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.

How Rational are Atheist Arguments?

The atheist’s mind works in a peculiar way. Virtually every atheist boasts of being a rationalist or a freethinker, that his worldview is the most logical one. In fact, most are neither “free” in thinking nor rational in their thoughts. They reject whatever doesn’t square with their dogma. A true rationalist doesn’t dismiss what he does not understand or sounds outlandish as “fairy tales” or “hallucinations.” That is what a dogmatist does.

The dictionary defines dogma as a religious belief that is accepted without proof or a code of belief accepted as authoritative. A dogmatist is therefore, someone who accepts a belief without evidence or who despite the evidences, rejects an idea because it contradicts his notion of reality and truth. Many atheists live out this second definition. Richard Lewontin, an evolutionary biologist, in one of his textbooks warns his students: “You must be careful, as you examine the orders of living tissue in all of the world around us, that you don’t fall back on the explanation of a creative designer-intelligence for it all because, frankly, everything does seem to have the appearance of an intelligent designer behind it, but that is plainly wrong.”

Rather than letting these “wannabe” scientists follow the evidence where it leads, they are already told what they mustn’t conclude. That is dogmatism. Many atheists reject some Christian beliefs (e.g creationism, resurrection of Christ, virgin birth etc) as contrary to logic and science. In fact, they transcend logic and science but that doesn’t disprove their veracity. There is true rationality (and humility) when we admit there are some things we cannot explain by logic or science. A consistent rationalist does not dismiss what sounds illogical. A “rationalist” who toes that line is upholding a dogma just like any fanatical believer.

Atheists have made science their dogma. They worship at its altars and await its “high priests” to explain everything in the universe to them. Whatever claim or experience that can’t be put in its box is dismissed as “hear says.” But science does not have an answer to many of man’s questions. Science (as a variant of philosophy) starts with unproven axioms and therefore, cannot be the sole determinant of all truths. Science is constantly evolving and growing, and that’s why some feats which seemed “impossible” in the past are now accepted as possible today. The science of 100 years ago is not the same science of today. Granted, every belief or experience doesn’t have to be explained by science to be real.

Christian-atheist dialogues often take a well-predictable path: the atheist demands that the Christian presents “an objective evidence” for God’s existence. The demand may vary in subject, but the underlying basis boils down to the burden of proof on the theist to prove his beliefs. I was in a forum where an atheist challenged a Christian, “Prove to me that heaven exists. I want an objective proof, don’t quote any religious text to me.” I think the best response to this is to bring the discussion back to the underlying issue – theistic arguments about God (since there has to be God before we talk about heaven).

When an atheist throws the “show-me-the-evidences-or-shut-up” argument at you, what you are dealing with is empiricism. In Philosophy, this is the theory that the origin of all knowledge is sense experience. It emphasises the role of experience and evidence, and argues that the only knowledge humans can have is a posteriori (i.e based on experience). The cosmological and telelogical arguments for the existence of God present the empirical “evidences” atheists clamour for all the time, but I need to point these out:

1. Like good dogmatists, many atheists derisively dismiss and ignore these evidences when presented even though they are empirical (observable and experientially tested). Therefore, the atheist will first have to tell us what he considers a good and compelling evidence, how he defines the terms, what his epistemology is and if his application of it is consistent (which is hardly the case). When an atheist carps, “Prove to me that God exists,” a good answer is to ask, “How many evidences do you need? A thousand? A million? A billion? Will a trillion be sufficient to convince you?”

2. Many atheists demanding “empirical evidences” for God’s existence want Him to do something so compelling that everyone will see, like turning the Aso Rock building upside down, twirling it around 360 degrees 20 times, bouncing it up and down at 20ft and changing it into a bright pink cloud in the shape of Kim Kardashian with a plaque on it saying “I am God. I exist. I came to earth as Jesus Christ, so bow!” Then the atheist, satisfied in his irrational and arbitrary demands will gladly kneel

3. Let’s assume that X = God; if atheists don’t believe in X, yet spend tons of time debating people who believe in X and seeking to demolish their X-system of belief, are they indirectly seeking X or they are seeking to be persuaded of it? Or does it mean that they are justifying their non-belief in X or they just want to feel better by attacking the believers in X?

It doesn’t make any sense if atheism is “non-belief in an imaginary being,” yet atheists spend the bulk of their time talking to Christians about X. What purpose does this serve? Is it to win us to their view of not-something-else or they are striving to convince themselves of being intellectually superior by bashing Christianity and the Bible? Atheists need to sincerely answer these.

4. To insist that there must be empirical evidences for God’s existence is an illogical, irrational and arbitrary framework made up by the atheist. Who says a thing has to empirical for it to be real or true? Mathematics is a non-empirical and non-scientific field of knowledge, yet its reality in our daily life is not disputed. No thinking person will dismiss mathematics as myth because there is no empirical evidence for it, so why do atheists demand we present empirical evidences for God as if that is the all and all of philosophical inquiry? Its a viciously circular argument to assume empiricism presents us all true knowledge and that unless God first proves Himself by empirical He is non-existent.

5. Another fallacy in the atheist’s obsession with “empirical evidences” is this: since they believe human thoughts are determined by outside forces of randomness and mere chance linked with the physical brain, every time the atheist demands for empirical proofs as the only means of knowing God, he is dogmatically imposing his own idea on others. If our thoughts are the results of random collisions of atoms in our brain, such random occurrences cannot apply to everyone else let alone to God. The atheists is irrationally trying to make everything bow to his arbitrary rule.

6. Although atheists have made science the final determinant of all knowledge and existence, science itself starts with unproven axioms which have to be accepted by belief. In the same vein, Christians start with unproven axioms and faith in various things – a faith that transcends reason but is not contrary to it. Thus, both theism and atheism involve faith, even though the atheist desperately wants to believe that he doesn’t have any faith or axiomatic beliefs.

Regardless of the science flag atheists wave around, neither atheism nor theism rests purely on science. Atheism is faith in purposeless blind chance while theism is faith in an Intelligent First Cause, so the real question is which faith stands up to scrutiny. Indeed, Christianity is based on a faith that is “the evident demonstration of realities not beheld” (Heb. 11:1).

Many atheists ask, “Why is your God true and not the other 4000 gods worshipped on earth?” This is because of Jesus Christ, God revealed in the flesh who performed miracles including His resurrection from the dead and was ascended to heaven. No other “God” has spoken, no religious founder measures up to Jesus and no religious book has passed the tests the Bible has. Counterfeit religions have arisen because people followed false religious books, false religious leaders and false understandings of the Bible.

This is why we search, examine and scrutinise beliefs to arrive at truth. Many atheists have not done this to any degree, are impervious to evidences presented, explain them away, yet curiously say, “We have seen zero evidence in all religions.” This is dogmatism and the pinnacle of irrationality.