Filter by: Products Articles
Filter by:
Do you get our FREE Magazine?

Learning From the Atheists

April 15, 2007

I must say that I am more pleased when a man or woman boldly professes to disbelieve in God than when someone glibly claims to believe. I like talking to the atheists or agnostics. They are thinking. They have taken a position and boldly testify. They have reasons. I want to hear their reasons. When anyone claims to believe anything, he has made himself vulnerable. He has thrown his core beliefs into the public area for examination. So examine them we will.

Most people think the way to god is through religion. Not so. On the contrary, getting to god through religion is like getting to history through a hollywood production. All religions are based on a true story, with a whole lot of liberty taken with the facts and a good deal of imagination to make it interesting.

Lazy intellectuals are fond of saying that all religions and philosophies are just different roads leading to the same place. Only in fairy tales do all roads lead to the same place. Religions differ, and things different are not the same. A Texas map cannot guide you to Chicago, Illinois. If all religions lead to the same place, then sincere rejection of all religion will lead to that same place as well. . . Wherever that place is. So why bother?

As different and confusing as religions are, they all have one thing in common—their starting point—the correct assumption that all of us should be good—morally good, socially good, ethically good, good husbands, good wives, good neighbors, good in our business practices, etc.. Even nonreligious philosophers and scientific intellectuals are unintentionally in agreement with religion on this foundational principle—love and justice are good; selfishness and hate are wrong.

It is a point of truth, profound in its implications, that no society has ever debated which end of the moral spectrum is to be extolled and which is to be condemned. No people at any time in history have ever gotten it backward. It is a basic assumption of the human psyche that it is our duty to love, have mercy, be kind, honest, just, and all those human character traits that we have universally recognized as good. There is no confusion on this point. It is the starting point and deciding factor for nearly every argument on every subject, no matter one’s philosophical or religious profession. Both sides of any debate appeal to an assumed standard of ethics to validate their conclusions.
You may think that there are some evil men who have a reversed moral worldview, but it is not so. I have been to prisons to visit the inmates over 850 times. I have spoken to the worst of the lot, and I have never known one to pull out a picture of his son or daughter and brag on those qualities we all know as evil. The most defiled devil of a criminal is proud of any true virtues among his family members. As bad as they come, I have never known one to get his moral perspective backward; good is always good, and evil is always evil, even when a man’s passions provoke him to consistently choose the evil.

Atheists believe—or so they claim
Even the atheist or philosophical skeptic must resort to moral presuppositions as a starting point for his argument against the existence of God. He reasons that any god worthy of the name would have to be all good and all powerful. He reasons further that a good and powerful god would be obligated by the very nature of goodness to exercise his unlimited power to stop evil and to eliminate human suffering. Therefore, since suffering and evil do exist, and there is no indication of any god doing anything about it, there must not be a god. Given the evidence he has considered acceptable, his point seems well taken; would not a good human father do all that was within his power to relieve the suffering of his children, if he were able? How much more so should an all powerful god do likewise? In the atheist’s thinking, if there is a god responsible for all this mess, he would have to be evil; but an evil god is unthinkable. Yet, he sees no signs of a good god doing what a good god should, so he has condemned god to non-existence for not acting as he ought.

Pigs in space
It has often been noted that the atheist’s position divests man of meaning. If, indeed, there is no god, if we are a chemical accident, and our thoughts are the random formations of temporary matter, then our eventual or immediate extinction will be of no more consequence than the composting of a potato peel. If we are but organisms, we should stop imposing moral boundaries upon our actions. Our only law should be that of expediency; “Thou shalt not do anything that diminishes personal pleasure.” We should be thankful to know that when we are dead we are dead, and that’s the end of it. So having been freed from foolish faith, we can get on with being the pigs we are, no longer having to constrain our animal natures. The concept that there might be a judgment day has been limiting the full expression of our glorious lusts. The conclusion that must be drawn from the atheist’s position is that the child molester is not sick or evil; he is liberated. There is nothing wrong and nothing right—no good or evil—no better or worse, except in the sensations of the moment.

The constraints of belief
One’s core worldview will indeed influence his actions. A believer’s actions are influenced by his conviction that he will one day stand before God and be judged for every deed done and every word spoken. He is also motivated by a concern for the eternal well-being of all. Not so the atheists. Death ends the illusions of life, with vast nothingness to follow. If it is done in secret and he gets away with it, all well and good! If he really applies his atheism accurately and consistently, the only thing that would constrain his conduct would be a concern for how his present actions will affect future gratification. If he actually lived his declared worldview, his lusts would run unchecked. If he were bold, with no conscience to constrain him, he could be a monster—like some of the celebrated mass murderers, rapists, and sex addicts we read about.

But the average atheist is not a monster. He is just like the rest of us; he loves his children with the same fervency and trains them to be good. He finds pleasure in music and art, approves of the good and lovely, and condemns the hateful and vulgar. He tries to make the world a better place, and shows an average amount of compassion.
When confronted with the suggestion that his atheism makes him a bad person, he will point out that the quality of his life is not diminished by his rejection of God. To the contrary, comparing himself to some of the religious people he knows, his unbelief has liberated him from the hypocrisy and bigotry he sees in fanatics. In other words, in his estimation, his atheism has made him a better person—a more righteous person, more of what we humans ought to be according to the universal standards of goodness. Observation demonstrates that in individual cases he is correct. For obvious reasons, a non judgmental, “live and let live” philosophy doesn’t generate much offense.

