Over at the Huffington Post, blogger Staks Rosch wrote an article on “5 Pretty Good Reasons to be an Atheist”. I thought he’d actually list some compelling reasons, but instead he presented faith-based statements that assume God doesn’t exist. He then uses his atheistic worldview to poke holes in strawman arguments, and refrains from presenting any substantive argument.
Here’s his basic list:
1: The Bible is ridiculous.
2: We don’t need no stinkin’ deities.
3: The Problem of Evil
4: Oh, Hell!
5: You just don’t know.
Firstly he states a personal opinion that neither I, nor 2.2 billion other Christians (according to some estimates) agree with. Secondly he makes an uninformed claim that assumes he doesn’t have a soul in need of being redeemed. Thirdly he assumes there is a problem of evil. Fourthly he expresses his disdain for the concept of hell and assumes it’s a man-made idea. And fifthly he assumes there’s no valid or compelling evidence for the existence of God without examining all the evidence.
I’ll start by addressing the first two arguments in this post, and then tackle the other arguments in a separate post to keep from getting too lengthy.
His first argument- that the Bible is ridiculous- is based upon incredulity, personal opinion, and whether or not a television producer would include it in their mini-series. He simply can’t believe that people were raised to life when Jesus died (Matthew 27:50-53), or that God would send a bear to maul 42 children for calling a guy “bald” (2 Kings 2:23-24). But just because he disapproves of these events and finds them unbelievable or disturbing doesn’t make them untrue. His argument hangs on a thread of assumptions and a worldview in which God doesn’t exist and miracles don’t happen- but even if miracles do occur, these are miracles he disapproves of, and his personal expectation of what a god should be would never allow such things to happen. However I have no problem accepting any of these miracles. I believe God does exist and that these are historic events that have been recorded in the Bible. I accept how God has described himself, and I don’t impose my standards upon God. If God does exist, then we can’t dictate how he should behave and act- as if he were a genie we could control and manipulate. Further, Rosch implies that, if God does exist and performed these miracles, then he expects a detailed explanation and demands that God justify his actions. It’s as if Rosch has put God on trial and has condemned him for not providing an acceptable answer. Rosch is making himself to be the authority over God’s existence rather than accepting God as sovereign. And that’s not a reason to be an atheist.
Rosch also makes the ridiculous argument that, because he finds the Bible boring, this is another reason to be an atheist. But since when has boredom been a determinant of truth? Aren’t many students bored when they have to read science and history text books in school? Does that mean that all the information in the science book is false just because they’re bored? And if you read a book and find it boring does that make it untrue? Of course not! But even though some of the passages of the Bible may be “boring”, not all passages are. Many passages provide truth, interest, hope, encouragement, wisdom and knowledge.
I could also state that since I find Charles Darwin’s book, the “Origin of Species” (or any book written by Richard Dawkins) to be ridiculous and boring, then that’s a pretty good reason to become a Christian. But I doubt Rosch and other atheists would find such an argument persuasive.
In his second argument, Rosch claims that “We don’t need no stinkin’ deities”. However, if God does exist, and we have a soul, then the belief that we don’t need any “stinkin’ deities” is dangerously false. In order to make this claim Rosch must first assume there is no God, humans don’t have souls, and we aren’t in need of redemption. But obviously such a belief doesn’t make God cease to exist, nor does it mean that humans don’t have a soul. If we do have souls, however, then what happens to us after we die is important and not inconsequential. Whether we go to heaven or hell matters; where we spend eternity matters. And that means we need God because he’s the one that’s able to save us through faith in his son, Jesus Christ.
Rosch argues that God has been minimized by science, and that religion is fighting a losing battle against science. But this argument is filled with false assumptions, flawed premises, incorrect information, and a misunderstanding science. Science isn’t based on explaining the universe without God and marginalizing him. Ultimately it’s based on understanding how the world operates based on the laws set in motion by God. It’s based on the scientific method and observing how the universe consistently operates around us. God has designed a consistent universe that we can make sense of. In fact, Francis Bacon, a creationist, is usually considered to be the man primarily responsible for the formulation of the scientific method, which involves experimentation and induction from data.
Further, religion is only fighting a losing battle against science if you frame the argument that way, and that’s what atheists like to do. They like to define the terms in their favor, but that’s not how truth or science is determined. If God does exist, then he’s the one who created the laws of science, which means it’s impossible for religion to be fighting a losing battle. We’ve already won. God is the God of science no matter how atheists frame the argument. God doesn’t cease to exist because they think they get to write the rules. God still upholds the laws of science and has made them predictable so that we can continue to work the earth, just as he commanded us at the beginning. Rosch seems to think that because secular science has explained away our existence without God, that proves that God doesn’t exist. But explaining the universe without invoking God doesn’t nullify his existence; it just means that they’ve rejected God, and that’s not a good reason to be an atheist. We can just as easily explain the universe scientifically without the Big Bang and evolution from a Biblical perspective, and that has been done by many scientists. Science is not owned by atheists, but was created by God. God’s role in creating the universe is clearly explained in the book of Genesis.
Lastly, Rosch makes a number of other false claims, such as “science is learning more and more answers”, “evolution has explained human origin” and “the Big Bang explains the origin of the universe”. However science, evolution, and the Big Bang are not thinking entities that are capable of learning or explaining anything. Only human beings are capable of learning and explaining such things, and human beings are flawed and limited. No modern day scientist was there to observe events like evolution and the Big Bang, so they must draw conclusions from secondary evidence, like fossils, gravity and chemical reactions. Scientists must make observations and complete experiments, and then draw conclusions based on those findings. Scientists who believe in God and the Bible have confirmed the Biblical explanation of God’s creation rather than invoking evolution or the Big Bang.
So none of Rosch’s arguments are logical or rational. He simply proposes that because he doesn’t believe in God, that’s a good reason to be an atheist. He hasn’t really examined the evidence to the contrary; instead he’s simply rejected what God has revealed about himself because he finds it objectionable. I suggest that if he were serious about finding out if God does exist, then he needs to begin with the premise that God exists, do some serious searching, and pray that God would reveal himself.