Atheism – faith without evidence
This post is going to be a bit different from most. I want to comment briefly on two related belief systems – atheism and evolutionism. I will be making a number of claims regarding creation and evolution without backing them up in detail. Supporting evidence and arguments for all my claims can be found on the web site of Creation Ministries International as well as elsewhere.
Atheists usually contend that atheism is based on reason whereas Christian faith is unprovable and non-rational. My assertion is that this is a false contrast. I maintain that atheism is not a rational position but an irrational one – that it is not based on reason or evidence, but on a decision of the will to reject God in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary. In the interest of keeping this post relatively brief, I won’t venture into a full discussion of these assertions here, but will content myself with a few points, hoping to spur you to further reflection. My motivation for addressing these issues is to encourage my readers not to be intimidated by the claims of evolutionary faith, but to educate yourselves about these issues so that you are able to answer anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have.
Atheism is not a new phenomenon. There were atheists in Biblical times too, and the Apostle Paul describes their atheism as an intentional choice, stating that they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God. Interestingly, if you listen to an atheist for very long, they usually sound quite angry at the God in whom they claim not to believe – thus belying their claim that their atheism is based on reason. Psychologist Paul Vitz concluded, after studying the lives of some of the most influential atheists, that they rejected God because they rejected their own fathers, whether due to a poor relationship with their fathers, the absence of their fathers, or their own rebellion (The Psychology of Atheism, Dr. Paul Vitz, 1997).
Atheism and Darwinian evolutionary belief go hand in hand. Many Christians are handicapped in their faith due to having accepted the widespread belief that Darwinian evolution is a proven fact of science. In fact, Darwin had no real evidence to support his theory of evolution (see The child is father of the man). There is plenty of evidence of speciation (new species being formed) but absolutely no evidence that this took place via the mechanism proposed by Darwin, according to which totally new forms of life (eg. a fish becoming an amphibian becoming a mammal) arose through spontaneous mutations.
The only form of evolution that is provable by observational science is natural selection within an existing gene pool, in which the new species is clearly related to its originating species, can still interbreed with it, and is really a variant form of a very similar creature. For example, all breeds of dogs, foxes and wolves probably arose through natural selection from a prototypical dog/wolf kind which would have had more genetic diversity than today’s breeds of dogs. The differences between breeds of dogs were attained mostly through selective breeding (breeding for certain characteristics) which is done by selecting from among existing genetic information, not adding new information. Some characteristics of certain breeds of dogs also arose through mutations (see Is Your Dog Some Kind of Degenerate Mutant?), but these mutations again involve the loss of genetic material, not the creation of new genetic material.
There are many logical problems with Darwin’s proposal, but I will address only one. If his theory was correct, there ought to be a myriad of transitional forms in the fossil record. In fact, no-one has ever found a fossil of a transitional form between two clearly different forms of life. Dr. Colin Paterson of the British Museum, a highly-respected scientist and committed evolutionist, stated that there is not one fossil of a transitional form for which evolutionists could make a watertight argument. On the contrary, a wealth of fossil evidence shows fully developed species which – leaving aside those that have gone extinct – are essentially the same as creatures that are alive on the earth today except in regard to size.
But why does this even matter? Can’t you believe in Jesus and also accept evolution? Yes, you can, but your faith will be severely compromised in many ways. When I first came to faith in Christ I was a committed evolutionist. I had some scientific training – some of which, at least when it comes to the topic of evolution, I now recognize as not far removed from brainwashing – and believed that Darwinian evolution was the only intellectually respectable option. When I learned that there were intelligent, articulate, reasonable Christians who believed in creation, that most of the pioneers of science were creationists, and that many excellent contemporary scientists still believe in Biblical creation, my eyes were opened to new possibilities and my faith in God and his Word was greatly strengthened. The Bible is clear that God made the world in wisdom. It is liberating and faith-building to realize that God does not require us to suspend our intelligence in order to believe in Jesus. On the contrary, faith in Biblical creation is intellectually satisfying and well-supported by an increasing body of scientific evidence – even though this evidence is not usually reported or interpreted as such in mainstream science. Dr. Dudley Eirich, a molecular biologist at the University of Illinois, put it this way.
Once you understand evolution, it takes more faith [in the colloquial sense of blind credulity] to believe it than to believe in creation. And there really is a lot of faith involved; they don’t have many answers to the big questions. (Manipulating Life , Creation, December 2004)
I said at the beginning of this post that atheism is not based on reason – that it is a choice not to believe. Christianity isn’t based on reason either. Like atheism, faith in Christ is a choice — a decision of the heart, the mind and the will. I’m convinced that it is a choice supported by far more evidence than any other choice you could make, but in the end it is still a choice. Having at one time counted myself as an atheist, and having considered these issues very carefully over many years, I choose to put my faith in the One who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever. I invite, encourage and urge you to do the same.