Article authored by pastor Alin Patularu. Content herein is not necessarily the view of the blog founder, James Bishop.
I used to identify as an atheist when I was a teenager, but I didn’t really know why. I had never thought through the implications of what it meant to be an atheist and just assumed I was one because my favorite bands identified with Godlessness. Granted, I was not an obnoxious, arrogant atheist who thought everyone was stupid except himself. I was just your average teenage kid who listened to death metal, loved professional wrestling and lived life on my own terms. However, now that I look back on what I just typed, I can see how maybe I wasn’t average after all, but I digress. When God began to get a hold of me I began to think over the implications of atheism, and soon came to discover how utterly deficient it is as a worldview.
Atheism takes many forms in our crazy backwards culture, but logically it can only lead to a naturalistic worldview. For if one denies the existence of a supernatural Creator God, than you are only left with the natural universe, the material before us. Author Dan Story defines naturalism like this, “At a foundational level, naturalism is the direct opposite of theism in one fundamental way. For a theist, God dominates; for a naturalist, any concept of God is vigorously denied. Reality is composed only of matter—there is nothing but nature, and everything has a natural explanation. The universe itself is a closed system that has always existed—it’s eternal. It operates like a gigantic machine according to unchanging natural laws. Nothing outside this closed system (the physical universe) exists” (Story, 1998, 122).
This is a major problem for atheism, especially modern evangelical atheism. Scientific inquiry has already proven that the universe, time and matter all had a beginning. The material universe we inhabit has not always been here, there was a time when it was not. The big bang, in an effort to discredit the Biblical God has actually confirmed what was said in ancient days, mainly the assumption that states, “In the beginning”. In a universe of cause and effect, eternality of material is logically impossible. Carl Sagan said, “The Cosmos is all that is and all that ever will be” (Sagan, 2002). The logic is that nothing comes from nothing. Something is. Therefore something always was. Many atheists deny this in favor of other explanations that affirm the beginning of the universe. However clever they may become in concocting a theory, all they do is intellectual gymnastics that ends up giving no real answers when all the jargon settles. The reason is, studying the natural cannot answer the question of its causing agent any more than studying the internal mechanism of a gear can answer the question, “How did this thing come to be?” You must go outside the gear to a transcendent creative agent to get your answer. You may answer a lot of important questions about the gears composition, elemental properties, how it works together with other mechanisms and so forth, but you will never be answer the question of how it came into existence. You’ll be a gear expert, but you will still be baffled as to why there is a gear in the first place. This is where we are now. We are experts in a lot of the sciences and know a lot about biology, astronomy, geology etc. But naturalism is still baffled by why all this uniformity and beauty surrounds us. Why is it all here in the first place?
We are the finite trying to understand how the finite came into existence by studying the finite. The finite cannot explain its existence without the infinite. Why? Because finite begets finite. It’s an infinite regress, which we know is not possible because space, time and matter all had a beginning. Eventually you will get to the beginning and discover that only an infinite, immaterial, timeless agent could give birth to finite material space and time. The first cause cannot be finite because that cause would have to have a cause. I hope I am not losing you here. The basic principle here is a universe that is linear composed of time, space and matter can only be explained by a timeless, immaterial, infinite cause. Any other effort to explain our reality is futile and doomed to eventual scorn. It is no wonder that the Psalmist said, “The fool says in his heart ‘there is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).
Atheism reduces people to nothing more than matter in an enormous universe of other matter. It cannot explain (with any real clarity or consistency) the existence of morality, the reason for human dignity, intelligent life or the purpose of existence. In all the atheists hard toils and efforts to explain away God, he unknowingly (or knowingly and just not caring) has explained away all his arguments because they don’t really matter. His intelligence is nothing more than material interacting with other material in a chaotic mess of chemical reactions that have no real direction or reason for being other than they just are. This is why atheism is a monumental waste of time. Atheism often criticizes Christianity for hypocrisy. “If Christians really believed what they believed then they wouldn’t do this or that”. Well if atheists actually believed what they believed then they wouldn’t waste their time trying to discover the origin of reality which is guided by nothing in particular and is simply a mish mash of chemical reactions and the like.
I can hear the atheist say now, “I am interested in why we are here, I want to understand the universe and how it works”. Of course you do, because you are made in God’s image. The very impulse that leads the atheist to want to discover and learn about the Cosmos is the very impulse that proves the existence of a personal loving God. If you really believed there was no God, then you wouldn’t waste your time. What are you going to discover? More material? WOW, good job. “No”, the atheist replies. “I want to make my life easier by scientific discovery. I want to create medications that heal and technology that improves our quality of life”. Of course you do, because you are made in the image of a personal, loving God who has put dignity and worth in the human. The Scripture has been (and is continually fulfilled) which says, “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” (Romans 1:25)
You see, no one will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and have an argument. God has created us in His image and given us all we need to know Him. We have these impulses in us to learn, discover, create, serve and help. Did these come from mindless material causes? Is love nothing more than dopamine increases and the effects of an organ in our skull? The problem is we have chosen to harden our hearts against God and live in sinful independence from Him. At the end of the day, atheism does not reject God because of purely intellectual reasons, atheists reject God because they don’t like Him. We love our sins and don’t want that pesky YHWH of ancient days to get in the way of our modern sophisticated lifestyle. We are an enlightened scientific society who does not need a dusty bible to tell us how to live. We have cell phones, the internet. We sleep on posture pedic beds manufactured by intelligent men and women in labs. We will not take our cues from that Jesus of Nazareth who slept on dirt floors. We are ATHEISTS!
We think we are so smart, but our arrogance and pride has led us to fall greatly. We may be able to put men on the moon and have video conversations with people half way across the world. But we don’t know the difference between male and female anymore, we kill our own children in the womb, we exploit women as sex objects and our children bring guns to school and kill each other. We have simultaneously become the most intelligent and confused society in all of human history.
The answer for atheism is Jesus Christ. That ancient Rabbi who rose from the dead. He brings order and reason into a worldview that is filled with chaos. Our sin is the real problem, and Jesus came to deal with that. It is time to turn from human reason and cling to God’s truth. It is not intellectual suicide to throw your deficient, human reason, to the mercy of the infinite, Godly reason. Actually, it is intellectual suicide to NOT do that. God is waiting, He loves you and will not cast you out. All who come to Him are accepted by Him. I have found in all my seeking of God, He was actually not that far off after all. God bless you all.
Sagan, C. (Producer) (2002). Cosmos [DVD].
Story, D. (1998). Christianity on the offense: responding to the beliefs and assumptions of spiritual seekers. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.