My Humble Plea to the Smug Atheist

ImageGrowing up, science was a great passion of mine. I graduated with a bachelor’s in Applied Science with an emphasis in Aviation Technologies. I’ve studied biology, chemistry, physics, and geology just for fun.  But something happened along the way to the cockpit. I became a Christian and devoted my life to teaching life to the living and bringing hope to the dying. And in the last few years, I have seen a shift in the perception of “people of faith”.

I experience this shift when people find out I am a follower of Christ and the discussion turns toward ultimate questions. It usually manifests itself with a phrase something like, “That’s great that you have found something that works for you (and kids and hairy-legged old ladies) but I’m a person of science. You have faith, but I need evidence. I am a person of rational thought, I cannot live by blind faith.”

I want to address this attitude by helping anyone who thinks along these lines because, well, you need help. First, you present a logical fallacy called the false dilemma – you are either a person of faith or evidence. No, you can be both, in fact every rational person is. Second, to further the point: everybody has faith. Even if you deny the existence of God, you must accept key presuppositions by faith because you cannot have ultimate knowledge about the ultimate questions of life. Otherwise you could say, “By virtue of my infinite knowledge, I declare that there is no being out there with infinite knowledge (God).” Anyone catch the internal contradiction?

The question isn’t whether or not you have faith, the question is the veracity of the OBJECT of your faith. This is where many commit another fallacy. They say, I have faith in science. They reify science as though it has causal properties. Science is simply a philosophy and a methodology of answering the “what?” questions of life but it cannot answer the “why?” questions. Like “Why are we here?” or “Why is there something rather than nothing?” There are often two ways to answer the questions of life. For instance, if I asked you why the water is boiling, you could scientifically tell me that when water is heated to a specific temperature, it boils. But you could also answer, “Aunt May is making a pot of tea.” Science couldn’t answer the latter question without personal revelation of Aunt May’s motives. Therefore, true revelation is a legitimate system of gathering knowledge. Science isn’t the only game of knowledge in town. It’s a useful tool, a wonderful tool, but not the only one.

And lastly, when one says they don’t believe in God because they aren’t people of faith, they are affirming what they DO believe by default:
•    That everything came from nothing. Oh, I know that people will go through all manner of contortions to avoid this conclusion but it ends up being an equivocating shell game of words that don’t mean nothing (vacuum fluctuations, multi-verse theories) but they desperately want them to mean nothing. Nothing means nothing – NO THING. And nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever will.
•    That an undirected non-thinking process is responsible for thinking. Illogical on its face.
•    That an undirected process working on non-living chemicals caused life. A process that even the father of chemical predestination refuted over 20 years ago. (See Dean Kenyon). They hope that one day life will be formed in a lab. But will brilliant scientists, working with very precise, intelligently-designed laboratory equipment, really prove that no purposeful intelligence was required when they ultimately create life? Actually, it will prove the opposite.
•    That, love, hope, morality, will, and purpose all came from the periodic table of elements, which came from nothing, which birthed life and minds so we could all ponder the meaning of this.

So here is my humble plea to the smug atheist:
Don’t condescend to people of faith, because I will just tell you, the objects of your faith are not just evidence based but are also large, unproven leaps of faith. I recognize that Christianity has some faith bridges that one must cross, but these are not bridges of blind faith. They are under-girded by logic, science, and the historical person of Christ. So be careful when playing the “evidence” card, for the ice you are standing on is not that thick. As philosopher Ravi Zacharias puts it, “God has put enough into this world to make believing in him reasonable, but he has left enough out to keep us from believing in him by sheer reason alone.” Get off the ice and onto the Rock, it is a surer foundation from which to explore the wonders of the universe!