Atheist Arguments: Humans Are Animals

Of course humans are animals. We live and breath and do all the things animals do, but Christians believe humans are more. Christians believe God breathed life into us, that by doing so He gave us an eternal soul. Or spirit. It seems there’s some confusion concerning the two. Are they synonymous, does one refer to our personhood, our personality, and the other to our spiritual existence?

It is the latter, the spiritual part of us, that separates us from other animals. For instance, humans pray. Animals have no apparent awareness of God, and do not make any clear appeal to a higher power. Pets might run to their owner if they become frightened, but they might just as often run away and hide. But at no time do animals appear to appeal to a supernatural being for help or deliverance or salvation.

Animals also don’t appear to deal with guilt. Oh, sure, those pets who know their owner is not happy with their behavior, might cower when they are told, No, but this is an instinctual reaction to the displeasure, not guilt for having done what they wanted to do.

I’ve seen cats that kill birds and show no remorse.

The dog I had for twelve years showed great sorrow when I scolded him for taking his food to the carpet and eating it there rather than leaving it in his dish, but he continued to drag it out. It was his instinct to do so. He didn’t know that he was doing anything wrong—just that I was unhappy he was doing it.

Third, animals don’t worship. They have ways of showing when they are happy or irritated, like wagging their tails or hissing or barking or baring their claws or laying their ears back or licking. But worship? Since they have no apparent awareness of the supernatural, they have no apparent desire to express praise or gratitude or awe.

Here’s the thing. If humans are simply a product of evolution and we are nothing more than the most advanced version of life, where did the sense of the supernatural come from? Why do we worship? Why do we deal with guilt? Why do we pray?

Those things are not found in animals. They are found in humans.

I know some will say they are nothing but a creation of our brains. But animals have brains, too. Where is the evidence of an animals’ underdeveloped awareness of the supernatural?

Interestingly enough, the same people that think the supernatural comes from our brains, also think the supernatural isn’t real. So how is that evolution? Wouldn’t our brains develop in such a way that we would be smarter, wiser, better, more capable of coping? How does guilt fit into that paradigm?

Or worship? Certainly the atheist must think spending time with others to give praise to Someone who, they say, doesn’t exist, is not making us smarter or wiser or better or more capable. So how did we become worshiping people?

The point is humans are more than animals. We do have that God-breathed part of us that makes us eternal. Human life, therefore is precious and valuable, and we need to treat it with more care than any other life.

Some scholars speak of a “God-shaped vacuum” inside each of us. No one is quite certain of the origin of the phase, but Augustine, Pascal, C. S. Lewis, and Scripture itself have been credited with the concept, if not the wording.

The Bible clearly does identify us as people with an unquenchable thirst, satisfied only by the Living Water.

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7″37-38)

Lewis described that “empty place” that only God can fill and actually his awareness of it was one of the factors that turned him from atheism to Christianity:

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. (Mere Christianity)

The interesting thing to me is that secularists admit the existence of this hole, this vacuum.

We are all searching for something. What that something might be is never really a certainty, but it typically displays itself as a nagging sense of something unfinished or a thing undone that plagues our days and troubles our sleep. It is a restlessness within the human heart described by St. Augustine as “…humanity’s innate desire for the infinite…”

This restlessness is a metaphor for seeking after the infinite, for something larger than ourselves (“The God-shaped Hole” by Michael J Formica, Psychology Today)

Actually the author goes on to say that this “something larger than ourselves” actually is ourselves, but the point for this discussion is the fact that this realization of something beyond is not a made up Christian concept. It’s real and it sets us apart from animals.

We long for . . . more, even when we don’t know what that more is.

Where does that longing come from? Not from animals. The best answer is the one God gave us: He breathed into us life, something our sin has seriously affected so that, as the Psychology Today article went on to say, we try to fill our longings with “things outside of ourselves — objects, money, love, release or our perception of it, sex, drugs, new experiences, whatever is at hand.” And the current craze—us, ourselves.

But the very attempt to fill this “emptiness” shows that it is real, that we have in us a need that spurs us to look for satisfaction. It’s defining. We do what animals don’t do, and that, by deductive reasoning, separates us from animals. We are more. We have an awareness of God. Romans 1 says we do, though we don’t acknowledge Him:

because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. (v 19)

Humans are animals? Sure we are, but God gave us something animals don’t have. He’s set us apart for relationship with Himself.

Photo by Laurie Gouley from Pexels

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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Viewed strictly through the lens of science, humans are animals. There is a big problem with our society called “scientism” in which we turn to science for answers it can’t produce–moral, philosophical, or even regarding the fine arts. Due to obsession with the physical universe and the mind set of materialism we have neglected studies other than math, science, and technology.

