Over the past few hundred years, the move to “secular rational modernism” has supplanted “traditional religious” views in many parts of the West. Atheists sometimes think Christianity will one day be toppled and atheists of the past century such as Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao Tse Tung certainly gave that effort their best shot. Other atheists decry the morally atrocious actions of these dictators – whose actions led to the untimely deaths of over 100 million innocent lives. Many of these atheists favor the idea that science will one day topple theistic belief systems – and God. So let’s examine science and God.
Can Science Replace God?
Some atheists have argued that as our knowledge of science increases, our need for God decreases. They point to ancient people who conceived of gods manifested in the sun, moon, lightning, and rain. As we’ve come to know more about nature, the cosmos, and the weather, the use of those gods to explain these phenomena has declined. Some may think that one day, we won’t need to use gods (or God) as an explanation at all. With this logic, they assert that theists use “god of the gaps” arguments each time people can’t fully explain phenomena such as energy, gravity, and consciousness. Specifically, what is energy? What is gravity? What is consciousness? We really don’t know, but they have faith that science will one day fill those gaps to give us the answers. But as Dr. John Lennox has pointed out, their faith in science is misdirected. Science is only a tool to grasp the physical elements of our creation. Science cannot explain its metaphysical components, such as the spiritual experiences and dreams we all have. Science is hardly positioned to replace God.
So what makes atheism so attractive to some so-called rationalists, materialists, or naturalists? Does it explain our most important questions of life? Is it the truth? What is its value proposition? Or alternatively, does Christianity offer tremendous explanatory power for life? Is Christianity the truth? What is Christianity’s value proposition? Truth is that which conforms with reality. Let’s examine the two worldviews in the context of life’s biggest questions.
In the book of Genesis, we learn how God spoke the universe into existence. Speaking the world into existence helps to explain how the natural universe (space, matter, time) followed from the supernatural (spaceless, immaterial, eternal). Creation from ex nihilo, according to St. Augustine.
God explains how our universe came into existence, while science explains how things work within the universe. Lennox uses the analogy of the Ford automobile to explain these relationships. One wouldn’t say Henry Ford didn’t create the Ford automobile by showing the science behind its internal combustion engine. To put it another way, consider whether or not God exists or Henry Ford existed. These are ontological questions. God’s existence is not debunked by whether or not we can explain the weather or the impact of sunlight on plants. Henry Ford’s past existence is not explained by whether or not we can explain internal combustion. Questions of whether or not something exists or has existed are much more significant than questions within our existence of how we or our planet operate. For a related video on this topic, see my friend Craig Reed’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/NUT_yj0WQWQ
The question of God’s ontology so vexes the atheist that they try to shift the burden of proof for God’s existence to the theist by claiming the definition of atheism is a lack of belief in God. Thus, the theist must address the atheist’s lack of belief by demonstrating evidence for their own beliefs. Thankfully, we have answers. God has given us both generalized evidence for His existence in nature, the cosmos, our design, our rationality and our teleology (or purpose). Scientists rely on the rational, mathematical design of the universe to explain many of its constants, such as its cosmological constant. This rationality points to a rational, intentional, ordered mind. He has also given us specific evidence in the Bible, resurrection of Jesus, and history of Christianity.
Yet some atheists such as Jeff Williams will push back on even the most basic foundations upon which we’ve built our scientific theories by questioning the rationality of our universe: https://youtube.com/clip/Ugkx2et6NtDf5jxgLU6mqYMcthLBgtxuk18K. We can only pray that he and others like him come to their senses.
Purpose, Meaning, and Tribulations
Christianity also explains our ultimate purpose and meaning. Jesus said we’re to love the LORD above all else and love our neighbors as ourselves. We’re here to build and strengthen our souls in obedience to the gentle call of our loving Father. For this reason, we often face tribulations and must bear our crosses, just as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did. For this reason, we also triumph at times, just as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ triumphed by overcoming the world for us men and for our salvation.
