Atheism Is A Myth

A brief essay by Joe Boudreault October 2006

 

   It is probably strange to call atheism a myth when there are thousands or millions who call themselves atheists. But you only have to look at the popular definition of atheist to understand that professors of atheism have actually declared something which is impossible to substantiate. Atheism is “disbelief in the existence of God” and is derived from the French prefix a for not and the Greek word theos for God. To be an atheist you simple have to declare that you do not believe that God really exists. Do not confuse this with agnosticism which means you accept there is a God (or gods) but that He (or they) have no affect on you or your world.

   So why is it impossible to substantiate such a claim? Because you only have to consider for a moment what the concept of a supreme God is all about. God is the absolute being who exists outside of time and beyond the bounds of the known universe. That is an almighty, omnipotent, and omniscient being, to say the least. Such is the absolute nature of God that we mere humans cannot fully grasp the idea of His complete character or presence. We are mortal and finite, He is the great I AM, who always was and always will be, infinite and immortal and then some.

   And that is precisely why none of us can declare that He doesn’t exist. To know for sure that God does not exist is to be presumptuous enough to say that you have infinite knowledge of everything. It is somewhat like declaring that you know there is no gold to be found anywhere else in the universe because you have seen the rest of the universe and have not seen any other gold. But even that analogy is a weak one, for gold and God are infinitely different.

   There are even some Christians who say that it is irresponsible to ask an atheist to prove the non-existence of God. It is not fair question, they say. An atheist doesn’t have to prove God doesn’t exist; he or she merely has to prove that there is no physical evidence for Omnipotence anywhere. But God is not physical, and being God omnipotent, He exists outside all of creation. You cannot be a part of a creation if you are the creator, can you? I think not. Alright, say some atheists, but let this God show himself to us clearly. History, of course, showed us that such a thing has happened. It occurred two thousand years ago in the appearance of the person of Jesus Christ on earth. He was Emmanuel, the very fullness and form of God in the flesh. Islamists and others scream “heresy” at this sort of theology, but that Man himself told us “with God, nothing is impossible”. How is it that so many deny God’s power to step into His creation like that? And as for a creation by God in seven days, what is so improbable with that? He is omnipotent and all powerful, isn’t he? So when anybody claims there is “no God” they had better be prepared to prove it. The onus of proof for his existence is less on the believer than it the onus of disproof on the unbeliever. It is why the Bible says “the fool in his heart says there is no God.”

   It is certainly not unfair to challenge an atheist to prove God doesn’t exist – he or she has thrown out the challenge to the believing world in the first place by claiming he/she believes there is no God, period. There are a couple of illustrations of this conflict. A person entering a four-room house notices that the first room is empty, and concludes, because there is no way to enter the other three rooms, that the entire house is empty. However, that is an irrational conclusion (just as the claim that God doesn’t exist is irrational because you have seen no proof). What that person can safely claim is that there is at least one empty room in the house, no more. In another example, you could make the claim that because nobody has ever seen a white rock with black spots anywhere in the universe, there is therefore no such thing in existence. However, if I saw even one such rock, it would prove otherwise. The first claim is a case of making an empirical claim based on a lack of proof, while the latter is making a claim based on proof. Such an atheistic argument is self-defeating, because you would have to be God (with infinite knowledge of the entire Universe/Creation) in order to offer proof that God doesn’t in fact exist in the first place.

   Atheism often holds up the principle – or rather the unproven theory – of Evolution as an example of there being no God. Things came from a Big Bang, in spite of there being no proof of this thing whatsoever. But as for proof in the empirical world of the existence of God, you need only look (as Lewis pointed out) to the infinite, boundless, timeless expanse of the universe, and inwardly to the irreproachable mind you possess. Only an infinite Cause can render infinity in the cosmos.

I quote the apostle Paul in saying that the existence of God is proven by the very world around us. Paul wrote that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). I find it amazing that anybody who observes the natural world can defy the existence of a great creator. British writer C. S. Lewis once commented on the process of cause and effect. “Everything that is, that has happened, is the result of a previous event. Our world of natural wonders has a cause, and that initial act is not inferior to the reaction.” It follows that a universe which shows us the evidence of infinity, eternity and immeasurable volume and weight cannot have just happened. God manifests himself in his creation, and the Cause is superior to the Effect.

   Only the fool has said in his heart, “there is no God.” I do not mean that an atheist is foolish regardless – many atheists are superb citizens and upstanding people with various talents and skills and genuine humanity. Yet if the Bible accounts are true, then we are in fact just a fiber away from eternity ourselves; it runs in our very veins and courses through our very minds and hearts. Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, and Atheist alike feel these things, the stirrings of “forever” and “why” and “what next” and the deepest meanings of life and death. Ask yourself what lies beyond the edge of the Universe? What was there before time began? What is the reason for our nature and our compulsion for right from wrong? If we are motes of dust which came out of simpler motes of dust, then why the reasons for the struggles we go through?

   And if the Bible accounts are true, they convey not so much an opposition to all other creeds and beliefs but rather a completion of them. Because God has created us in His image – that is, with the ability to know right from wrong and act on it – He asks from us to exercise faith in Him. If He had hung a trillion pieces of incontrovertible proof of Himself around us, we would be like automatons, believing that. Instead, He gave us a remarkably reasonable mind and intellect and has made it as possible to believe in Him as it is possible to disbelieve in Him. And therein lays the glory of God – that we chose to believe.