    Ironically this makes us gullible to anything passing for science, unscrupulous research papers, and viral gossip. (Science has proven swearing makes you smarter! Science has proven your cat wants to kill you!) In defense of scientists the latter was poor journalism that did a half baked job of research and probably didn’t more than skim original source material.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Here’s the thing. If humans are simply a product of evolution and we are nothing more than the most advanced version of life, where did the sense of the supernatural come from? Why do we worship? Why do we deal with guilt? Why do we pray?”

    Put yourself about 5 million years ago (The timeline of human evolution is long and controversial) at the evolving sophistication of human intelligence, such as empathy, theory of mind, mourning, ritual, and the use of symbols and tools that were also apparent with the great apes although in a much more primitive form than found in humans.

    The primitive man would recognise the sun as the giver of life, the warmth, growth and happiness. He would also note the effects of good and bad weather on his life. I should not have to explain further that primitive man had no idea why these events took place and would look to a supernatural occurrence to explain these phenomenon such as a sun god and many other goods of Earth, wind and fire that he could not see but to him had great power. To appease these gods, they would pray, worship and sacrifice lives to them.

    Of course, religions evolved and changed with humans throughout history and into the more complicated modern versions of religions of today.

    “I know some will say they are nothing but a creation of our brains. But animals have brains, too. Where is the evidence of an animals’ underdeveloped awareness of the supernatural?”

    We are a different species from the other animals, Humans did not evolve from actual apes, gorillas or chimps. We are a mutated species of primate and the mutations most likely to be passed to future generations are those that prove useful to either individual or species survival. Mutations can drive evolution, if they give an individual an advantage that means they are more likely to survive to have children and pass on the mutated gene. We have followed different evolutionary paths even though humans share a common ancestor with some primates, such as the African ape.

    Humans are a type of ape that had adapted to the land, they walked upright to see danger further afield, and as they could not run as fast as 4 legged carnivores they created weapons to defend themselves and then became the hunters and carnivores at the top of the food chain while praying to the gods of the natural events. (referenced Live Science)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steve, everything you say here presupposes that God doesn’t exist, that humans were responding to Him, either by embracing Him, replacing Him, or rejecting Him. You have no evidence for your presuppositions.

      Becky

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  3. Thanks Becky, I appreciated reading this. We people really do all have a God sized hole within that only God can fill. I also look at the pride/shame dichotomy that is exclusive to us as people. Also, we need clothing! The need people have to hide is somewhat comical,whether we’re hiding from God or hiding behind fig leaves.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “Interestingly enough, the same people that think the supernatural comes from our brains, also think the supernatural isn’t real. So how is that evolution? Wouldn’t our brains develop in such a way that we would be smarter, wiser, better, more capable of coping? How does guilt fit into that paradigm?” Good point. Good article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The brain has become smarter and wiser. Traditionally the brain had been changed, manipulated from birth and indoctrinated in religious doctrines over many centuries and passed on though many generations of families.

      Originally primitive peoples did not understand why natural events occurred on Earth and even though science can answer most of those questions today some people have still felt that religious faith has been their epitome of life and is real to them and so has therefore been traditionally passed on down into the modern world Christians. Of course, with each generation in modern times these younger generations of theists are discovering the real world and the scientific facts and will become atheists that in numbers have been growing strongly.

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      • Steve, these false ideas have no evidence. There haven’t been the kind of studies with the kind of results that would lead a scientist to this conclusion.

        For starters, you don’t know what “primitive peoples” understood.

        BTW your on comment needs some clarification: “. . . TODAY some people . . . passed on down into the MODERN WORLD …” (all caps are mine for emphasis). When was today not the modern world. To whom have we passed things down today?

        Your conclusion also has no supporting evidence. The Bible tells us that God’s word is eternal, that the Church universal will last forever. So even if Christianity fades from Europe or America or Australia, God is still at work in other parts of the world. He is not partial. He will open His arms to all who will come.

        Becky

        Liked by 1 person

        • “BTW your on comment needs some clarification:”

          Sorry about that, should have had a full stop after today.

          “Steve, these false ideas have no evidence. There haven’t been the kind of studies with the kind of results that would lead a scientist to this conclusion.”

          Some scientists do believe in the evolution of religions Becky. The first god ever worshipped was likely a sun god in ancient Egypt called Re. This god held a dominant position among the high gods from early in that civilization’s history.

          “Another example might be a volcanic eruption. In the absence of geological knowledge, our tribal ancestors’ agency system would have ascribed this event to a person – but one that surely has superhuman ability. And why would they want to cause such destruction? Perhaps the eruption signified a punishment, perhaps because the tribe had not acted in accordance with the being’s wishes.”
          Read more here:
          https://theconversation.com/caveman-instincts-may-explain-our-belief-in-gods-and-ghosts-26945

          “For starters, you don’t know what “primitive peoples” understood.”

