The Atheist Box


In the section I read today of The Dawkins Delusion? by Alister and Joanna Cullicut McGrath ( InterVarsity Press), the authors referred to something like a no-God box atheists put themselves in. It resonated with me because of a discussion I had with an atheist over at Spec Faith some months ago. At one point during the discussion, it dawned on me how limited is an atheist who believes that all we can know as truth must be discovered by the scientific method.

Essentially, an atheist who rules out the metaphysical has narrowed the options of what he will explore. If there is only the natural, then there can be no supernatural explanations of the things we don’t understand.

I’m reading John Olson’s Shade right now in preparation for next week’s CSFF blog tour, and the protagonist (one of them) came up against this very position. There can be no supernatural explanations, so when someone experiences something inexplicable, the only conclusion can be, You imagined it, conjured it up out of your diseased mind. Which is what many atheists conclude about Christians. God does not exist, they say, so a Christian who “hears” His voice, is a fool, a liar, a simpleton, or mentally ill.

It’s not so far from the conclusion C.S. Lewis (popularized by Josh McDowell) came to about Jesus based on the claims He made about Himself (liar, lunatic, or Lord)—with one exception: C.S. Lewis added that Jesus could be who He said He was.

The atheist gives himself no such option because he’s already ruled God out.

I commented on Mike Duran’s blog this morning regarding something he wrote about evolution, and once again, it hit me how many more options Christians have than atheists. After all, if an omnipotent God does exist (and He does), then what are the limits? But by making the presupposition that there is no God, an atheist is then left to figure things out via Man’s limited observations and reasoning. No wonder science keeps discovering new things and theories keep changing and science textbooks have to be rewritten.

Spiritually? Not much has changed from the day God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden. Oh, sure, lots of history has happened, including the fulfillment of the prophecy to Satan that Man would bruise him on the head and Satan would bruise Him on the heel. And of course God gave us His written word as well as His Son. But we don’t need to continually discover new revelation in order to make sense of our world.

And we don’t need to fear new discoveries. They will always make sense because we have a God who can do the impossible. When something looks incongruous with Scripture, we can rest in the knowledge that it is not. Our understanding may be incomplete or veiled or our interpretation may be in error—we have lots of possibilities. The atheist in his box? Not so many. His data can’t be wrong—at least until another scientist comes along and proves that it is.

The earth is flat, after all. We can all see that it is flat. Sadly, the most adamant fundamentalist extremists just might be atheists who box themselves into a field of knowledge they know will most probably be altered one day.

Published in: on November 11, 2008 at 12:58 pm  Comments (36)  
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