Why the disconnect?
I am not suggesting that in practice the atheist is shallow and empty—quite the contrary; he is no less a caring human than the next man. The big question is why doesn’t he live his profession? Why this disconnect between his philosophy of meaninglessness and his meaningful life? How is it that, in contradiction to his beliefs, he shares a moral perspective with the most fervent religionists? He is compelled from within, by an unnamed force, to conform to a righteous standard. This underlying moral necessity cannot be explained by his philosophy. He judges God for not being good; and he judges Christians for being hypocrites; he preaches righteousness in the political arena, and supports governmental policy in conformity to his assumed code of conduct. Where did he get that set of laws by which he boldly judges God’s character and calls religious people hypocrites? He feels no need to justify his moral presuppositions. He just assumes that all moral agents should act in a certain manner if they are to be respected. He is just as quick as the religious person to express his intolerance of ideas contrary to what he thinks is right.

I accuse the atheist of being a reverse hypocrite. He espouses a doctrine of meaninglessness and then lives as if there is meaning to life. He claims there is no one to judge our actions, yet he is quick to make judgments, assign blame, and express vindictiveness for evil. Here we have an amazing thing: a man professing to believe there is no God, yet believing exactly as God does, exactly as believers in God do. He acts and believes precisely as one would if he were indeed created in God’s image. He believes there is an unchallengeable, all pervasive standard by which all free-will actions are to be judged. How can that be so, unless it is stamped on his human nature—on all human nature—by God himself?

Given the universality of this innate moral instinct, and the obvious value we place on righteousness, we cannot but conclude that this psychological phenomenon is not acquired knowledge; rather, it is an essential part of our human nature to know right from wrong and to value the good and wholesome and to condemn the evil.

Unbiased witness
Therefore, I call the atheist to take the stand as star witness on behalf of the Creator. His credibility as a witness for God is established by the fact that he has gone on record as not being in sympathy with belief in God. Yet, try as he may to divest himself of a Creator, his conscience testifies that he is indeed the creation of a personal God. By ruling out the lawgiver, he should have ruled out the law as well, but the Creator has so endued our natures with moral principles that we cannot but assume the necessity of the law, even if we deny the lawgiver. It is as though we are all recipients of a telepathic message from beyond—encounters of the first kind.

My contention is that, despite his outward profession of unbelief, the atheist is exactly as we would expect him to be if he is in fact the creation of a loving and concerned god. The moral nature he shares with every other member of the human race indicates a hardwired psyche that cannot be accounted for other than that he, too, is the product of an intelligent and concerned Creator. To deny the existence of a lawgiver is to deny your own nature—which is an impossibility, except among the mentally insane.

Universal values
Again, the issue is not the atheist; it is what he reminds us about human nature—and that, apart from religion. His condemnation of God reveals his true values. He has rightly supposed that righteousness is more than static conformity to a standard of conduct. That is, goodness is more than just avoiding doing something evil. Righteousness should be proactive. When one is aware of a need and has the power to address it, true goodness must act, even at one’s own discomfort. He faults God for his apparent aloof righteousness, i.e., his remaining uninvolved. Furthermore, the atheist faults himself for his moral failures, and he faults others when they are evil or selfish or liars or drunks, or when they are hurtful and cruel.

The atheist is right about good and evil, about our duty, our obligation to serve others—to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Jesus said this was the first and greatest commandment, that all the law was found in that one commandment, for he said, “Love never works ill to his neighbor; love is the fulfilling of the law.” The atheist and Jesus agree. The consciences of all men agree with the universal laws of righteousness, which laws are found recorded in philosophical and religious writings, and perfectly defined in the Bible.

The salient truth is not that the atheist has a good case against a god, but that he has established a good case against himself. For when he thunders down condemnation and concludes that any god at all should not exist, he has given us an example of how he expects the worthy to respond to the unworthy.
The atheist’s judgment works both ways. What he holds true of God is true for himself, as well. Once a man has called another man a liar, he will never be able to plead ignorant of the law “Do not lie”, nor will he be able to claim that it is an unjust law. The law of the conscience cuts in both directions, and so does condemnation. According to the atheist’s code of morality, if a person is not good, he doesn’t deserve to exist. Could it be that the atheist and God are in agreement here? The question is, which one has the right to exist? Which one has acted wisely and benevolently, and which has acted in self interest? The atheist is sure of his conclusions. So is God. This difference in opinion will be resolved in the first day of eternity.

Resident Judge
The principal lesson we have learned from the atheists is that we don’t need any religion to tell us right from wrong, good from evil. And regardless of all the good things we have done and the bad things we could have done, but didn’t, there have been occasions when we have failed to live up to those standards we hold to be good and true. I am not talking about failing in religion, but about failing in life, our life, the way we think it should be lived. I am not talking about someone condemning you, but about you condemning yourself.

You and I, just like the atheists, have, at some time or another, been unkind and mean-spirited. We have hurt others with our anger and selfishness, even the people we love. We have misused our bodies in food or substance abuse—that is, according to our standards. And, even when we didn’t do a foul deed, we had foul thoughts that we are glad no one knows about. We are ashamed, just as much as the atheists are. We share something with the atheists and the rest of humanity, the thing that stimulates so much religion; we know ourselves to be guilty of breaking the common rules of human nature, rightly suspecting that those rules represent God’s standards as well. The proof of that charge is that you are uncomfortable with the idea of possibly meeting a holy God and having to account for your life. In short, if there is a heaven and a hell, at the very least, you are not at all sure you will get a passing grade.

You believe, just as do all religions and most philosophies—as the atheists do—that humanity is broken and in need of fixing.

Many people readily admit to their need before God, but when confronted with the suggestion that one religion or another may be the answer, they are not comfortable making a commitment to any one religion—understandably so. So, they fall back on the only hope that is left to them, a resignation expressed in the often said words, “It really doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere and do the best you can.” That is not a thoughtful position, grounded in sound reasoning; it is the default position, provoked by confusion and uncertainty. It is a defense against further consideration, a confession of consternation. Would sincerity be enough to fix a computer, or would repairing it require precise action? Is the condition of the human soul so inconsequential that wishful thinking and good- hearted hope will cure our broken condition? Sincerity is not even enough in personal relationships and in a doctor’s diagnosis. How then will it remove guilt and cause us to do as we ought?

