Atheism: An Exercise of Extreme Blind Faith

Comic from Adam4d.com

Comic from Adam4d.com

“I won’t have blind faith.” That is often the reason that atheists and agnostics use to support their disbelief in God. However, I would use that same reason to explain why I could never be an atheist, or agnostic. As a Christian, I am able to read the historical records contained in the Old Testament, which told of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ with extreme specificity hundreds of years in advance. Based on the historical records contained in the New Testament, I have good reason to believe that all of those prophecies were perfectly fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth – most importantly, that Jesus died on the cross and resurrected from the dead. If those things are true, then God exists and he has revealed himself in the person of Jesus Christ, who taught that the true God is the same God who is revealed throughout the text of the Bible. Knowing all of that provides reasonable explanation for how the Universe came into existence from nothing, along with how it came to be so finely tuned to support life on Earth, how life began, and how objective “right” and “wrong” exist within humanity. Theism, specifically Christianity, also provides sufficient and coherent explanations for many other fundamental truths for which atheism struggles to account.

In contrast, atheists are forced to explain said truths with an onslaught of incoherent and unsupported explanations. In an effort to sound reasonable, they say that we can’t believe in anything that cannot be proven by science, or naturalism. However, they ignore the fact that they cannot use science to support that very claim. They often angrily accuse Christians of arrogance and bigotry because they believe that they follow the only Way to God and that every other way is wrong, yet atheists have no basis for their belief that arrogance and bigotry is really wrong in the first place.Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 1.01.38 PM.png Similarly, and most unbelievably, as naturalists, they are forced to believe that all of the matter in the Universe came from absolutely nothing, that the non-living produced the living, that mind came from matter, and that the unfathomable organization of the Universe to permit life on Earth was organized by an unguided explosion that was fueled by…nothing – and all of this happened naturally. It’s almost unbelievable to see so many otherwise intelligent people so desperately clinging to their extreme form of blind faith, since even their own beliefs can never hope to be supported by the same “science” that they complain does not support theism. Not only does science not support many of their beliefs, but their daily experiences always demonstrate the contrary: Something never comes into existence from nothing, non-life never creates life, intelligence never comes from mindless matter, and great explosions always create chaos and never perfect organization.

So why do so many people continue to practice such extreme forms of blind faith, despite all of the logical reasons to forsake it? It’s actually been happening for far longer than most ‘enlightened’ Westerners realize. In fact, Paul wrote in First Century A.D., “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him…” (Romans 1:19-21). By my estimation, Paul was correct: The very existence and coming into being of the Universe, along with all that it contains makes clear to the reasonable person that God must exist. However, history reminds us that humans have always wanted to function as their own god, which necessitates a denial of the true God. That same denial provides atheists with an excuse to live as they desire – as their own god – without any acknowledged fear of penalty from a Divine Law-Giver. However, it’s important to recognize that even in our corrupt society a guilty person cannot claim ignorance of the laws he has broken and expect that a judge will allow him to go freely and without penalty. If imperfect human judges are too just to allow a guilty person to escape without punishment, regardless of any of his claims to ignorance, then how much more certain should we be that the Perfect Judge of the Universe will also judge justly? I encourage anyone who is living in such a manner to repent from your sin and follow Jesus, who counted it as his joy to receive our punishment for denying God and worshipping ourselves in his place. It is only by means of our belief in Jesus that is evidenced by our submission to his authority over our lives that we can be forgiven of our sins because he has paid our debt.

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I simply do not have the amount of faith required to live my life in denial of God.

Only One Thing Can Disprove Christianity – Nothing Else Can

I was recently speaking with someone who is an outspoken atheist, who could probably be labeled an anti-theist, but someone with whom I have been able to develop a friendly relationship, based on our ongoing conversations about my Christian faith and her lack thereof. Jan, would tell you that she was raised a Southern Baptist, but that she hasn’t read the Bible since she decided that she no longer believed what she had been taught from it – 40 years ago. Jan will readily cite obscure Old Testament verses taken out of their original contexts in an effort to undermine Christianity and support her disbelief, which is a commonly tactic used by many skeptics. Whether one’s reason for rejecting Christianity is based on difficult passages in the Old Testament, the many “hypocrites” who claim to be Christians, or any of the other claimed reasons for disbelief, it is important for the Christian and unbeliever alike to understand that those reasons in no way affect the truthfulness of the claims of Christianity.

