Dialogue on Reasons for Atheism

This past weekend, a Nigerian guy who was apparently disgruntled with Roman Catholicism decided to tear off pages of a Bible and blaspheme Jesus on social media. This triggered emotional reactions from many Nigerians and a number of atheists came out of the woodwork to spew their vitriol at the Bible.

I replied the comment of an atheist named Marvin, and during our exchange another atheist named Charley weighed in, but through it all, my starting question was never answered. All I got were rabbit trails, smokescreens and ad hominems. If you think only Muslims evade questions they can’t deal with, try atheists.

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Marvin: …The truth is this guy is right. He has figured it out and sooner other Nigerians follow in his foot step and stop believing in a fictitious enslaving fake god the better for all of us. But Nigerians will never understand, they will rather be comfortable believing something that doesn’t exist.

Victor: FYI, the guy who tore the Bible is pagan, not an atheist. His savage attacks on the Bible notwithstanding, he still believes in his tribal gods and ancestral spirits. But my question is this: can you give me a positive reason/assertion for atheism?

Marvin: Yes. The notion that the Christian god is the real god is as old as…well as old as it is. Muslims also claim Allah is real and Buddhists too and Jews and all the other 4,300 religions in the world. But one thing they all agree on is that 1+1 is 2. Now if they agree that the existance of one true god is as easy as the answer to 1+1. Again do your research about Christianity and Islam, you will see how bogus they both are.

Finally, read the Bible…not the parts laid out by your pastor or daily devotionals, read your Bible from beginning to end and read it with common sense and ask yourself questions and do your research on it. Intense research. Do you know it takes an 11 day hike from Egypt to Canaan, but it took the Israelites 40 years. Ask yourself what lions and other animals ate before sin came into the world. The Bible says grass. Think.

Victor: I didn’t ask for reasons why you don’t believe in Christianity, the Bible or Islam. Is it possible for you to give positive reasons for why you believe as you do without running down something (or anything else)? My question is: give a positive assertion (or reasons) for atheism. Will the universe self-destruct if an atheist doesn’t run down Christianity or the Bible to try shore up his view?

Marvin: No. In everything there is good and bad. Christianity was created to keep people in line and control them, and it has worked. There are bad atheists and good atheists so the world won’t end as long as there are people striving to suppress the bad in the world. The thing with Christianity is that it gives false hope in an afterlife and so people are lazy and reluctant to innovate as evident in Nigeria. But when someone realizes this and figures out that there is no hell and all that stuff – someone like me – all strings are loosened and all I wanna do now is try to make Nigeria a great nation with science and tech.

Victor: Since you are unable to defend atheism without attacking Christianity one way or the other, are you telling me that there is no positive reason why one should be an atheist except for the purpose of bashing Christianity and the Bible? If yes, that means atheism lacks a positive assertion – a key element of proof – and must be rejected by all rational persons.

Marvin: Oh you want me to defend atheism. Alright, Christianity aside. Look at world innovators in science and all other aspects of life, more than most of them are deep thinkers and atheists. Now the purpose of being an atheist is not to bash religion, although that is inevitable. See the thing is religions reassure us that they have all the answers. Like Christians say they serve the perfect true god and now it is the duty of the atheist to look at that statement and scrutinize it and if it lacks fault then believe me there would be no atheists but now it does. It has a lot of faults and flaws and lies and so we have no option but to attack it and create the awareness that it isn’t as it claims to be.

Victor: I find some holes in your first claim. The vast majority of scientists are theists in one form or the other. Atheism doesn’t own science or have a trademark over it. In fact, science itself started out in a Christian milieu (Europe) and for 3 centuries, scientists – who were Christians – didn’t see any conflict between theism and science.

Science, good as it is, has its limitations because it starts with unproven axioms just as any other imaginable belief. And the idea that atheists scrutinize things carefully is short of the mark. Atheists accept a thing because some scientists say so – and there’s never an end to the propositions that they have to accept by faith.

For example, no scientist has been able to show why life is here or demonstrate where it came from. None of them have been able to demonstrate how the big bang occurred and by which laws and mechanisms it took place or explain how atoms have the inherent powers to do what they are alleged to have done. Many theories and claims are thrown all around and you blindly accept them by faith. So your position is no more rational than ours. Again, I fail to see any positive assertion for atheism in all you wrote. Ergo, its irrational. All you do is bash Christianity and the Bible to cover the illogic of atheism.

