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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Responses to "Eight reasons why I am not an atheist"

1. The religious are discontent with purpose as-is, and invent their "ultimate purpose". In the process, they devalue that which is truly valuable in a human life.
2. Supreme arrogance exists where those who require evidence for their beliefs are accused of "suppress[ing] the demands of logic."
3. This false dichotomy leaves out the option that the religious never put on the table. "We do not have enough evidence to know" is a reasonable position, reverend.
4. "An atheist must suppress all notions of morality." See my previous articles here.
5. This one is true. The natural world is amoral. Good and evil are human constructs. They are real, and judgments are made based on socio-cultural standards and traditions. See #4, the absence of an absolute and universal moral standard does not mean a lack of morality.
6. You must be joking. I could just as easily assert that you are arrogant to not agree with me that there is a magic crystal from the alien Jujuboo race lodged in a sacred rock within the core of Earth's moon. Arrogance is a belief system based on mythology where the amount of evidence and your assertion of truth are inversely proportional.
7. Multiple reprinting does not make any writing historically accurate. Unbiased, eh? I wonder why all the gospels were not included? I wonder why many of the writings took place generations after the supposed events? I wonder why the scriptures were off limits to anyone outside of the church for the first centuries of their existence? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence for me to believe them. For you, apparently not.
8. Humans are animals, and a product of evolution by natural selection. Your statement about "blind chance operating on the primordial ooze" clearly indicates your ignorance of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. Please read a book other than the Bible, for instance try "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin.

From http://www.mcall.com/

Eight reasons why I am not an atheist

November 24, 2007

1. An atheist assigns himself to life without ultimate purpose. Yes, atheists enjoy smaller meanings of life like friendship and love, pleasure and sorrow, Mozart and Plato. But to be consistent with his atheism, he cannot allow for ultimate meaning. If the atheist is honest, he will admit to feeling that there is something more to existence, something bigger. Someone said, ''The blazing evidence for immortality is our dissatisfaction with any other solution.''

According to Scripture, God has ''set eternity in the hearts of men'' (Ecclesiastes 3:11). To maintain his position, the atheist must suppress the feeling that there is more to life than what is temporal.

2. The atheist must suppress the demands of logic. He is like the man who finds an encyclopedia in the woods and refuses to believe it is the product of intelligent design. Everything about the book suggests intelligent cause. But if he accepted such a possibility, he might be forced to conclude that living creatures composed of millions of DNA-controlled cells (each cell containing the amount of information in an encyclopedia) have an intelligent cause. His bias against God will not allow him to accept this.

3. The atheist has to believe in miracles without believing in God. Why? Well, one law that nature seems to obey is this: whatever begins to exist is caused to exist. The atheist knows that the universe began to exist and since the universe is, according to the atheist, all there is, the very existence of the universe seems to be a colossal violation of the laws of nature (i.e., a miracle). It's hard to believe in miracles without God.

4. An atheist must suppress all notions of morality. He is not able to declare any quality to be morally superior to another. Such admissions require an absolute standard of goodness and duty. Without this, there is no basis for an atheist to declare peace better than war or love better than hate. These are simply alternative choices without moral superiority.

5. The atheist must conclude that evil is an illusion. For there to be evil, there must also be some real, objective standard of right and wrong. But if the physical universe is all there is, there can be no such standard (how could arrangements of matter and energy make judgments about good and evil true?). So, there are no real evils, just violations of human customs or conventions.

6. The atheist must also live with the arrogance of his position. Although he realizes that he does not possess total knowledge, his assertion that there is no God requires that he pretend such knowledge. Although he has limited experience, he must convince himself that he has total experience so that he can eliminate the possibility of God.

7. The atheist must also deny the validity of historical proof. If he accepted the standard rules for testing the truth claims of historical documents, he would be forced to accept the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The account of Jesus' resurrection is strongly validated by standard rules for judging historical accuracy. The extensive manuscript evidence of eyewitnesses to the resurrection is presented in an unbiased, authentic manner.

8. Finally, the atheist must admit that human beings are not importantly different from other animals. According to the atheist, we are simply the result of blind chance operating on the primordial ooze, and differing from animals by only a few genes. Yet the wonders of human achievement and the moral dignity we ascribe to human beings just do not fit with the claim that we are no different than the animals.

The atheist's problem with belief in God is not the absence of evidence but the suppression of it. This is what Scripture teaches. ''For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.'' (Romans 1:20-22).

The Rev. Steve Cornell is senior pastor of Millersville Bible Church Millersville, Lancaster County.

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