Objective, Universal Moral Prescriptions
Recently, a Christian called Ken Ammi debated Jeff Williams on my channel. https://www.youtube.com/live/l3N0GNO9FdE?feature=share Jeff was adamant that atheism is not a worldview. Unlike Christianity, which claims the common core in the belief in Jesus’ resurrection and our salvation based on His sacrifice, he said that “there simply isn’t” a common core. He also said we have no objective morality, yet, he said, we do have morality and a moral sense. Hmm.
We have within us a moral sense to do what’s right, which is to be kind, loving, truthful, fair, and just. When we do wrong, it bothers us because we know we’re hurting ourselves or others. This sense is universal and objective (stance-independent), transcending generations, cultures, and people. It can only be explained by a transcendent and universal moral lawgiver. And through Paul in Romans, Jesus explains how our particular Moral Lawgiver imprinted His set of rules in our consciences.
Christianity also explains our destiny. In John 3:16, we learn that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, for whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus said that we’re either for Him or against Him. Those for Him will end up in Heaven, while those against Him will be granted their wishes to be without Him and His light and love. If we all lived as He directed and strove to be saints, we’d find heaven on earth. Conversely, if we all lived to violate His will for us, our earth would be hell. As C.S. Lewis has said, “Aim for heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim for earth and you get neither.” He’s also noted the way the doors to hell are locked from the inside.
To the Atheists:
Atheists cannot answer these highly significant questions of life. Some look up into our awesome cosmos and across earth’s beautiful nature to only foolishly speculate that we’re merely fortunate beneficiaries of statistically miraculous conditions. We’re just meaningless humans stuffed with delusions of grandeur who self-impose our subjective moralities on one another. Again, we’re just tiny bundles of corruptible and decaying flesh who cling to our existence on a random rock in the middle of an obscure galaxy called the Milky Way.
As the famous atheist Richard Dawkins has said, “There is no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” When reflected upon, these views spiral down a logical pathway to nihilism, which is the belief that life is meaningless.
They claim any meaning or purpose we claim is merely temporal rather than eternal. Some claim we have no objective and universal moral prescriptions, while others, such as Sam Harris in his book “The Moral Landscape,” acknowledge objective moral values and duties. Yet rather than ground the source of our objective morality in God, they ground it in their preferred consequence of a pleasurable world devoid of pain. In other words, they use circular reasoning. Our subjective desire for pleasure cannot also be the source of our universal and objective moral prescriptions to do what’s right.
Here’s the logic behind the circular argument:
We do what’s right because we want pleasure. Our desires for pleasure are why we do what’s right. See what I mean?
In summary, atheism fails to explain the biggest questions in life, which speak to our ultimate destiny, purpose, meaning, destiny, origins, evil, good, pleasure, and suffering. Christianity explains all of these. Accordingly, Christianity offers the strongest value proposition to human kind.
Despite the magnitude of these important questions, some atheists are content to live in what they perceive as a world of blind, pitiless indifference. They’ll shrug their shoulders and assert that atheism isn’t meant to explain any of these things – and some might even say these things don’t matter. But the consequences of their beliefs are significant, leading to hubris, nihilism, pain, bitterness, and destruction. To break free from the binds of their faulty notions, they need to seek the truth, which sets us free. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Yet I must caution the atheists who dare to seek, just as C.S. Lewis cautioned his readers: a young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.
This blog is a short snippet of a much longer video, which is packed with quotes and video references to Jordan Peterson and a handful of atheists, which I trust you’ll find quite interesting. The link to the video (which airs 2/11/23) is here: https://www.youtube.com/live/fGMmOMjLVqs?feature=share
3 Replies to “What Does Atheism Have to Offer? The Atheist Value Proposition”
Maybe you’ll find this interesting. Wasn’t sure what to do w it so I’m sending it to you to see if you can make heads or tails of it.
It’s be sunny & warm here the past 2 days so Harold & I have enjoyed the hiking. Today we’re walking down to the Waterfront for lunch. 🤗
Have a Good Friday. 😘
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This was really good S J, thank you so much for taking the time to write. You did a fantastic job putting together quotes and references to Atheists and their positions. And your case for Christianity was strong. You are very intelligent, I hope you never stop, you do things a lot of people (including me) can’t do.
I loved it! Great work!
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That’s incredibly kind of you. Thank you so much for your feedback, which is very encouraging. I’ll never stop!
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