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.


5 thoughts on “Atheism – faith without evidence”

  1. It’s odd. I don’t remember a time where I told myself “There is no God”. Even as a child, it’s not that I didn’t believe there was one – I just hadn’t found out he was there yet. I believe that once someone tells you there is a God, that your spirit will hold on to that option of believing forever. That’s why people who don’t know Christ at all, but heard of him, will go to him in times of crisis. Humans can’t live without hope for too long. God knew this when He gave us free will.

    They can believe there is no water, but when they see others drinking water and being refreshed – they start second guessing their “decision to believe” there is no water. Only because they are thirsty, and silently suffering.

    They can say “I have no friends” But when they see a Christian – content, happy and satisfied even though this Christian might not have family OR friends, they start to wonder.

    God’s spirit has ways of breaking through the mind. Not to control our decision to believe, but He shows us all on our own time the pros and cons of each decision.

    For example: To be an atheist –
    pros, one gets a sense of false completion in their search for God. They deny him. It’s over. He “simply isn’t there”. Their ‘Quest’ in life is over. They get a momentary sense of relief.

    Con is they go through life with no sense of spiritual fullfilment. leaving them dry and hopeless.

    To be a Christian:
    Pro- To experience life through a series of obstacles to test our faith. To know that someone is there holding us accountable. To never be alone in times of dispair. To always want more but to receive all that we ask for in prayer. to grow Spiritually Mentally and physically with two spirits instead of one. (Ours and God’s)

    Con- We are separated from the World because we dare to be different, we dare to stand out, we dare to be acknowledged.

    But doesn’t everyone in this world want to rise above the crowd? Want to stand out and do something powerful? Want to be acknowledged for all the hard work they do? Want to be loved when they feel unloved. Doesn’t anyone want to be inwardly and outwardly joyful?

    Again…sorry I ranted. But, it’s amazing to hear about atheists and see them and hear from them during my day, because I’ve never grown up thinking there is no God; it just took me awhile to find him.

    Thanks for your blogs! Sorry my response is longer then I thought it would be!

  2. Hey Courtenay,
    Even though I said in my blog (and Scripture says this too) that unbelief is a decision to deny God, and that faith in Christ is also a choice, at another level we don’t actually choose God – he chooses us. It’s true that we also have a choice to make, but we couldn’t choose Him unless He chose us first (John 15:16). So in a sense you could say that you didn’t find God at all – you just had your eyes opened by Him so that you were able to see that He had been pursuing you all along, and you yielded to Him and “let him” find you (all such analogies are imperfect unfortunately – there’s no language fully adequate to describe God and His dealings with us). Bless you, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. First, Charles Darwin himself was never fully convinced of the verity of his theory:

    “Lastly, looking not to any one time, but to all time, if my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking closely together all the species of the same group, must assuredly have existed. But, as by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?” -Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 1859-

    Second, even if there were compelling evidence for the Theory of Evolution to the extent that a reasonable person would be unable to observe this evidence and remain convinced that the Theory is false (which is not the case), it would still not logically follow that there can be no God. Such an assertion would require proof that the process was not set in motion by a Supreme Being in the first place which is by definition unprovable.

    Third and finally, given the history of Science, it seems to me that the claim to know anything with absolute certainty is the most arrogant claim a person can make. Newton, and much of the scientific community of his time, believed light to be a particle. It was later absolutely proven to be a wave. Later still, it was absolutely proven to demonstrate particle properties. Any good scientist will tell you that the more we learn about the universe, the more we realize how much we do not know. Furthermore, true science only deals with what we can observe here and now. As such, where we came from is beyond the realm of science. Thus, the claim that “Science proves there can be no God” is absolutely ridiculous. Any claim about the reality of God must be made on the basis of faith. Moreover, since we evidently live in an ordered world, it seems prudent to me to assume it was designed as such.

  4. Hi Reuben, thanks for your comment. Of course a fully Christian faith goes well beyond the belief that an ordered world points to a Designer, but that is a reasonable conclusion which, as Paul asserted (Romans 1:20), ought to be evident to all unless they are already predisposed not to believe.

  5. Peter,

    Excellent discourse and discussion. Of course the atheists might cry foul for “confusing the issue with facts”.

    For a lighter look at evolution vs. creation check out the new video on the City Church website.

    God bless.

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