is design, there must be a Designer – whom we call God.

And there is much more reasons to believe in a Creator God.  In fact, it takes MORE faith to be an atheist, than to believe in a Creator God!

Scriptures:

  • Genesis 1:1 ESV:  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.
  • Isaiah 44:24 ESV: Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,
  • Jeremiah 10:12 ESV: It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
  • John 1:3 ESV: All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
    Romans 1:20 ESV: For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
  • Psalm 139:14 ESV: I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
  • Job 10:9-12 ESV: Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.

Objection:  You say that the universe is the effect, and God is the cause.  if everything needs a cause, then who caused God?

Answer:  The law of causality dos not demand that everything have a cause – only that whatever had a beginning had a cause.  Only finite, contingent things (like you, me, and everything else in nature) need a cause.  God did not have a beginning – by definition, He is eternal.  He is the First Cause that never came into being.

Scriptures:

  • Genesis 1:1-17 ESV: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
  • 1 Timothy 6:16 ESV: Who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
  • Exodus 3:14 ESV: God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’
  • John 8:58 ESV: Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
  • Isaiah 46:10 ESV: Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
  • John 1:1 ESV: In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • Hebrews 1:8 ESV: But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

Objection:  If there is a God, why isn’t His existence more overtly clear to people? (a radiant cross in the sky might do the trick). Why doesn’t God make it so obvious to everyone that they all immediately repent, andFine Tuning of the Universe turn to Him for salvation? Why doesn’t God shower us with hard proof, such a continuous miracles that attest to His reality?

Answer:  Empirical observation is a necessity for scientific endeavors.  However, empirical observation is not the all-determining factor as to what is real and what is not.  Love for another person can be so real that it might convince a person to give their live for another (as Jesus did).  Another example are aesthetic judgements- science cannot tell us why one painting is more beautiful than another.

Bottom line – to try to explain everything by sensory impressions alone, or naturalistic processes, is a limiting world view that precludes the supernatural.  Christians believe that God world through the natural processes He created and set in motion, but that He also has the ability to intervene when and where necessary.

And God has intervened, or used “miracles” to attest to His existence.  Examples are Moses and Joshua, Daniel, and the miracles performed through Christ and His apostles. But we all know that even during these times, there were still people who saw, and yet refused to believe.  Although God may still use miracles as a testimony to some, He has also chose to work through human beings – the church- to represent Him, and to bring others into His kingdom.  That is His current model – working through the church to reach all of humanity for Christ – and then then end shall come, as the Bible says.

Scriptures:

  • Romans 1:20 ESV: For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
  • Acts 3:16 ESV: And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
  • Mark 16:20 ESV: And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.
  • Acts 19:11 ESV: And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,
  • Matthew 16:18 ESV: And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
  • Colossians 1:18 ESV: And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
  • Acts 2:42-47 ESV: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles…

Objection:  The universe is eternal, and creates itself – it always was, is, and always will be (as Carlos Sagan once said). God is not the creator of the universe.  The universe simply made itself, or has always What is Heaven Like?existed.

Answer:  First of all, philosophically it is absurd to claim that the universe is uncaused. For the universe to be self-caused, it would have had to exist and not exist at the same time.  If the universe is not uncaused, if it is not self-caused, if it is not eternal, then how did it come to be?  Atheism cannot explain why there is something rather than nothing.  Besides, the weight of scientific evidence points to a cause to all space, time and matter.

Secondly, scientifically the weight of evidence points to an initial beginning al space, time and matter, popularly called the “big bang”.  The laws of thermodynamics, the evidence for an expanding universe, the theory of relativity, and other evidence point to an initial singularity, or beginning.

Scriptures:

  • Genesis 1:1 ESV: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Objection:  Evolution is all that is necessary to explain the existence of humans. We all evolved from a single celled organism. There is no need for a Creator.  I see no need to appeal to a Creator for the existence of human beings.  I maintain that chance, Darwinistic evolutionary processes alone are all that is required for the
evolution of human beings to their present state.whale

(Note:  not ALL evolutionists are atheists.  Some Christians subscribe to “theistic evolution” – a view that God initially began creation, but then has been using and directing (at certain times, by intervention) natural evolutionary processes to produce the universe and life as we know it today.)

Answer:  Evolutionary theory consists of adaptation of species to their changing environment, microevolution (changes within species), and macroevolution (one species over time evolving into another species).