          I believe it is more than obvious Becky that the early humans did not understand natural events on Earth such as how the snowy weather formed, why the sun rose and why the volcano’s erupted, therefore how would they think? Man, naturally had to find a reason for an event he could not control, so a god is born. What do you believe the primitive people understood?

          In fact, Christians in America who are not supposed to be primitive people still try to redirect the storms from flattening their homes by praying to God do they not?

          “Your conclusion also has no supporting evidence.”

          If you are referring to the indoctrination part I do not expect you to see any of supporting evidence I could present with your eyes firmly closed. If you mean the growing atheism, the same applies.

          “The Bible tells us that God’s word is eternal, that the Church universal will last forever. So even if Christianity fades from Europe or America or Australia, God is still at work in other parts of the world. He is not partial. He will open His arms to all who will come.”

          Of course it would say that, however the other parts of the world are dominated by other religions, and one of them is growing faster than the rest due to immigration and higher than average child birth rates. I doubt you believe it, however for your benefit the Christian God had better do his rapture soon or there will be very few Christians left to save.

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          • Interesting wording here, Steve: “Some scientists do believe . . .” Yes, this kind of belief is the kind atheists accused Christians of—holding a position based on no evidence. Scientists can’t know a thing about “primitive” humans. Historians can know some things, so we can look at the books of history in the Bible and learn a great deal. But this actually requires reading and studying the Bible, something it seems like “good scientists” wouldn’t do.

            So I wonder, Steve, what do you do with someone like Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, converting from atheism to Christianity? You can’t discredit his science. He’s been published in all the approved and accepted journals. But he has opened his eyes to the reality of the spiritual world, and he did so by using rational, logical, informed deduction. Why can’t you at least study what you stand against? Just wondering.

            Becky

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          • As a Christian, I too believe in the evolution of religions. Or devolution. The Bible describes this process in the first chapter of Romans.

            Like

      • There are a lot of young people turning atheist. They shut out the world around them with screens. There is science but many reject it. Read Tumblr for examples. The big reason for rejecting God? They have been told the world revolves around them. A God centered universe makes that impossible.

        Liked by 3 people

        • “There are a lot of young people turning atheist.” You are correct.

          “They shut out the world around them with screens.” You are incorrect it is the exact opposite.

          “There is science but many reject it.” Incorrect again, many are also realising that science is for real.

          “Read Tumblr for examples.” Yes this is the way of the world, change is an ongoing process that even a god cannot prevent.

          “The big reason for rejecting God?” There are many, evidence and facts are two that come to mind.

          “They have been told the world revolves around them.” As a young person I was not told that, I just knew it.

          “A God centered universe makes that impossible.” Which god and he would only be mind centred at best.

          Like

  5. You are right on the money! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There is an innate hunger that we have as humans to connect with the divine.

    We are not clever enough to dream up God on our own. Now as to the details that’s another story, and we have a short lifetime to get it right, and by short I mean really short, since no time is guaranteed except the present, hence that good word: behold NOW is the day of salvation……..

    …….but you already knew that. Others may need some coaxing though. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, ColorStorm. Ironic, isn’t it that some claim humans invented God. In fact we do hunger for Him because we were made for communion with Him. But at the same time we run from Him, try to hide from Him, try to replace Him. Which is probably the greatest evidence that the Bible has explained our human condition best: we are made in God’s image, but we are marred by sin.

      Thanks for your thought-provoking comment.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

      • You know B, of the many reasons people cry fowl as to the scriptures, (insert Steve here lol) it’s not because they want evidence, (aka smokescreen for a delay tactic) but it’s simply because the evidence already on record is true.

        God’s word is that record, and I so tire of petty men griping against the only living God.

        Like

  7. “Interesting wording here, Steve: “Some scientists do believe . . .” Yes, this kind of belief is the kind atheists accused Christians of—holding a position based on no evidence. Scientists can’t know a thing about “primitive” humans. Historians can know some things, so we can look at the books of history in the Bible and learn a great deal.”

    Yeah Becky, I guess the millions of bones fossils and artefacts discovered over hundreds of years by thousands of scientists, the inscriptions and DNA evidence etc. has absolutely no merit at all. Where do you actually believe the worlds historians get their facts from Becky, The Bible? Even for you Becky this is beyond believable.

    “It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. It was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.” (ref Smithsonian Institution)

    “So I wonder, Steve, what do you do with someone like Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, converting from atheism to Christianity?”

    I see that Francis Collins converted from atheism to Christianity in his twenties evidently after seeing how radically his patients faith transformed their experience of suffering.

    He was in the Episcopal church choir as a boy, so he was bought up in a Christian environment anyway, it was not the science that convinced him of anything, he was already on the way to his indoctrination as the seed was planted within his subconscious mind when he was young, and it was revitalised especially after reading several works by C.S. Lewis. The man obviously has an amazing mind, however emotional experiences through life driven by the subconscious mind and the massive power harnessed within the brain it is capable of manipulating the most intelligent brains among us.

