Why Do Christians Play the Atheist’s Game?

It occurred to me the other day that there are probably two reasons that people are atheists. The first is that most atheists (and even agnostics ) are intellectuals and as such, adhere to principles of logic and proof. “Prove God to us,” they say, “and we will believe.” They can rest in the knowledge that such a thing is impossible, so they believe that this removes them from having to accept any religious teaching whatsoever. They find comfort in that which is knowable through the five senses and/or logically deducible from given data. The other, deeper motivation is that they have an emotional attachment to their world view; the idea of God as presented by religions offends and upsets them. His followers are hypocritical, prayers to Him go unanswered, and His laws seem burdensome and contrary to human nature.

Two glaring problems with the atheist’s challenge (“prove God to me, and I will believe,”) are immediately evident: the first is that he or she believes that they can dictate the terms of an interaction with a Supreme Being. In effect, they are saying, “I will follow your precepts, God, if you do as I say and make yourself known to me.” Should God turn out to be real, this arrogance could not possibly hope to do anything but offend Him. The atheist’s demand of evidence is therefore predicated on the supposition that there is no God, which means, of course, that the atheist has decided ahead of time what the truth is, because otherwise he would not be so bold. The atheist is not following the principles of objective hypothesis and observation. The other problem is that the atheist has is that he is utilizing a faulty definition of belief. “Prove to me God exists and I will believe.” The very definition of belief excludes proof. If one could prove God, it would not be belief, it would be knowledge. The atheist should say, “Prove to me God exists, and I will know it.” It is the Christian (or Muslim, or Hindu, etc.) who exercises the correct definition of faith-an idea without proof. This is consistent with the scriptures of the various religions, which do not attempt to prove anything but ask for blind faith.

It’s amusing, then to watch Christians busily attempting to answer the atheist’s challenge, trying to prove God instead of simply promoting belief. Creation “science,” historical accounts of Christ, religious artifacts such as the Shroud of Turin-all of these types of things have been and are going to continue to be proven false or inconclusive. Somehow, this never shakes the faith of Christians-if tomorrow, the tomb of Christ was found with a skeleton in it, and all evidence proved 100% that it was He-no true Christian would abandon his faith. They would say it was a trick of the Devil, or a test of faith from God, anything to keep their belief system and its attendant emotional needs alive. They would require no proof. And yet, they seem intent on proving God to the atheist-even though God has said that it is faith that saves us. It seems that Christians will engage in any kind of contradictory behavior to achieve an end result, or perhaps they just need something to do.
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7 Comments

  1. My dad once said he’s not sure there’s a God. I replied, “I know there’s a God. I’ve seen you drive – and yet, here you are!”

  2. You’ve got your thought order wrong… it doesn’t begin with an atheist challenge, it begins with a religious imposition:
    “Everyone must behave according to what god says”- or rather, their interpretation of who their god supposedly says.
    The answer to that is then:
    “we don’t believe in your god”
    So atheists are challenging your belief. We are saying we have the freedom of religion to not follow your religion. If you want to believe that’s your problem…

    • My thought order is correct-atheists are now paying for hate billboards, long after most Christians have stopped evangelizing. My points, however, still stand: the atheist has made up his mind without proof, and the Christian is foolish enough to try to provide it for him.

      • Christians haven’t stopped evangelizing. They’re still trying to make their religion part of the law ALL THE TIME.

      • I agree, they are trying to legislate morality, and in another blog post I talked about why this is a bad idea.I see your point-I guess I don’t think of moralizing and evangelizing as the same thing. It’s the moralizing that you object to, and this is the cause of your antagonism.

  3. Would it be safe to say that you’re some form of a Deist?

    • I do like aspects of Deism, especially the rationality. I don’t reject all dogma, just dogma that is self-contradictory. I don’t shun organized religion-if a Deist church existed, I might go to it. If God did create the Universe and then step back, it would make prayer useless, but I do think God allows us to suffer for our growth. My main contention with American Christianity in the 21st Century is that they are New Testament believers trying to have Old Testament blessings and OT wars against their enemies, but not follow OT laws. They reject NT suffering. The Deists dealt with the explosion of knowledge by denying the more incredible stories of the Bible, modern Christians try to use pseudo-intellectualism to prove them.


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