Thursday, September 17, 2009

Prove It #2 The Fool Hath Said

Right from the outset, debating atheism is a tall task for the Christian. The reason is simple but easily overlooked. We live in a culture that has been heavily influenced by philosophical Naturalism and Materialism. Since most of us have grown up going through the public school system, we naturally think the way we were taught. We have been enlightened to think that everything has a naturalistic answer.

Some of us may remember those old Scooby Doo shows. The premise of those shows is that even though things may appear to be supernatural, they are really not. If you listen to Dan Barker's arguments, even things that we know to have been "intelligently designed" is really just a part of the natural realm. So my writing this post is really just a part of the natural worldview. This post is just a product of evolution because the chemicals in my brain caused me to spill these so-called thoughts on to my keyboard.

The problem at the core is that the Naturalist can not justify any of these premises nor can they justify their worldview with their worldview. Naturalism by definition is irrational because it is circular.

For instance, Barker demanded Dr. White should prove God's existence using the scientific method (something that was implied in his arguments). However, how does Barker justify the scientific method? Did he prove the scientific method using the scientific method? Is the method just an evolutionary construct of his brain and other brains might construct something different? Using Barker's own assumptions, would not brains of the past that saw the existence of God necessary be just as valid as his own since they were brought about by evolutionary mechanisms?

What if in the future, the scientific method is rejected by everyone? How could he argue against those living in the future since evolution produced such thinking?

When the Christian decides to defend the Christian faith against atheism, he must recognize that we are not merely arguing evidence. We must challenge the presuppositions and worldview of the atheist. As Scripture says,
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
This must be our starting point. This is not negotiable. The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."

The fool who says there is no God is a fool not because he is unintelligent, but because he is made in the image of God and lives in a fashion that contradicts what he says. For example, if I were in college and I dropped a term paper on the floor on the way to class, and an atheist walks by later and sees it, he does not say, "What an accident of nature." Instead he opens the paper and looks for the author so that he might return it to its owner.

Why might he do this? Because first he recognizes intuitively that the paper has an author. He never tries to prove this to himself using the scientific method. He doesn't use transcendental arguments or naturalistic ones. He doesn't borrow from the information theory. He doesn't use the "irreducible complexities" explanation. He just knows without even thinking that the paper has an author.

Second, he feels a moral obligation to return the paper. This may only be explained by the Christian worldview. It may only be explained by the truth that man is made in the image and likeness of God.

Of course in the end, you might say that I am being circular. It is true that there must be an ultimate authority and so ultimate authorities are inherently circular. Yet it is not circular to start with God. For I am not proving God. As a Christian I may only demonstrate the truth of the Trinitarian God as the basis for all reality. As a Christian I recognize I am a creature. To cut myself off from my Creator is to cut myself off from the true source of knowledge and life.

Therefore the Christian must engage atheism without cutting himself from the revelation of God, both in creation and Scripture. Only then will he be able to press against the atheist mind his true need.

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