Religion is often dismissed as illogical and fairytale, but I find myself feeling that way about the secular alternative. Here are 7 reasons why atheism makes no sense to me.
And no, you’re not going to find Pascal’s Gambit here.
There seems to be a stigma that you can’t be a person of faith without having a little or a lot of crazy in you. Religion, faith in God, or however you term the various belief systems, are usually considered to be caused by mass hysteria, corporate brain washing, or needed by weak minds in order to sustain themselves. Penn Jillette of the famous duo, Penn and Teller, well known for his strong stances on faith, put up some thoughts a few years ago discussing the 2012 election where he found himself wondering how so many “smart people” could somehow believe in what people of faith believe. This is quite a common view held among our society today. And in some cases, I certainly don’t blame them. There are certainly a lot of religious nuts out there – some of them may even be floating around in the comments section.
And yet for me, being a practicing Christian for a majority of my life, quite involved with logical people for several years, a functioning member of society, very active in my career, involved in the community, able to articulate thoughts and learn and be coherent, I find this viewpoint quite confusing. Because for me, I guess in a similar way to the people who wouldn’t fully understand or agree with what I believe, I often find myself looking at the world of atheism and thinking…. “really?”.
I’m not someone who believes all truths are created equal. I really struggle to see how diversely opposite viewpoints are compatible. The views that God exist are incompatible with the ones that he doesn’t exist. And so for me in my life, I have always looked for the truth. And when I have looked into the arguments put forward by atheism, I can’t help but feel like it comes up short. If you’re an atheist, no, I don’t hate you, I just think it’d be worthwhile sharing my views on belief without a god, as many atheists are in sharing their views in the fallacy of faith.
So here are 7 reasons why atheism makes no sense to me.
#1: Because its practitioners don’t believe in significance but still look for it
Here’s one of the most confusing aspects of atheism for me. Those who profess to believe in the absence of God usually hold fast to the view that everything in the universe just kinda happened. One way or another, we all just came into being. Whether by natural selection or a dramatic chemical or biological reaction, bam here we are. This is not to be confused with deism, which is the view that if an intelligent designer exists, he exists abstract from involvement with his creation.
Essentially, this view means there is no defined purpose for life. It just kind of happens. It just kind of exists. Doesn’t really matter.
And yet I have never met an atheist who isn’t still trying to make a difference with their life. To find out who they are. To be somebody. To matter.
It just seems inconsistent with the core belief. It’s almost as if the practitioners aren’t actually convinced. My experience is that many actually aren’t.
#2: Because it still requires faith somewhere
Another aspect that doesn’t make much sense is the belittling of faith. Faith is called an extreme decision when the answers run out. Faith in God is seen as a desperate act of trust in something that can’t be quantified or qualified. After all the questions are asked and answered to a certain point, eventually a decision to commit to a certain viewpoint is needed.
Faith is also a foundational pillar of atheism. I have been in conversations with many atheists about faith, and even listening to some of the more well known atheists such as Richard Dawkins by way of The God Delusion (which seems to have a main argument of “as if you would”). It seems to me that their own beliefs necessitate faith at some point, too. If I continue to question their beliefs, eventually there comes a point where they don’t have all the answers, and they have made essentially a faith decision to believe anyway.
#3: Because it often poses questions that it doesn’t seem to want to answer
Epicurus, one of the founding fathers for atheism, famously penned his creed in which he questions the compassion and potency of God, if he exists. It can be rather thought provoking –
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?
But let’s say we wanted to actually answer these questions. Let’s say we actually wanted to dive in and tackle the issue of whether God actually cares or not. Let’s say we wanted to explore these very valid questions.
I think if something is worth believing in, it had better stand up to the test of being questioned. I find that people of faith can be really bad at this, too. You ask them if they are alright with the formation of Scripture, and they often have no idea what you’re talking about.
But I think in answering these questions you actually need to be looking for an answer. I find much of atheism is merely philosophical questioning, keeping truth in the land of unanswered questions to be pondered. It seems to me to often lack tangibility or substance, but maybe that’s the point.
#4: Because it leaves truth up to individuals
Usually when I do end up asking a few more questions in discussions with atheists, I find that often their measure of truth is the truth they define themselves. Sure, there’s not really a commonly shared atheist handbook that contain words to live by (although a few do exist), but truth has to be something more lasting and prominent than whatever we decide within ourselves. I think of the number of times I make personal decisions or have perspectives that are incorrect. I don’t know if I could really live trusting myself to be the ultimate source of truth, especially because I am so often wrong about things.
The question I love to ask to exacerbate this point is this one (and yes it is a bit risque) – is child pornography acceptable? People scramble for an answer. Is it right at a certain age which is legal in your country of origin? 21? 18? Some even go so controversial to say that 16 or younger are appropriate. Some will say pornography is wrong regardless. Some will say as long as she consents. Most people know within themselves it is wrong. But with a belief system that is left up to the individual, our views can lead to some fairly devastating consequences.
#5: Because it’s inconsistent with our beliefs about everything else
I know this is an old one, and I know many atheists have defences for this view, but I just haven’t heard a satisfactory or consistent answer that seems to appropriately quell this argument. I work in software, and I’ve never been involved in any project where it can be said that some code got in the application by accident. Someone intentionally built it to function that way. Same with engineering – the bridge doesn’t just support the right amount of weight and support certain resonate frequencies on its own. The same goes even within your own house – every atheist I know still says “who the heck made this mess?”.
We can see someone has been involved here. And I have yet to hear an argument against the anthropic principle as it pertains to faith that an atheist observes across their core beliefs elsewhere.
#6: Because it’s usually birthed in a bad religious experience
This one is a bit of real talk. Because often behind a proponent of atheism I find a bad church experience. Someone hurt by a church who did something awful, an unanswered prayer, constant hypocrisy by supposed ministers of peace, or some other form of disappointment. It makes a lot of sense that the thing or the place where you got hurt the most would be the place you want to avoid the most.
I’m not saying this is the case all the time – I just find it to be the case a lot of the time. It seems to take over most of the argument and reasoning. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand what it is to have a bad church experience or to have to deal with burnout. I don’t blame people for feeling the way they do. I think it’s interesting how much our personal experience truly drives our belief system, beyond what facts or theories or arguments may say.
#7: Because of my personal experience
I guess ultimately though its my own personal experience that compels me to believe. I became a Christian at the age of 5. I’ve seen miracles on a routine basis. Even in the last few weeks, I have seen people hear from God who then would speak about things they would have absolutely no way of knowing. I have also had this happen to me on a routine basis. Every week I am part of a team at our church involved with those who make decisions to become Christians. Not just a few, it seems to number in the dozens every week. And every single one of them brings a story about the involvement of God in their life that had led them to commit. People seeing Jesus in dreams and being led through the most crazy circumstances. People having severed family and romantic relationships who have had these situations miraculously turn around. Unmistakable and unexplainable changes in behaviour involving breaking drug and pornography addictions. It happens every single week with people from every sphere of life, every continent, and every faith background.
And so in a similar way to the atheist often driven by a bad religious experience, I guess I am driven by the experiences in my own life. For me, I have seen far too much to be able to discount the existence of God.
So there are some reasons why atheism makes no sense to me. Of course it’s only fair in reading my views that you feel free to share your own. Just remember to be respectful in those comments, boys and girls. We’re all people on a journey trying to discover the truth in our own lives.