Argument against Atheism

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   Even if the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God of Christianity does not exist, that does not mean that there is no God at all. We cannot fully comprehend God, therefore we cannot be completely sure that He possesses or does not possess certain qualities (such as omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence). Thus, any argument that attacks these qualities in an attempt to disprove the existence of God is ultimately irrelevant, since we do not know if God has these qualities or not. However, I believe in the Christian God, so my arguments will defend the existence of the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God of Christianity.

   The air we breathe cannot be seen, heard, tasted, smelled, or touched, yet it most certainly exists. The force of gravity cannot be seen, heard, tasted, smelled, or touched, yet we know that it exists. Emotions, values, beliefs, and thoughts cannot be found by using any of our senses, yet they are as real as rocks or trees. Emotions can be "felt", but this feeling is not physical. Thus, simply because something cannot be found through the use of the five senses does not mean that it does not exist.

   Some atheists say that no God has been found through the use of the senses, therefore no God exists. But simply because God cannot be found by way of the senses does not mean that He does not exist. Christians believe in a supernatural or non-material God. They believe that God has manifested Himself in material form and in material ways on certain occasions (such as the Incarnation, and when He spoke audibly to Moses at Mount Sinai). However, God is spirit (John 4:24), and in His "normal" state He cannot be found by the use of the senses. Therefore, any attempt to reach God by way of the senses would be virtually pointless.

   Wind can only be seen indirectly (leaves moving, dust scattering, trees swaying, etc). Christians believe that, like wind, God can be seen indirectly. They believe that He can be seen indirectly through Creation (Nature), conscience, morality, etc. They also believe that a "touch" from God can be "felt". This feeling is spiritual, though sometimes it may produce physical or emotional sensations. Thus, even though a natural or material God does not exist, that does not mean that there is no God at all. A supernatural or non-material God can be just as real as a natural, tangible God.

   The word 'conscience' can be defined as "the internal sense of what is right and wrong that governs somebody's thoughts and actions, urging him or her to do right rather than wrong." This 'conscience' is consistent, it always urges us to do right, and is not merely one of our desires or preferences. Feeling a desire to help is quite different from feeling that you ought to help whether you want to or not. Suppose you hear a cry for help from a drowning man. You will probably feel two desires: one desire to give help, the other a desire to keep out of danger. But you will find inside you, in addition to these two desires, a third thing which tells you that you ought to follow the impulse to help, and suppress the impulse to run away. This thing that judges between the two impulses, that decides which should be encouraged, cannot itself be either of them. This third thing is our 'conscience'.

   What is peculiar about this 'conscience' is that everyone has it. It is not specifically for the kind, the intelligent, or the strong, but it is found in every human being all over the world. This 'conscience' is inside us; it is not something that we ourselves have made or something that has been given to us by other people. If we did not make this 'conscience' and it was not given to us by others, then where did it come from? We might say that it was in the subconscious part of our brains, and it revealed itself at that very moment and let us know what the right thing to do was in that certain situation. But how would our subconscious know what is right or wrong in a situation? How would our subconscious know the difference between right and wrong? Thus, there must be something or someone else who put those ideas of right and wrong into our subconscious. The question is: "Who or what put those ideas there?" For the answer we must turn to the two main world views.

   One world view is the Materialist world view, which basically states that matter and space just happen to exist, and always have existed; and that the matter, behaving in certain fixed ways, has just happened, by a series of chances, to produce creatures like ourselves who are able to think. The other world view is the Religious world view, which basically states that the universe and everything in it was created by a Being, a God. This Being is conscious, and has purposes, and prefers one thing to another. We can hardly expect matter and space to know the difference between right and wrong, so the only option left is the Being, the God.

   But why would this God give us a conscience? I believe that the reason is this. God has given us a conscience so that we will know what the right thing to do is in a certain situation. God wants us to obey our conscience and do what is right, so that we can live in harmony with our fellow man. Some might say that this is an invasion of privacy. They say: "Why doesn't God just leave us alone and let us do what we want?" But indeed He does just that. God does not force you to obey your conscience. He gives you a conscience so that you will know what is right: it is your choice if you obey your conscience or not. God gives you both options, lets you know which one is best, then leaves the choice to you.