Marvin: No sir, you’re wrong. Those people were not theists. Do your research well. You’re getting it all wrong. Yes there are people that are atheists for the sake of it because they are just too lazy to bear the burden of belief but there are others who are because they know the truth…they study and study and research and figure things out, yes science is all about trials and errors and eventually victory. That’s why me and you can be able to talk to each other today. But imagine if the world was only filled with religious people…

Charley: Atheism is a realisation, not a religion. Religion sets illusionary boundaries, confines people in an unprogressive state. Holds back advancement and keeps mindsets stactic and unproductive. If atheists bash Christianity more than the other religions, it’s because Christianity invades people’s personal space and they go to extra lengths to make those who do not live by their standard to do so by imposing their views on government policies and they do not understand that religion is personal commitment.

Victor: “Those people were not atheists.” This remark makes me question the extent of your “research” in this Information Age. Here are some examples of Christian/theist scientists and their fields:

Acoustics: Joseph Henry (1797-1878), Lord Rayleigh (1842-1919); Aerodynamic/Aeronautics: Francesco Lana de Terzi (c. 1631-1687), George Cayley (1773-1857)
Anatomy: Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564)
Antiseptic Surgery: Joseph Lister (1827-1912)
Astronautics: Robert Goddard (1882-1945), Hermann Oberth (1894-1989)
Atomic Theory: Roger Boscovich (1711-1787), John Dalton (1766-1844)
Bacteriology: Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)
Biochemistry: Franciscus Sylvius (1614-1672), Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794)
Biology, Molecular: Oswald Avery (1877-1955), Geroge Wells Beadle (1903-1989)
Botany: Otto Brunfels (1488-1534), Carolus Clusius (1526-1609), Carol Linnaeus (1707-1778)
Calculus: Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pierre de Fermat (1607-1665), Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
Chemistry: Robert Boyle (1627-1691), Joseph Henry Gilbert (1817-1901)
Computer Science: Charles Babbage (1792-1871), George Boole (1815-1864)
Electrochemistry: Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), Humphrey Davy (1778-1829), Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
Embryology: Julius Caesar Aranzi (1529-1589), William Harvey (1578-1657), Marcello Malpighi (1628-1694)
Entomology: William Kirby (1759-1850), Henri Fabre (1823-1915)
Genetics: Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), Victor McKusick (1921-2008)
Histology: Marcello Malpighi (1628-1694), Marie Francoise Xavier Bichat (1771-1802)
Immunology: Edward Anthony Jenner (1749-1823), Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)
Microbiology: Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680), Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723).
Neurology: Charles Bell (1777-1842) etc (Source: Science and Christianity: Close Partners or Mortal Enemies? Dave Armstrong, 2010)

“yes science is all about trials and errors”

Yet you’ve made it your dogma! You refuse to consider that there are limitations to what science can fathom, explain or analyse. This is one of the rational problems of atheism – making science the final determinants of knowledge and existence. Whereas science starts with a number of axiomatic propositions which have to be accepted by belief:

1. That the external universe exists and is not illusory.
2. The universe observes scientific laws and is not chaotic.
3. These laws apply to all times and places.
4. These actual or potential realities can be tested or observed.
5. That our senses can be trusted to provide us with reliable data with which to conduct these experiments. It’s Christianity – which you detest so much – that provided these starting premises and that is why modern science began in a thoroughly Christian environment and a high percent of scientists today are theists.

“Atheism is a realisation, not a religion. Religion sets illusionary boundaries…”

This is one of the blighting fallacies atheist throw around – lumping all religions into one big irrational pile without distinguishing one from the other. You don’t even stop to think that Buddhism is basically atheistic. The same goes for Taoism. The Unitarian Universalist is also an atheist-friendly religion. Just throwing around the word “religion” works well for propaganda, but in the world of facts, do us a favour, tell us which religion did what.

“Holds back advancement and keeps mindsets stactic and unproductive”

Interestingly, Joseph Stalin supported the quack pseudo-“genetic” supposed “science” of Lysenkoism, and even had scientists killed who rejected it and preferred mainstream genetics which Gregor Mendel established. So much backwardness there. Do I need to also talk about how the atheistic Khmer Rogue had thousands of educated Cambodians killed because they wanted to rule over illiterates rather than enlightened people? These are just some of the evil fruits of atheism and its curious these aren’t mentioned in your anti-Christian, ultra-condescension handbooks.

“it’s because Christianity invades people’s personal space.”

