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Arguments the Atheists Cannot Answer

How do you argue with an atheist? To do so is to argue with a fool, for the Scriptures say, "The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Ps. 14:1). Arguing with fools is tricky business and should be handled carefully. Some good advice for this task is found in Proverbs 26:4-5:

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes.

We must be careful not to be drawn in the atheist's folly, which may consist of unfounded speculations, logical fallacies, and ridiculous hypothetical situations. This kind of approach does not lead to knowledge, but rather it leads to false justification and arrogance. Instead, we should "answer a fool as his folly deserves.” Sometimes this means giving no answer at all, but most of the time it means "always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1Pet. 3:15).

There are powerful arguments in favor of the existence of God that atheists simply cannot answer. These arguments can be made even without use of the Scriptures. Even so, Christians should not be compelled to abandon the Bible when arguing with an atheist simply because the atheist does not accept it. Be assured that the atheist will not surrender his weapons for this battle, so neither should the Christian lay down his "sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17). The Scriptures support the arguments we will briefly consider here, and we should feel free to use the Bible even with atheists.

One argument the atheist cannot answer concerns the origin of the world or universe (the cosmological argument). It is evident that the world did not cause its own existence, for nothing cannot create something. There must have been an original cause, and that cause is Almighty God. Atheists may attempt to answer this argument in terms of the Big Bang and Darwinian evolution, but these theories do not give satisfactory answers for origins. They are based on the illogical assumption that something (in fact, everything) can come from nothing. Atheists may contend that matter is eternal, but material evidence and the second law of thermodynamics prove that there was a beginning to the world and that the world is "winding down” and becoming less organized. Christians know that "in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), but atheists have no good answer.

Another argument concerns the evidence of intelligent design in the world (the teleological argument). It is evident that the systems in the universe from the astronomic to the microscopic function with purpose. There are only two possibilities for the origins of these purposes – mind or matter. Because matter is incapable of conceiving, designing, and creating systems with purpose, there must be a mind behind the origin of the material world. That mind is Almighty God. Atheists attempt to ascribe intelligent design to matter by saying that time and chance can account for all things, but that contention is illogical and baseless. In Romans 1:18-20, the Scriptures describe such atheists,

who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

A third powerful argument pertains to the existence of morality (the moral argument). It is evident that there is real, objective moral value, and therefore there must be a real, objective moral standard. The source of this moral standard is Almighty God. Atheists claim that morality is simply a product of an evolved society that has determined by experience what is best for members of that society. If that is true, then morality is not objective, but rather it is a matter of opinion or consensus. This is a dangerous proposition, for it can lead to situations such as that which happened in Nazi Germany, when the majority consented to the murders of six million Jews. Sometimes atheists will say that there is no real, objective moral value, but they will then contradict themselves by speaking of right, wrong, crime, law, evil, etc. They will condemn the Nazis for their atrocities but then deny the moral standard of God's word that defines what atrocities are. Thus, we see that atheists have no good answer for morality but give evidence for God in themselves, "in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (Rom. 2:15).

Of course, there are other arguments in favor of God's existence, but only a few are really needed. The Bible itself is a powerful piece of evidence for God (the Biblical argument), for such a unified volume of accurate history, science, and geography with fulfilled prophecy could not be produced by forty or more men writing over a period of more than 1,500 years without the inspiration of God (2Tim. 3:16). This argument, along with the cosmological, teleological, and moral arguments, provides a sound defense for the existence of God that the atheist cannot answer. Use these powerful arguments with confidence, and you may make a believer out of an atheist some day.

Stacey E. Durham



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