Christian Apologetics Study

THE NEW ATHEISM

Mar
24

Modern atheists employ dubious arguments when defending their system of belief because they are unaware of the false assumptions decorating their rhetoric, science, and philosophical perspectives.  They critique and deny the metaphysical beliefs in God or any supernatural being like atheists before them, while offering no original argument for God’s non-existence. Unlike agnosticism, which leaves the supernatural door open to the possibility of God’s existence, atheism closes that door completely by making a clear rejection of any supernatural existence. This belief is rooted in an array of Western philosophical traditions. Ancient Greek philosophers such as Democritus and Epicurus argued for atheism within the materialism arena.

Although they were not fully committed atheists, David Hume and Immanuel Kant argued against traditional evidences for God’s existence, making personal belief a faith matter alone. Ludwig Feuerbach held that God was a human ideal projection and that recognizing this human invention made self-realization possible. Marxism exemplified modern materialism. Friedrich Nietzsche’s atheistic existentialism proclaimed God’s death and humanity’s intellectual liberty from the chains and shackles of religious dogma.

ATHEIST’S RHETORICAL ARGUMENT

The modern rhetorical argument was designed to help atheists justify their not developing an argument for God’s non-existence. The rhetorical argument teaches that atheism is not a belief system because it is simply the lack of a belief in any God, according to

Atheist George H. Smith. An atheist has nothing to prove concerning this subject and the theist bears all the burden of evidence in any debate. In other words, we are all atheists about many gods. Atheists simply reject the belief in any God. When theists understand why atheists disbelieve in the existence of any God, then they will realize why atheists disbelieve in their God, according to atheist B.C. Johnson. Finally, extra ordinary claims require extra ordinary evidence, according Dr. Carl Sagan.

This rhetorical atheistic argument reveals why many people will continue rejecting atheism because it is the rhetoric of an intellectual coward who has been hiding in the tall grass for cover as he or she throws darts at classical theistic arguments. If atheists had any real argument, they would liberate the theistic world from the corruptions of theism by enlightening the leaders of philosophical theism with a rational atheistic argument.

When atheists try to redefine atheism as merely a lack of belief in theism rather than as the denial of God’s supernatural existence, atheists are seeking to shift the burden of evidence in this discussion entirely to theists because they know that they have no real argument. This gives an atheist an unfair and spineless strategic advantage over the theist because the atheist who uses this argument is only trying to win a debate by any means necessary, but he or she is not attempting ascertain any metaphysical truth. During a formal debate the yes bears the entire burden of evidence, but in debating a question the burden of evidence should be equally shared by all participants.

The redefining of atheism reveals a logical contradiction. If atheism means ‘the lack of a belief in God’ then is the existence of God logically compatible with the lack of a belief in God? In other words, is it possible for God to exist and there still be a lack of belief in God? The answer obviously is YES. Therefore, atheism requires an argument for God’s non-existence, which is exactly what many atheists are afraid to do.

“An ‘atheist’ is a person who maintains that there is no God, that is, that the sentence ‘God exists’ expresses a false proposition. On our definition, an ‘atheist’ is a person who rejects belief in God, regardless of whether or not his reason for the rejection is the claim that “God exists” expresses a false proposition,” according to philosopher Dr. Paul Edwards.

“I shall understand by ‘atheism’ a critique and a denial of the major claims of all varieties of theism. Atheism is not to be identified with sheer unbelief, or with disbelief in some particular creed of a religious group. Thus, a child who has received no religious instruction and has never heard about God, is not an atheist for he is not denying any theistic claims,” according to atheist philosopher Dr. Ernest Nagel.

Furthermore, atheism is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence because many people throughout world history, from King Solomon to Sir Isaac Newton, have all affirmed God’s existence; therefore, it appears that the persons denying God’s existence are the people making the extraordinary claim.

ATHEIST’S SCIENTIFIC ARGUMENTS

The scientific argument has become the weakest defense for an atheistic world view because of the growing scientific data showing creation and design throughout the universe. Nevertheless, atheists argue that virtual particles prove that is it possible for something to come into existence uncaused from nothing, therefore the universe could have originated into existence uncaused from nothing, according to atheist and philosopher Dr. Daniel Dennett. Atheists believe that religion has always stood against scientific advancement. They argue that religion has reacted against science because science has displaced humankind from the center of the universe. Atheists are convinced that as the maker of the biological complexity on Earth, the Creator and Designer of living systems must be no less complex and therefore God would need a causal explanation, according to Dr. Richard Dawkins. Finally, atheists believe that because many scientists are atheists, then any belief in God is based upon ignorance and not science.

