Why I am not an atheist : A skeptic's case for belief in God
When someone leaves Christianity the assumption is that you become an atheist by default. They say its cool to be an atheist, everybody's doing it! There's even a celebrity atheist website for those that can't think for themselves. Peer pressure & marketing maybe enough to persuade them, but I would prefer a rational explanation rather than a "popular" one. People are inquisitive and frequently ask me why I have rejected atheism.
Skeptics consist of atheists, humanists, agnostics, and deists. I know of skeptics that reject atheism but I can't name any that openly defy atheism. Skeptics don't want to rock the boat (or subject themselves to the atheist "buzz saw") and thus accommo
date atheism. This subject matter isn't a non-consequential cerebral/philosophical exercise, whoever prevails is afforded the right to a platform to proclaim their "virtues and values."
Frankly, Christian rebuttals to atheism are anemic and lack potency. The case against atheism needs to be delivered by a skeptic rather than a religious
person that gives credence to a book with a talking snake. The significance of skeptics giving atheism a free pass means that atheism has no effectual opposition and is thus enabled to impose their agenda!
Atheism is more than disbelief; it is a well-financed movement with a stealth agenda that can disrupt and destabilize the social sciences of a nation. I've had an inside look at the atheist movement, what I see troubles me. While religion has its problems, this ex-minister is persuaded that atheism would be a horrible alternative!
People continually seek to paint atheism as "evil," this is an absurd argument in my opinion! People can be good without God just as people can be bad with God. There is plenty of evidence supporting both sides. While I do believe in God, the Devil or Satan is a Christian construct that doesn't exist - thus evil is a figment of Biblical literature.
Atheists seem to think xenophobia perpetuates societal ill will against atheism. To clarify my position, I think it is wrong to dislike someone just because they are different (xenophobia). If an atheist reviews the case for God and comes away stating that there is not enough evidence to persuade them; I find no reason to dislike or mistreat them! Belief or disbelief in God is a personal matter, a democracy rightfully allows freedom of conscience on the matter and should always protect this freedom.
My reason for the rejection of atheism has nothing to do with xenophobia. The reasoning behind my disdain for atheism unfolded while living in the former Soviet Union (USSR). There is a half-baked argument lingering around that some Christians employ stating that the USSR's demise was due to their atheism. I disagree! The USSR's failure wasn't because of Godlessness; it was due to selfishness! They had an economic system that mandated sharing the wealth (Communism) that didn't work no matter how brutal "iron glove" enforcement was! Hording, stealing, lying, cheating and corruption were rampant in the USSR, they had no remedy to fight these character flaws of mankind.
If your going to expel your best teacher (religion), you had better find another way to effectively deliver essential moral instruction to the youth. There is no inherent moral gene within man, ethics need to somehow be taught because it doesn't come automatically! Ask yourself just who it is that teaches values, ethics and morality? The USSR displaced one of these instructors. Not only does moral instruction need to be taught, it needs to be modeled by the elders as well! A generation without this is like a bad apple in an otherwise good barrel. Go to Latvia today, you will see what I mean!
What atheism lacks - Christianity delivers; Society isn't the same without it
Precisely, the crux of the issue doesn't center on what one's belief on deity is; religion's great value is that it organizes community by establishing a moral code and fortifies the same while trying to ensure it. Christianity (as an example) engages it's society and encourages the development of moral maxims. Secular entities haven't the organization, nor desire to deliver it's undefined (vague) value system. This lack of organizing principle creates a vacuum (empty space void of matter) where structure is needed to deter individuals from moral failures and the aftermath.
Any relationship (couples, families, country) will disintegrate unless there is give and take. Just like a bank account, taking out more than what was deposited is a recipe for disaster! What does atheism & Christianity have to say about a self-centered life? Ayn Rand proclaimed selfishness to be a virtue. Christianity proclaims it as sin (selfishness).
The point that is missed is best revealed through contrast. America used religion while the USSR didn't. You know of the results. Society isn't static and requires maintenance, you either find a way to build society or you leave it to it's own devices and watch it disintegrate.
