It’s a rarity these days when we find something by Jason Lisle. Regular readers of this humble blog know him best from the time he was at Answers in Genesis (AIG), ol’ Hambo’s online ministry, when we wrote several posts about Jason Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper.
Jason left AIG a couple of years ago to become director of whatever it is that they call research at the Institute for Creation Research. For some reason, Jason’s latest is posted at AIG’s website. But we don’t care where Jason’s stuff appears — AIG, ICR, or some website like the Time Cube. He’s always entertaining.
The title of Jason’s latest is What Is the Best Argument for the Existence of God? That topic isn’t one of the central concerns of our blog. Your Curmudgeon doesn’t care what your religion is, as long as your behavior is civilized and you don’t use your religion as an excuse to violate anyone’s rights or to interfere with science education. But to creationists like Jason, God and evolution are polar opposites, like good and evil. To understand them — and their insane war on science — we need to know how they think. So as you read this post, hold tightly onto your brain — or you’ll lose it.
Jason’s essay is a long one, so we’ll try to present the highlights — with bold font added by us for emphasis and scripture references deleted. He begins by sounding surprisingly reasonable:
There are a number of common arguments for the existence of God. But most of these arguments are not as effective as many Christians would like to think. Let’s consider a hypothetical conversation between a Christian and an atheist.
What follows, and it’s just the first section of Jason’s essay, is a series of eight exchanges, each starting with an argument by someone designated as “Christian,” followed by a counter-argument from an “Atheist.” You’ll probably want to read the whole collection, because it really is typical of what goes on in debates with such people. And it demonstrates that many creationists — certainly the professionals — have already heard all of your arguments, but they don’t accept them. We’ll give you only one of the eight exchanges:
Christian: “The living creatures of this world clearly exhibit design. Therefore, they must have a designer. And that designer is God.”
Atheist: “The living creatures only appear to be designed. Natural selection can account for this apparent design. Poorly adapted organisms tend to die off, and do not pass on their genes.”
After eight of those, Jason says:
It should be noted that all the facts used by the Christian in the above hypothetical conversation are true. Yes, God is the first cause, the designer of life, the resurrected Christ, the Author of Scripture, and the Savior of Christians. Yet the way these facts are used is not decisive. That is, none of the above arguments really prove that God exists.
Moreover, most of the atheist’s explanations are actually pretty reasonable, given his view of the world. He’s not being illogical. He is being consistent with his position. Christians and atheists have different worldviews — different philosophies of life. And we must learn to argue on the level of worldviews if we are to argue in a cogent and effective fashion.
We told you Jason begins by sounding reasonable. Regardless of his beliefs, he realizes (as the typical walking-around drooler may not) that those arguments aren’t persuasive. Let’s read on:
Thus, if we are to be effective, we must use an argument that deals with worldviews, and not simply isolated facts. The best argument for the existence of God will be a “big-picture” kind of argument.
Jason can’t remain reasonable for too long, so this is where things start to get amusing:
The Bible teaches that atheists are not really atheists. That is, those who profess to be atheists do ultimately believe in God in their heart-of-hearts. The Bible teaches that everyone knows God, because God has revealed Himself to all. In fact, the Bible tells us that God’s existence is so obvious that anyone who suppresses this truth is “without excuse.” The atheist denies with his lips what he knows in his heart. But if they know God, then why do atheists claim that they do not believe in God?
Ah, that’s the big mystery. He continues:
The answer may be found in [scripture reference]. God is angry at unbelievers for their wickedness. And an all-powerful, all-knowing God who is angry at you is a terrifying prospect. So even though many atheists might claim that they are neutral, objective observers, and that their disbelief in God is purely rational, in reality, they are strongly motivated to reject the biblical God who is rightly angry with them. So they suppress that truth in unrighteousness. They convince themselves that they do not believe in God. The atheist is intellectually schizophrenic — believing in God, but believing that he does not believe in God. Because an atheist does believe in God, but does not believe that he believes in God, he is simply a walking bundle of inconsistencies.
