Atheists often times enjoy seeing themselves as the intellectual elite. It is they who have seen the world through the cold hard eyes of reason, and in so doing have discovered that there is no God. The rest of us are mere intellectual peasants who rely on emotion and superstition to get us through our ignorant lives.
In fact, quite the opposite is true. It is atheism that is always an emotional belief. It is never based upon reason. The easiest way for this to be shown is to ask the atheist how he knows there is no God. Since we are all ignorant of most of the knowledge available in the universe, much less any which may be available in the spiritual world, the atheist has no way of knowing whether or not part of his ignorance is actually the knowledge of God. It is possible to know that God exists, as he can choose to reveal himself to us, but since we are not omniscient it is impossible to know that he does not exist. Since there is no intellectual way to know that God does not exist, then all of atheism must be based upon emotionalism.
Most of the atheists that I have known can be put into one of a number of categories. Some have experienced a tragedy in their life, such as the death of a loved one, which they could not reconcile with their understanding of a loving God. They got angry with God, and then out of that anger turned away and denied him. Others grew up in the church, were very idealistic, and then at some point became aware of hypocrites within their particular church. They became so disillusioned that they in effect said, “If this is what Christianity is, then I do not want it” and turned away. This brand of atheist tends to be very cynical. Still others are very intelligent and take much pride in their intellect. They are able to shoot down the arguments of their religious friends, and so begin to look down upon them and their religion as foolish. They tend to be arrogant and condescending, and are commonly found at universities. Finally, there are the rebellious ones. Normally they have grown up in a home where there are strict rules without love or relationship. They end up rebelling against all authority. They especially rebel against God whom they view as an authoritarian figure just waiting to send them to Hell for the slightest infraction.
There may be other motivations that one could think of through which someone could become an atheist, but the one that underlies most, if not all of the others, is the desire to do anything one wishes in this life with no consequences in the next. Whatever an atheist’s motivation ends up being, the one thing that can be counted on is that it will not be based upon reason or logic as he claims.
To counter all of this, many atheists today will admit that they do not know absolutely that God does not exist; they simply see no evidence for his existence. They assure us that they would love to believe, and if we could just show them some evidence they would do so in a heartbeat.
Evidences for God’s Existence from Human Nature
I believe that the best evidences for the existence of God proceed directly from human nature. The way man naturally thinks and acts consistently points to something akin to the Christian God. In what follows we will consider whether human nature, as it has always been, is more consistent with a world in which there is no God, or one in which there is a God consistent with Christianity.
Man has Always Believed
As far back as we have written records man has always believed in God, gods, goddesses, and/or the supernatural. There is no evidence that a belief in God has evolved. If it did, I think it is safe to say that it would take some time. One could very easily postulate that for many thousands of years there would be no evidence of a belief in God found in human society. After awhile we might discover some simple expressions of worship in isolated societies, and eventually more complex ones. Since religious beliefs seem to be conducive to human survival, they would eventually spread throughout all of humanity.
What we find though is complex religious belief and ritual in the earliest societies for which we have written records. This seems to be more consistent with a God who has created us with an innate understanding of him, and our expressing that understanding through worship, than it does of us evolving in a Godless world, and yet somehow still having an instinct to believe.
Most atheists will acknowledge that as far as written records are concerned man has always believed. They may say that man evolved such beliefs before he learned to write, and so we have no record of such an evolution, but it is impossible to discuss non-evidence. Others will claim that we can glean evidences of man’s atheism from the remnants of pre-historic man, but such evidence is fragmentary and speculative at best, and so would also come under the category of non-evidence.
Another commonly heard claim is that when primitive man saw things he could not understand, such as, lightning, volcanic eruptions, eclipses, etc. that his easiest and simplest response would have been to claim that it was the work of a supernatural being. Yet it doesn’t seem as if creating a God with particular characteristics, commandments to follow, and prescriptions for worship, would have been his simplest response. It seems that his easiest response would have been to declare his ignorance and fear of such phenomenon, and in the case of lightning run back into his cave for cover. If he did feel the need to explain these events, he could have chalked them up to natural forces, and then at some point begun the process of trying to understand them.
Even if primitive man did instinctively believe that God was behind these events, wouldn’t this show that it was natural for him to believe? And wouldn’t this actually be evidence for the existence of God, and our innate knowledge of him?