A secular minded individual isn't likely to notice these matters while living in an advanced society (that likely utilized religion to reach it's advanced state). Sure, this writer disbelieves and has engaged in debunking beliefs of dogmas taught by the churches. It's not so much that I have a "soft spot" in my heart for religion (I do); the fact of the matter is that I am amazed by the moral organizing principle that a myth provides! My three years in Latvia taught me to temper my unbelief. That atheism is an uninformed overreaction to the annoyances of religion. Until secularism could fill this void that Christianity has filled, I find it best to appreciate the contributions of religion while comprehending the limitations of pure reason.
To illustrate just how advantageous the organizing principle of myth actually is, let us compare the likely approach/strategy taken by religion and seculars to combat the societal problem of teen pregnancy. The secular approach would be educational campaigns geared to deter teens with raging sexual hormones. Nothing wrong with these, I would advocate for them as well. Suppose Richard Dawkins (best known atheist representative) were to speak on behalf of the cause against teen pregnancy. An evolutionary biologist, though eminently qualified, just might get the "who are you to tell me" response while the clergyman that has addressed this matter perpetually most likely wouldn't. Having a deity (perceived or unperceived) helps bolster the message as well!
Authority is important/influential. However, whenever the state (totalitarianism) or religion (theocracy) has too much authority people suffer. Balance is desirable, extremes should be avoided. This is why I advocate for dualism rather than duels on secular/religious matters.
The atheists are right when they say certain points of religion are unreasonable. My experience has verified that pure reason doesn't build society. The atheist "cure all" exacerbates matters.
Atheism is ok in small doses with people of good character, but collectively? The instilling of character is a vital national concern that encounters "distribution" challenges, especially whenever the family unit breaks down. History has shown atheism defiant towards institutions that concern themselves with character development such as the Boy Scouts, the Christian Church, and marriage; I have a problem with this! Intelligent people read, learn and comprehend history to avoid the mistakes of the past. That said; anyone pushing atheism to the masses must be interested in chaos!
It is not my intention to impugn the character of individuals that answer the God question with atheism. But as a movement and for the masses of people I think the verdict of atheism as a movement or a lifestyle is unmistakingly clear. It is my opinion that the disintegration of the USSR proved that you couldn't build a healthy cohesive society with atheism at its core!
The great Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had this to say:
Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened." Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.
Ericson, Edward E. Jr. (October 1985) "Solzhenitsyn - Voice from the Gulag," Eternity, pp. 23 - 4
The God Que
The question is - "Does God exist?" It's as an important of a question that could be asked within a lifetime. How this is answered often manifests itself in the way that we live out our lives. While there are exceptions, predictable behavior usually follows certain beliefs. Christianity's intention is to lead toward Jesus' example while atheism's is aimless and is conducive to nihilism.
There are three acceptable responses to the "Does God exist" question. One, yes which means you are a theist. Two, no which means you're an atheist. Or three, I don't know which makes you an agnostic.
I find it very revealing to hear an atheist answer the - "Does God exist" question with "I don't believe" for their answer. What a copout, answer the question! In fairness, if one is evasive in answering the question - they should avoid being divisive by arguing something they refuse to stake a claim upon! Anything other than the yes, no or I don't know to the God question is atheism wanting to shirk responsibility for the inadequacies of the atheist position.
I find the "I don't believe" crowd to be disingenuous and shallow. On one hand they openly identify with a definitive position as atheists - yet whenever you press them for answers they respond with a vague "I don't believe" which really means that they don't know. Those that don't know are agnostics. The reality is that they are confused and have jumped on the atheist bandwagon that was marketed to them. We call them EZ Atheists; they bought the marketing and are clueless about the reality.
Atheists or literary critics?
How would a human go about establishing God's identity? Can mankind ascertain God through our five senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing or sight)? Has the divine made this task easy by gift-wrapping an instruction manual like the Bible or the Koran?
When this ex-minister looks at the Bible, I find that Jesus never wrote a book! The only thing I find the god of the Old Testament writing upon was the tablets of stone while with Moses on the mount. Yet John 1:1 states that "in the beginning was the Word... and the Word was God." So the book that the Bible states, "was God", was not even written by "God" and we are required to believe that our fate in life depends upon the message delivered by some scribes thousands of years ago? Skeptics don't buy into this.
