On May 1, 2003, President George W. Bush landed on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. He was only a passenger, but he climbed out of the plane in full flight gear and was warmly met by the crew members under a giant banner reading “Mission Accomplished.” Operation Enduring Freedom, the invasion of Iraq, was complete. All that was left to do was a little mopping up. America would be at peace again.
I just read an article by the Reverend Dan Delzell, pastor of the Wellspring Church in Papillon, Nebraska and a regular contributor to The Christian Post. Atheism is dead on arrival, and Reverend Dan is here to tell us why.
Atheists try not to think about the question: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" Atheism has no rational answer to this fundamental question, and even considering the question has the potential to chip away at the beliefs of an atheist.
Really? I wrote a short essay on this very topic in my Philosophy 101 class, concluding that without something, philosophers have nothing to argue about. Professor Lawrence Krauss wrote a book on the topic titled A Universe From Nothing. He’s a lot less glib than I am. He’s also an atheist. “I don’t know” is also a perfectly valid answer. Do you know what’s not a rational answer? The arbitrary termination of an infinite regression by the flat and unsupported assertion “I don’t know, therefore God did it.” And not just any God, but the specific deity worshiped by most of the people in Pastor Dan’s culture and described in the very book Pastor Dan read as a child.
He goes on to say that atheism has no explanation for the development of the human mind. Neither does theism, it just halts the inquiry with “God did it.” And then he accuses atheism of having no logical rationale for why more and more people are accepting Christ as their Savior.
Up to this point, he’s been playing rhetorical games. Atheism isn’t a scientific theory, philosophy, or ethic. It’s just an answer to the question, “Do you believe in a god or gods?”
But his repeated assertion that more people are accepting Christ is flat out false. According to a recently published survey by PRRI, the single largest “religious” group in America are the Nones, and the largest subgroup of Nones are what PRRI calls “Rejectionists.” It doesn’t look like a good time for Pastor Dan to declare victory.
Of course, the truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its popularity, and vice-versa. If you want to study why there’s something rather than nothing, atheism doesn’t have an answer. I recommend cosmology.
Pundits say we’re living in a post-factual society, pointing to our modern day Baron Munchausen, the cotton-candy-haired con artist running for President. Perhaps that’s so. But I don’t have to like it, and I don’t. If fibbing is necessary to persuade me of the truth of your religion, what does that say about your religion?
Tell me how, exactly, you get from “Someone must have created the Universe” to “And therefore, my particular religion is true.” Tell me how you get from “God’s laws are perfect and immutable and the objective source of all morality” to “Well, we were wrong about genocide and slavery and miscegenation and the age, size, and composition of the universe, but God definitely disapproves of what two consenting adults do with their genitals.” Tell me how you get from “God did it” to “And therefore the Bible is true except for the parts that are allegorical, which are true, too.”
But don’t tell me that you’ve crushed atheism because it doesn’t offer easy and thoughtless answers to all questions. It only answers one.
The Digital Cuttlefish put it best:
… Therefore, Jesus
It’s possible some entity which cannot be detected,
Outside of our experience despite how we’ve inspected,
Was the first cause of the universe, and first began to move it
It’s possible, by which I mean that no one can disprove it.
And that’s why I, specifically,
Believe in Christ of Galilee
Beyond the grasp of scientists, beyond our poor sensations
Beyond the reach of telescopes, which all have limitations
Before the birth of matter, and of energy’s first pulse
There may have been intelligence—you cannot prove it false.
Believing in the Christian God
Is, therefore, not the least bit odd
The beauty of the universe holds all of us in thrall
No scientist would be so bold as claim we know it all
The open-minded person will admit that, just perhaps,
Some unseen causal entity lies hidden in the gaps
It cannot, therefore, be denied
It’s for our sins that Jesus died
A bit of bread, a sip of wine
Are flesh and blood, by will divine
A savior-king, of virgin birth
Who holds dominion over Earth
Belief in whom must hold the key
To heaven and eternity
Without whose love and magic spell
You’ll spend forever, trapped in hell
A god so strong, and so complex
He cares with whom we might have sex
We’ve never seen the evidence, and frankly never will
Another gap will open up for every one we fill
The less a god is visible, the more that god is strong:
As long as God does nothing, why, you cannot prove Him wrong.