Skeptics often deny the premise that everything must have a cause because quantum physics teaches the scientific community that not everything that happens needs to have a cause, according to atheist philosopher Dr. Daniel Dennett. In other words, Dr. Dennett claims that physicists have observed that certain particles arise out of a quantum vacuum and thus come out of nothing without any known causation.

However, other physicists argue that this is not exactly what is going on with virtual particles. They are not true counter-examples to the law of causality. The modern picture of the quantum vacuum differs radically from the classical and everyday meaning of a vacuum, which is nothing. The quantum vacuum states are defined simply as local, or global, energy minima. The quantum mechanical vacuum is not truly ‘nothing’; rather, the vacuum state has a rich structure which resides in a previously existing substratum, according to physicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler.

Atheists teach that Christianity and other religions have always stood against the advances of science. They use Galileo’s case as evidence for their anti-Christian propaganda. However, the medieval Roman Catholic Church gave more financial and social support to astronomical research and study for over six centuries. The Churches commitment to science has been greater than many other religious or secular organizations during that time. The medieval period gave birth to the university which developed with the papacy support. By 1500 AD, many religious universities across Europe educated many students about the natural world, according to Dr. Michael H Shank.

By 1500 AD, more literate Europeans had had access to scientific materials than any of their predecessors in earlier Western cultures, thanks largely to the emergence of the medieval universities. “If the medieval church had intended to suppress the inquiry into nature, it must have been completely powerless, for it utterly failed to reach its goal.” according to Dr. Michael H. Shank.

Another theistic argument says any maker of the biological complexity observed on Earth must be no less complex and therefore would need a causal explanation. In other words, any God capable of intelligently designing something as complex as the DNA and protein replicating machine must have been at least as complex and organized as that machine itself. However statistically improbable the entity you seek to explain by invoking a designer, the designer himself has got to be at least as improbable,” according to famous atheist and biologist Dr. Richard Dawkins.

The reasoning behind Dawkins’ argument is based on materialistic assumptions. While the God that created life on planet Earth is a complex and omniscient Supreme Being, there is no logical reason to think that all minds which are capable of creating complex objects and processes must in themselves be complex because human beings create and design computers that can do advance mathematical calculations superior to their own math abilities. Further, this assumption is based on a commitment to Darwinism. However, an increasing number of scientists are skeptical of the claims for the ability of random mutations and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian Theory should be encouraged, according to a list of scientists who signed a scientific dissent form from Darwinism.

For some skeptics, because many scientists are atheists, then any belief in God is not very scientific. However, just a few centuries ago, many scientists believed in the existence of God, especially Sir Isaac Newton. Does that mean that God existed back then because that was the majority opinion that scientists believed? Who knows what “many scientists” will believe in the next 50 years. Further, if it is true that many scientists are atheists, this says more about their philosophical influences on their religious and philosophical deliberations than the potency of their science.

ATHEIST’S PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENT

Atheists have never made an effective argument against the theistic cosmological argument partly because many of them do not completely understand this powerful argument for causation. Atheists often argue that if everything needs a cause, then God needs a cause. Who made God? Who designed the designer? While Christian apologists have repeatedly answered this question, atheists still continue making the same mistake when they attack this argument.

“St. Thomas Aquinas argued that everything needs a cause to account for its existence. Aquinas believed that if we regress backwards in time through an unbroken chain of causation, then we would eventually arrive at the cause of the universe itself. Aquinas argued that this ‘First Cause’ could be nothing other than God Himself,” according to atheist David Mills. “Everything had a cause, and every cause is the effect of a previous cause. Something must have started it all. God is the eternal first cause and the Creator and sustainer of the universe. The major premise of this argument ‘everything had a cause,’ is contradicted by the conclusion that ‘God did not have a cause.’ You can’t have it both ways. If everything had to have a cause, then there could not be a first cause,” according to atheist Dan Barker.

“Everything that exists has a cause; space and time exist; space and time must, therefore, have been caused by something that stands outside of space and time, and the only thing that transcends space and time, and yet retains the power to create, is God,” according to atheist Sam Harris. “The cosmological argument, which in its simplest form states that since everything must have a cause the universe must have a cause, namely God doesn’t stay simple for long,” according to atheist philosopher Dan Dennett.