   Rational thought (reason) is used constantly by human beings. We use it in our sciences, we use it in our businesses, and we use it in our everyday lives. Many times we use it to seek and find truth. But, where did rational thought come from? What is the source of rational thought? If there is nothing but Nature, then the universe is the greatest thing that exists. The universe is made up of inorganic matter, energy, and space. One can hardly expect inorganic matter, energy, and space to possess rational thought, thus something besides the material universe must have produced the rational thought used by human beings. Rational thought cannot be an invention of man, for it would take rational thought in order to produce such an invention.

   Since rational thought (reason) could not have come directly from the material universe, it must have come into existence by a historical process. The type of mental behavior we now call rational thinking must have been "evolved" by Natural Selection, by the gradual weeding out of types less fitted to survive.

   Once, then, our thoughts were not rational. That is, all our thoughts once were, as many of our thoughts still are, merely subjective events. Those which had a cause external to us at all were responses to stimuli. Natural Selection could operate only by eliminating responses that were biologically hurtful and multiplying those which tended to survival. But it is not conceivable that any improvement of responses could ever turn them into acts of insight, or even remotely tend to do so. The relation between response and stimulus is utterly different from that between knowledge and the truth known. Our physical vision is a far more useful response to light than that of the cruder organisms which have only a photo-sensitive spot. But neither this improvement nor any possible improvements we can suppose could bring it an inch closer to being a genuine knowledge of light. It is admittedly something without which we could not have had that knowledge. But the knowledge is achieved by experiments and inferences from them, not by a refinement of the response. It is not men with especially good eyes who know about light, but rather men who have studied the relevant sciences. In the same way, our psychological responses to our environment--our curiosities, aversions, delights, expectations--could be indefinitely improved (from the biological point of view) without becoming anything more than responses.

   Apart from Natural Selection, there is also experience. Experience that was originally individual, but then was handed on by tradition and instruction. There are some experiences that may account for rational thoughts. For example, if a man drinks from a river he will learn that the water in the river quenches his thirst. He may pass this information on to others, and then they will also know that the water in the river quenches thirst. Thus, this experience eventually becomes the rational thought that water from a river quenches thirst.

   But experience cannot account for all rational thoughts. The concept and invention of money was an act of reasoning, a usage of rational thought, which could never have come into existence by experience. The concept and invention of proper names, as a way to identify someone or something, was another act of reasoning, another usage of rational thought, which could never have come into existence by experience. The written alphabet, the metric system, spoken language, and sign language are inventions which came about by rational thought, not experience. Similarly, one must use rational thought in order to create an organized game. A person may learn by experience that he can kick or throw a ball. Yet it does not follow that he will create a game called "Football" based solely on that experience. The inventor had to use rational thought in order to create the specific rules and regulations used in the game. Thus, experience alone could never have produced the game of Football. Likewise, every organized game came about by rational thought, not by experience.

   If rational thought did not come about by a historical process, then how did it come about? It must have come about by a different process and from a different source (one other than the material universe, Natural Selection, and Experience). Since the rational thought used by human beings was not produced by the universe, and it did not come into existence by a historical process, it must have been produced by something other than Nature. This "something other than Nature" must be rational, otherwise it could not have given rational thought to man. This rational something that is other than Nature is God. Therefore, one must conclude that the source of rational thought is God, and the process is that God gave human beings the ability to use rational thought.

   Of all the questions asked about the universe and human existence, the greatest is "Why?" Why does the universe exist? Why are we here? Atheists claim that the universe has no meaning, and therefore human existence is ultimately without purpose. But if the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning. If we have no purpose, we should never have found out that we have no purpose. If the universe and mankind have no reason for being here, we should never have been able to discover that they have no reason for being here. The Bible states that God made mankind to have a relationship with Him, and He made the Earth as a dwelling place for mankind. The Bible gives an explanation for the existence of Earth, and it states the reason why mankind was created.

