I enjoy talking to atheists. It’s fun watching them scrabble for answers to the truly deep philosophical questions of life. Questions like “How can we know what is morally good” generally confound them. I like challenging a scientist to take all the exact chemicals used to make an acorn and get them mixed in such a way that an oak tree will grow from it.
It amuses me to see the bewilderment in their faces as they realise science can’t answer these questions. Science can’t explain life. No robot will ever be truly self-aware in the way a human being is, no matter how well it’s programmed. “Terminator” is unlikely to happen for real.
These confounding questions are a thorn in the side of atheists. They simply have no answer. Try asking one what caused the Big Bang. Or to prove the theory of evolution. Scientifically it actually can’t be done. It’s a theory. They can show an apparent progression, but there are many links in the chain missing. It requires a deeper “faith” to believe we evolved by chance than it does to believe we were created – by whatever means that creation took place, be it natural evolution or God’s hand at work – which I find infinitely more likely.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not so far down the fundamentalist road that I think the Earth is only 6000 years old, but I have what I believe is a healthy level of skepticism about carbon-dating accuracy.
Perhaps the answers to some of the “mysteries” of the world are in scripture. Maybe the pyramids were the great store-houses built by Joseph and the Pharoah of the day (possibly Akhenaten who was known to have converted to monotheism of the Aten or Sun-God in the fifth year of his reign) to store seven years of harvest and nothing more. Nobody would paint inside a barn today, so why would then be any different? The suggestion was made in what is considered a work of fiction, Thomas Mann’s “Joseph and His Brothers”, but as with much fiction perhaps there is a certain amount of fact mixed in?
I can’t prove it one way or another, and science seems to not be interested in exploring the possibility as far as my research can tell (although I stand to be corrected).
But the biggest thing I hear is the problem of the world itself. Atheists seem to think Christians in particular – especially fundamentalists – believe this world is as God created it and that He is in complete control. This makes Him out to be a monster. Genocide in the Bible and modern times are all His doing and His will.
They can’t seem to grasp the concept of Free Will.
Free Will, given to mankind represented by Adam in Genesis, was responsible for the murder and mayhem in the world today, not God’s Freewill, but humankind’s. When you say this an atheist will usually ask why God doesn’t correct it. They can’t seem to grasp the thought that God desires us to follow Him willingly, not as automatons like a terminator.
Freewill is the fly in the ointment. The spanner in the works.
If Man has freewill, then the state of the world is mankind’s creation and not God’s. The purpose of Christ , then, becomes exactly what He claimed it to be – a restorative and redemptive relationship-building exercise leading to the eventual vanquishing of evil from humankind in general and the recreation of the Heavens and Earth. If, however, mankind is simply another mammal then we are in deep trouble. Moral decay becomes inevitable and the destruction of this world a mere formality. We have already got the weaponry and mindset to destroy the planet many times over – it is simply a matter of time.
Like most Christians, I prefer to look at the glass as half full. We may be in the final days, but freewill prevents us from destroying everything we have created and everything God left here for us to enjoy while we are here. Long life in this world is listed in the Old Testament as a Blessing for Obedience – although an argument could be made in some cases that God simply doesn’t want those people yet as He wants to give them a chance to repent.
Whatever our personal view, the fly remains in the ointment. Freewill will always be here. Humans and self-awareness go hand in hand, and we all – atheists and deists alike, seek a reason for our being here at all.
Personally I believe it’s a practice for the awesome Relationship we will enjoy in His presence for Eternity.