Bible Study Opportunities
Challenging the Atheist By Jon W. Quinn
An atheist is one who does not believe in God. He accepts the idea that the universe as we know it came into existence by natural means. He looks to evolution as part of the answer as to the origin of life and ultimately of humanity itself. He claims that he is too intelligent to live by superstition and suggests that faith in God as Creator of the worlds is just that. He belittles those who live by faith and asks for proof. He claims to only believe that which is rational and can be seen and tested. Alas! That is what he wants others to believe about him as they admire his intellect and reason. But does he really have it all figured out? Has he found the answers to mans' origin? Has he proved that God does not exist? Christians have a God-given responsibility to so equip themselves that they are "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 fear" (I PETER 3:15). It occurs to me that the atheist who mocks and ridicules should at least do likewise; that he should "always be ready to make a defense to everyone that asks him to give an account for the hopelessness and despair that is in him...".
THE UNBELIEVER LIVES BY FAITH "...in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (MATTHEW 5:45). While the atheist denies that God has anything at all to do with the sun or the rain, he still lives by faith in something. He plants his crops believing that the sun and rain will cause his efforts to be rewarded. Atheists mock faith, but still live by it. They put their faith in the all-sufficiency of matter as they order their lives. The difference between the believer and atheist is that the believer accepts that there is a purpose being fulfilled by his life and that God has provided the means to sustain his life. The atheist believes that his life is an accident and there is no purpose being fulfilled and the fact that he can grow food is just a lucky break.
THE ATHEIST BELIEVES IN SOMETHING ETERNAL "Even from eternity I am He; And there is none that can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?" (ISAIAH 43:13). The atheist scoffs at the idea of an eternal God without beginning. But as he ridicules those who believe in a Supreme Being, he, himself believes that something has always been. There simply is no other reasonable alternative because something exists now and something cannot come from nothing. So what has always been here if not God? The idea that matter has always existed flies in the face of all we know about the physical laws and properties that govern matter. Or, we could put it this way: The believer holds that God created matter, life and mind while the atheist holds that matter created mind, intelligence and finally the idea of God. Which is more reasonable?
THE ATHEIST BELIEVES LIFE CAME FROM NON-LIFE "I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things..." (I TIMOTHY 6:13). People once believed that non-living matter could produce living things. If dead meat were left to itself, sure enough living maggots would appear. It was Louis Pasteur who first overthrew the false idea. He showed that the maggots came from flies and not from the meat itself. Pastuer was correct: living things come from living things. A living thing coming from dead matter has never been observed and is without any factual foundation at all, and yet this is exactly what the atheist believes. The Bible affirms that life comes from life. This has been observed time and time again without any exception at all. Again, which is the most reasonable to believe?
THE ATHEIST INSISTS THAT DESIGN IN NATURE IS ACCIDENTAL "O Lord, how many are Thy works! In wisdom Thou hast made them all; The earth is full of Thy possessions" (PSALM 104:24). The universe is a complex system. We can find order and design from the most immense galaxies down to the smallest atom. We find amazing things that animals do by instinct apart from which they could not survive. We can predict the movement of heavenly bodies because of the physical laws by which they are governed. We see with our eyes and hear with our ears and sing songs with our voices. The various systems found in the human body function not by accident but by plan. There were a series of articles in Reader's Digest which discussed this: "I Am Joe's Heart", Eye, Lung, etc. Who could believe that Joe is here by accident and not by plan? The atheist can.
THE ATHEIST CANNOT TRUST HIS OWN THOUGHTS "Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them" (ROMANS 1:19). Ask the atheist where thought comes from. He thinks there is no God, so what is the source of human thought? Are his thoughts merely a product of blind chance and random occurrences? One atheist put it this way: Thought is "a form of vibration and sensation in the nerve fibers of the brain and of the nervous system". Get this: what you think is dependent only on how your brain sloshes around! So why is the atheist so proud of his supposed intellect if all he is and thinks is a product of random forces with no purpose? He may talk about such ideals as morality and love, but if moving lumps of matter is all we are then those ideals lose their meaning. If man is only a purposeless machine that developed by accident then why be morally outraged when one of them kills another? And that brings us to our concluding point. We wonder why crime, brutality and violence are on the increase. We shudder as we witness so many hopeless and aimless lives being wasted. We see emotional wrecks unable to cope. What is happening? We are reaping the first fruits of atheism.
Reprinted From the Bradley Banner
Bradley Church of Christ
February 17, 1991