   The earth is in such a precise order that it is highly unlikely that everything just "appeared" and just "happened" to be in perfect harmony. The earth is positioned at just the right distance from the Sun so that all living things can tolerate the temperatures, it has the perfect combination of gases in the atmosphere, and a form of oxygen in the ozone layer protects the earth from the Sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. These are only some of the hundreds of things that have to be exactly the way they are or else no living thing could survive on Earth.

   The water cycle provides the earth with a bountiful supply of water, so there is enough for every living organism. The earth rotates on an axis, providing sunlight to every location on the planet. Because of this, vegetation is able to grow virtually everywhere, thus providing food and oxygen to animals and people. The weathering process transforms rocks into soil. Without soil, plants cannot live and grow. If plants cannot live and grow, then no other form of life can exist. In other words, there would not be life on Earth if the weathering process did not occur. Noting the complexity and necessity of these processes, it is nearly impossible to believe that they are merely a product of chance.

   The process of photosynthesis has far-reaching implications. Like plants, humans and other animals depend on glucose as an energy source, but they are unable to produce it on their own and must rely ultimately on the glucose produced by plants. Moreover, the oxygen humans and other animals breathe is the oxygen released during photosynthesis. Humans are also dependent on ancient products of photosynthesis, known as fossil fuels, for supplying most of our modern industrial energy. Thus, virtually all life on earth, directly or indirectly, depends on photosynthesis as a source of food, energy, and oxygen, making it one of the most important biochemical processes known. This process reflects intelligent design, not chance. And every design has a Designer.

   If there is nothing but Nature, then the universe is the greatest thing that exists. The universe is composed of inorganic matter, energy, and space. If all living things came into existence by spontaneous generation, then every living creature came from inorganic matter, energy, and space. So, if all living creatures were composed of inorganic matter, energy, and space, where did consciousness come from? How did we come to know that we exist, that we are human beings, and that we possess thoughts and desires? It is not conceivable that inorganic matter, energy, and space could possess consciousness. A rock does not know that it exists, light does not know that it travels at 186,000 miles per second, and air does not know that it is composed of many different chemical elements.

   But perhaps consciousness came into existence by natural processes such as Natural Selection, mutation, and adaptation. Perhaps these processes, over time, produced the consciousness present in living creatures.

   Natural Selection can operate only by eliminating those things that are biologically hurtful and multiplying those things which tend to survive. But Natural Selection cannot multiply something that does not exist. Consciousness had to exist before Natural Selection could multiply it. A multiplication of the senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste) by Natural Selection could never have produced consciousness, for the multiplied senses would simply be better senses; they would never turn into something else, namely consciousness.

   Mutation and adaptation can change the physical characteristics of living organisms. For example, a mutated ant might have five legs (instead of the normal six), and a Siamese cat that has adapted to a cold climate might have thicker fur than a normal Siamese cat. But the physical is very different from the conscious. No amount of changes in an organism's physical characteristics could ever produce consciousness in that organism. Another form of adaptation occurs when a creature purposely changes its behaviors in order to adjust to its new environment. But a creature has to be conscious of its own existence and of the existence of the environment before it can purposely change its behaviors. Thus, neither mutation nor adaptation could have produced consciousness.

   But perhaps living creatures simply came to the realization that they existed, and from then on they were conscious beings. But, how did creatures without consciousness come to the realization that they existed? When a being realizes that it exists, it has the thought that it exists. In order to have thoughts, a being must have the ability to think. But thinking is a conscious behavior--a being is aware of what it is thinking and the fact that it is thinking. Since thinking is a conscious behavior, it can never be the cause of consciousness. Thus, a being could never have had the thought that it existed unless it already possessed consciousness.

   Since the consciousness found in living creatures cannot be a product of the material universe, natural processes, and thought, it must have been produced by something other than Nature. This "something other than Nature" would have to be conscious in order to produce consciousness in other living beings. This "something other than Nature" must have the power and ability to give consciousness to living beings. The only "something" that is conscious and has the power and ability to give consciousness to other living beings is God.

