11
Mar

Can Atheism Answer the Tough Questions?

Atheists are thfond of attacking believers for accepting that miracles are possible.  They insist that nature is, essentially, a closed system and that nothing from beyond can enter it.  At least, nothing that smacks of the supernatural in the religious sense.  And so, believers must take on the burden of proving that miracles are in fact possible.  CS Lewis does a masterful job of this in his book “Miracles.”  http://www.amazon.com/Miracles-C-S-Lewis/dp/0060653019/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1294027449&sr=8-1 It’s worth looking into, but only when you’ve got a few minutes to really think deeply about the case that he makes.

When pressed to provide a layman’s response, the apologist can present the logic of the theistic position.  If the universe had a beginning, then it’s reasonable to conclude that something before and beyond it must have existed from which the universe derived its existence.  Scientists tell us that the universe demonstrates exquisite order and fine tuning. Change any one of dozens of parameters even slightly and life as we know it would no longer be possible.From this, an inference of design is logical, and for design to occur, there must be a designer. Whatever, or whoever, existed before and beyond the universe, who possessed the power and intelligence to fine-tune this creation, is a being of unlimited capabilities. Intervening in his creation, whenever and however he chose, would present no obstacle at all.

Take the Lord’s first recorded miracle – turning water into wine.  This of course happens all the time – the only problem is that it takes months of time and much effort to accomplish this feat, through the growing of grapes and the process of producing wine.  That His control of time and of nature could allow this to occur more rapidly should not be all that difficult to imagine.

                But the believer is not the only one who must provide an explanation for the existence of what we see around us. So too must the atheist.  Let’s start with four basic questions: how did the universe arise from nothing? why does it operate according to fine-tuned laws? how did life emerge from inert material? how did consciousness arise from total darkness? The atheist appears to begin his arguments with the conclusion that somehow these things just happened to occur.  Given enough study, he assures us, science will provide the explanations.

               Christianity by contrast identifies the solution to these enigmas in the person of a supreme and infinite creator. What difference does it make? Not much if the issue is scientific inquiry – both religious and secular scientists can make use of the scientific method. But neither will live forever. Eventually, both the believer and the skeptic will come face to face with what lies beyond. Preparing for that moment makes little sense to the committed atheist. Now, while there’s time, he should consider the consequences of making the wrong choice.

Posted by Al Serrato

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