Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The Irrational Atheist
Recently, I find that I am in constant contact with atheists. I had always thought that most atheists were of the intellectual sort, highly intelligent, good debaters and such. I have to confess that most of them that I talk to and even read are little more than rude and condescending boogers. Most of their arguments are sophomoric at best and juvenile at worse. Very few of them seem to be intellectually or philosophically honest and I suspect most of them know this to be the case even if they won't admit it.
Recently, in an aticle that appeared in The Atlantic, Crispin Sartwell admitted that "Not believing in God isn't always based on arguments - and that's okay." Sartwell admitted that the scientific worldview itself, naturalism, cannot be explained by science no more than religion can. At least he is honest about it. Sartwell admits that he is an atheist because of how he things about the universe which is ultimate derivative of his extremely limited experience. Sartwell says he sees the universe as a morally indifferent thing. Once again, at least he isn't trying to use chemical processes in the brain to establish a universal morality. Those who make such arguments always fail to tell us which brain.
"But for many people, belief comes before arguments." Sartwell goes on to say that the arguments are generally post-hoc rationalizations. He is right. The sad truth is that most atheists won't admit this, no, not in a million years. They arrived at their position only after examining all the available evidence and then after thoroughly and fairly examining Christian theism. At least that is what the overwhelming majority of atheists want us to believe.
The atheist claims that naturalism is the only worldview that makes sense. All knowledge comes through the senses we are told. But when we inquire as to what scientific proof we they have to offer, it all comes down to "that's just way it is." Well, I forgot the expletive but you get the gist. When we ask the atheist to defend morality he tells us that morality is nothing more than a self-preservation mechanism in the brain or a convention of society. He always forgets to tell us which brain or which society if right if there are differences. He also forgets to tell us where the survival instinct comes from and why all these molecules in motion are so afraid of dying. When the atheist is asked to provide an intelligible account of the relationship with the irrationality of individual facts and the rationalizing principle we mostly get little more than rhetoric mixed with a lot of poppycock and outright propaganda.
Sartwell admits, "The idea that the atheist comes to their view of the world through rationality and argumentation, while the believer relies on arbitrary emotion and commitments, is false." I have made this point to many atheists only to be called insulted three ways to Sunday. Sartwell is right.
It is equally true that Christians do not come to Christianity by rationality or argumentation. Christians are not the products of family, environment, and society. That's how we get hypocrites and false converts. John tells us very well how Christians are made: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." Christians are not the products of their parents. They are not the products of their own free will contrary to what most American Christians assert. Christians are born of God, by the will of God, as a result of the work of God the Holy Spirit applying the gospel of God the Son, Jesus Christ, to their heart. Otherwise, they are not Christians.
The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 10, that Christians must make a confession of Christ as Lord and that we must literally believe that God literally raised Christ from the dead in order to be saved. This confession took place at the very entrance into the Christian group. Now, to modern minds in western culture, confessions don't mean much. They are unfortunately a dime a dozen. But in the Greco-Roman-Jewish world of Paul, they were one of the most significant events in a person's life. The use of the tetragrammaton (Yahweh) by early Jewish Christians is extremely significant. Larry Hurtado writes, "Romans 10:9-13 is particularly worth noting. Paul here commends the act of "confessing" (homnologeo) with the mouth that "Jesus is Lord" (Kyrion Iesoun), which is to be accompanied by heartfelt belief that God has raised Jesus from death; Paul portrays these acts as having salvivic consequences (vv. 9-10). that the confession is a ritual act in the context of worship is indicated by Paul's adaptation of Joel 2:32 (LXX 3:5) to describe the action."
The creed of creeds in the Christian Church is known as The Apostles Creed. The Creed dates back to as early as the second century and was known to Irenaeus and Tertullian. "As applied to a creed, it was a sign or test of membership in the Church. Assent to the creed or symbol was required of those who were being baptized." For early Christianity, there was far more to identifying with the Christian group than there is today.
I say all this about the confessions and the creeds to point out that most atheistic arguments against the Church are either based on exposure to a false Christian or Christianity or a complete misunderstanding of the teachings of Christianity. The rest of the arguments are just a reflection of their hatred for the God of Scripture. They have stiffened their resolve to follow along the path of Satan in his full rejection of the Creator.
In the end, Sarwell tells us that he loves this world's beauty and that he hates its suffering. But as Al Mohler said, and I agree, to acknowledge beauty is to presuppose a standard by which beauty is measured. And such a standard simply cannot exist in a God-less universe or in an atheistic worldview. And that in and of itself is an irrational position in and of itself.