No doubt, like nearly everyone, you consider yourself to have been sincere all your life, but it has not proven enough to purge your conscience of your sense of moral failure or to give you the power to do what you know you ought. It is your very sincerity that causes your guilt. When you are honest with yourself—which is sincerity—you know that you have failed to be all that you could have been, all that you should be. You sincerely know that you are a sinful human being. Don’t we all?

Don’t judge me
We resent other people judging us. So we judge them for judging us, because their judgment seems unkind. Yes, we are all judges—unavoidably so. For we constantly place a moral value on everything that is said or done, whether about ourselves or about others. There is a resident divine judge in each of us, and we have made ourselves the defendant. We stand self-accused of falling short of our moral duty as human beings. There is a word for this, it is called conscience. The conscience is the mind knowing itself and placing a value, one way or the other, on personal conduct and character. Conscience is to the soul what pain sensors are to the body—a warning from within that the soul is suffering damage. A man is unaware of this function of his soul until he defiles himself with evil thoughts or deeds, and then his conscience comes roaring out with punishing accusations. If left unattended, guilt becomes a psychological complex, and the soul grows sick with anxiety.

Relief from religion
I don’t blame you for not trusting your eternal soul to any religion on the face of this earth. When you need rain from heaven, “holy water” sprinkled on you by another mortal man is an insult to your intelligence. When you need God’s forgiveness, kneeling before or confessing to another sinner is such a cheap substitute. When you need righteousness, having someone tell you that if you join their institutionalized religion, God will give you an inside pass on judgment day, that is a deal too hard to swallow.

So what is left? Do the best you can and hope for the best? Granted, that is how most people cope, like men blindfolded, negotiating a dangerous, narrow mountain trail. But I didn’t write all this just to affirm our universal hopelessness. There is something that has satisfied the longings of the human heart over the past 6000 years. It is not religious, and you don’t have to go to a church or synagogue or temple. You don’t have to be a fanatic or go to a Billy Graham crusade and walk down the aisle. I have nothing for you to join, but I do know of a cure for all that ails your soul and body. It’s free. It’s sensible, and it works. Read on and laugh with delight. I have been enjoying the trip for fifty years.

The Book
We have in our possession an ancient book called “The Holy Bible.” There is a preponderance of evidence that the Bible is the words of God to man. It contains the information you need to make sense of the world, of yourself, and to know God. For that reason, I know that my first responsibility is to prove to you that the Bible is of divine origin and worthy of your confidence. I do not recommend blind faith. If I cannot convince your intellect that the Bible is God’s word, then I have no grounds for telling you anything with any certainty. In the space allotted, I cannot be as thorough as I would like to be, but I can give you an exciting window that may stimulate you to further study.
Ancient Israel believed that the Hebrew books they received from their prophets were nothing less than the words of God, as the prophets claimed. As the books are printed today, they are 39 in number. Jews call them the Tenach, and Christians call them The Old Testament. They were written approximately between 1500 B.C. and 400 B.C.
In the mid-first century, the disciples of Jesus Christ wrote an additional 27 books in Greek and Aramaic, which they declared were nothing less than the inspired words of God. As a collection, they are called The New Testament. The key historical books of this collection were all written before A.D. 67. This Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic collection (Old and New Testament together) of 66 books, called The Holy Bible, was penned over a period of at least 1600 years by forty different human authors, on three different continents, and maintains a beautiful continuity as if it were written by one brilliant author. The old King James Bible is the only English version that is entirely faithful to the original autographs.

Who wrote it?
Many people have brushed the Bible aside with the remark that the Bible is just a book written by men, full of contradictions and errors. Without any evidence to that effect, they boldly assert that the stories were passed down from mouth to mouth until they were finally written down, and, since being written, have been altered from time to time.
There has been a great deal of paper used up trying to prove that the Bible was written much later than it alleges. Many hours of TV have been devoted to “specials” on the Bible, suggesting that the Bible is of much later origin than it claims for itself. A lot of money has been spent to discredit its historical dating. Why? Because the Bible records many detailed and perfectly accurate prophecies which testify that their authorship must surely be divine.

There are hundreds of prophecies, including the rise and fall of kingdoms, with facts and particulars that read like history written after the fact. Daniel 11, written in the 6th century B.C., gives an amazingly thorough account of Alexander’s Grecian kingdom, divided first into four and then two competing factions after his death. It predicts details of the struggle between the Ptolemy and Seleucid empires for a period of 160 years, right down to the advent of the Roman Empire. That is why the skeptics used to claim that the book of Daniel could not have been written before 164 B.C., but now we have proof of a much earlier writing yet.

The prophet Isaiah (44:28) gave the name of a king not yet born and of a kingdom not yet instituted and of an event that would not take place for another 150 years. He predicted that a king named Cyrus would commission the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Cyrus did come to the throne in Persia, and in the first year of his reign in 538, he issued a decree that the temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt. (See: 2 Chronicles 36:22—Ezra 1:1-3. This prophecy described in the Bible is confirmed by the discovery of a Babylonian inscription.)

And Cyrus’ timing was impeccable, for Jeremiah (29:10) had predicted that Israel would be carried into captivity by Babylon and would remain there for 70 years (2 Chronicles 36:21; Daniel 9:2, 25), after which they would return, bringing the temple vessels back with them. So while Israel was in captivity, Persia conquered Babylon, and, amazingly, the first year of Cyrus was the 70th year of Israel’s captivity. King Cyrus released them to go back and commissioned the rebuilding of the temple; he also sent back the articles of the temple, exactly on the date that had been predicted by several prophets more than 150 years earlier.

