Open Letter to an Atheist

I wrote a response to Matt who commented to my post about Science and the Bible but then, not knowing if Matt would ever return to A Christian Worldview of Fiction and read what I wrote, I decided to turn my thoughts into an open letter.

In Matt’s comment, he quoted a line from my post—But to get to that place, a person also has to discount God’s omnipotence—then states that all a person really has to do is start out from a neutral position and follow the evidence. In so doing, he claims, you will not find God. Now my response to his response. 😀

Hi, Matt,

Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I always appreciate lively discussion about important issues.

I have to disagree with your idea, however, that anyone comes to the discussion about God’s existence from a “neutral starting point.” There really is no such thing. A person comes to the issue first either believing that the supernatural exists or that it does not. If a person accepts a belief in the supernatural, then the idea that there has to be natural proof of it seems somewhat silly.

Be that as it may, there are natural evidences, if not proofs, but once again, anyone disbelieving in the supernatural will have some other answer for those evidences. It’s all based on your starting point.

I get that no atheist can understand what I’m saying in the last post. Since you don’t believe in God, the idea of an omnipotent God is beyond your imagination. In essence, as I’ve said before in so many words, it seems to me that atheists think too small and by doing so limit their understanding.

Let’s suppose for a minute that I said I don’t believe in gravity. How would you prove gravity’s existence to me? You’ve never seen it. I dare say any facts you give me would be nothing more than a repetition of what some scientist has written. Now let’s also suppose that I came up with a theory that explains why all things fall, thereby “debunking the myth” of gravity. Let’s suppose a growing number of people found my theory credible and began to teach it as The Way Things Are.

Would any of that negate the reality of gravity?

Please don’t come back and tell me that this analogy isn’t at all like people disbelieving God because you have physical, tangible evidence that gravity exists.

I also have physical, tangible evidence that God exists. As I said, atheists explain away this evidence and claim that their Other Theory explains what I attribute to God.

So you see, we are at an impasse, unless you or any other atheist is willing to think outside your box and entertain the idea that maybe, just maybe there is a supernatural realm, beyond any physical means of “proving” its existence.

What I find so intriguing, though, is the atheist belief that science is capable of exploring and revealing all there is to know, especially in light of the colossal errors in thinking down through the ages. That alone should give any reasoning person pause to at least consider the possibility that just maybe there is One greater than Man, Someone who transcends time and space, matter and energy.

In ants could talk, do you think they would acknowledge humans? Highly unlikely. Our relationship to God isn’t much different if you wrote it as an analogy: an ant is to man as man is to God. The difference is that God chooses to make Himself known to Man. Now it’s up to Man to look with an open mind at the possibility that God does in fact exist.

Saying, Prove his existence, is not an open mind. As I’ve already pointed out, any proof I offer will meet with skeptical explanation. That’s not at all the same as saying, maybe God does exist and I’m going to see if what He claims to say about Himself could actually be true.

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Published in: on May 8, 2009 at 9:35 am  Comments (9)  
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9 Comments

  1. Very well articulated. I think I’ll bookmark this post.

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  2. Ya, well done. It won’t help people like vjack or Hemant but there are people out there snooping around who are honestly searching. And it is those for whom words like yours are used by God to draw them home. God Bless – See you there!

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  3. There really is no such thing. A person comes to the issue first either believing that the supernatural exists or that it does not.

    I disagree. An old saying goes that “A wise man can entertain an idea without accepting it” and it certainly applies in this case. You should approach any topic from a neutral stance and form your opinion on available evidence – and be ready to change it as new evidence comes to light. When we’re born, for example, we have no concept of self let alone religion; our viewpoints are shaped solely on the evidence we’re exposed to. We start off neutral and go one way or another.

    I get that no atheist can understand what I’m saying in the last post. Since you don’t believe in God, the idea of an omnipotent God is beyond your imagination.

    Claiming to be able to read my mind, and that’s essentially what you’d need to be able to do to truthfully make this claim, is absurd. Omnipotence is actually not hard at all to imagine and is a trait that often appears throughout mythology and fiction.

    Would any of that negate the reality of gravity?

    That would all depend on the specifics, actually. If it better explained the evidence then the nature of gravity itself would have to be re-examined and re-evaluated. Generally speaking, of course, it would not. In fact the comparison really is a bit silly since gravity is well documented, matches all predictions and is testable.

