I started my journey a long time ago with the basic thought that life is so sad if there is nothing more to this world after we die. Regardless of the beauty and the fun and the pleasure (just focusing in on the good parts of life) … it is all worthless if we experience it for 40-80 years and then pass off into oblivion. Read Ecclesiastes sometime and you will see that Solomon struggled with this thought pattern constantly as well.
I was an atheist for a good portion of my life and then I became an open minded skeptic later in life. I must admit that even after finally becoming a Christian the doubts and the questions keep coming. I read a fabulous book called The Case for Faith and in that book one of the experts mentions that this questioning of our beliefs and the number of “what-if” scenarios really help to strengthen our faith. The bottom line is that don’t be discouraged if you still have tons of questions and the whole world does not make perfect sense even after becoming a Christian. It is important to continue to question and seek answers.
I also want to remind everyone that the Christian faith is not a blind faith – or a lack of evidence or lack of reasoning faith. The Christian faith is based on examining the evidence:
1. Creation of our universe
2. Finely tuned constants that allow the formation of galaxies and solar systems (no big crunch or runaway expansion)
3. Finely tuned variables that make Earth special and with the ability to support life
4. Lack of any testable/repeatable/rational explanation for the beginning of life on earth – creating the first replicating life form
5.Difference in the Hebrew’s one and only God compared to all of the other world religions with many little gods
6. Historical and archaeological accuracy of the Old Testament
7. New Testament – the gospels being written within the lifetime of the people that knew Jesus and more importantly – no refuting works were written during this time to say ‘hey all that stuff you are saying about Jesus is wrong’
8. the fact that even without the New Testament – you can take all of the early church letters – before 300AD even and reconstruct the entire new testament – it was quoted that much
The above are just some of the foundations and there are many many more – but don’t ever feel that you have a blind faith!
Most atheists respond to the Christian statement that God created the universe with a question of ‘Well then, Who created God?’. This is really a school boy argument that has been around since ancient history.
But the issue here is that atheists are thinking of a created God and not about a God that has always been present. The Christian worldview is that God was always there. Look at the first few verses of the gospel of John:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There is nothing logically wrong with proposing that God was always there – in fact, non-theistic woldviews have largely proposed that the universe was always there until proof in the 20th century came out overwhelmingly that the universe was created.
Dr. Lennox puts this much better in his sermon on The Testimony of Science: http://www.rzim.org/let-my-people-think-broadcasts/the-testimony-of-science-part-1-of-2/
I doubt there are more atheists today than in times past. The late 19th century was full of atheists including one of the greats Friedrich Nietzsche.
The scientific data points more towards the credibility of their being a God in 2013 than it did more than 100 years ago. Micro evolution and variations within a species are scientific facts and have never been doubted. But rigorous evidence that micro evolution leads to morphological change through the study of thousands of generations of fruit flys and lab mice has proven ineffective (macro-evolution). Scientific acknowledgement (for it was hard fought) that the universe had a beginning is now widely known among the nn-scientific community and that gels with the biblical explanation. The understanding that our sun and the earth will be gone in the not too distant future also exonerates claims from Isaiah (51:6) all those thousands of years ago.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will
vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants
die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never
All that said, the non-God movement and especially the anti-Christian movement among the popularized atheists is still striking out at believers. Their words are devious and their accusations are full of insults. It is natural to hate and want to engage in name calling and to point out how utterly ignorant these people are at times; however, as Ravi Zacharias stated in one of his sermons this year, you can not tear off a man’s nose and then give him a flower to smell. Keep the discord civil and loving if you can.
David Berlinkski’s book The Devil’s Delusion goes far beyond simply rendering Dawkin’s God Delusion meaningless. Berlinski, as an agnostic, shows that science has not proven religion wrong or that there is any God gene that simple minded people posess that do believe in a greater being. Berlinski reaches back into history and wields the sword of 13th century Thomas Aquinas to shed light on the ever present question of why are we here. I love chapter 8 and the author’s wit as to why religion has popped up in every civilization since recorded history – we reach the conclusion that we are different By Just Looking Around. I thought that was brilliant. The author does not deny that we have relationships to the animal kingdom but the differences, the many many differences, are quite profound.
Alister McGrath has also written a more directed book called The Dawkins Delusion that really destroys any credibility that Dawkins would have left. Michael Ruse writes “The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist and the McGraths show why”.
Francis Collions, director of the Human Genome Project writes:
“Addresing the conclusions of The God Delusion point by point with the devastating insight of a molecular biologist turned theologian, Alister McGrath dismantles the argument that science should lead to atheism, and demonstrates instead that Dawkins has abandoned his much cherished rationality to embrace an embittered manifesto of dogmatic atheist fundamentalism.”
This is one of the great questions throughout the ages.
One of the shortest verses in the bible relays that “Jesus wept”. The biblical answer to this question is that the world is a fallen place and is moaning in the birth pains of a fallen world. Look at Romans chapter 8. God allows the world to be a fallen place and good things happen to both the believer and non-believer alike just as horrible things happen to the believer and non-believer alike.
Oftentimes, a tragic event in the life of a non-believer will sometimes bring that person to the true God. Likewise, a horrible event in the life of an existing Christian will sometimes embolden their faith and help win more people to the saving power of Jesus Christ.
I do not have all of the answers. I have seen wondeful things happen to people that I would not consider “good”. I have seen riches go to people that are secular and never seek after God. I have witnessed little babies and toddlers with Christian parents that end up with a deadly disease and end up passing away.
The question of evil and how different people respond to it really shapes their worldview. I believe that many atheists are not believers more so because of the question of evil than lack of proof of an allmighty God. Rational people realize the fine tuning of the universe along with the creation of the first cell and DNA did not happen by random chance. Instead, they wrestle with the Father figure of God and why would he do this or that to them or other people in their life.
As a Christian, even though I know we have very good and mature answers to the question of evil in the bible and throughout the religious letters of the millenia … I still struggle with evil. I do not subscribe to the philosophy that Satan does it all – read about how Jesus discussed the falling tower that killed men that were not worse than other men in Jerusalem (Luke chapter 13).
We are given free will and as humans we have created an environment and societies that allow evil to happen to the righteous and the unrighteous alike. This helps in our understanding of how people are influenced by our Godless society and commit horrible atrocities but it does not exactly explain why a 1 year old baby gets cancer.
CS Lewis : Mere Christianity should be on top of everyone’s reading list. Even a non-believer should read this book to understand the thought process that goes into becoming a Christian
Ravi Zacharias : Simply one of the best apologists out there – a man born into a Hindu culture that accepted Christ on a bed of suicide
John Lennox : One of my heros of the faith – he has gone toe to toe vs. Dawkins and come out looking more professional, mature and credible
Alister McGrath: A true scholar and defender of the faith
N.T.Wright : Powerful apologist
Interestingly enough, John, Alister and N.T. all hail from the UK.
I would also like to point out the Bible Answer Man here in the USA as a great resource. I find that I disagree with some material but it is nourishment for the soul nonetheless.