And this is just the surface. The prophecies are even more complex and detailed, Daniel actually gave the time when Christ would come into the world and die. Daniel (9:24) predicted that Messiah would be cut off (die) 483 Hebrew years after the issuing of the Persian decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Artaxerxes Longimanus issued that decree on March 5, 444 b.c. (Neh. 2:1-8), granting the Jews permission to rebuild Jerusalem’s city walls. This, too, is confirmed by archeological discoveries. Four hundred eighty-three prophetic years (360 days to a year) and seven days later, Jesus was crucified as predicted. How could a prophet accurately predict the date of Messiah’s death hundreds of years before it took place, unless he was the “voice” of God as he claimed?

So, the prophets predicted the very dates that their conquering kings would decree both the restoration of the temple and the rebuilding of the city walls. And the prophets linked the time when the Messiah would die to those very decrees. Only an all powerful God could communicate those dates to the prophets and then constrain the heathen kings to act on the very days the prophets had predicted hundreds of years earlier.

These are just the highlights of one cluster of prophecies. There are literally hundreds of details given concerning the nations, even down to our present day. I don’t know of anyone who has ever pursued an intimate study of the Bible’s prophecies who did not become a believer. The facts are irrefutable. The only way for skeptics to denigrate these prophecies is to declare that the Bible must have been written after the supposed fulfillments. That is why organizations like National Geographic attempt to cloak their unbelief in scholarly terms, presenting a case that the prophecies cannot be older than the fulfillment, because, they reason, no one can tell the future as the Bible appears to do.

Old things
Formerly, the Bible believer’s position was weakened in the eyes of the skeptic by the fact that up until the middle of the twentieth century, the oldest Hebrew Scripture known to be in existence was dated in the ninth century A.D., 900 years after Christ, 1300 years after the last book in the Old Testament was written. That is a big gap. A lot can happen in 1300 years. Prophecy is not prophecy unless it is recorded prior to the fulfillment. The Bible made a claim, and there was plenty of support for its antiquity for those who investigated, but the skeptic demanded hard evidence.

That evidence was obtained in 1947 when a Bedouin shepherd boy, wandering in the remote deserts of southern Israel, threw a stone high into a small opening in the rock face above him. He heard a clang, like the sound of breaking pottery. Knowing the value of old things, he climbed up to investigate. What he found in that cave, and what archeologists found in ten other nearby caves during the next 18 years, would shock the world—hundreds of large jars containing an entire library of over 600 ancient books, many of them dating back to the 3rd century B.C., and none later than A.D. 70, when the community that owned them was wiped out by the Romans. Knowing their impending doom, the Qumran community hid their precious library of books, including many copies of the entire Old Testament, in nearby caves. Most books of the Old Testament were represented by ten to fifteen or, in some cases, as many as thirty or more copies each.

The ancient book of Isaiah, completely intact, was found etched into a copper scroll. It is now on display in Jerusalem. It proved to be the same text that we have today. If it were not the Word of God, it would be amazing beyond belief that after 1300 years and many successive copies the text should remain the same. This has held to be true for all the Biblical texts.

The book of Isaiah is especially significant because it contains such detailed prophecies of Israel and the nations around them, and, specifically, prophecies of Jesus Christ, prophecies that were fulfilled during his life on earth. Prior to 1947, skeptics, aware of these prophecies, declared that the book of Isaiah could not be older than the first century, refusing to accept that it has foretold so many future events.

No ancient book has ever had as much manuscript support as does the Bible. The Bible is represented by over 5,250 ancient, original language manuscript portions. Some contain nearly the entire Bible; some contain individual books, and some are as small as single phrases that have been found buried in ancient ruins, enabling archeologists to date the text to no later than the destruction of the ruins in which it was buried. One fragment of Matthew has been recovered that is dated in the mid first century.

In addition to Greek manuscripts, the antiquity of the New Testament is supported by several very early translations into other languages. Syriac, Latin, and Coptic versions were made in the middle of the second century. Those translations are represented in copies that are available to us today. Several ancient Syriac versions exist, among them Tatian’s Diatessaron (a.d. 170), and the Old Syriac (a.d. 200). For the Bible to be translated into other languages just 50 years after the last book was written, and for those versions to verify the text as we have it today is as scientific as you can get in upholding the antiquity and accuracy of the Bible’s text.

Christians and Jews have rejoiced in this treasure of ancient manuscripts found in the Qumran caves in southern Israel in 1947. Hundreds of books and scrolls had been lying there for 1900 years, waiting to confirm our faith. The antiquity and authenticity of the Bible is settled once and for all. Here is indisputable physical evidence that the Bible’s prophecies were recorded hundreds of years before their fulfillment. No one but God could do such a thing.

Culture of Skepticism
You may wonder, “If the Bible is so well supported by facts of science, why do organizations like National Geographic sponsor TV programs that throw doubt on the integrity of the Biblical text? And, why do so many academics reject it if the proof is so substantial?”

In the nineteenth century, when hard evidence was not as apparent as it is today, a culture of arrogant skepticism got such a strong foothold in academic circles that, for many, their conclusions came to be accepted as objective science. So, today, when there is finally scientific proof of the authenticity of the Holy Scriptures, the earlier established views of the skeptics still reign in the literature and thinking of the intellectual. Few dare challenge the prevailing unbelief for fear of being ridiculed.
It started with the Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries—a most needed reform. But as a by-product, in the 19th century, atheists like Voltaire and agnostics like Ingersoll became famous with their aggressive challenges to belief in God. Some atheists held large open meetings where they zealously preached unbelief. Many were good debaters and highly entertaining, drawing large crowds in city auditoriums. They ridiculed feeble arguments for faith and promoted skepticism. There were times in their arrogance when atheists even gave evangelistic style invitations for people to come down the aisle and renounce their faith in God—with some even responding. It was a heady time of casting off traditional faith.