When analyzing the comments from all the above atheists, it is very clear that they do not understand the cosmological argument because there is no version of the cosmological argument for the existence of God that says that “EVERYTHING” must have causation. The Kalam cosmological argument teaches that everything that BEGINS to exist requires a cause for its existence, according to Christian philosopher and apologist Dr. William Lane Craig. Another version says that only CONTINGENT beings need a cause, according to famous theologian St. Thomas Aquinas.

Many atheists fail to understand the cosmological argument because they are taking their signals from the famous atheist British philosopher Bertrand Russell. He argued that “perhaps the simplest and easiest to understand is the argument of the First Cause. It is maintained that everything we see in this world has a cause, and as you go back in the chain of causes further and further you must come to a First Cause, and to that First Cause you give the name of God. That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think; the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause.” Therefore, Russell and many atheists do not correctly understand the cosmological argument because they believe it teaches that EVERYTHING has causality.

Another argument that atheist often make is who made God? According to atheist David Mills, “this so-called ‘First Cause’ argument, however, is a textbook illustration of ad hoc reasoning. For if ‘everything needs a cause to account for its existence,’ then we are forced to address the question of who or what created God?” According to atheist Dan Baker, “the mind of the designer would be at least as complex and orderly as the nature it created and would be subject to the same question: ‘Who made god?’ According to Sam Harris, “if God created the universe, what created God? To say that God, by definition, is uncreated simply begs the question.”

According to physicists Dr. Stephen Hawking and Dr. Leonard Mlodinow, why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why this particular set of laws and not some other?’ Some would claim the answer to these questions is that there is a God who chose to create the universe, but if the answer is God, then the question has merely been deflected to that of who created God?” According to atheist and biologist Dr. Richard Dawkins, “to explain the origin of the DNA protein machine by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer.”

However, their arguments fail to recognize that God never began to exists because God is the uncaused first cause who is the Creator and Designer of the physical universe; therefore, their questions are really based upon illogical assumptions because it assumes there was an infinite series of creator gods. This question only leads to another question: who created the being that created God? If there was an infinite series of causations and recreations, we would never get to the present moment to ask questions about origins, according to Dr. William Lane Craig.

If we falsely assume that reality is an infinite row of dominos, then domino A would never get to domino B because all the dominos would go back to infinite; therefore, we would never get to the present moment. Hence, there has to be an uncaused first cause because we are here in the present moment discussing this issue, according to Dr. William Lane Craig.

Finally, since the universe has a beginning, the universe requires a

cause. The universe requires a cause because the weight of scientific evidence demonstrates that it had a beginning. Einstein’s general relativity theory and Edwin Hubble’s observations along with Lord Kelvin’s explanation of the thermodynamic laws of nature demonstrates that the universe had a finite beginning. Since time came into existence when the universe was created, then whatever or whoever created the universe would had to have been eternal, according to Dr. Hugh Ross.

RELATED ACADEMIC SOURCES:

    • Atheist Universe; David Mills; 2006.
    • Atheism: The Case Against God; George H. Smith; 1989.
    • Breaking the Spell; Dr. Daniel C. Dennett; 2006.
    • Christian Apologetics; Doug Powell; 2006.
    • Godless; Dan Barker; 2008.
    • Letter to a Christian Nation; Sam Harris; 2008.
    • Myth 2: That the Medieval Christian Church Suppressed the Growth of Science;Dr. Michael H. Shank; 2009.
    • Philosophical Concepts of Atheism in Critiques of God; Dr. Peter A. Angeles; 1997.
    • Summa Theologica; Saint Thomas Aquinas; 13th century AD.
    • The Encyclopedia of Philosophy; Dr. Paul Edwards (editor); 1967.
    •  The Atheist Debater’s Handbook; B.C. Johnson; 1983.
    • The Anthropic Cosmological Principle; John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler; 1986.
    • The Creator and the Cosmos; Dr. Hugh Ross; 1995.
    •  The Blind Watchmaker; Dr. Richard Dawkins; 1987.
    • The Kalam Cosmological Argument; Dr. William Lane Craig; 1995.
    •  The God Delusion; Dr. Richard Dawkins; 2006.
    • What is Atheism? A Short Introduction; Douglas E. Krueger; 1998.
    • Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects; Bertrand Russell; 2000.
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