Revealed religions with their respective revelation of their "Gods" must be flawless to survive skepticism. Anyone applying literary criticism soon discovers the problems of the Bible, Koran, or the Book of Mormon. Falsification of these holy books destroys the credibility of the god. Debunking any of these books qualifies you as a literary critic but not necessarily as an atheist. Scratch another god from the list of pretenders.
Skeptical reaction to holy book illogic varies. Atheists tend to get outraged and many believe that it is their duty to "wake up" those practicing religion. It's also a matter of conceit for them; those practicing a religion are lacking in intelligence and are deserving of ridicule. Karl Marx viewed religion as the "opiate of the people." Secular Humanists before atheists (Richard Dawkins and Ron A. Lindsey) stole their identity had challenged religion but didn't wage warfare like they do now.
While these groups might see religion as a subject matter worthy of applying critical epistemology or as a means to subdue or control mankind; Ex-minister sees religion as a tool to help shape and develop human character. Secularism lacks a sufficient "tool" for this task! It's not all about "truth", mythology serves a purpose that shouldn't be destroyed by literalists that don't understand how it all functions. This is why Ex-minister loves groups that nearly all skeptics dislike or distrust like the John Templeton Foundation, Fetzer Institute, Institute for American Values, Charter for Compassion, etc.
God and religion are separate entities that get intertwined together by man. The reason I am not an atheist is due to several reasons. First, atheism outright denies that God could exist which I find to be illogical. Two, atheism is hostile to the best means to shape character in mankind (religion). Three, atheism is a self centered destructive force that can't recognize or acknowledge the good within religion and thus fights against the common good that people of faith labor to build. It's a silly case of petty jealousy and envy! Four, I question the need to organize for the cause of disbelief. Humanism's organizing makes sense; atheism's is unhealthy. For some reason atheism feels that it must organize... or should I say re-organize society. There is nothing good to say about the hi-jacking and forced amalgamation of constructive organized disbelief (Humanism) into atheism. Atheism's contempt for the dictionary's rendering of such keywords as atheism, humanism and marriage has significant cultural ramifications. This ex-minister rejects atheism due to their divisive social agenda; I don't feel like accommodating them because I see them as a menace to society!
ase for God
The skeptics' case for God is called Deism. Deism is not a religion; it has no holy books and is not intended as a dogmatic assertion. The reason that it isn't popular or well known is that it hasn't been marketed that much. I could furnish an impressive list of famous deists, but you could research this on your own. I'd rather give you my reasons gathered from my own experience.
Atheists are known to posit this question: Did God create man or did man create God? What a conceited question! Need I remind the world that atheism got its answer for the origin of the universe from a Belgian Roman Catholic priest named George Lemaitre in 1927. For the record atheism hi-jacked the church's answer for origins; the church stated that the god of the Bible was behind the big bang of creation while atheism stated that natural selection was what initiated the big bang.
Just as the Bible has been falsified, so has science/atheism's explanation of origins, the big bang. I wrote about this previously.
In my opinion, science doesn't have a sensible scientific answer for origins now that the "big bang" explanation has been falsified. The brilliant Francis Crick found it impossible that the complexity of DNA could have evolved naturally and proposed the theory of directed panspermia in 1973. Directed panspermia suggests that the seeds of life may have been purposely spread by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, or can be spread from Earth to other planets by humans.
My goodness! The concept of God is so despised by "rational people" that they would rather accept such items as "primordial soup", big bang, extraterrestrial visitation and evolution from monkeys. I'm sorry for laughing but I find this all to be hysterical!
In my estimation, God (deist construct) is a much more plausible explanation concerning origins than the falsified scientific theories that we are proffered. Please note that evolution isn't in question, abiogenesis is. Contempt for the concept of God is evident, rather than admitting that science can't definitively answer the question of origins and that science is too proud to consider God as a possibility - they would rather insist that you accept a falsified theory because it is more acceptable than gasp... God! This is science/atheist gamesmanship, they lack the confidence to admit that they don't know and are terrified of how they might appear if they admitted as much!