And in addition, in the late 19th century, Darwinian evolution began to sweep away already shaken faith in the Bible. There was a feeling in the air that almighty science was the answer to all things and that religion was an unfounded superstition.

Added to the hard sciences, in the name of science came psychology, offering a plausible alternative to the Biblical view of sin and guilt. Modern medicine could heal the body; psychology could heal the soul, and science could explain our origin and save the world. Who needed feeble faith? “It’s just a crutch,” they declared.

Religion in academia was embarrassed. Even many Christian colleges were drawn away by evolution and were overcome with a lack of certainty concerning the historical authenticity of the Bible. They tried to salvage their faith by constructing something called Theistic Evolution. With these relentless attacks, faith slinked away, mumbling that it was right anyhow, but not able to bolster the proof necessary to mount an effective challenge in the public arena. With the other side of the debate in retreat, by the early 20th century, academia rested its case. Religion was defeated and no longer any fun.

The fruit of the new worldview began to manifest itself in the roaring twenties with promiscuousness; then came drugs, beatniks, hippies, existentialism, rock music, abortion, Vietnam, children on Ritalin, mothers on Prozac, fathers on pornography, homosexuality, pedophilia, rebellious youth without any values to guide them, a soaring divorce rate, a multitude of conflicting English translations of the Bible, and the growth of large churches that are embarrassed to hold up a Bible–any bible–and say, “This is the perfect, infallible word of God, without error of any kind; I believe every word in it.”

Still digging
Let’s go back to the late 1800s. While skepticism was celebrating its triumph over the very concept of truth, the archeologists were still digging. Bit by bit, they found ancient Hebrew inscriptions on clay and pieces of papyrus, validating the Bible as authentic history. In time archeology would prove that the Bible was accurate in all historical names and dates. But the evidence came slowly, and the divide that existed between the believing community and skeptical academia allowed the skeptic to rest unchallenged in his infidelity. And then in 1947, with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the preponderance of evidence already available advanced to irrefutable scientific proof; the prophecies of the Bible were indeed written before the events they foretold. But the facts did not change the conclusions of the then-silent debate.

As evidence for the authority of the Bible was accumulating, many scientists who were not satisfied with the evidence for evolution continued to test the generally accepted theory. Many new things came to light, especially with the advent of genetic studies. By the late 20th century, the different fields of science had debunked spontaneous organic evolution as a possibility, and with increasing knowledge of genetics, it became clear that organic evolution was a total impossibility.
In time, every single Darwinian argument for evolution would be tossed aside by the very proponents of evolution. New arguments would be created to bolster the ill-supported theory, and one by one they, too, would succumb to developing knowledge.

Nobel Prize winner George Wald made the following admission:
“There are only two possible explanations as to how life arose. Spontaneous generation arising to evolution or, a supernatural God…. There is no other possibility. Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others, but that just leaves us with only one other possibility . . . that life came as a supernatural act of creation by God, but I can’t accept that philosophy because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation leading to evolution.”

George Wald, the evolutionist, finally evolved into a corpse in 1997, still a man of faith, believing the impossible, because he was prejudiced against God. And it had nothing to do with evidence; it was a choice based on personal preference—blind and stupid faith.

Now that the evidence has turned around, the evolutionists are afraid to debate the creation scientists, for now they are the ones who are embarrassed at their lack of evidence, and so they, like George Wald, must proceed on blind faith. They are absolutely terrified to have scientific creationism taught alongside of their debunked evolutionary theories, for even a fifth grader with rudimentary knowledge of genetics could see through their foolishness. Today there are thousands of scientists who can demonstrate with science that creation is the only possibility for the existence of matter and life.

But with all the advancements in true sciences, a funny thing happened. Those atheists and agnostics who were so publicly bold and ready to enter into debate, suddenly slinked into the woodwork behind their old books containing outdated evidence. They won’t come back to the arena of debate and reopen the case. They made their point when there was less evidence on the side of Bible believers, and now that there is a culture of unbelief, they are quite content to leave well enough alone. Skepticism controls the schools, the media, entertainment, and the pop culture, so they have nothing to gain by reviewing the evidence.

As it stands, an innocent man has been convicted (the Bible) by a highly prejudiced jury on circumstantial evidence, and now that we have “DNA” proof that ‘he’ is innocent, many intellectuals will not reopen the case for fear it will expose their shoddy evidence and false conviction. They would rather stand on arrogant ground and scoff at the Bible believer as “unscientific” than to enter into intelligent debate where the only issue is hard evidence. I appeal to you to search out the facts and judge for yourself—that is, if you have the courage to believe in a round earth when the “scientific” view is that it is flat. It is not the Bible against science. That is the way the skeptic spins the debate. It is true science and the Bible against the skeptic’s blind faith.

Don’t be prejudiced
Don’t prejudge the Bible. It is the most misrepresented book ever. It is maliciously misrepresented by its enemies and affectionately misrepresented by its friends. Of the two, the most damaging to its public image is that of its friends. Ministers and churches have tarnished the Bible’s image by representing it as the source of their religious gimmickry. The only way you can know what it says is by reading it yourself—from cover to cover in the old King James Version.

The message
The message of God is wonderful beyond comprehension, contained in a book that is a mingling of history and prophecy—about two thirds history and one third prophecy. Archeology has proven the history to be correct and time has proven the prophecies to be true.

