Archive for the ‘atheism’ Category

The Atheists Are Coming!

April 26, 2008

             I’ve been reading with much interest the books and ideas of various atheists: Richard Dawkins, the renowned evolutionist; Sam Harris, the atheist Christianity-slayer; and Christopher Hitchens, the spouter of all things horrible against religion. It was with some trepidation that I picked up Sam Harris’s book first at my local Borders, called, “Letter to a Christian Nation.” His stated purpose was to pound the final nails into Christianity’s coffin. He seemed very confident he had the arguments, logic, and facts to finally put the whole Christ-myth into the dirt for good.

            As a Christian, I read with some anxiety. What would he say that might derail my faith of more than thirty years?  I’ve always worried somewhere in the back of my mind that someone would come along who would blast Jesus to pieces.  They’d find the real tomb he was buried in and his bones would still be there with his coat – “Jesus” stitched over his chest pocket. Or some “gospel” that had the true story of him being just a regular guy who did nothing but hang around with fishermen, but who told such great tales that the fishermen had to write him up and embellish the book. 

            Nothing like that has ever happened, although a recent movie documentary and book tried to show someone had found Jesus’ bone in a crypt in Nazareth. Sorry, that one didn’t fly, although the media made much of it.

            Yet, as I delved into these atheists’ books, I worried that they’d made some incredible discovery that would do just that: prove the whole history of Jesus was bunk! 

            So I read avidly searching for what it was. Nonetheless, when I put the book down, I sat there absolutely stunned. I said out loud, “This guy doesn’t have anything. Not a thing.” 

            I moved on to Richard Dawkins’s latest, “The God Delusion.” When I finsihed, again I was astonished. “How can these educated men believe this swill?” I asked myself. It really was startling how feeble their arguments and “proofs” were. I’d heard many of these ridiculous arguments in my first few years in seminary and had them debunked years ago.

            For example, Dawkins made much of St. Thomas Acquinas’ argument from causation, that every effect demands a cause equal to or more powerful than itself. Dawkins poses the question, If everything goes back to the first cause—God—then what caused him? Dawkins seems to think this sophomoric argument quite potent. The problem is that Acquinas argued that an “Uncaused Cause” was the first cause: God himself, the one who was never caused, made, or created, but always was. Dawkins seems quite satisfied that he has destroyed Acquinas and God in his little question, but really it’s all quite foolish. Just about anything that exists today had a “first cause” or “uncaused cause” in some sense. The lightbulb’s first cause was Edison. Many of the peanut’s first “inventions” came from George Washington’s Carver’s discoveries. Even Post-It notes has a “first cause,” if you want to look at it that way.

            When Dawkins uses his evolutionary beliefs, he stretches it even further. He admits the “beginning of life” should cause some real “awe” that it happened. Unfortunately, he has no idea how it happened, but he’s sure one day we’ll find out, without the need to invoke God. In the recent movie, “Expelled,” Ben Stein even gets Dawkins to admit that perhaps the first cause of life in our universe was caused by elite beings from another universe, who themselves came about through some evolutionary process! How convenient. Dawkins goes on like this page after page: “they’ll find the evidence” for the tremendous gaps in the fossil record. And, “those gaps will be filled.” And, “we’re seeing more every day that shows the truth.”

            Unfortunately, he never quite arrives at the “facts” so indisputable that everyone would heartily agree to them. 

            I only read a little of Hitchens. He sounded like a cross between a little boy having a tantrum and the Cowardly Lion, screaming, “I won’t believe. I won’t believe. I won’t. I won’t. I won’t. “ 

            Nonetheless, these books are big bestsellers. People rip them off the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and Borders like cancer victims in search of the cure. After reflecting on them, my conclusion was that anyone who knows anything of history, theology, and Christian faith, it’s all twaddle, to say nothing of illogical and without any real facts to back up their so-called research. However, I also see that if you know little to nothing about the Bible and the God portrayed in it, these works would be very convincing — especially if you’re just looking for a reason not to read the Bible or pursue the truth or not repent of the sins you know to be sins but would be happy to learn from the atheists that those are “just choices we all make, nothing wrong at all.” 

            More recently, I read Dinesh D’Souza’s, “What’s So Great About Christianity?” another bestseller. It annihilated the arguments of these atheists, showing the logical and factual fallacies in their writings. A fascinating read, D’Souza repeatedly shows that the very foundations of western civilization hearken back to Christianity, from it’s influence in scientific discovery, to education, to health care, and so on. D’Souza shows that if atheists succeeded in their stated mission of eliminating Christian truth from the world, they would be knocking the foundation of human freedom, discovery, and exploration out from under them. This would undoubtedly lead to a world like that under Hilter, Stalin and Mao who used the “truths” of Darwinian evolution and atheism and a rejection of all things religious to murder millions and create a world as backward and evil as any we’ve ever seen.  

            Thus, I’d like to challenge you. If you’re looking for reasons to reject God, Jesus, the Bible, and all things Christian, any one of the atheists’ books will probably satisfy you. They provide just enough supposed “truth” to let you feel you’re okay and don’t have to ever worry about heaven, hell, judgment, God, Jesus, or any fire-breathing Christian cornering you at a party ever again. 

            On the other hand, if you want some real truth and “meat” to chew on for the rest of your life, as well as spiritual grist that may ignite faith in you or bolster your present faith, try D’Souza.

            In the Bible God invites all of us, “Seek me while I may be found.” His promise is that “you will find me if you search for me with all your heart.” But if you really want an out, if you demand, “No, I want nothing to do with you, God, and I want some reasons to justify that conclusion,” then God will let you find it in Dawkins, Harris, and the others.

            God simply will not force himself on anyone.