Yes, I know that they will say "God of the gaps." My response would be that we are at a standoff; nobody knows how we got here... just the fact that we are here upon the earth. I'm going to turn the tables and go on the offensive by asking atheism a question, "How did we get here?" For the record, atheism has never had a definitive answer; only discredited theories used as scientific decoys to mask atheism's inability to answer the question of origins. Still want to talk about gaps?
Admit it, the answers to the questions of God and of origins are both inconclusive. What would happen if atheism honestly answered these questions with "I don't know?" That would be an admission of agnosticism, which is an entirely different subject! Atheism would have to cease, desist and close shop because you cannot command anyone to come to a position that doesn't know! Imagine them trying to recruit with a come and join our unsure group.
Synthesis on the inconclusive question of origins requires that all skeptics must first be categorized as agnostics because honestly... we don't know! Once skeptics acknowledge this fact, we can then pick and choose if we want to lean towards atheism or deism. Deism and atheism are both non-assertive positions and should remain that way until something conclusive is proven! Atheism's greatest error is to assert a non-proven proposition!
Does God Intervene? Are naturalistic aberrations clues?
I believe that God is transcendent which irks control minded individuals that believe they must know it all. God hasn't written any books, you cannot "take a class to discover more information about the transcendent." My conception of God wouldn't utilize anthropomorphic terminology. God is a mystery to mankind, but I do believe that sometimes "clues" are left behind for man to ponder. I sense that these clues aren't recognized or esteemed, let me give some pivotal examples that atheism wouldn't notice.
This past January, atheist Jared Loughner fired a 9mm Glock at point blank range into the skull of Gabrielle Giffords (Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 8th District of Arizona). Fourteen people were injured and six people were killed in that rampage. Now logic and reason conclude that a 9mm Glock shot(s) at point blank range would kill you. Somehow and thankfully, Congress lady Giffords survived the horrible deeds of that day!
Explanation please! What other explanation could there be besides an intervention of God? Scientifically, line up 100 people and do the same and you will have 100 dead people. If you want to say luck - I'm calling you an arrogant prick!
Sometimes God intervenes and thus leaves some clues that defy the natural order. Garielle Giffords is an example of the transcendent God that left a poignant display for the world to observe! Scoff and deny all you want to, I'm in awe!
There are plenty of stories to indicate how a transcendent God gives "clues" to mankind. No, I wouldn't insult your intelligence by offering any religious "gobbily gook" like Jesus' image on a piece of toast. Max Thompson, masterfully tells a wonderful story.
Sean O'Hair's Errant Shot May Have Saved A Life
As unlikely as it sounds, objects falling from the skies could save your life.
Granted, you may not think that getting clocked upside the head with that tiny dimpled sphere sounds like a good time, and in truth, it's not. But for Chris Logan of West Chester, Pa., a golf ball to the temple may have saved his life.
Logan attended the AT&T National at Aronimink Golf Club last July 4, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, and was struck by an errant shot by Sean O'Hair.
He was -- by most accounts -- fine, but an examination to check for a concussion also revealed a lump just below his throat. The doctor urged Logan to have it checked out by a family physician, and remarkably, it wound up being a malignant tumor on his thyroid that needed to be removed within weeks.
Almost a year to the day, Logan is cancer free and got a chance to finally meet O'Hair and thank him for saving his life. Neither man knew quite what to say at first, but both were thankful for the experience, no matter how bizarre the circumstances.
Logan, who has spent time caddying, often gets ribbed by friends for getting struck down by a golf ball after countless hours avoiding them on the job.
But the word "fate" obviously holds a little more power than "fore."
God's intervention in this Ex-Minister's life
There are two incidents in my life that up until this time I haven't shared publicly before. To me, these stories are nearly sacred and defy naturalistic explanations.
I don't remember any of this but my parents tell me that as a child I was taken to the hospital to have my tonsils removed. In the midst of the operation, suddenly I had stopped breathing and then turned blue. The heart monitor showed that I had flat lined. I was told that I had died but that the doctors had somehow brought me back to life. My point is that whenever a natural process (death in my case) was reversed you feel as if you were given a precious gift and are filled with wonder and gratitude that you survived to live another day! Sure, those doctors showed great skill and deserve credit, but whenever a natural process like death is reversed you can't help but wonder if God intervened on your behalf!