The Bible tells us that God created all things for his own pleasure—as does any artist. He created many things that live entirely according to their natures. We call it instinct. A chicken is predictable, always doing what chickens have always done for six thousand years.

They say a dog is a man’s best friend. God could have limited his creation to animals that love anyone who feeds and pets them, but he was not satisfied with instinctive love. He wanted creatures of the same kind as he, someone with whom he could hold conversation—someone with whom he could sing. He wanted associates who had the capacity to invent and play musical instruments. He wanted to love and be loved. He desired friends and family. So he created creatures in his own image. Nothing God created is all powerful and all knowing, but like him, humans were created eternal, with a mind, a will, and with emotions, just like his.

The Bible tells us that the first man Adam was created “in God’s image”. The remarkable thing about the creatures in God’s image is that they are independent of any programming. They are not limited to living by instinct. They can, in a sense, create themselves. They can think freely, separate from any predisposition of their creator. When God was creating a creature who could freely choose to love, he of necessity was creating a creature who could choose to withhold that love or direct it elsewhere.

Humanity—personhood—is a chancy thing. Those of you who have had children know that, just because they are the creation of your body, and you love them very much, and you desire only what is best for them, they have the power to choose to ignore your wishes or to reject you altogether. Their souls are free of your control. Persuasion is your only tool. That is the nature of this thing we call life and love. It is the nature of humanity. If you are not satisfied with that, get a potted plant or a cat.

“Why does God allow all the pain and suffering? Why not create a world where all is good and right, where no one ever dies, gets sick, or is sad?”

He did. God did indeed create a utopia where there was no sickness or death. Read about it in the first three chapters of Genesis. But the very first man, Adam, out of a desire to be independent, divorced his Creator and took all his posterity with him into a life of lonely estrangement. And, just as though they agree with that original decision, few people are actively seeking to be reconciled to their Creator. Blaming the Creator for our present condition is not unlike a man jumping off of a pleasure cruise ship into the middle of shark infested waters and then blaming the captain for a lousy trip.

“But, why not create a world where that couldn’t happen—where all is love and peace all the time, with no possibility of us messing it up?”

What kind of circumstances would it take to guarantee that no one would ever make a wrong choice? If all our thoughts were preprogrammed, there would be no thoughts except those of the programmer. If all choices were predetermined, there would be, in reality, no choice. Only in the absence of free will, which is equivalent to the absence of our humanity, would it be certain that no one would choose wrongly.

“But God can do anything!”

Can he? Can he make a mind that thinks but doesn’t think at the same time—that chooses but is not able to make a wrong choice? If God would make free will (which is the essence of individual personality), he cannot make the will free and not free at the same time. A will that is indeed a will, is able to violate the will of its designer. The power to creatively think is the power to creatively choose, which means a person has the power to love or, on the opposite side of choice, the power to hate. It is inconceivable to imagine a human mind existing in a free and joyous state not having the ability to think independently.

“But if God knows all, as he must, then he would have known the tragic outcome of his creation.”

Granted, God certainly foresaw the painful results and therefore could have chosen not to create personalities with their inherent ability to make tragic choices. But for reasons that are obvious to all of us who love life, God did choose to inaugurate this tenuous thing called life. And, having decided to make people in His own image, he could not do other than make autonomous individuals like Himself.

To create a thing that can only do what it is programmed to do is not to create a person at all; it is to create a machine. Can a machine love you? Can there be any satisfaction from the loyalty rendered by a program? No one ever thanked an ice maker for giving them ice, but if your daughter brings a glass of ice water to you when you are working in the heat, there is love, thanksgiving—there is a life. There is meaning. No machine has ever been called a hero or had a medal pinned on it for bravery. That a person could love without choosing to do so is an oxymoron.

When God created a stairway up, he was creating a stairway down. There could be no giving without the power to retain, no in without an out, no day without night, no right without wrong, no beauty without ugly, no pleasure without pain, no giving without taking, no caring without indifference, no saints without sinners, and no heaven without a hell. Righteousness would not be possible in a world where sin was not possible. Music is made with different sounds, not one fixed and constant hum.

Yes, God could have created a world where sin was impossible, but it would have also been a world without expression of any kind, a world without success or glory or satisfaction.

When a free will creature suffers the consequences of his free and unhindered choices, and then turns to blame the one who created him with that free will, he is arguing for his own nonexistence. Life is certainly precious and valuable in and of itself, but everyone has the power to end it at any time, though few do. The road to recovery is to stop blaming the Creator for giving us the power to choose, to take responsibility for the choices we make, and to discover God’s road to reconciliation. That is why this treatise was written.

In the popular children’s story, Pinocchio, the lonely old puppet maker Geppetto wanted a little boy. So he made a life-like puppet of wood and then, skillfully handling the strings, he danced with his creation. But, alas, his heart was not satisfied with the feigned fellowship he had manufactured, for he longed for a real boy who could reciprocate his love, one who could choose to dance and choose to please. When the magical fairy came along and imparted free will to the wooden boy, the little fellow did indeed choose to dance to the delight of his father. But in time, he also chose to disobey. He rebelled, indulged his appetite wantonly, and then ran away to live a life of self-gratification. The sinful life twisted the boy into manifesting attributes of a jackass, and eventually took him to the bottom of the ocean where he would die for his sins in the belly of a whale. His father loved him still, pursued him, delivered him, and persuaded him to have a change of heart, ultimately saving him from his self-made destruction.

Someone may have asked why the puppet maker would create a puppet that could descend to such low depths, resulting in pain and suffering for everyone. “Why not create a puppet that could do no evil?” The puppet maker had fifty such puppets hanging on pegs in his shop, their strings and limbs lying limp, waiting on the master to pull them in whatever direction he pleased, but they gave him no pleasure, and they experienced none.

