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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: When the God of the Bible Is Rejected

Don Stewart :: If Atheists Actually Cannot Claim That God Does Not Exist, Then How Can They Argue Their Position?

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If Atheists Actually Cannot Claim That God Does Not Exist, Then How Can They Argue Their Position?

When the God of the Bible Is Rejected – Question 17

Atheism is a belief which is held by many people. It is usually stated that atheists believe, as well as claim, that God simply does not exist. Indeed, we often hear the statement from atheists that there is no such thing as a God. To them, the idea of God is merely wishful thinking.

Most atheists, at least those who have thought about the issue, do not make the claim “God does not exist.” They realize they are not in a position to make such a claim. Indeed, only a being with all knowledge of all things could know whether there was or wasn’t some God somewhere in the universe. Perhaps God does exist but is not able to be detected by any means available to us. The atheist does not know whether or not there is an undetectable God out there. Consequently, they cannot know for certain that God does not exist. So, how do they argue?

Atheists Claim Lack of Belief in God

Instead of saying they believe that God does not exist, many atheists try to turn the argument around. They tell us not what they believe, but rather what they do not believe. In other words, they say that they do not have any “God beliefs.” They are neutral on the subject of God. Consequently, there is nothing to defend since they haven’t claimed that God does not exist. Indeed, they merely say that they do not have any belief about the subject of God. Consequently, they do not see themselves as denying God’s existence.

This line of reasoning supposedly places them in a position that does not have to be argued or defended. The burden of proof, they say, is on others who claim that there is a God which exists. Doing this puts them in an offensive position rather than a defensive position. What should we say to this type of argument?

The Response To The Atheistic Non-Argument</3h>

In response to the claim of the atheist, that they are not really asserting that God does not exist but rather saying they do not have any beliefs about God, we can make the following observations:

1. Atheism Is Logically Impossible

First, while many atheists claim this is what they believe or do not believe, they certainly do not act this way. Indeed, atheistic literature is full of claims that say such things as “God does not exist” or “The idea of God is logically impossible.” Statements like these do not merely reflect some lack of belief in anything. Indeed, atheists do have beliefs, an entire belief system or worldview.

This view of the world states that there is no God to answer to. Thus, they make their own rules, follow their own desires, and make their own choices. Consequently, they have constructed a belief system that needs to be defended. They cannot escape the logic of their claims.

2. The Evidence Is Sufficient to Believe in the God if the Bible

As we have noted, there is sufficient evidence to determine that God does indeed exist. This is the God who has revealed Himself in the pages of the Bible. There is not merely the claim that He exists, there is overwhelming evidence to support this claim.

Christianity makes claims that can be investigated and verified. We appeal to the evidence, not to blind faith.

The one God which does exist came into our world in the Person of Jesus Christ. While He was here upon the earth, Jesus made a number of claims about Himself. These claims can be proven to be true or false. In other words, they can be verified when one looks at the evidence.

The problem in many cases is that people do not want to look at the evidence that Jesus has provided or they incorrectly state the arguments Christians are presenting. However, this does not relieve them of their personal responsibility toward Jesus Christ.

In sum, we conclude that the atheistic cannot escape defending his position by claiming lack of beliefs about God. Indeed, they certainly do have beliefs; beliefs which they proclaim loud and long.

Consequently, they must have some evidence to support their claims. As we have pointed out, they have none.

Summary – Question 17
If Atheists Actually Cannot Claim That God Does Not Exist, Then How Can They Argue Their Position?

The thinking atheist often argues that they are not claiming God does not exist but rather that they do not have any personal “God beliefs.” They assume that this will relieve them of the responsibility of denying that some God exists out there somewhere in the universe. Instead of proclaiming what they do believe, they are claiming some sort of neutrality on the subject. This puts the burden of proof on those who claim that there is a God. They must defend their system while the atheist claims there is no system for them to defend.

This line of reasoning does not work. First, when we listen to atheists, as well as read their literature, we continually find statements which deny God’s existence or claim that the idea of God is logically impossible. These are “fact claims.” Consequently, there has to be some sort of support for these claims.

Furthermore, atheists construct a view of the world which denies any personal responsibility to a supreme being. They insist there will be no “judgment day,” no “heaven or hell.” Again these are claims which support a certain view of reality. Thus, there must be some defense made to this position. They cannot escape it by claiming they have no beliefs about God.

The Christian responds by saying that there is one God who does exist. He is the God who has revealed Himself in the Scripture. In the New Testament, this God became a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. When He came into this world He made certain claims about Himself. Indeed, Jesus said that He Himself was the one way by which a person could reach the one true God. Jesus provided sufficient evidence to believe the astounding claims which He made. Thus, the Christian claims are open to honest investigation.

To summarize, the atheistic cannot escape having his position being evaluated because he merely claims “lack of beliefs.” Atheists do have beliefs which must be weighed and evaluated.

What Is Atheism? ← Prior Section
What Is Agnosticism? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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