   All plant and animal life relies on the Sun's presence. Earth would not have any life on it without the Sun's energy, which reaches Earth in vast amounts in the form of heat and light. The oceans and seas store this energy and help keep the temperature of Earth at a level that allows a wide variety of life to exist. Green plants absorb sunlight and convert it to food, which these plants then use to live and grow. In this process, the plants give off the oxygen that animals breathe. Animals eat these plants for nourishment. The Sun's energy also creates wind in Earth's atmosphere. This wind can be harnessed and used to produce power. The Sun's energy also produces the movements of water, which people harness to produce electricity.

   The Sun's gravitational pull holds the solar system together. The planets, asteroids, comets, and dust that make up our solar system are strongly attracted to the Sun's huge mass. If it were not for the Sun's gravitational pull, Earth would float off into space. After some time of floating off into space, Earth's temperatures would become too cold to support life, and every living thing on Earth would perish. If the gravitational pull of the Sun was stronger than it currently is, Earth would be drawn closer to the Sun and the temperatures would be too hot for living organisms to survive.

   The Sun gives heat and energy, produces electricity and power, propels the process of photosynthesis, and holds the solar system together by its gravity. The Sun is designed perfectly to conserve life on Earth. This perfect design hardly seems to be the product of chance.

   The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the amount of energy in a system that is available to do work is decreasing. Entropy increases as available energy decreases. In other words, the purely natural tendency of things is to move toward chaos, not order, and available energy necessary for work is lost in this process. Eventually, the universe will run down and all life and motion will cease. This is the natural tendency of all things. Batteries run down, machines break, buildings crumble, roads decay, living things die, etc. Left to the natural state, all things would eventually cease to function.

   If the universe were infinitely old, it would have reached a state of entropy long ago. But we are not in a state of entropy, therefore the universe is not infinitely old and must have had a beginning. The universe would require an infinite amount of time to become infinite in size. Since the universe had a beginning, it has not had an infinite amount of time to expand, therefore it is finite in size.

   All natural events have causes. There cannot be an infinite regress of events because that would mean the universe were infinitely old. If it were infinitely old, the universe would be in a state of entropy, which it is not. Since the universe is finite and had a beginning, and there cannot be an infinite number of regressions of causes to bring it into existence, there must be a single uncaused cause of the universe. A single uncaused cause of the universe must be greater in size and duration than the universe it has brought into existence, otherwise we have the uncaused cause bringing into existence something greater than or equal to itself.

   Any cause that is natural to the universe is part of the universe. An event that is part of the universe cannot cause itself to exit. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause outside the universe. An uncaused cause cannot be a natural part of the universe which is finite. An uncaused cause would be infinite in both space and time since it is greater than that which it has caused to exist. This uncaused cause must be supernatural. Supernatural meaning that it is completely 'other' than the universe, it is not natural to it. This would make the uncaused cause supernatural. There is only one option for this supernatural uncaused cause: God.

   Some atheists have maintained that the existence of evil makes the existence of God improbable. But the existence of evil does not negate the existence of God. If God is evil then the existence of evil makes the existence of God even more probable. However, I do not believe that God is evil; I believe that God is good. If God is good, then why is there evil in the world? The answer is 'Free Will' or 'Choice'. God allows human beings to have the freedom to choose between good and evil, and the choices a person makes can affect others as well as himself. Wars can be caused by the evil actions of a few individuals, but many will suffer the consequences. God even gives people the choice of obeying Him or not. God has revealed His will to mankind, and when people follow it great good is the ultimate result. But when people act in ways outside the will of God, great evil and suffering is the ultimate result.

   For God to create beings in His own image, that are capable of sustaining a personal relationship with Him, they must be beings that are capable of freely loving Him and following His will without coercion. Love or obedience on any other basis would not be love or obedience at all, but mere compliance. But creatures that are free to love God must also be free to hate or ignore Him. Creatures that are free to follow His will must also be free to reject it. Thus, we conclude that God is capable of destroying evil, but not without destroying human freedom, or a world in which free creatures can function.

   Some people think that they can imagine a world where creatures have free will but have no possibility of doing evil. I cannot. If one does not have the choice of doing evil then one does not completely have free will. I can choose to love someone or choose to respect someone, both being good things. I have the ability to choose to do one or the other. But unless I am able to choose to hate that person as well as love or respect them, then I do not truly have free will. If I cannot choose to hate that person then I do not have every choice available, thus I do not completely have free will. To completely have free will, I must be able to make an evil choice (to hate the person) as well as good choices (to love or respect the person).

