What Proof Is There For Atheism?

The common argument that atheism is simply “the lack of a belief in God,” still requires a great deal of clarification before it can be considered anything other than shifty rhetoric and polarizing disregard. Many claim to be atheist because the apparent lack of evidence corroborating the existence of an intelligent designer. However, If I were to affirm the existence of God by simply drawing attention to the inability of natural laws and behaviors to account for the origins of space, time, matter, and life, then my atheist counterpart would unquestionably be quick to point out the disparity between my observation and my conclusion.

Atheism has huge scientific implications, a natural and unguided universe is an astounding and remarkable claim that defies the most astronomical probabilities. The key to formulate a compelling case is corroborating ones own argument with as much evidence as possible, then comparing it with competing interpretations to assess the most conclusive and comprehensive argument. Yet what we typically encounter are atheist dismissing the creationist side in a attempt to establish their positions predominance by default. The irony is that this type of “weak” atheism, as it is commonly referred to, is ubiquitous even among the most militant atheist. It seems that rather than engaging in the debate most atheist have cleverly postured themselves on the outskirts of the discussion, often more content with mocking and ridiculing their opponents ideas as puerile than providing compelling arguments of their own.

Because atheism directly infers the universe and everything in it came about by purely natural processes, an educated atheist must offer compelling evidence for said universe, that is if they wish to delineate an objective and educated framework for their world-view. While we understand the kind of events that must of taken place in order for the universe to exist, the fact that we don’t know precisely how it all came about doesn’t directly imply a designer. However, at this point in time we can rest assured that atheism is far from the default position. Any argument that simply asserts the “lack of belief in God” while refusing to provide any alternative evidence for a natural and unguided universe should not be valued for anything other than ignorance. The attempt to depict a designer as inherently puerile and superfluous might be enough for that PBS special, but it’s not going to withstand its critics scrutiny.

Thoughts On Morality

The question is not whether believing in God is necessary for establishing some elementary moral foundation, it seems to be fairly obvious that an individual has the capacity for honest and forthright living apart from any credence to the transcendent. Yet for me a larger question still remains; that is, are we inherently moral beings because God made us in his image? I think often the public misconception is that Christians such as myself believe that in order to be morally inclined you need to have faith in God. While I do believe something can be said for the moral instability of an ideology that establishes it self without any recourse to a higher power, I don’t believe that religion, i.e. belief in God, is a prerequisite to being a fundamentally ‘good’ person.

Those who reject moral absolutes and adhere to moral relativism typically argue that morality is simply a measure of good posturing, that ethics can be explained by some social Darwinism, in which we cooperatively coexist for the mutual benefit of our species. This seems to be fairly plausible on some elementary levels. We often see this among’st various species in the animal kingdom, a group working together as one for the survival of all. Yet for all the observation of this peaceful Darwinian coexistence, there is the occasional barbarism. For example, in order to coerce the female to mate with them, male chimps and lions are known to kill their own infants (male chimps will even go as far as to cannibalize the baby chimps.)

In a land void of moral absolutes there is really no grounds for deterring the more dominant individuals from assuming their power over others. Just as there is no grounds to say that lions and chimps committing infanticide are wrong, from the evolutionary standpoint there is nothing inherently wicked about killing the infants. After all such minor atrocities really have nothing to do with the overall survival of the species. Thus while social Darwinism seemingly offers a congruent framework for the overall cooperation of a species, it does little to repress the internal selfish instincts that characterize our day to day lifestyle. This is merely to suggest that the atheistic paradigm is inadequate for establishing a solid moral infrastructure.

On a similar note what grounds would we have to criticize the Nazi regime for seeking to establish the dominant supremacy of a modern utopia? Hitlers implementation of eugenics was simply a matter of self consciously applying principles of Darwinian evolution. There’s nothing inherently wrong with obliterating weaker atomic particles in order to establish a seamless social structure. This is simply following suit with the struggle for supremacy and survival that follows from Darwinian logic. For it is precisely the logic of social Darwinism that brings us to such moral ambiguities. I find the reality that we are uniquely aware of such injustices seems to indicate an underlining and overriding moral consciousness.

Now I fully understand that people have rationalized evil in the name of Christianity; in a similar way many have also rationalized evil in the name of liberty. However, in no way does this diminish the integrity of either in their own respect. After all, it isn’t Christianity that should be judged off it’s followers, rather it’s followers ought to be judged off Christianity. You see, no religion or set of moral codes in of it self has the power to transform someone from the inside. In the scriptures the law was given to the Israelites as mirror in which their internal wickedness was to be accentuated, that they might realize their need for forgiveness; ultimately we are to understand the righteous requirement of the law surpasses our capacity for adhering to it. Alas, it is not a religion or a code of ethics we are in need of, but rather a savior! in this way Jesus came that we might pick up our crosses and follow after Him in faith.

We do have the capacity to be modestly “good” people apart from belief in God, just as we have the capacity to be modestly “good” people who believe in God. Either way, whether your an atheist or a law abiding theist, you can never be good enough. For the wages of sin is death, and because God is a righteous God he must punish all sin. Thus if you live by the measure of your own goodness, you will die by the measure of your own inadequacy. Only when we put our faith in God will we ever be able to fulfill the requirements of righteousness.

The late Christopher Hitchens use to pose a moral challenge to believers, he would say “name me a moral action committed by a believer that could not be made by a non-believer.” The fallacy of Mr. Hitchens argument is that it’s predicated on the assumption that Christianity is false, for in doing so he precludes the obvious answer, for clearly the saving of ones soul by the preaching of the Gospel is the greatest moral action that we can accomplish, one that can only be committed by a believer.