No Charley, its because Christianity intimidates you and grates against your moral depravity (one of the end results of atheism). If an ideology is not impeding you, it won’t bother you the least. Yet it’s this same Christianity that campaigned against pornography (which objectifies women), abortion, racism, slavery and stood for the traditional values of family and marriage. But now that you want to embrace all those evils, Christianity gives you the creeps: if gives you sleepless nights.

That’s why atheists spend the whole of their lives bashing Christianity and the Bible, whether online or elsewhere without any positive contribution to human life. Thank God for [David] Livingstone, [Mary] Slessor and a host of other Christian missionaries who came over to Africa to stand against the barbarism that our traditional religion wrought (in addition to their contribution to education, hospitality and welfare). Atheists would rather pride themselves on their false superiority over theists [or lose their sanity over the theme “In God we trust”] and rehash their twaddle on every social media page.

You bash Christianity because you are all cowards, sitting in a Christian-founded nation instead of growing a pair and standing against Islam. Go to any Islamic nation and practice your atheism there; go burn a Quran or speak against Muhammad if your atheism is skin-deep.

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Charley:Theists from one delusion to the other. Oh wow! A job well done, look how great the country is, couldn’t have been more awesome. Morality and the bible are opposites…If you need the bible to be a moral person then I got news for you, you’re already a s***y person. The bible condones slavery, misogyny, sexism, abrupt murder, tribalism etc. So it’s a crime against humanity to associate the bible with morality.

Victor: The very Bible you bash is what gave you the freedom you enjoy in the West today, but now that many of you no longer want to follow it but want to engage in bestiality, homosexuality, abortions and whoredom, you attack it as savagely as you wish.

This same Bible you hate put a stop to infanticide, cannibalism mistreatment of widows, ghastly monarchical rites, demonism and other evil traditions in Africa. It opened the door to civility, education and advancement. If you had been in Africa way back then, you were either a slave trader or would end up in someone’s cooking pot. Atheism suits you. It enables you to live as you wish, mistreat people as you desire and sleep around without any sense of moral accountability. Even our forefathers weren’t atheists and we don’t want that foreign ideology.

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Marvin: We don’t attack buddhists and the rest cos they don’t cause problems like Muslims and Christians. We all know how ridiculous those other religions are but we are focusing on the 2 main religions…

Victor: Marvin, you have no positive assertion for atheism. You only embrace it because it suits you and creates an outlet for you to vent your hate against Christianity. Keep at it. But here is my deduction: if Christianity is Y and atheism is X, you can’t prove X by attacking Y. Atheism doesn’t become true by default because Christianity goes down. Each has to stand on its own assertions. This is the fallacy I see you resorting to all through [this exchange].

When it comes to bashing Christianity, you are zealous, but when it comes to answering the defects of atheism, you are out of your depth. Be rest assured, I will never accept a “realisation” without a positive reason. That one rejects Christianity doesn’t logically entails that one must reject theism as you presume. So all I see you exercising is fideism – faith in faith – atheism is true because you want to believe it’s true, otherwise, Christianity is the ideal. That’s irrational. Sell it to the gullible. Nice chatting with you guys.

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Arguments for God’s Existence

Renowned atheist (and author of The God Delusion), Richard Dawkins once said that faith is “one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate…[It’s] belief that isn’t based on evidence [and] the principal vice of any religion.”

Contrary to his baseless misrepresentation, faith – to a large extent – is an important part of our lives. We plant crops with the assurance that the seeds will sprout. We accept employment hoping to get paid and obtain loans, expecting to pay them back. Since none of us have seen God, nor were we present when the universe came into existence, whether we believe in God or not, our views largely involve a degree of faith.

The uncertainty of atheism is evident in the fact that none of its claims explain how the Big Bang allegedly started the process that led to it and by which laws and mechanisms it came to be. None of them definitely tell us by what conceivable process life arose on earth. None of them can explain how the energy that comes from the sun is being carefully controlled in order not to spiral into decay or disorder as the second law of thermodynamics state. All they have are different theories – which atheists have to put faith in – none of which are convincing.

It takes more faith to believe these than to believe God sustains all things by His power. It takes a whole lot of faith to believe that atoms and cells could do the remarkable things they did by their own self-generated power or by an explosion that occurred 15 billion years ago than to believe in an Intelligent Designer. The ancient Babylonians, Persians, Celts or Aztecs believed their objects of metals or sticks could control the weather, create life or sustain the earth, yet today atheists believe virtually the same, that atoms had such amazing powers to form all things without any supernatural aid.