   If the existence of evil makes the existence of God improbable, then wouldn't the existence of good make the existence of God probable? The existence of evil makes the existence of Satan probable, not the existence of God improbable. There is evil in the world because there is a completely evil being that constantly causes suffering and pain. Satan influences people to do evil, thus people commit evil acts and many suffer as a consequence of those evil acts.

   Not a great deal is known about animal evil, but it is obvious that some animals suffer because of evil acts committed against them. Man has the ability to choose between good and evil, and he has the choice of helping or harming other species as well as his own. Thus, some animal suffering is caused by humans. God gives animals free will also, and many times they use it to afflict pain on other creatures. The evil actions of one animal may affect many, such as a bobcat killing a mother duck may lead to the death of her newborn ducklings. Satan influences human beings to commit evil acts and afflict pain on others, thus Satan may have also corrupted the animal creation.

   Some atheists say that the Christian God cannot be omnipotent because He cannot create a being more powerful than Him, He cannot undo the past, and He cannot create a triangular square. The following paragraphs are in defense of the Christian concept of the omnipotent God.

   Can God create a being that is more powerful than Him? If God is infinitely powerful then nothing can be more powerful than Him. The only way something could be more powerful than God is if God's power had a limit. But God's power does not have a limit, thus nothing can be more powerful than Him. The question is not one of omnipotence, but rather one of existence. A being more powerful than God cannot exist, because God is infinitely powerful.

   Can God create a rock too heavy for Him to lift? If God is infinitely powerful then He is able to lift anything. Thus, there can be nothing too heavy for Him to lift. The only way for there to be a rock too heavy for God to lift is if God's strength had a limit. God's strength and power do not have a limit, thus nothing can be too heavy for Him to lift. Once again, the question is not one of omnipotence, but rather one of existence. A rock too heavy for God to lift cannot exist, because God is able to lift anything.

   Some might say that, because these things cannot exist, God is unable to create them, and therefore He is not all-powerful. They would say that He has a limit since He cannot create these things. But the whole reason why these things cannot exist is because God IS all-powerful. God has no limits, thus things that would surpass His limits cannot exist. Nothing can be more powerful than God, since He is infinitely powerful. Nothing can be too heavy for God to lift, since He is able to lift anything.

   Some people say "Not even God can undo the past." I will suggest that He can. God created all time: past, present, and future. Since He created it, He can do with it as He chooses. If He wanted to, He could turn back time, stop time, repeat time, or even undo time. This does not invalidate God's omnipotence by any means.

   Some people state that not even God could make a triangular square or a spherical cube. I would suggest that He can. God created both the triangle and the square, and if He chooses to, He could make an object containing qualities of both. Indeed, He could make an object that is both a triangle and a square. Just because we cannot comprehend how this is possible does not mean that it is impossible.

   The Bible states that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Some people say that, because God cannot lie, He cannot do everything, and therefore He is not all-powerful. God, as a being, has a particular nature. Just as a man as a being, or an eagle as a being, possess a nature of their own. For God to lie is for Him to go against His very nature. God can indeed lie, but not without ceasing to be God. If God lies then He goes against everything He is, and He then ceases to be God. For example, as a human being I cannot produce wings and fly among the clouds. That is against my human nature. If I were all-powerful I would be able to produce wings and fly, but not without ceasing to be a human being. An eagle, by its very nature, cannot dive into the water and begin to breathe with gills. If it were all-powerful it would be able to do so, but not without ceasing to be an eagle. Thus, God cannot lie: if He does then He ceases to be God.

   What I mean by saying that God ceases to be God is that He ceases to be the same God. God is truth: and if God lies then He ceases to be truth. He would still be the Creator of man and the universe, but He would cease to be the truthful, omni-benevolent God that He is. In other words, God cannot lie without ceasing to be the same: He cannot lie without ceasing to be the God that He is. If God lies then His entire nature changes, and if His nature changes then He is no longer the same being. As was noted above, if I produce wings and fly then my nature is changed, and if my nature is changed then I would no longer be a human being.


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