Answering the Most Common Objections to Christianity
This is one in a series of answers to common objections to why believe in God, and why accept that Christianity – following Christ – is the way to live one’s life. Below you will find the objection as it is commonly raised. Very often the claim that I don’t believe is combined with an excuse that I instead “believe in science”, as though that were a deity
“I am an atheist, and I don’t believe in God. I believe in science.”
I appreciate your honesty. However, are you aware of what an “atheist” is, and atheism as a set of beliefs? 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.
Did you know that atheism is also 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.” To be an atheist you must have complete knowledge of everything (which no limited human being can have – you would have to BE God to know everything) to declare that you know for certain know that there no possibility that God exists.
Atheism is also different from agnosticism and skepticism. Agnosticism comes form two Greek words: “a”, meaning “no” or “without”, and “gnosis”, meaning “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. They just “don’t know”, based on their limited knowledge and experience. Skepticism is related to agnosticism.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. Obviously one can be both an agnostic, and a skeptic.
So, I think you may be willing to admit that you are not an “atheist”, the strict sense of the term, but perhaps an agnostic and skeptic. An agnostic just doesn’t know, and can’t be sure that God exists (because of limited knowledge and experience). Have you truly considered the evidence for God’s existence? The evidence for God’s existence comes in basically two forms:
Internal Evidence – The Moral Law that is within each of us
Internal evidence is the “Moral Law” that is “inside information”, and written into the conscious mind of every lining person. Across cultures through the centuries, there is a “moral Law’ written into the hearts and minds of all people – the innate sense of Right, and Wrong. As Lewis observes, no one has to tell us “when we have been wronged”. We just know it – due to the Moral Law within us.
Since this Standard of right and wrong transcends culture across the ages, its Source must be from outside our time/space, from the One who gave humans their conscience. Note that not only does everyone know about this “Moral Law”, no one is able to keep it!. We humans fail to keep it at every turn, finding out that “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want”. (see Romans Chap 7 for Paul’s confession about human nature.). So the Moral Law actually not only reveals a divine Standard within each of us, but also reveals to us that we cannot keep it, are guilty of breaking God’s Standard of morality, and are in need of a Savior.
This Moral Law is compelling evidence, “inside information” if you like, which drives us to the point where we have to acknowledge our fallen nature, our inability to live up to God’s Standard, and realize that we need a Savior. That Savior God has already provided in the form of His one and only Sn, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. By believing in Jesus and His finished work on the cross, and trusting in HIm, you are promised “eternal” or everlasting life. God will come into by His Spirit, and start “housecleaning” and renewal from the inside out. You will be on your road to the heavenly kingdom, day by day, as He fashions you into a new creation in Christ.
External evidence – the scientific, biological, historical, and archaeological evidence
External evidence consists of the things outside of us – that which we see, and experience. Examples are the laws of science which guide the universe, the evidence from biology and archaeology, and written historical evidence. There is an amazing amount of external evidence for God’s existence. To name a few examples :
- The Natural Law or laws by which science operates, including the law of cause and effect, the laws of thermodynamics, the law of gravity, and so forth. Every law has a :Lawgiver, and that is one of the characteristics of God. He created the laws, and then put the universe into effect, governing His creation by those same laws. So it is not an issue for you to “believe in science” – just realize that science is a process of investigation which relies on the laws which God has put into effect. There really is no conflict between believing in God and science. In fact, many scientists through the ages have held a strong faith in God – from Galellio, to Kepler, to Pasacal, Faraday and many others today.
- The singularity, “big bang”, or beginning of the universe. 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. There are numerous lines of evidence for a beginning event – the second law of thermodynamics, the fact that everything is “slowing down” (which means it must have originally been “wound up”); scientific evidence of an expanding universe (the “red shift”), showing that the origin of the universe must have been from a single point in space/time; the general theory of relativity, once of the most accepted and proven theories of science; and the KOBE satellites, which have detected and measured “background radiation” from an initial creation event.
- The evidence from design – that 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, the complex information in a strand of DNA, 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.
Darwin’s Black Box – The Chemical Challenge to Biochemical Evolution – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49038.Darwin_s_Black_Box
The Big Bang – the Origin of the Universe – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/131304.Big_Bang
Case for a Creator, Lee Stroebel – https://www.amazon.com/Case-Creator-Lee-Strobel/dp/0310242096
Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. Book, also a short video recap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqsAzlFS91A