Another evidence for God’s existence is that it seems to be natural for us as humans to believe that at least some morals are absolute or objective in nature. In other words, we all hold certain actions to be right or wrong, not just for ourselves, which is subjective morality, but for everyone, which is objective morality. As soon as we hold any action to be wrong for everyone we are assuming an inviolable law to which all are accountable. As we shall see, only God could author such a law.
A knowledgeable atheist will agree that in a godless world there are no objective morals, but he will claim that man evolved such an idea in order to best survive in the world. Why man would need to act as if there is a God in order to best survive in an atheistic world is a question for which I have never heard a satisfactory answer. In any case, there is no evidence that man evolved such an idea. As far back as we have written records, man has acted as if objective morals exist. For an atheist to counter this he has to once again appeal to the non-evidence of pre-history.
When confronted with the idea that God is the only possible authority for objective morality some atheists will claim that society could be an alternative authority. The problem with this is that if one takes society as his moral authority, then he must be willing to accept whatever morals his society adopts. If he does not, then morals go back to being subjective. When an atheist is asked whether, if he lived in Nazi Germany he would have accepted the slaughter of the Jews as being morally acceptable, or if he would have accepted the enslavement of black Africans in 19th century America, he invariably answers no to both. Even if, unlikely as it is, he does answer yes to both of these, there will inevitably be a society somewhere, usually his own today, that the atheist disagrees with morally on some level. If all else fails, virtually everyone will agree with the premise that the majority is not always right. Therefore society is not a violable option from which to obtain objective morality.
If the atheist is not willing to accept the moral authority of society, the only authority left is the individual, but if the individual is his own authority then there is no objective morality. Once again all morality becomes subjective.
Some atheist’s contend that there is no such thing as objective morality because different societies have different morals, and there is no particular moral which is accepted by all peoples everywhere. Whether or not this is true is debatable but irrelevant to the present argument. When we are talking about objective morality, we are only speaking of man’s seemingly natural propensity to declare something to be right or wrong, not only for himself, but also for others. For the sake of this argument the particular moral is irrelevant, as we are dealing with man’s general tendency, not with his specific choices.
Man’s belief in objective morality is very much consistent with Christianity which says that man was created by God who declares rights and wrongs for all of mankind. As a result we all have an intuitive sense that there are objective morals, but since we are fallen, estranged from God, and self-willed, we often times disagree as to what those morals should be. This is exactly what is seen in the world in which we live, and exactly what Christianity would predict that we should see.
Life Has Meaning
The historic record shows that man has always believed that life has meaning over and above merely meeting his biological needs. Whereas animals seem to be content to follow their instincts while fulfilling their biological needs, man acts as if life has meaning over and above these instinctual drives. This meaning can be anything from loving God, to helping others, to conquering the world etc. As with objective morals the specific meaning does not matter. We are simply concerned here with man’s propensity to believe that life does have meaning.
Since meaning is a concept of the mind, life can only have meaning if an intelligent being gives it such. If there is no intelligent being at our origin, then there can be no inherent meaning to the life which comes from it. For the atheist, our origins would be the Big Bang or maybe the first cell, neither of which are intelligent beings capable of giving meaning to all of the life which would follow.
Man as an intelligent being can and does give meaning to his life, in fact, it seems natural for him to do so. The question an atheist must answer is why, if man’s life is inherently meaningless, does he naturally find the need to give it meaning? Why is he not content to live a meaningless life in a meaningless world? The normal response from the atheist is that this trait evolved in man to help him survive in the world, but once again this raises the question, why does man need to act as if there is a God to best survive in a godless world?
If on the one hand, there is an intelligent God at man’s origin, then life has inherent meaning and man would naturally act as such, and this is exactly what he does. On the other hand, if there is no God, man should be perfectly content to live a meaningless life in a meaningless world, and this is something that he has never been able to do.
If there is no God, and we live in a material world governed by the law of cause and effect, then all of our interactions in the world would be controlled by the same law of cause and effect that we see resident in nature. Therefore all of the thoughts of man would be produced by the interaction of the mind with the environment in a simple cause and effect manner. There would be no mechanism, such as an independent soul, to supersede this interaction and produce independent thoughts. All of our actions would be mapped out for us depending upon which thought produced by this interaction presented itself to the mind in the most favorable light. This would include our firmly held beliefs, which for the atheist would be his atheism, and the theist his theism. Therefore any discussion of these issues would be meaningless since we have all reached our conclusions as a result of our particular line of cause and effect.