    I also have physical, tangible evidence that God exists.

    Then present it. And at this point I doubt it matches the necessary criteria of being repeatable, testable and makes testable predictions.

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  4. Hi Matt:
    To come to a conclusion of atheism based on rational thought and logic, one must have logical evidence of the non-existence of any form of Deity. Where is this evidence? I have been a seeker after truth all my life and after I lost faith in Christianity for a few decades during my post-college years, I was certainly open to any good atheist evidence I could have found.

    Yet all I ever saw are ad hominem attacks against Christians— as if Christianity were the only religion with a God. Where is the repeatable, testable evidence for non-God? Is it even possible for there to be such evidence? Enquiring minds would like to know.

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  5. “Then present it. And at this point I doubt it matches the necessary criteria of being repeatable, testable and makes testable predictions.”

    It’s fascinating that athiests accept junk science to disprove God and revert to its evolutionary “results” as some sort of legitimate conclusion but won’t accept a supernatural element or the spiritual dimension in this massive creation.

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  6. Isn’t life itself enough to prove his existence.

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  7. I have to agree with Matt’s comment about how one approaches the idea of God. Agnostics come to the idea of God without a belief in God or a belief in the supernatural, but they are also in that place because they don’t feel they can disprove it either.

    Matt, I believe in God simply because of the beauty I see in this world and in nature, because I see my three beautiful, healthy kids and I know, beyond anything that I know, that they were created by a loving and masterful hand. Beyond that, I have seen God’s hand in my life, answering prayers, helping me, guiding me along the way. If you’re looking for evidence I would challenge you simply to seek God yourself. Why not ask God to present himself to you, and humbly seek Him? He desires that from us, and if we come to him, I promise you, He will find you.

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  8. “You formed me in my mother’s womb,” the Psalmist said. I don’t believe in “tabula rasa.” My children were never truly “blank slates.” Nor was I. Nor was anyone I know. Never let someone tell you that children come into this world as empty as a freshly split slate that’s never been written on. It simply isn’t true! Children arrive in this world with their personalities, their emotional wants and needs, already defined. You might not be aware of how complex a newborn’s ability to respond and interact is if you haven’t spend a lot of time with newborns, so…here’s a few examples.

    My daughter most especially entered this world with a definite idea of what she wanted and needed. She’s been pretty single-minded about getting it ever since, too! I could never leave her with a baby-sitter when she was a baby or toddler. Not even close family (her daddy panicked if I left him on his own with her) wanted to watch her because she made this awful, piercing banshee scream when she didn’t get just exactly what she wanted right away.

    She could keep that scream going for over an hour… Took her, oh, about 60 seconds after birth to perfect it! And it’s taken me years of loving hard work to tame it and her. She is who she is, and frankly, I’m thankful God made her so she knows what she wants and she’s motivated to go after it, but wow! I’m sure glad God didn’t give me two or three like her.

    And then there’s her brother. My son was only a day old when he met his grandma. He studied her face for a long, sober moment and then he smiled. A wide, genuine baby grin. He sure charmed her socks right off, but it was definitely mutual! I was frankly jealous, ’cause he would stop crying for her and be happy even when he absolutely refused to do so for me.

    But he smiled a LOT for us, a lot younger than most babies do, and not just those stupid gas-bubble smiles, either. He could be just as willful as his sister (still is), but he’s sooo charming–it’s been hard getting other adults to recognize his need for discipline (or dissuading them from egging him on). Thankfully he was also born with a desire to please. I also thank God my son is who and what God made him to be.

    But I have no illusions. I can’t take credit for either child’s personality, and only marginally for any small ways I’ve managed by the Grace of God to redirect their innate characters into better channels. I’ve gotten to shape the way they think and outwardly react–a little–I’ve gotten to train them some. They’re still both exactly who God made them. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    And I think it’s a specious argument to say that we train our children to believe or force them to believe in God as they grow. I believe they know Him just like they know us as their parents, or cotton to their grandparents. How could they not? He, after all, created them. He knows them better, right down to the very quarks and atoms of their being, than we will ever know them. He breathes life into them, His own Spirit. He nurtures their tiny spirits. He gives them each a soul. And if a baby can know her mother on emerging from the womb, why wouldn’t a baby know the God who created her in that womb?

    I’ve written more of my thoughts about this on my blog, at http://krystisbooks.blogspot.com.