There is no question that adaptation or microevolution takes place – for all the various races have descended from one set of parents – Adam and Eve.  Likewise, all the various sorts of dogs have evolved from the original dog species created by God.  However, in no case has macroevolution ever been observed by scientists.  This is in keeping with the genetic pool of DNA in each species or “kind”.  The genetic DNA in each kind sets limiting parameters, so that although the species can evolve and take on new characteristics, they cannot evolve into a total new kind – dog DNA remains fog DNA, and cat DNA remains cat DNA.  This reality is in line with scripture, which states that God created the initial “kinds”, and then reproduction took place, “according to its kind” (Gen 1;31,24).

Bottom line: while microevolution and adaptation is an observed fact, evolutionists try to speak about evolution as a single unified process – merging adaptation, microevolution and macroevolution into one process, in effect try to say that evidence for microevolution is evidence for macroevolution.  This conclusion is unwarranted by the facts.  There simply are no cases of one species evolving by itself into another species.

What does the evidence show? That there is adaptation, and microevolution within species.  But the evidence is lacking for the millions of “transitional forms” that should be present in the geologic column if macroevolution were true. The evidence provides some support for evolution (macro evolution) over time within species; but not the slow progression of one species into another.  What we actually see in geology is the sudden appearance of radically new life forms in the geologic column – for example, the “Cambrian Explosion” that evidently tool place some 300 million years ago.  Prior to that, there were only very simple life forms.  Than suddenly, we have an array of complex life appearing in the geologic column.

This evidence is consistent with the story of creation as given in Genesis Chapter 1. That God created the Heavens and the Earth initially out of nothing (AKA the “Big Bang”), then proceeded to create all of life on the earth over a period of six “days” (or ages of time). For more on Genesis 1, see https://evidencetobelieve.net/genesis-days-or-ages/

Scriptures:

  • Genesis 1:24-25 ESV: And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. [get the picture?  Living creatures were created within parameters – or “kinds”]

Objection:  If there is a God, why is there so much evil in the world?

British philosopher David Hume asked with respect to God: “Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent.  Is he able, but not willing?  Then he is malevolent.  Is he both able and willing?  Whence then is evil? Angry_man If there is a God – and He is all good and all powerful – then such atrocities as Hitler’s murder of 6 million Jews should never have happened.   It is therefore more reasonable to conclude that the existence of such evil disproves that there is a God.

Answer:  First of all, there are two kinds of evil in the world:

  • Moral evil – the evil created by ourselves, as “free moral agents”. Or evil thrust upon a person by others. This includes most of the evil we see in the world: war, crime, cruelty, class struggles, slavery, suicide, etc.
  • Natural evil – involving such things as natural disasters, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.

Because there is evil in the world, atheist try to use this fact to dispose of a belief and trust in an Almighty God altogether.  But Christians believe there is a coherent response to the problem of evil in the world.

First, it is important to note that evil is not something that has an existence “all its own”; rather, it is a corruption of something god which has already existed.  Evil is the absence or the corruption of something good.  Rot, for example, only exists as long as there is a tree that is still left to be rotten.  Tooth decay can only exist when there is still something left of the tooth.  And so on.

Evil is the absence of something good that ought to be there.  But is no longer.

Second, by what criteria is something judged evil in the first place?  This is a problem for the atheist.  How are they able to judge one thing evil, and another thing good?  What is the “moral measuring stick”?  Without an infinite reference point for “good”, no one can identify what is good or what is evil. Jesus said “There is but One that is good, and that is God”.  Only God can exhaust the meaning of an infinite good.  Without the existence of God, there is not “good” or “evil” in an absolute sense – everything of necessity becomes subjective and relative.  In point of fact, the problem of evil does not negate the existence of God . It actually requires it.

Third, Christians believe that in the beginning of creation, the universe, humans and all of creation were “good” in every way.  Gen 1:31 explains that “God saw all the He had made, and it was very good.”  There was no evil – moral evil, or naturalistic evil. There was no corruption of that which was good.  “Everything” was good.  But today this is not so – a great deal of moral evil, and natural evil exists in the world.  Christians believe that something dreadful happened between then and now to cause this change.  A colossal perversion of the good has occurred.  More to the point – there has been an invasion of sin into the world.

So, in sum, the Christian world view provides a compelling explanation for what we see and experience in our daily lives.  We live in a “broken” world that is out of balance, and terribly flawed – natural disasters occur and wipe out thousands of people.  The balance that should be in nature is shifting away from us.  We also see our own “broken” nature and inherent flaws – how we know “the right” that ought to be done, yet we continually choose the wrong.

Christianity affirms that the natural evil, and personal evil, is the result of “sin” – of rebelling against God’s way, and His standard for right and wrong, and choosing to set up our own standards or morality.  And this “sin” has now infected all of creation. The good news is that God has made a way back for us, in the person of Jesus Christ.  Deity took on the form of flesh, was born into this world, and we experienced “God with Us” (Emmanuel).  Jesus experienced the same types of suffering and evil we all do – and perhaps a lot more than most.  So He knows the pain we go through.  He has been through it.