The scientist would also find himself in this dilemma. If his conclusions are the result of his line of cause and effect, then he would have no idea whether or not those conclusions are correct. Some might say that the scientist can have confidence in his conclusions because his experiments repeatedly work. This may be true when he is merely observing the causes and effects of the material world. The problem comes when he is doing things like defining science, coming up with a theory of origins, or even trying to fit the evidence that he sees into his theory. Is he observing the evidence correctly, or just coming to the conclusions that his line of cause and effect has led him? The atheist has no way of knowing, because whatever he decides is just a result of cause and effect. The problem is unending.
Despite virtually all human beings for all of history believing that we make independently free choices on a daily basis, and have freely come to our firmly held beliefs, the atheist must believe that this is all an illusion. He must believe that we are only deluded into thinking that we have free will. In reality we are merely the unwitting slaves of the cause and effect, mind/environment interaction. To some extent, in order to be an atheist, one must be able to look at the collective experience of all of mankind and deny it.
The Idea of God
As stated above, all thoughts in an atheistic world are produced by the cause and effect interaction of the mind with its environment. An interesting question therefore arises. How does the interaction of an atheistic mind with an atheistic environment produce theistic thoughts? One could easily imagine that if a godless mind is always interacting with a godless environment it will always produce godless thoughts.
An atheist will generally respond to this by stringing a few thoughts together to show how, by simply reasoning on the basis of what he sees around him, he can come up with the concept of God. The problem with such a counter argument is that he has not first shown that this is an atheistic world. Therefore he cannot show that his reasoning is the result of an atheistic mind interacting with an atheistic environment. It very well could be that this is a theistic world, and his ease in stringing together thoughts that lead to God is because God has created us to easily do so. This, in fact, seems to be the more logical conclusion.
What the atheist must do is come up with a mechanism in an imaginary atheistic world to free him from the natural cause and effect interaction of an atheistic mind interacting with an atheistic environment producing solely atheistic thoughts. If he cannot come up with such a mechanism, then isn’t he saying that it is impossible for theistic thoughts to have arisen in an atheistic world?
Since theistic thoughts arise easily in the world in which we live, doesn’t this point more to a world in which God exists and desires us to know it, then to one in which he does not exist? If so, then doesn’t the atheist find himself once again looking at the world as it is, and then promptly denying what he sees?
The Desire to Live Forever
If the world in which we live were an atheistic one, there would be no eternal life. All life would be mortal. If mortality were our natural state, one would think that we would be comfortable with it, but we are not. We see death as an unwelcome intrusion into a life that should go on forever.
If this really were an atheistic world, and we were subjected to the law of cause and effect, our mortal beginnings should cause us to have mortality as our predominate, if not sole, world view. Seeing death as an unwelcome intrusion into a life that was supposed to continue forever seems to belie these mortal beginnings.
If man has always seen death as a foreign intruder, then doesn’t Christianity, which says that we were created to live forever, but because of sin are subjected to corruption and death, make more sense? It not only explains why we have a strong desire to live forever, but also why we see death as such a tragedy. It certainly seems to make more sense than atheism which says that death is natural and normal, but to best get along in the world we have to act as if it is unnatural and not normal. Once again atheism must postulate that to best survive in a godless world man must act as if there is a God.
Conclusion to Arguments from Human Nature
Atheistic evolutionists tell us that those species that survive are those which develop traits that best help them adapt to the world in which we live. In light of this, if we were to ask an atheist why we developed all of the traits spoken of above, he would say that they helped us to survive. If queried further, the atheist would say that all of the traits we as humans have developed over the years have a corresponding reality in the world except those, such as, objective morality, meaning to life, etc. which he believes must involve God. Why is God, and those human traits that naturally flow from his existence, the only exceptions?
In response to this question the atheist will generally bring up our ability to imagine and fantasize. That which we imagine and fantasize about are often times not real, but they still help us to relax and rid ourselves of stress, which in turn is a help to our surviving and thriving in the world. This is true, but those of us who are mentally healthy, when we imagine and fantasize, are always aware that what we fantasize about is not real. Those who think their fantasies are real are generally hindered from functioning very well in the real world.