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  9. Thanks to all of you who commented. I wish I had time to do all your thoughts justice. Some of you have made the same points I wish to make, and some of you have spurred my thinking further.

    I want to take the time, however, to remark on a couple things Matt said.

    1)

    You should approach any topic from a neutral stance and form your opinion on available evidence – and be ready to change it as new evidence comes to light

    That would be ideal, I agree. But when it comes to belief in God, it isn’t possible. Typically, atheists look at mountains and see an evolutionary process, starting from a random happenstance. I look at mountains and see the grandeur and magnificence of our Creator God who spoke into being all of nature. Which belief has the most credible backing? I say creation, obviously. You say happenstance, obviously. How can we look at the exact same things and arrive at such different opinions?

    You very well might be thinking, Because you’re stupid. Apparently that’s the conclusion that some atheists arrive at, judging from some of the name-calling I’ve endured. I suggest that neither of us is stupid but we each have a presupposition that affects how we interpret the data available to us.

    2)

    Omnipotence is actually not hard at all to imagine and is a trait that often appears throughout mythology and fiction.

    Matt, you give your bias away by pointing out that you know omnipotence only in myth and fiction. In other words, you don’t believe there really is such a thing. I wasn’t trying to “read your mind” so much as put myself in your shoes. I know I wouldn’t be able to fathom omnipotence if I didn’t believe in God—not that I actual can grasp it in the sense of breaking it down and seeing how it works. I understand that omnipotence is one of God’s traits, and it makes so much else make sense.

    3)

    In fact the comparison really is a bit silly since gravity is well documented, matches all predictions and is testable.

    I guess you couldn’t resist. It is a perfect analogy. God’s work in the world is well documented (see the 66 books of the Bible). His work in the world matches all the predictions (see the prophecies recorded in Scripture), and He is as testable as gravity. Sure, things fall to the earth when you drop them. How is that gravity and not God causing the things to drop? And if gravity, how is gravity not maintained by God? You name something you cannot see and believe in it because of what others say. That is no different than what I do in regards to God.

    4)

    Then present it. And at this point I doubt it matches the necessary criteria of being repeatable, testable and makes testable predictions.

    You shifted from “evidence” to “proof” here, Matt. As I said, there is no scientific-method proof for God because that would be trying to apply natural (read “physical”) observation to supernatural (read, “spiritual”) existence.

    But evidence I’ve got aplenty. Start with the Bible. Forty different authors over a span of centuries wrote about God’s activity in the world. Some were eyewitnesses to God coming to earth in the form of a man. In other words, the most powerful evidence of all is available to us. We have God revealing Himself, telling us about His plans, His work in the world, and about His own nature.

    Here’s the thing. Your belief in the origins of life apart from God does not meet the criteria of the scientific method (not observed, repeated, or tested) though you claim it should (or at least that mine should). My belief in the origins of life coming from God rests on revelation. In other words, this is bigger than Man, bigger than our powers of observation, bigger than our ability to comprehend. Sure we can observe the results and even draw some conclusions. We can understand some things about the universe. But the more we learn the more we find there is to learn.

    What do you think the string theory is going to do with the theory of evolution, for instance, when scientists come to understand it more? And how, in light of the vast possibilities the string theory opens up, can anyone say categorically that they know God doesn’t exist?

    Some atheists like Christopher Hitchens are at least beginning to be honest with the issue in saying that they’d be disappointed to find out there is an infinite, all powerful creator, in essence admitting that they don’t WANT there to be a God.

    Finally, I have to agree with Krysti in her comments about us being blank slates at birth. The Bible teaches us otherwise, even saying that God placed eternity in our hearts. We have an innate sense (though it can be quashed) that we are not temporary. In addition we have a sense of morality that can’t be explained adequately by evolution, and that is present and observable in children well before they’ve had a chance to learn it. In other words, we are far from blank slates, and DNA evidence bears this out!

    I certainly don’t mean to offend you, Matt, but I have to come back to the point I was trying to make at the end of this post. Unless you consider that the supernatural may exist beyond your ability to research it scientifically, you will always come to the conclusion that God does not exist because you are essentially demanding that He show Himself on your terms.

    But He is God. He is the King of the universe, Creator of all things. Who am I to demand anything of Him? And yet, He loves us and chose to reveal Himself over and over, to the point of coming down among us. He gave what we need and now it’s up to us to believe Him.

    Becky

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