The Implosion of Atheism
by Josh Hickok
Atheism, from the Greek a-, ‘not’ and theos, ‘God’ is the worldview diametrically opposed to Biblical Christianity. There are two versions of atheism, the first being closely related to agnosticism, and the second and rarer is called a strict or hard atheism. The two types of atheists usually give the following responses when asked of their beliefs on God-
1) I have a lack of belief in God(s) (agnosticism/soft atheism)2) There is/are no God(s) (strict or hard atheism)
The first version is becoming more and more widespread with the rise in faith of scientific explanations, or rather the faith that it has the power to answer all questions. Its basic premise is that since science has not, or can not lead us to a God through trial and method, we have no particular reason to infer a Creator. Most soft atheists would never say that there is proof against Gods existence, but rather they have not yet a reason to come to belief in Him.
The second view is much less common. A few notables are Richard Dawkins and Michael Martin. It is more of the historical and philosophical approach of atheists. It says that since positing a God entails contradiction, His non-existence is necessary.
We will go through the common objections, and then test to see if atheism passes its own tests. Looking at the first version of atheism, immediately the question must be posed by the theist, “what sort of evidence would you accept to shed this non-belief?” There are many theistic arguments that point to a Creator, and if they are as open-minded as the title of soft atheism entails, you should find that the evidence is quite agreeable to your position.
If the first group denies that any sort of proof could exist because of the futility of philosophical reasoning, a number of problems are then posed to the atheist-
1) If scientific reasoning is the only concrete method of knowledge, what experiment or sense perception led them to the conclusion of “only science is reasonable”?
2) What experiment or compilation of scientific studies leads to the establishment of abstract concepts, such as truth, love, ethics or beauty?
*note- these are stumbling blocks for all who wish to divorce metaphysics from reality
The next brand of atheism- hard atheism- has somewhat “bitten the dust” as of late for a multitude of reasons; its inability to answer the fore mentioned questions, and its inability to supply a sound argument for the necessity of Gods non-existence. Norman Geisler has compiled a great number of these arguments that atheists have brought to the table:
1) If everything needs a cause, then so does God, in which case His existence becomes superfluous and contingent, therefore contradicting the classical conception of Him.
This argument was formulated by J.S. Mill and rehashed by Bertrand Russell. The major problem with this objection is that it is based of a bad representation of the metaphysical principle of causality- not many, if any theists have at all, claimed that all causes need previous causes. Indeed, this is the one thing we must avoid. There is nothing contradictory with saying only SOME things need causes.
2) An imperfect world does not require a perfect cause.
This objection arises from the pen of David Hume. It falls short, and in a reversal can actually be used against him in a Platonic type of argument. In the first place, the cause never has to be equal to with its effect, and the effect can never be greater than its ultimate cause. Also, one could simply ask the atheist from which standard he is using to judge the imperfections of the universe. As C.S. Lewis lets on in Mere Christianity you must have an idea of what a straight line is in order to judge another crooked.
3) One of the more common objections to God existing is an argument from the impossibility of his attributes. Take the following line of reasoning for example-
The Christian need not be frightened by this “problem”, as one only needs further clarification of the first statement, “he can do anything”. Classical theism just does not view Him this way, and neither does the Bible- Hebrews states that “God cannot lie”, clearly setting bounds for Him. Of course, these “restrictions” are due to his rational character and innate and simple properties. In other words, God could do all that is possible for Him to do without contradicting His own nature.
When you consider all the aspects of atheism, from its two main divisions, to the historical and current proponents, I find the systems inconsistent and untenable. The Christian is given much ammunition, even from the atheist himself, from which to “defend…with a clear conscience” (1 Peter ) and to “destroy speculations…taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”.
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