    “He’s been published in all the approved and accepted journals.”
    I agree he is peer reviewed and accepted, why is it you do not acknowledge the many other peer reviewed scientists on evolutionary biology who are abused, called liars or are said to be only guessing because “they can’t know a thing about “primitive” humans.” by many of the theist communities as you would know. Check out the recently published articles from the Journal of Human Evolution.
    https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-human-evolution/recent-articles

    “Why can’t you at least study what you stand against? Just wondering.”

    If you have an opinion on something you normally do study it, I always check out the facts before I comment regardless of what I already know about the subject, it is only common sense.

    I was involved in the inspection and handling of explosives for the military for many years and I sometimes answer questions regarding the components and technical details of ammunition etc online. Most of the bloggers are not experts in this field, however I do not deny any interaction with them or believe they should not discuss these issues. I acknowledge that long term study to learning provides an overall expertise of the issues, but I still check the facts. The biggest mistake you can make is reading and quoting from disreputable sources of information.

    In answer to you, I do study the particular issues I comment about that are not of my expertise, however why do you not do this Becky? Just wondering.

    Like

    • BTW, Steve, thanks for clarifying your earlier comment. That helped me understand what you were saying.

      I feel as if you’re not seeing other parts of your comments clearly, however. You said: “I believe it is more than obvious Becky that the early humans did not understand natural events on Earth such as how the snowy weather formed, why the sun rose and why the volcano’s erupted, therefore how would they think? Man, naturally had to find a reason for an event he could not control, so a god is born.” You claim such knowledge because of “millions of bones fossils and artefacts discovered over hundreds of years by thousands of scientists, the inscriptions and DNA evidence etc.” But none of this evidence discovered by archeologists and historians tells us what these people did or did not know about the natural world and how or why they started worshiping a god. You and your atheist friends assume you know what you don’t know.

      Francis Collins says clearly in his book The Language of God, that he was brought to faith by studying the Moral Law. And everything he saw in science made sense thereafter.

      As far as his being published in certain journals, I guess you missed the tone I was attempting. I know that reputable scientists don’t get their articles into the publications you care about so deeply, but Collins has, so I figured you’d listen to him even if you dismiss the others. Guess I was wrong. You sound as if you’ve made up your mind and no matter what anyone else says, you’ll simply find some way to dismiss it. I think we learned some months ago this is because you do not want to confront the actual possibility of a sovereign God who will hold you accountable and expect you to stop going your own way.

      I found your analogy of working with munitions interesting. But as I see it, you are like the guy who wants to learn more but they only want to listen to people who know what they know about explosives. They don’t actually want to go to an expert. Steve, an atheist is hardly an expert about God.

      Becky

      Like

      • “As with many cultural advancements and inventions, the ‘cradle of civilization’ Mesopotamia has been cited as the birthplace of religion. When religion developed in Mesopotamia is unknown, but the first written records of religious practice date to c. 3500 BCE from Sumer. Mesopotamian religious beliefs held that human beings were co-workers with the gods and labored with them and for them to hold back the forces of chaos which had been checked by the supreme deities at the beginning of time. Order was created out of chaos by the gods and one of the most popular myths illustrating this principle told of the great god Marduk who defeated Tiamat and the forces of chaos to create the world.”
        Read much more here: https://www.ancient.eu/religion/

        I think it is a waste of time giving you these facts Becky as you are totally beyond understanding, discriminate and refuse to recognise what is in the real world.

        “I know that reputable scientists don’t get their articles into the publications you care about so deeply, but Collins has, so I figured you’d listen to him even if you dismiss the others.”

        Maybe these so called reputable scientists you mention are creationists or flat Earthers Becky. I do take notice of Collins work, as I said he is a very smart man, but only when it comes to his expertise in his scientific field because I do not believe in his ideology. In fact, it does not just come down to a simple choice as you believe Becky.

        I have not found one single reason to believe in any god that cannot be discredited and exposed as a myth. I do not have new evidence or any evidence that I am wrong so far, I only have Biblical texts thrown at me that have been proven to be unscientific and mythical tales, unlike yourselves who are confronted by facts, evidence and scientific realities every single day, yet your brain will not allow you to understand and free yourself from your ideological shackles.

        “Steve, an atheist is hardly an expert about God.”

        Well you really are blind, there are loads of them who know more than the Christians, Richard Dawkins is one that comes to mind plus Ark and the people on his blog who would put most of you Christians to shame. What is more, I do not belittle anyone because they want to learn, unlike yourself Becky, who prides themselves on many years of knowledge and expertise about God.

        Like

  8. I have nominated you for the Sunshine Bloggers’ Award. 🙂
    https://wordpress.com/post/seekingdivineperspective.com/259

    Liked by 1 person


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