The creator had made his choice to cut the strings to his creation, and now Pinocchio was running around on his own, freely choosing his path to glory or shame. The only control Pinocchio’s creator had was that of influence. All that was left to him was to encourage his son to make wise choices, and allow those choices to run their course. We humans are living with the hurtful consequences of our choices and blaming our Creator for allowing us to choose.

Would Pinocchio blame his creator when his sin caused his tail and ears to grow like those of a jackass? Would he say, “Why did you make me thus?” To ask that question is really stating an excuse—passing the blame. It is the opposite of coming to the Creator for a cure. Ask the suffering heart of the old father if it was worth the “risk,” worth the suffering to have created a real person. Is not life its own reward, all things considered? In spite of the complaints, almost all living persons cherish and choose life.

Yes, God could have played it safe and kept everything in his creation on strings that he could pull like a puppet master for his own entertainment and then lay them aside when bored. The villain and the hero alike would fall onto the stage floor and lie side by side with no knowledge of their existence and no responsibility for the roles they had played. They would have no guilt for anything the puppet master made them do, nor would they know any glory.

God could have made the world totally flat so no one could fall from a mountain cliff, and no one could stumble into a hole, but he made many mountains, some dangerous and nearly impossible to climb. Most people will never climb them. Many say they can’t; but oh, what glory for the few who do reach the pinnacle!
In a flat world, there would be no rivers, lakes, or oceans. No one would ever drown, but neither would they build sail boats and conquer the raging seas.

Human condition
Like Pinocchio, you are disappointed with choices you have made. As you suspect, your Creator is disappointed with you as well—disappointed with all of us, with what we have done with the divine gift of free will. We have rejected the care of our Creator and used our powers to give ourselves over to selfish pleasures. We turned free will into willfulness, free love into free lust, free choice into evil choices. We have chosen to act irresponsibly, and have thus placed ourselves at odds with the Creator and his creation. We have become termites on a wooden ship, viruses in an otherwise healthy body, rats in the pantry. We are a problem that needs fixing. All our human efforts and the best intentions of all religions have failed to bring peace and redemption. Thankfully, our Creator is also our fixer, but he can only do so if we are willing to cooperate. If you stand off in defiance and demand that God fix everything so as to enhance your on-going pleasure, you will perish by your own hand; but if you cooperate, he will cleanse and heal your soul, elevating it into the highest possible experiences of life.

“Why must the Creator get bent out of shape over our so-called evil choices? Why not just leave us alone to indulge and get along as best we can? If God just allowed us to continue in our pleasures, there would be no problem. We could live and lust forever, a paradise of doing what feels good, with no consequences.”

That question is based on the false premise that the painful consequences of sin are direct acts of God. To the contrary; if God took a one-million year vacation into another dimension, leaving us to our own devices, sin would still end in suffering and death, for it is contrary to the very nature of soul and body. Sin is its own evil reward. Hate erodes the capacity to love. Lust replaces wholesome passion. Greed takes the pleasure out of possessions. Anger steals peace. The quality of our life is diminished in direct proportion to the degree of our selfishness. God is life, love, creativity, wisdom, beauty, and all things truly good. When we choose to live independent of him, we choose to separate ourselves from the source of life itself. We are like a cell phone that decides not to go back to the charger, to go it alone. In time, the God-given life drains out of us, and all that is left is a reminder of what was, and what could have been.

The Bible says it many ways. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). It is not as though God is offended and so angry that he is going to kill us for not obeying. Life is not an independent power within itself. All life comes from and is sustained by a single life force. Life is not just molecules relating to one another. God himself is life. Speaking of Jesus, the Bible says, “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself (John 5:26). “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). “I am… the life” (John 14:6).

We humans on this planet have something in common with the astronauts in the international space station now orbiting the earth. As they are absolutely dependent upon resupply from the earth, we are dependent upon resupply of life from God. If the astronauts were to rebel, or just become indifferent, breaking off communication, and saying to earth, “If you don’t bother us, we won’t bother you.” NASA would not have to shoot a rocket at the space station to kill them; they would die in good time from lack of resupply. They were put there with the intention that they should be resupplied, just as we were put on earth with God intending to resupply us with life and continued good health.

Death wouldn’t come suddenly to the astronauts. It would come slowly, as their systems began to break down and their food and oxygen dwindled. Likewise, the human race is slowly dying. The planet is dying. Nature is breaking down. The body is degrading into ugly old age and crippling diseases. We were not meant to live independent of our Creator. We as a planet have been trying it, hoping science would discover the source of life, but the source of life is not a self-contained force residing somewhere in chemicals and genetics. It is found only in Him who alone is life.

“Why does God allow all the human suffering?” Now you know. We haven’t allowed him to do otherwise.

It is not as though he didn’t get it right the first time; he was working out a grand design that, after a period of conflict, will produce great glory. God’s magnificent drama includes tragedy before the triumph, the struggle of hate and love, the conflict of good and evil, bravery and cowardliness, passion and sacrifice, shame and glory. The Bible describes the human condition in a most interesting manner: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). God designed us for glory. What a wonderful thing!

So, what does God expect from me?
God expects just what you expect from a relationship that is important to you. Honesty, faithfulness, loyalty, respect, good will, trust, patience, the benefit of the doubt, etc. All of us, as we grow up, develop self will, a spirit of defiance and mistrust. We become skeptics and defiant of authority. We grow lustful and greedy, sometimes hateful and mean inside. It could be summed up by saying that we have become self-centered. We don’t like those traits in our children or our spouses. God doesn’t like them in us. We wake up one day, hopefully, to realize that we are estranged from God—divorced from life!