My estranged father and I were in a near fatal accident in the mid 70's. My father was always buying and selling equipment and machinery (kind of like Fred Sanford). One day we ventured out on an old country road in an old airport baggage toe cart when I lost control of the steering wheel. We both jumped off to avoid the forthcoming crash. It happened so quickly, I was somewhat disorientated after I had hit the ground. I was horrified when I discovered that my dad was pinned beneath that heavy vehicle and lying in a pool of blood. He was moaning in pain all the while desperately gasping for enough oxygen to stay alive!
I was a kid then. All it normally took was the sight of blood and I would faint, but not on that day! I kept my composure and crawled underneath that vehicle to scrape out enough dirt to allow my dad's lungs enough room to expand and contract. I quickly ran to our home and had mother call the rescue squad. I grabbed a shovel, got some water, and a towel and ran back as quickly as I could to be with my father.
My father thought that he was going to die underneath of that vehicle after I had left to get help. He "made a deal" that if his life were spared he would change his ways. Dad probably cheated death that day; he had a lengthy stay in the hospital afterwards. Everyone would tell you that my actions saved his life, but who is fooling whom? God intervened that day; I often wonder how my life's circumstances pivoted due to this event. Needless to say, these two events have left an indelible impression upon my life!
If you have lived a little and yet haven't had any close calls or events that defy reasonable natural explanations, let me ask you a question. Do you love someone more than yourself? Have you been in what seemed to be a near impossible situation when that loved one's life was in question or having heard the doctors say we have done what we could, time will tell the rest of the story? This is a God question moment.
Keep in mind, God hasn't been scientifically proven or disproven. If scientists are consistent, they must take an agnostic position on the God question until objective certainty is reached. Christians and Muslims present what they mistakenly believe is objective truth. I'm a skeptic because objectively, the gods of the holy books have been falsified. This fact (falsification) is an insufficient reason to claim atheism or to fight religion!
Atheism refuses to consider subjective events that defy naturalistic order (examples, personal events such as my own or Gabrielle Giffords). Suppose my mother (a professing Christian) steps forward claiming that it was her god Jesus that saved our lives. Atheism would be correct to reject this claim after having falsified the Bible's god but what if a deist were to make the claim?
Atheism was bold when the Christian spoke up but is befuddled when a deist asks how they could continually keep disregarding phenomenal events as coincidence or chance? While atheism doesn't believe in God, evidentially they believe in chance no matter how absurd the odds.
Atheism's Poker Face
Atheism is evasive and needs to be pressed for a "moment of truth" about their position. If God is ruled out (atheist position) then everything is outside of the supernatural and by default must be a natural event in which odds of probability can be established. It is either God or odds!
According to atheism, people like my father, Gabrielle Giffords and myself were just very lucky and beat the ridiculously improbable survival odds. While my attitude is one of gratitude, atheism's explanation is similar to a casino commercial where you pump your fists in victory and walk away with the cash due to being lucky! Las Vegas would love any sucker willing to lay down money and accept such outlandish odds as atheism places on abiogenesis. The problem is that atheists don't wager anything and yet are allowed to come to the table and play their hand!
Atheism lost their credibility at the abiogenesis table. Atheism lies to the public (character flaw) by continuing to pitch discredited theories dressed in "scientific language". A falsified theory isn't scientific, nor was it at its inception! Truth is that atheism doesn't have a pot to piss in! They have no credible explanation for origins or phenomenal events. In salesman's terminology, they lie to get you to buy and are thus con men. Atheism has been blowing smoke to proud people that don't want to consider God in the equation!
Truth is, mankind doesn't know about many things. Science probes for explanations for what isn't known. It is those aberrations of natural processes that should occur but don't which precludes my rational acceptance of atheism. While these events are extremely rare, one shouldn't express certainty about something that cannot be explained. Deism faces this dilemma head on without explaining away the phenomenal as if an individual got lucky and won a crapshoot. Deism is impressed with the phenomenal and concludes that a supreme being must have facilitated something of this magnitude.
