Monthly Archives: January 2015

Understanding Why Atheists Don’t Believe: 5 Reasons

Atheists, strictly speaking, are individuals who don’t believe in any God.  Many are content enough to say simply, “I don’t believe” and leave religion alone while others like Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens and thousands of YouTube commenters, actively seek to ridicule, belittle

Prof. John Lennox

Prof. John Lennox

and even try to disprove an entity in which they don’t even believe!  A few go so far as even trying to disprove the historical existence of Jesus.  So why no love for our creator?  I’ve identified five reasons why atheists are so stirred to anger by our Father, our savior and our helper.

  1. Suffering: I won’t try to explain why God allows suffering because any words I could provide, especially to those who have recently experienced a great loss, would do little to satisfy their anguish nor could my words, through their pain, be read clearly enough to prove God’s existence.  I will say only that the existence of suffering whether it be instigated through man’s free will, natural disasters, or disease does not disprove God nor does it challenge that he is all loving.  Christian apologist, John Lennox, offers his much better insight on this through his presentation, “The Loud Absence: Where is God in Suffering?”   
  2. Religion causes all the wars: The 911 attacks provided material around which prominent atheists could rally and claim how throughout history and still today, like the 911 attacks, religion causes most conflicts.  I’m nearly certain that our American Revolution and our Civil War were not waged in Jesus’ name.  Additionally WWI and WWII could not be considered religious wars nor Korea or Vietnam.  One might argue that Hitler was a Christian and he waged war against the Jews in Christ’s name but those close to him knew he secretly despised Christianity and pretended to be a believer to gain the people’s support.  Regardless atheism is not blamed for Joseph Stalin’s slaughter of the Jewish people atheist though he was.  Likewise Charles Darwin was not ravaged because Hitler desired to create a master race through Darwin’s theory of natural selection.  We must also take care not to lump one religion in with others that may be more vocal about using violence to convert non-believers.
  3. God is cruel: God permits slavery. God commands genocide. God allows babies to be murdered.  As Christopher Hitchens one said, “God is a celestial North Korea.” Personally I find comparing God to an atheistic state to be ironic.  To understand God’s actions one must understand the context in which they occur and we must also understand God’s justice.  We expect the wicked to be punished. In fact most of us crave it.  How many of us shout in outrage over simple inconveniences inflicted upon us by our neighbors? So when God witnesses hundreds of years of theft, rape, murder, idolatry and child sacrifice among a people why do we disapprove of his judgment over them? Dr. Paul Copan does a good job of explaining God’s justice in his presentation, “Is God a Moral Monster.”
  4. Science: Science and evolution have, in atheist’s minds, disproved the existence of God.  Perhaps not too surprising, 93% of biologists in the National Academy of Sciences are either agnostic or atheist.  Many claim that evolution is fact and actually there are theistic evolutionists, meaning Christians who too believe in evolution.  With evolution the atheists claim we don’t need a God to explain from where all the complicated organisms, including ourselves, came and with various scientific laws physicists argue we don’t need a creator to explain the intelligent design of the universe.  Then how did our universe come into being? If it was void of time and space then no laws of physics existed. So then what or who kick started the whole process?  Additionally evolution can’t explain how life on earth first came into being.  Apologist Frank Turek gives a great lecture on this called, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.”
  5. They just don’t want to: Even if you gave the most credible arguments to God’s existence, even if the arguments countered and overwhelmed every contrary argument, many atheists simply won’t concede.  I’m sure you’ve seen a questionable call made in a professional sporting event which could decide the outcome of the game.  The way you view the call depends on which team you want to win.  If the call helps your team win, then the call was right, if your team loses as a result, then the call was wrong.  To atheists like Richard Dawkins or comedian Bill Maher, religion is just too dangerous and frankly too stupid to believe in.  Atheism needs to win and therefore no evidence will dissuade them from their faith.

Atheists have plenty more reasons why they don’t believe in God.  A few have merit while other opinions are birthed solely from an irrational hatred towards God.  Frank Turek summed up Christopher Hitchens’ book, God is Not Great in one sentence, “God is not real, and I hate him.”

I don’t hate atheists nor do I pity them.  I have friends who don’t believe. As I’ve heard John Lennox say, many of them put us Christians to shame in terms of morality.  If we are to be good Christians though let’s try our best to be good reflections of Christ and love even those who seek to ridicule us.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they (unbelievers) are without excuse.” Romans 1:20