See there? Atheists are all a bunch of wackos in denial. Here’s more:
One type to watch for is a behavioral inconsistency; this is where a person’s behavior does not comport with what he claims to believe. For example, consider the atheist university professor who teaches that human beings are simply chemical accidents — the end result of a long and purposeless chain of biological evolution. But then he goes home and kisses his wife and hugs his children, as if they were not simply chemical accidents, but valuable, irreplaceable persons deserving of respect and worthy of love.
The concepts that human beings are valuable, are not simply animals, are not simply chemicals, have genuine freedom to make choices, are responsible for their actions, and are bound by a universal objective moral code all stem from a Christian worldview. Such things simply do not make sense in an atheistic view of life.
Many atheists behave morally and expect others to behave morally as well. But absolute morality simply does not comport with atheism. Why should there be an absolute, objective standard of behavior that all people should obey if the universe and the people within it are simply accidents of nature? Of course, people can assert that there is a moral code. But who is to say what that moral code should be? … Any standard of our own creation would necessarily be subjective and arbitrary.
Now, some atheists might respond, “That’s right! Morality is subjective. We each have the right to create our own moral code. And therefore, you cannot impose your personal morality on other people!” But of course, this statement is self-refuting, because when they say, “you cannot impose your personal morality on other people” they are imposing their personal moral code on other people. When push comes to shove, no one really believes that morality is merely a subjective, personal choice.
That’s not a great argument, but what’s interesting about it is Jason’s recognition that many atheists aren’t wicked. To the rational mind, that’s a clear contradiction of Jason’s claim about theism’s monopoly on goodness. But Jason brushes aside the contradiction by asserting that if someone behaves like a virtuous pagan, his virtue is a manifestation of his problem. Then he makes an argument that we’ve heard him make before:
Another inconsistency occurs when atheists attempt to be rational. Rationality involves the use of laws of logic. … Laws of logic stem from God’s sovereign nature; they are a reflection of the way He thinks. They are immaterial, universal, invariant, abstract entities, because God is an immaterial (Spirit), omnipresent, unchanging God who has all knowledge. Thus, all true statements will be governed by God’s thinking — they will be logical.
However, the atheist cannot account for laws of logic. He cannot make sense of them within his own worldview. How could there be immaterial, universal, invariant, abstract laws in a chance universe formed by a big bang? Why should there be an absolute standard of reasoning if everything is simply “molecules in motion”? … If atheistic materialism is true, then there could be no laws of logic, since they are immaterial. Thus, logical reasoning would be impossible!
We’ve already discussed that a few times, most recently here: Jason Lisle: The Logic of Faith, so we won’t repeat ourselves. But when confronted with a logical atheist, as with a virtuous atheist, Jason brushes aside the fact that their existence is an obvious contradiction to his position:
No one is denying that atheists are able to reason and use laws of logic. The point is that if atheism were true, the atheist would not be able to reason or use laws of logic because such things would not be meaningful. The fact that the atheist is able to reason demonstrates that he is wrong. By using that which makes no sense given his worldview, the atheist is being horribly inconsistent. He is using God’s laws of logic, while denying the biblical God that makes such laws possible.
Aaaargh!! When Jason’s “reasoning” is contradicted by undeniable facts, he claims that the contradictions are proof that he is correct!
This is getting rather long, so we’ll give you only one more excerpt, from near the end:
Atheists are strongly motivated to not believe in the biblical God — a God who is rightly angry at them for their treason against Him. But the atheist’s denial of God is an emotional reaction, not a logical one. … Atheists deny (with their lips) the biblical God, not for logical reasons, but for psychological reasons. We must also keep in mind that the unbeliever’s problem is not simply an emotional issue, but a deep spiritual problem. It is the Holy Spirit that must give him the ability to repent.
So there you are, dear reader. Did Jason persuade you? No? That’s because you have emotional and spiritual problems. Jason has none.
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