The Dilemma of Atheism

WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW?

Some Christian writers and thinkers claim that no one knows enough facts about nature to rule out the existence of God. The argument goes like this: At best, one may know a mere fraction (less than 1%) of everything there is to know of the natural world. We don’t know how many grains of sand are on even one beach in Florida. We don’t know the sheer volume of oxygen in the air. We don’t know how many groundhogs and water snakes are in Wisconsin, etc. So (the argument goes) the atheist would need to know everything about everything in nature, to prove that God does not exist (The evidence for God could be found in what he doesn’t know).

Now, let me show you the fallacy of that argument. Everyone (atheists included) believes in builders. Every house is the transformation of various materials into a final completed structure through the intelligence and energy of the builder. However, the builder is not the materials, neither is he the building. Once the job is complete, and the builder has packed his tools and left, we do not take core samples of the foundation, nor do we take the house apart, looking for evidence of the builder. Has the evidence of a builder disappeared into thin air? Now that we cannot find tangible evidence, shall we no longer believe in builders?

But that is not the premise for believing in builders. Neither is that the premise for believing in the Creator. Less than 1% knowledge is sufficient. Nowhere in the universe need we expect to find God’s footprints in prehistoric rock, nor rotting forms God left behind from pouring the foundations of the earth. We can reach our conclusions without pulverizing the universe looking for evidence of God. We can be assured that 100% knowledge of construction materials will yield the same results as the 1% already known. No lookout towers need be built nor space flights taken to look for either a builder or a God.

You see, builders are not houses, and God is not the creation. So the kind of evidence needed to believe in a builder or to believe in God, really is the same. The sheer volume of knowledge has nothing to do with it. You may be completely ignorant when it comes to construction. Yet this ignorance does not keep you from believing in a builder. However, if you refuse to believe in builders, no amount of evidence will keep you from living in intellectual freefall.

The atheist’s unbelief
has not canceled his
appointment with his
Maker.

We have just let the atheist off the hook on his degree of scientific knowledge. Are we saying then, that there is no folly in atheism? Indeed, we are not.

THE FOLLY OF ATHEISM

The great folly of the atheist is not the volume of his knowing; it is the refusal to consider the obvious. He lives under a vast canopy that reverberates with beauty, order, and harmony, yet he insists that there is no God. He looks into the mirror and sees a complexity of intelligent arrangement beyond comprehension and beyond chance. This evidence points to a Creator, par excellence. Yet, he attempts the impossible feat of attributing tremendously complex effect to no cause at all. Finding himself stuck between believing in nothing versus believing in God, he chooses the nothing. He has just forsaken the sanity of his knowledge that various building materials never become houses apart from builders. He calmly asserts that he cannot believe in an unseen God, only to leapfrog into insisting that causeless, unintelligent nothingness is sufficient cause for all that exists. This is not the equivalent of declaring that cows will eventually produce milk; it is like blindly insisting that milk, or more accurately, no milk, given millions of years, must ultimately produce the cow. Science is tortured and violated in the process of claiming to believe nothing but science.

If a boy of eight doesn’t know the difference between a pine tree or an oak, yet knows that God made the tree, he is light years ahead of the brilliant naturalist who studies trees for fifty years and yet doesn’t know where trees come from.

Atheists may claim that the concept of God only removes the problem of existence by a factor of one. So where did God come from? The answer that is both Biblical, and certainly not irrational, is that God didn’t come from anywhere.

We measure our existence in hours, days, and years. Time is synchronized for us with the rotation of the earth. Hence, one rotation equals one day (24 hours). While we complete 365 of these rotations, we finish another time measurement—one orbit around the sun. This is one year.

As of this writing, I must wait 24 hours to reach 12:30 p.m., July 5, 2005. Yet, no amount of waiting will recall the moment just past. This is absolute for our universe. Yet no scientist and no reader can tell us why this is so.

Now every builder preexists his house. He never becomes part of it. True, he finally builds his last house. Not so with God. In creating the heavens and the earth and all things therein, God also created the time frame in which we exist. We can but move forward at the created pace toward final destiny. We must expect that God will meet us there. This is not because the Creator shares the time frame of the created, but because God is present everywhere, whether past, present, or future. Atheists like to claim billions of years of time to produce what exists today. We believers know the difference between billions of years of chance, and the eternal God who has existed, does exist, and will exist forever.

The Bible clearly describes the development of atheism. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in the imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21). Since wickedness is contrary to the role for which we were created, it is hardly surprising that wickedness would also discredit the Creator by denying His existence.

THE FINAL DILEMMA

An atheist may claim to share many of the same values that Christians do. Perhaps this is one area where plagiarism is helpful. There is nothing inherent in atheism that would logically lend itself to any form of good, of morals, or ethics. On the other hand, the belief in the Creator God lends itself perfectly to the human need of moral constraints and judgments.

Now for the final dilemma of the atheist. He comes to the end of life. He believes himself unaccountable. He expects to go off into the abyss of nothingness. But his faulty logic changes nothing. His unbelief has not canceled his appointment with his Maker. “As / live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:11, 12).

-by Lester Troyer

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