And, what does God want of us when we come to this realization? He wants reconciliation. But, like us, God will not accept reconciliation in name only. He expects a real change of heart. Would we respect him otherwise? This change of heart and mind the Bible calls “repentance.” God cannot repent for us. We are responsible to make that decision. It doesn’t require us to do anything—like get our life straightened out. It is a requirement of the mind and heart. If we want to know God with all our heart, and we readily take the blame for our condition, and we believe the answer is in God (which is what the Bible calls “repentance toward God”), then God is ready to receive us as we are.

Jesus Christ
God’s cure for humanity is Jesus Christ. Eternal God placed his divine seed in the womb of a virgin Jewish girl, impregnating her with the eternal Son of God. God became a man with flesh and blood and a human soul for a threefold purpose. The first was that, as a member of the human race, he should succeed in the game of life where Adam and all others had failed. God wanted a successful and overcoming man, a prototype, a forerunner. This new, human Adam needed to overcome all temptations, to overcome the weak body of flesh, and to overcome Satan. He needed a man to wrestle with every human foe and triumph altogether.
In order for Holy God to deal with the sinful human race as his client, he needed an inside man with legitimate human credentials who qualified to fellowship with his Creator. This man should be worthy to sit with God on his throne.  As the overcoming man, he would qualify to assume authority over the planet that was originally given to Adam. Jesus became that representative man, the answer to God’s desire for human fellowship—the first human son among many.

He died for me
The second reason Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and became a human of flesh and blood is that he might become an acceptable sacrifice for the payment of sin. Sin is not just a personal affront to God; it has judicial consequences as well. God’s vast kingdom is much bigger than just the human race. He is the governor of the universe. He cannot govern capriciously and still maintain the respect of his subjects. For the sake of all intelligent creatures, God’s government must be ordered according to the standard rule of law—the rule that we all share, that same universal standard assumed by the atheists when they faulted God.

We are all aware that ongoing evil must be stopped at any means. We as humans are prepared to forgive, as is God, but only if the evil one comes to repentance and reverses his course of action. We do not forgive the child molester whose sin is ongoing. We condemn him to prison. We do not forgive the serial killer who still stalks his innocent victims. We wish death upon him, as we should. A study of the human psyche reveals to us that there is a universal law to which we all adhere: “The wages of sin is death; the soul that sins should die.” It is God’s duty to oversee the demise of sinners, to see that all rebels get the death penalty.

But, even God himself cannot forgive the repentant sinner until his sins have been paid for. Jesus came to pay for and die for the sins of the whole world. It took the violent shedding of sinless human blood to pay for sins. Only Jesus, the perfect man, the everlasting man, the God/man, was qualified to die on behalf of all sinners of all times. God laid all sins on Jesus when he died. He paid to heaven’s court all the debt that sin incurred. Jesus took your place on the cross so you can be seated with him in his place in heavens. “God made him to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He wore your sin to the place of death so you can wear his crown to the place of life. He became what you are now—a child of Adam—in the likeness of sinful flesh, so you can become what he is—a sinless child of God. He died as if he were the sinner. You live as if you were the saint.

Down with death
The third reason Jesus Christ lived 33 years as a human being and then died as if he were a common sinner was that he might conquer death. Death has reigned over this planet ever since Adam refused to obey his Creator. Death is an awful and cruel enemy. Jesus submitted to the clutches of death and descended into the dark place of the damned so he could complete the human experience and suffer the entire consequences of sin. But when death had done all it could to this “son of Adam/Son of God,” the Heavenly Father raised that overcoming man from the dead. Death was defeated. Hell’s fury was stayed. He arose from the dead and returned to the earth where he had lived his perfect life. After spending 40 days with his friends and disciples, he, the perfect man, the forerunner, the archetypical man, ascended into heaven in his resurrected human body and sat down on the right hand of God the Father. Earth now has one of its own strategically placed in heaven’s embassy. He represents his clients in heaven’s court. He is the inside man bringing outside sinners into God’s presence.

Walking in the light
The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23). If you desire to know God, and you believe that Jesus is the God/Man come in the flesh, that he died and rose again, you are invited to believe on Jesus Christ and receive God’s gift of eternal life. It is free only because the great price has already been paid by Jesus. If, as you read this message, you have believed this good news, and you find great hope and satisfaction in it, you may have already received the gift of eternal life. If not, if your soul is troubled and you would love to know God and receive the forgiveness of your sins, then right now find some place to talk to God. Tell him that you believe and that you desire to be his child, forgiven of all your sins. He will do a miracle in your life. You can now walk in the light as he is in the light every day, enjoying the presence of God.

If you have come to know Christ through this message, write me and tell me about it, and I will send you some Bible teaching CDs absolutely free of charge, and if you tell me that you do not have a King James Bible, I will send you one—also free.

Leave a Reply

6 comments on “Learning From the Atheists”

  1. Thank you for giving me hope again. I come from a family of four children of which my brother has left the faith. This has crippled my growth in the Lord. I am tired of being a stagnant Christian! I am so excited to show him this article. I hope that it will help him. If not I will no longer allow his decisions to cripple my growth in Christ. God bless you and your ministry! Thank you for continuing to stand through trial and adversity. Please do not post my comments. I would greatly apreciate that. I just wanted to let you guys know that this article was greatly appreciated by me! 🙂

  2. I would love this as a tract. It would probably be the longest tract ever 🙂 but it was the best read on atheists in my life. I am not nearly as smart as Mr. Pearl... I am very thankful to God for men like him who really take the time and years to study and think about these questions, because trust me everyone has them. I will send this to a few atheists I know for sure.

  3. Thank you. You have given me hope. Very clearly written especially the robot vs free will part where the choice is still up to me. Love cannot be coerced or programmed. Religion does not satisfy me - why should my hell-scared religion satisfy God?