In the present blog, I will offer responses to a few of the points made by a person on social media who calls himself the Atheist Codex. The Atheist Codex devoted a significant amount of time writing several rebuttals to several of my blogs. Some of the points he made mirror points made by famous atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Others are original to the Atheist Codex. Below I offer responses to seven of his arguments against God. I first present each of his seven points in italics, followed by my responses.
1) Asking “why are we here” assumes there is a why. That is begging the question of a divine creator. While I’d find a “why” quite satisfying, I see no evidence that there MUST BE a “why”. That there must be a why is an assumption (a “How”—yes, that I think there must be. But that’s not the same question).
Humans have a natural desire to satisfy their curiosity and seek purpose and answer the “why” questions of life. In fact, seeking purpose helps us psychologically. People who do not seek their purpose are susceptible to boredom, depression, and anxiety (Taylor, 2013). If they have addictive personalities, they’re more susceptible to alcoholism or drugs, which are two ways people reconcile psychological discord (Taylor, 2013). In the long term, seeking purpose corresponds to greater longevity. A recent study by Hill and Turiano (2014) of more than 6,000 participants over 14 years found that respondents who had died (n = 569) during the study had a lower purpose in life and fewer positive relations than those who had lived. These findings occurred regardless of whether respondents were young, middle-aged, or old. In other words, a greater purpose in life corresponded to a lower risk of dying. We are hard-wired to seek purpose and answer the “Big Why” questions of life. Seeking purpose enhances our survival.
2) Science has achieved more in the last 350 years than faith in the 10,000 before that. In part that’s been on rejecting personal testimony. Science, courts of law, any system whereby provable facts carry weight, have reached the conclusion that personal testimony is amongst the least reliable (and I will happily cite sources). Personal testimony is largely rejected by science, and that rejection is a huge part of why science works. Whereas Christian claims of miracles do not appear to differ from Hindu, Muslim, or whatever (even say those of Joseph Smith, ostensibly a Christian whose miracles I assume you reject), whereas Christian claims cannot, in the majority be true (at least to healing and miracles, unless God is smiting one person for every one he heals), there is no independent, quantifiable grounds on which to accept them. That standard is the cornerstone by which science has succeeded to date.
Courts of law routinely collect depositions in both criminal and civil trials. Depositions are defined as the “process of giving sworn evidence” and the means used to provide depositions is via personal testimonies, which form the backbone in court cases. Personal testimonies are also routinely used in court rooms. Since the court system considers personal testimonies valid in decisions that have significant impacts on people’s lives, there is no reason atheists should consider personal testimonies invalid.
Of course, the collection of multiple testimonies is important, which is why the courts collect more than single depositions in court cases. Joseph Smith and Muhammad are examples of single sources of a claim. The apostles and early Christian disciples who witnessed the risen Jesus are examples of multiple sources of a claim. Corroboration helps to substantiate claims – and as Saint Paul noted in 1 Corinthians 15, five hundred people witnessed the risen Jesus. Many were still living when he wrote this passage who would have undoubtedly called him out if the claim were not true.
3) There are multiple threads of evidence suggesting that we may live in a multiverse.
The presence of a multiverse does not suggest we have infinite regress. It merely adds years to the date of the present universe and in no way mitigates the need for an uncaused cause of the multiverse, which is God.
4) Science is the single most successful human endeavor in history.
This is the opinion of the Atheist Codex. Authors, philosophers, builders, economists, artists, and entrepreneurs would likely beg to differ.
5) If we are able to say that there is any uncaused cause, why would it be limited only to God? The second you say there can be an uncaused cause, why must it be conscious? What law dictates that?
God has all of the qualities that are required of the uncaused cause that powered inflation of the universe at the Big Bang. God is the omniscient, omnipotent, metaphysical, eternal, active force of the universe. The Atheist Codex suggests that an unconscious uncaused cause is an option, which is consistent with Eastern faiths that believe a passive force exists in the universe. Eastern faiths also believe the universe is eternal.
Yet scientists have overwhelmingly stated the universe is around 13.8 billion years old. What existed prior had to have consciously powered matter, space, and time. A passive force is passive in every way, which means such a force is impotent and unable to actively effect change.
6) God created everything to his design. He knows what we will do, and created us such that we would do it. Thus how do we even have free will other than the a-priori declaration that we do. This would seem contradictory. If indeed we have free will, the ability to act in some way contrary to his design, we’d need to be as smart as he, would we not? If god has no limitations, than there should be no lesson whatsoever which requires giving us a choice, which cannot be taught without that choice. Contradictory? Perhaps. But he’s God, he can do anything.
When a handyman lays tile on a bathroom floor and the tile cracks and acts contrary to the handyman’s design, is the tile as smart as the handyman? When a parent carefully plans out a child’s activities in the summer – and the child decides he does not want to partake in those activities, does that make the child as smart as the parent? In the same way, when God designed us and gave us free will, He knew we would not always do as He intended. He does not cage us and require us to do as He intends. He intends us to be free.
As C.S. Lewis (1943) said, “God created things which had free will. That means creatures can go wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong, but I can’t. If a thing is free to be good it’s also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata – of creatures that worked like machines – would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they’ve got to be free.”
“Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently, He thought it worth the risk. (…) If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will – that is, for making a real world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings – then we may take it, it is worth paying.”
7) The argument that the human body is too “perfect” to not have been designed intelligently is disproved by faults in the human body. There are other arguments for ID (like Irreducible Complexity), so I am not saying this ALONE disproves ID… It does not. But it DOES undermine the argument that the human body is too efferent or too perfect to have evolved. Further, that these inefficiencies can, across multiple scientific disciplines, across multiple species, be easily explained by evolution, and has successfully lead to the prediction of fossils and species before they were discovered, lends strong evidence to the notion we evolved without ID providing counter evidence that we did not (including but not limited to arguments of irreducible complexity, which I can happily address but did not touch on).
Let us be clear: I have never argued that the human body is too perfect to have evolved. The human body is imperfect, which is evidenced by our weaknesses, diseases, and the like. Human imperfections in no way suggest that the Creator of the human body is imperfect. It instead directs us to the reason the Creator created our imperfect bodies, which speaks to (1) our temporary existence on the earth and (2) our spiritual purposes.
We are here temporarily to advance spiritually. Had we arrived in perfect bodies and with perfect minds and without the ability to determine our actions (i.e., no free will), we may as well have been robots. God loves us enough to allow us to fall. When we fall, we get up and we grow stronger.
Everyone knows at least one self-centered, prideful prig who considers himself perfect – and everyone knows what a sheer bore such a person can be. Imagine if the earth were populated with self-centered, prideful prigs. Such a world would be miserable.
Most people would rather befriend humble people who overcame significant challenges. People like Nelson Mandela and Harriet Tubman are inspirations to us all of courage, kindness, perseverance, passion, and love. And these are God’s intentions.
Thank you for your time.
Hill, P.L. & Turiano, N.A. (2014). Purpose in life as a predictor of mortality across adulthood. Psychological Science, 25(7): 1482-1486.
Lewis, C.S. (1943). The Case for Christianity. B & H Publishing Group.
Taylor, S. (2013). The power of purpose. Why is a sense of purpose so essential to our well-being? Psychology Today. July 21.