To show you just how unobservant atheists have been, one of their leading atheist spokesmen disqualifies himself as an atheist, yet nobody has called him on it! Richard Dawkins stated " a serious case can be made for a deistic God " in the Oxford debate with John Lennox. Here you have it, one of the world's leading atheists isn't even an atheist himself! So why doesn't he immediately cease promoting atheism and admit he is an agnostic, deist or a humanist intent on abiding by the traditional understanding of secular humanism?
You don't have to disprove God to be an atheist (nobody can disprove God,) but you must believe that God doesn't exist to rightfully call yourself an atheist. While I appreciate Dawkins' candor, you cannot state that a serious case can be made for a deistic God and be taken seriously as an atheist at the same time! One could research the works of most any atheist and probably conclude that most atheists aren't atheists at all!
I opened this segment of the essay probing for a "moment of truth" out of atheism. As I look through their ranks, I see a bunch of literary critics and few if any real atheists. There is little if any substantive basis for atheism, yet it successfully recruits like crazy! There is little compunction within atheism to question the validity of atheism. So what's the real appeal? What attracts people to atheism?
Atheism on the chopping block: Does atheism deserve respect?
Atheism has a big ego and wants to enlarge their tent; I want to call them out! If atheism has 15% of the US population (as they claim) then show me and verify that they have done fifteen percent or more of the charitable work in the US. They can't, not even close! One percent would be a stretch! But they are out to destroy religion (the people that do much of the charitable work) in the US. What is good about this? How could anyone respect this? Show me that good without God is more than just a slogan!
Atheism just doesn't "get it" nor do they want to understand why it is that people so dislike them! Does society dislike atheism because they are godless or do they resent what they are doing to society?
Atheists feel persecuted and have started writing about their strategy to dish out mayhem and still expect respect in return. Gregory Paul's first line upon the June 16, 2011 Washington Post's Guest Voices "Other Views on Faith and its Impact on the News" Section reads:
Many of the millions of Americans who do not believe in the supernatural have had enough of being targeted by unremitting discrimination. (original link n/a)
Susan Jacoby thinks that atheists should study the gay political playbook. (original link n/a)
A large portion of this essay has been about dismantling the "foundational aspects" of atheism. Now I am not claiming to have de-bunked atheism, but lets suppose that someone delivers the "knockout blow" that shows atheism to be an illegitimate stance that can't answer its critics. This wouldn't phase atheism at all! Atheism would still live on without any shame! Why is this?
I would be remiss to avoid what I believe to be what really motivates atheism... retaliation! God's message of love in the holy books has failed to penetrate the lives of some of those claiming faith. Religion's greatest problems started in the pews and needs to be solved therein! While Christianity loves the orphan, homeless, poor, those in need, etc.... it needs to find a way to love those that don't accept their faith!
Skeptics rightfully believe that people of faith should be people that love other people! I think much of atheism has been a retaliatory reaction in response to people of faith that have personally wronged skeptics. On a larger scale, as Christianity has been misused for political purposes, it has also been the recipient of what is called "blowback."
I understand why Christianity has some enemies; I've been severely wronged by people of faith myself. Some people get so angry though that they can't see straight. Nowhere is this more evident than with atheism. The appeal of atheism isn't because it is well reasoned or intellectual. The appeal of atheism is that it throws a party to bash religion. It's a beer commercial without the booze!
Perhaps I am being a bit too candid for some people's taste, but I see a lot of good within religion! I'll probably get an increase of atheist "fan mail" for writing this but I esteem good religion without giving it intellectual assent. Religion contributes much to society and I think it would be a mistake to allow misguided secularism to destroy it.
In closing, I've sought to deliver a skeptic's case for God and hope that this will provoke more thought upon the subject. I hope that I have proven my thesis and to have shown why rational people should not only reject atheism, but to give serious consideration to the probability that God exists without apology or shame!
PS: If I could get you to visit another page, I'd ask you to read this one: Is Secularism Destroying Society?
Brian Worley Ex-Minister.org August 3, 2011 All rights reserved