He even went to the cross to pay the penalty for ALL of humankind’s sins – all mind you, past, present, and future.  So that we could be made right with God once again.

Scriptures:

  • First of all, in the beginning God made everything “very good”:
  • Genesis 1:31 ESV: And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
  • (But then human kind decided to disobey God, and be the judge of what was to be “good” and “evil”, rather than trusting in God to be the standard for good and evil)
  • Genesis 2:16-17 ESV: And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” [die spiritually, and eventually physically]
  • Romans 3:23 ESV: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Objection: If there is a God, and He is all-good, and all- powerful, why doesn’t He get rid of the evil right now?

Answer:  If God were to stamp out evil today, He would do a “complete” job of it. His action would include the Give Jesus a Chance!lies, impurities, and selfishness of every one of us!  The result:  a people-less universe!  Christians believe that God has plan, and that plan He has shared with His creatures in the form of His written Word, the Bible.  God ways are not our ways, and His timing is not our timing.  He WILL do away with evil.  We are in a story, and only the end of the story explains the rest of it, just as the conclusion of an argument explains why the premises are selected as they are.

God will one day put an end to all moral and natural evil, resulting in new creations for every believer who accepts His free gift of redemption. We will be without that “corrupt” sin nature, inheriting a new “heavenly body”.  A new heaven and a new earth will also one day replace the fallen and corrupt reality we now inhabit, and natural evil will be banished.  And He will “wipe away every tear” from our eyes.

Scriptures:

  • John 3:16 ESV: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
  • Luke 20:36 ESV: For they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
  • Revelation 21:1 ESV: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
  • Isaiah 65:17 ESV: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
  • 2 Peter 3:13 ESV: But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
  • Revelation 21:4 ESV: He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.


Objection:  there is no afterlife.  You live once, and then when your body dies, “you” (if there is a you) die with it. 
I am a “materialist”, and deny the existence of an immortal soul.  I maintain that there is no mind, apart Near_death_experiencesfrom the brain. Nor that there is a soul independent of the body.  When a human dies, that is the end of him.

Answer: There is increasing evidence from science that “you are not your brain”, and that you – your mind – exists independent of your brain and body.  It used to be the case that many psychologists believed that “you” were your “brain”, and that when your body died, and your brain along with it, that you (or your conscious) died as well.

That belief is being challenged today by a number of prominent psychologists and psychiatrists.  Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, a psychiatrist at UCLA, is an expert in treating OCD, and has written a number of books on the subject, one titled “You Are Not Your Brain”.  He supplied plenty of evidence that immaterial “mind” exists apart from the physical brain, and that mind acts upon that brain to influence it to make choices.  This further supports the notion that when the body and brain cease functioning, the mind – that which comprises the “you” or your personality – may indeed continue to exist.

Near death experiences.  Not only is the belief in an afterlife almost universally held across all cultures; there are also many “near death experiences” that have been documented by very credible people – including most recently, several well respected doctors who medically “died”, then came back to life to write about their experiences (see “Proof of Heaven” – http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Heaven-Neurosurgeons-Near-Death-Experience/dp/B009UX6NGI and “To Heaven and Back” http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-heaven-and-back-mary-c-neal/1110980881?ean=9780307731715&st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Core+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP466&k_clickid=3×466&kpid=9780307731715

The Bible also teaches very clearly that humans are endowed with an eternal soul, and that depending on the choices you make in this life, your soul will either live forever in God’s eternal kingdom, or you will be eternally separated from God.

Scriptures:

  • Matthew 16:26 ESV: For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
  • John 11:25 ESV: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
  • John 5:24 ESV: Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
  • Luke 23:43 ESV: And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
  • John 3:16 ESV: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
  • Philippians 3:20-21 ESV: But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Do You Know the Lord?  Would You Like To?

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?   If you do, then you have everything to look forward to – in this life, and in  the life to come.  Peace with God, joy in your daily life, fulfillment of  God’s purpose while here on earth, and life eternal.

You were made for a purpose, and your daily walk with  Jesus will help you come to realize His purpose in your life and fulfill it.  If you don’t have a relationship with your Creator, you can!  Give Jesus a  chance!  Don’t put it off.  Allow Him to come into your life and make you “a new creation”!   You have nothing to loose everything to gain.  Here is a  link to Billy Graham’s web site that can show you how you can invite Jesus into  your life and be the creation He has always intended you to be …

Take Me to Steps to Peace With God ==>  http://www.billygraham.org/SH_StepsToPeace.asp

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