Right ho, first of all I’m not saying that atheists are simple. I have too great a respect for various atheist intellectuals for that to be true (Keynes, I’m not looking at you) And several of my good friends are atheists and simple is the last word on earth I’d used to describe them. I'm sure they'll appreciate the above picture.
Nevertheless the argument I will make is that atheism is just too simple. It takes a look around the material universe and says: “Yep, that’s all there is.” It erects a sign over the universe saying “Nothing else to look at.” Atheism reduces everything to the laws of nature. Nothing can exist apart from what can be proved by science.
So what? You ask. Aren’t simple solutions the best? Hasn’t science disproved the supernatural? On the face of things these questions seem valid but they don’t fit in with the evidence of our day to day life. Atheism doesn’t fit in with the reality we live in. Simple is good but Atheism is over-simplistic.
Take, for example, the question: what is our purpose in life? Now every single world religion could tell you an answer to this. And what great wisdom has atheism to say? Sex. Procreation is our biological purpose in life and Atheism cannot go beyond it. Does this fit in with the world we see? Even a sex addict would be forced to say no. There are thousands of people who die without having sex – were their lives purposeless? If you were to ask people what their purpose in life was how many would say sex? Practically none.
Atheism conflicts with our human nature. With this strange knowledge that we have that there is more to life then biology. If our life was really all about passing on our genes why then do we seek more? Why aren’t we like the animals and seek just to obey our instincts? If we did just have such a basic purpose in life why do we seek for higher ones?
And let us imagine two atheists – Jack and Jill. They’re in a relationship and Jill cheats on Jack. For some reason this makes Jack angry, most of us would say that it was wrong for Jill to cheat. Yet why do we have this view? If reproduction was our purpose in life why then do we value monogamy?
Dawkins writes at one point that “I made the very un-Darwinian decision to be monogamous” How can he say this? If passing on our genes is all there is to life on what grounds can he make that decision? Why does Dawkins value fidelity, self control and faithfulness?
He values them because it is inbuilt within man to value them. Even criminals value loyalty and despise traitors. And this is where Atheism fails – morality, the common moral code mankind has ingrained upon them. We could take a broader picture still: why do most men value freedom, dignity, truth, justice, beauty, selflessness and courage? Where does such high and mighty concepts come from?
Atheism struggles to answer these questions. Oh there is talk about a ‘herd mentality’, that we recognise that if we always did wrong society would not function. But why then do we want society to function? Where does this idea of wrong come from? Biology?
There is only one solution that makes sense: God. The existence of a Creator God makes all these problems fade away. Man values truth, justice, faithfulness and beauty because we are made in the image of God and God values these things. Man seeks to find a higher purpose in life because man has fallen from his relationship with God and seeks to fill this gap. Christianity-wise sex is only a small part of God’s goodness to us. Procreation is part of God’s purpose for the human race but it isn’t everything. This material world we live in is only the smallest part of our eternal lives.
If all worldviews were people then Christianity would be the man serving the rest, Islam would be the loud fat one shouting to make his views heard, Scientology would be the village idiot and Atheism would be the eight year old kid in the corner sucking a lollipop – unable to contribute to any of the conversations, unable to add a single thing because he is focused on the lollipop and nothing else.
C.S Lewis describes atheism as a boy’s philosophy. The other world religions are men for they accept that reality isn’t simple, they accept that concepts such as morality have to come from a source outside of the material world and they accept the reality of a God.
Atheism is too simple. There is so much it cannot explain. There is so much it never can explain. And as such it fails to stand the test of the evidence weighted against it. Man is more than a product of biology. Everyone knows that to be true yet many shackle themselves to Atheism and its simplistic views.
Why? Because the alternative is too much for them. If a Creator God exists why then man would be accountable for his actions. If God exists then we’ve let him down. If God exists then his call to the human race to repent has to be taken seriously.
“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed [Jesus]. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”
Acts 17 v 30 – 31
I write this post sitting in my garden with the sun beating down on me, a cool breeze in my face and a grumpy rabbit for company. I’m struck again by the words of the Psalmist:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Ben will be away at the weekend so there’ll be no blog post on Friday.