ANSWERS FOR ATHEISTS:
Questioning Their Assumptions
N. Lund/Oxford Tutorials/01.07.09
# 1: IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "The material world is all there is. There is no God.
There is no heaven. All that exists is bio-chemical: what we can see and touch."
RESPONSE: If that's true, then where did your idea about the world come from?
Your idea isn't physical or material. You can't see or touch your idea. Your own idea
itself seems to be evidence against your idea. If everything is bio-chemical, then
where do ideas come from? For example, where do our ideas about truth, justice,
love, and beauty come from? What about conscience, compassion, wisdom and
honor? Where do poetry, humor and music come from? If everything reduces to
bio-chemistry, then what's the difference between the secretions of our kidneys and
these ideas in our brains? The atheistic assumption of naturalism is not a scientific
fact but a philosophical bias which runs counter to the Biblical worldview of the
scientists who pioneered modern science. Richard Dawkins acknowledges this,
although unwittingly, when he states that a "philosophical naturalist is somebody
who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world..." (The God
Delusion, Mariner Ed., 2008; p. 35), NOTE: his use of the verb "believes" (a
philosophical assumption) as opposed to "concludes" (a scientific conclusion).
# 2: IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "No one knows (or can know) the truth about religion."
RESPONSE: If no one can know the truth, then how can you know the
truth that no one can know the truth? That's contradictory.
# 3: IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "All religions have some truth; no religion has all the truth."
RESPONSE: How could you possibly know that? Wouldn’t you have to know
everything about all religions, and everything about truth? In logic this type of truth
claim is called a "universal statement." Whenever you use "all" or "no" in a logical
proposition, you are claiming to know the truth about the entire extension of the
subject. For example, wouldn't you have to know all the truth in order to know that
all religions have some truth, or to know that no religion has all the truth? Where
would anyone get this kind of universal knowledge?
# 4: IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "There's no certainty about anything."
RESPONSE: Are you sure about that? If there's no certainty about anything,
then how can you be so certain that there's no certainty?
# 5: IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "Everything evolved by chance, from the natural selection
of random mutations."
RESPONSE: If everything evolved by chance, that would have to include your
own mind and your thoughts about evolution, wouldn't it? If your mind is nothing
but a process of random activities, why should I believe that your thoughts are true?
Why should you? What reason do you have to believe that your thoughts are
true? How are they different from your hormones, or the secretions of your other
# 6: IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "All the evil in the world proves that there's no God.
A good God would never allow so much evil."
RESPONSE: The problem of evil is perhaps the most difficult question of all. Even
those who believe in God sometimes feel overwhelmed by evil. God sometimes
seems very distant, very far away. However, if there were no God, and no
absolute source of good, where did your idea of "evil" come from? If the world
is a meaningless accident, why do we find ourselves making moral judgments?
As Lewis said, "if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures
with eyes, we should never know it was dark" (Mere Christianity, II.1). Also, if
God were evil, why should there be so much good?
#7: IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "Every person should be judged by their own standards.
No one has a moral right to judge another person (or culture)."
RESPONSE: That's a very strange argument. It makes the absolute moral
judgment that there is no absolute standard for making moral judgments. Isn't
that contradictory? On what basis can anyone prohibit someone else from
making moral judgments, especially when the prohibition is itself a moral
judgment? The prohibition is actually a demand that everyone accept a
relativist point of view. But if everyone should be judged by their own
standards, that should allow someone who believes in moral absolutes to
be accepted and judged according to an absolute point of view. Isn't that true?
#8: IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: “Any talk about "creation" or "design" is "religious"
and doesn't belong in science. Religious claims are faith-based and unverifiable;
science is based only on facts and evidence.”
RESPONSE: This argument presents a false dilemma. It is also very naive.
Are there only two, such opposite ways of looking at the world? The one, a heroic,
scientific commitment to pure facts? The other, the superstitious commitment of
religion to unfactual faith? This argument assumes, without justification, that there
is a necessary hostility between science and religion. It also assumes, again without
justification, that there is a necessary hostility between religion and facts. The history
of science reveals a much different state of affairs. Even Richard Dawkins, an
outspoken critic of religious belief, has acknowledged (in debate) that modern science
was born in the environment of the "religious tradition" of Christianity and the Bible
(Dawkins/Lennox Debate, U.
#9: IF SOMEONE ASSERTS: "God can't explain the existence of the universe because
then you would have to explain God. If you try to use God to explain the world you
just raise more questions. Who created God? Where did He come from?"
RESPONSE: This argument begs the question. It is assumes, without justification,
that a certain kind of answer (i.e. complex, supernatural) cannot be accepted. Why?
Because the argument also assumes a certain kind of worldview (i.e. simple, natural).
Isn't it unscientific and presumptuous to dictate the results of an investigation before it
is complete? The gist of this argument is not scientific. It expresses a philosophical
bias against anything supernatural. What is the scientific basis for a such a bias?
There is none. The argument is also naive. It avoids or denies the unique and
profound philosophical nature of the question (i.e. ultimate origins). And since when
was science opposed to “raising more questions”? A sufficient cause to explain the
universe must be eternal. Either matter or God must be eternal. All of the evidence
indicates that mass and energy are running down and, therefore, not eternal.