Biblically, “Faith is…the evident demonstration of realities not beheld.” (Heb. 11:1). Our faith in God is based on evidences. On the other hand, the atheist’s faith is based on science which (as a variant of philosophy) starts with unproven axioms – as every imaginable belief system does. Many great historians, scientists and legal experts have become Christians not by emotion or a mystical experience, but by verifiable evidences and sound arguments.

In Philosophy, an argument means a reason or set of reasons given in support of an idea, action or theory. Most atheists will say “No religion has yet shown me any evidence for God’s existence. We are all ready to change our minds for evidence.” These are mere empty and dogmatic claims. Its also based on the empiricist view of atheism that unless something is experimentally observed, its a myth. How many of the evidences Christians (or other theists) present are atheists ready to accept? They don’t even regard them as “evidences!”

If they were ex-Christians, how many Christian theological, apologetic or philosophical works have they read? Most of them have not even seen one let alone crack it open. These folks disdain and ignore evidences and then turn around to say no one has presented any evidence rather than admit that they are trusting in their own dogmatic inexperience of what they seek. Such blind belief rivals that of a fanatical cultist. Denial is a hallmark of dogmatism. In Christian theology, there are several arguments for God’s existence:

1. Cosmological argument

The term cosmological comes from the Greek word cosmos meaning “world.” This argument is based on the fact that the world exists, and since something can’t come from nothing, there must be an original cause for the world’s existence. Every effect must have a cause. So, by examining the evidences of the cosmos, we can conclude that God exists. Every house surely has a builder (Heb. 3:4)

2. Telological argument

The word telological comes from the Greek word telos, meaning “end.” This argument is based on the order and useful arrangement in a system imply intelligence and purpose in the organizing cause. From the way the universe is ordered and usefully arranged, there must be an Intelligent Cause behind it – which is God (Ps. 8:3-4; 19:1-4). Where there are evidences of intelligence, purpose, and harmony, there must be an Intelligent Designer behind it. Its irrational to attribute intelligence, complexity and orderliness to random chance.

3. Anthropological argument

The Greek word anthropos means “man.” Thus, contrary to the secular humanists who sees man simply as a biological being, the Bible presents man as created in the image of God. This image of God in man is spiritual, not physical (Gen. 1:26-28; Eph. 4:24). Man is not just a physical being, but also a moral being with a conscience, emotion and will. As a work says “A blind force…could never produce a man with intellect, sensibility, will, conscience, and inherent belief in a Creator.” (Lewis Chafer, Systematic Theology, 1977, 28)

4. Moral argument

This is related to the anthropological argument which acknowledges that man has an awareness of right and wrong, a sense of morality. Where did this sense of moral justice from? Random collisions of molecules in man’s brain? Absolutely not. If man is only a biological creature, why then does he have a sense of moral obligation? Its the height of folly to attribute moral standards and concepts to any evolutionary process. The only satisfying answer is that God has placed a sense of moral justice within the human race and it distinguishes us from all other creation (Rom. 2:14-15)

5. Ontological argument

This argument is distinct from the preceding ones because its deductive and a priori; it begins with an assumption and then attempts to prove that assumption. The term ontological comes from the Greek present participle ontos and means “being” or “existence.” The ontological argument is philosophical rather than inductive.

The argument reasons that if man could conceive of a perfect God who does not exist, then he could conceive of someone greater than God, which is impossible. Therefore, God exists. This argument rests on the fact that all men have an awareness of God. Because the concept of God is universal, God must have placed the idea within man. Anselm (1033?- 1109) was the first proponent of this view. In the thinking of some, this argument has limited value, and few would affirm the usefulness of the ontological argument. (Paul Enns, Moody Handbook of Theology, Moody Press: Chicago, 2008, 187).

I also need to point out that most atheists have this almost stultifying habit of putting belief in God on par with belief in tooth fairies, leprechauns, Easter bunny, Santa Claus, unicorns and imaginary friends etc. These are fundamentally silly analogies. Even a rational person can distinguish between the two.

There are innumerable, logical evidences (and defenses) proving God’s existence than man-made, superstitious folklore. God has made His existence so clear to millions of people, that its more plausible and rational to accept that the universe came about by His power rather than “random chance.” Its left for man to either accept or deny them. In upcoming posts, I will be providing more detailed examples of the arguments for God listed above.