So why is it, even according to the atheists themselves, that believing in God is a help to our surviving and thriving in the world? If every other trait that has helped us to adapt has a corresponding reality in the world, then why should those traits which can be shown to exist only if there is a God be the only exceptions?
Atheists say that evolution cannot be fully proven, but enough can be to give them confidence in that which cannot. Should not the same benefit of the doubt be given in this case? If not, could the reason be, not that there is no evidence that points to God, but that the atheist closes his eyes to the evidence because he does not want to believe?
Arguments from Nature
In this section we will look at the evidences for God which come from how the material world around us works.
Complexity, Order and Usefulness
As far as anyone has been able to observe, that which has complexity, order, and usefulness has been created by some manner of intelligent being. Whether it is a beaver dam, a bee hive, or a skyscraper, if it has these qualities, and we have observed from whence it came, it has always been created by a being with some level of intelligence. If we then proceed from what we have seen to what we have not, and ask where all of the complexity, order, and usefulness in the material universe came from, and we simply try to stay consistent with our observations to this point, the logical answer is a being with intelligence. Once again the atheist is not allowed to make such a logical deduction. He must go against all that has ever been observed, and declare that the complexity, order, and usefulness that we see in the universe came from a rather chaotic explosion of non-living matter/energy.
Life from Life
In the natural world we have only ever observed life coming from life. No-one has ever seen life coming from non-life. This being the case, if we were to ask where the first life in the world came from, and we only wanted to stay consistent with our observations to this point, the logical answer would be another life. This line of reasoning ultimately leads us to God, which is why the atheist cannot answer this question in a logical manner. Even if he says that an alien could have started life here, he still must answer where that alien life came from. In the end, since we have no observable evidence that life can come from non-life, the first life ever must have been eternal. Since material life is not eternal, the only other option would be for that life to be spiritual. So according to the evidence we currently have, the first life would be an eternal, spiritual one, which of course points to God. The atheist agrees that we have only ever observed life coming from life, but he still maintains, against everything man has ever observed, that in the beginning life came from non-life. He must go against all of the collective observations of mankind, as well as basic logic, to maintain his atheism.
A similar argument can be made for intelligent life. As far as we know no-one has ever observed intelligent life coming from non-intelligent life. So if we were to ask where the first intelligent life in the world came from, the logical response, based upon our observations to this point, would be another intelligent life. If we then asked where the first intelligent life ever came from, since we have no evidence that intelligence can proceed from non-intelligence, then the first intelligent life ever would have to be eternal. The atheist will agree that we have never observed intelligent life come from non-intelligent life, but he will still stubbornly maintain by faith that many ages ago when no-one was here to observe or record it – it happened. A similar argument as the above can be made for self-aware life, and it will merit a similar atheist response.
Since we have no evidence that life can come from non-life, intelligence from non-intelligence, or self-awareness from non-self-awareness, then the first intelligent, self-aware life must be eternal, and therefore must be God. Realizing this, the atheist must once again deny all that has ever been observed, and illogically declare by faith that the first self-aware, intelligent life on the planet came from a non-intelligent, non-self-aware, non-life.
In the preceding pages we have looked at human nature and the material world as man has always found it to be. It seems to be clear that we as human beings act in our day-to-day lives, even if we are unaware of it, as if there is a God, and we thrive best in the world when we do so. It seems to also be clear that nature works in a way that points to a creator. All of this is consistent with God and Christianity but not with atheism.
The atheist finds himself in the unenviable position of trying to explain why man must act as if there is a God to best survive in a world in which there is no God. He must also observe aspects of nature, such as life always coming from life, and proclaim against all logic that the first life came from non-life. He does this all the while claiming that his atheism is based solely upon drawing logical conclusions from the facts he encounters.
Contrary to popular opinion, knowledge does not begin with reason but with experience. Even the scientific method begins with observation. Reason follows closely on the heels of experience but does not precede it. The knowledge of God is no different. To know of God’s existence one must have the experience of God. Reason alone cannot prove God’s existence, but it can give us enough evidence to motivate us to seek for such an experience. Only the reader can decide whether or not this treatise has given enough evidence to warrant such a search.