What Jan has only recently begun to understand is that the claims of Christianity are in no way dependent on the Old Testament, the number of hypocrites claiming to be Christian, or any other peripheral argument. In fact, only one thing can disprove and discredit Christianity – nothing else can. Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 12.21.47 PM.pngThe truth of Christianity is solely contingent on the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was killed and buried, then resurrected three days later as he claimed he would do (1 Cor. 15:17). If that is true, then Jesus’ fulfillment of his own prophecies concerning his death and resurrection validate several foundational Christian beliefs. Those beliefs include that God exists, since no one naturally returns to life after three days of being dead and buried, and that God validated all of the claims/teachings of Jesus by enabling him to fulfill his prophecies concerning his death and resurrection. So, “How do I know God exists?” Jesus resurrected. “How do I know that the “Christian God” is the only true God?” Jesus resurrected. “How do I know that the Bible is authoritative and true?” Jesus verified his claims to deity by resurrecting from the dead, which gives me sufficient reason to trust his affirmation of the trustworthiness of the Old Testament and the teaching of his apostles in the New Testament.

Continuing that line of thought, if God exists and he has revealed himself through Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:9), then everything that Jesus taught about God, eternity, the way to heaven and hell, all forms of morality, and the reliability of the Old and New Testaments is true. However, as even the Christian scriptures testify, all of his teachings regarding those issues are meaningless if he did not resurrect from the dead after his death by crucifixion. Therefore, for one to successfully discredit Christianity, or even provide valid reasons for doubt, he must reach beyond misinterpreted Old Testament verses and emotive reasons for disbelief. Instead, the critic must begin with the resurrection of Jesus. Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 12.39.59 PM.pngIn order to consider the truthfulness of Jesus’ resurrection, one need only consider the New Testament accounts of the event as historical documents.  After all, even the most skeptical historian will affirm that those documents were written by men with firsthand knowledge of the historical Jesus.

After explaining all of this to Jan, I asked her, “So, what reasons do you have for not believing that Jesus resurrected from the dead, as so many eyewitnesses claimed?” She smiled thoughtfully and responded, “Well, I’m going to have to think about that. I might not actually have any real reasons.” I returned her smile and said, “You don’t!” In fact, as she is beginning to realize, all of her reasons to disbelieve are emotional in nature. She simply does not want to believe that God exists – much less that Jesus is the only way to God. However, we all know that one not wanting to believe something has no bearing on whether, or not, that particular something is true.

So what does this mean for Christians? It means that we should not be distracted by the red herring arguments that are often presented as reasons to doubt Christianity. Instead, we must remember that there is only one thing that could discredit Christianity: One must overcome and prove as false the mountain of historical evidence that has been preserved within the New Testament, as well extra biblical historical accounts, which affirm the resurrection accounts. For that reason, the Christian must continue to respectfully and lovingly redirect skeptics’ focuses from peripheral objections to the central issue of Christianity. It also means that the most important focus of a Christian’s evangelistic conversation is that Jesus was not only crucified, but that he was raised to life three days later. Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 12.41.24 PM.pngNot only is that truth at the heart of the Gospel, but it also forces those who disbelieve to put aside empty attacks on Christianity and, instead, to consider the truthfulness of its most central claim. This ultimately enables the Christian to redirect the focus of conversation with a skeptic from difficult texts and emotional objections that have no ability in themselves to bring salvation, instead, to clearly articulated Gospel conversations.

For additional information on the historical resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, see either of the sites below, or anything written by Gary Habermas, or William Lane Craig, on the topic. I also recommend any of the “resurrection debates” between either of those men and their atheist counterparts, which can be found on YouTube.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/five-reasons-to-believe-that-jesus-christ-rose-from-the-dead/2013/03/31/59dc712a-9a05-11e2-a941-a19bce7af755_story.html

http://www3.telus.net/trbrooks/garyhabermas.htm