In the “Atheist’s Guide to Reality” the author Alex Rosenberg (Duke University, NC), philosopher, biologist and professing atheist seeks to enlighten us and in doing so I believe empowers our Christian presuppositional apologetic. I’ve picked out some of his Q & A’s they go like this:
1. Is there a God? No.
He knows otherwise. He knows God is, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20). He uses his God-given gifts to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). He could not do his philosophy or biology without God’s revelation. “Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3). “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge“ (Proverbs 1:7). Alex works of the back of God-given knowledge while at the same time denying the one who so enables him to do what he does.
2. What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is.
Could he be wrong about that, about everything he knows? All there is, is a material universe, no more. But how can he study matter if he himself is just a piece broken of of that matter? According to his worldview humans are just accidental, purposeless pieces of chemical fizz, or stardust if you like. Also according to his worldview we live in a changing, random universe. If that is so how can do science at all. The sun came up this morning, but will it come up tomorrow morning? Alex has no intelligible basis for supposing that in a changing universe. I do though, because there are laws of nature in place. God hard-wired uniformity in nature into us because he knew we would need it, to study, to do logic, to do science, biology, philosophy etc. Those laws don’t come from matter, but from an intelligent mind. God’s mind.
3. What is the purpose of the universe? There is none.
According to his reasoning, but he gives us no basis for this thinking, it’s arbitrary, just his opinion, prejudicial conjecture, un-argued philosophical bias. In his false reckoning man is the source of all knowledge, the measure of all things. Knowledge is gained through man’s senses, memory, and reasoning. But are Rosenberg’s senses, reasoning infallible, could he be wrong about anything, maybe all that he espouses. To know that the universe has no purpose you would have to have a definite, absolute, even infallible source of knowledge. If Christianity were not true, you could not prove anything. I have that absolute knowledge, God’s written revelation. And God says the universe he created does have a purpose.
4. What is the meaning of life? Ditto.
There is no meaning to anything, the universe, the world, human thought or life, according to Alex. All is without purpose. I ask myself why this man bothers to get out of bed each morning. Why does he bother studying philosophy, biology? Why does he have all these God thoughts. I mean I don’t believe in Santa Clause (ssh! don’t tell the grandkids), but I don’t have thoughts about him (only at a certain season, ’cause he’s in my face). I don’t write books about his non-existence. I don’t get blazing angry with the kids because they believe in him, as a lot of atheists do with me because I believe in God. No, truth is there is none so inconsistent as an atheist, they can’t stop thinking, talking, writing about the God they DO know exists, but in self-deception deny his existence. But life does have meaning for Alex, he studies, he thinks, he works, he has ethical standards no doubt, family values, why? Because his life and that of others around him has meaning and purpose too.
5. Why am I here? Just dumb luck.
That’s the lot of his worldview, everything is blind chance. Alas, there is no refuge in this ignorance. The seed of religion is planted in all men. Before a child knows anything at all, it knows God, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9). A person’s conscience testifies to the reality of God, and is a moral response to God. Man has an implanted understanding, perception of God (Romans 1:20), and he knows that he is accountable to God. He has a primary purpose, to know God, in a loving relationship, to enjoy and to glorify God. Man has eternity in his soul, he came from God and to God he will return one day. Whatever a man is or isn’t, even child in the womb, there are no accidents, no dumb luck or any other kind of luck. There is God’s sovereign, wise providential governance of all of history and mankind. Yet again Alex Rosenberg demonstrates a behavioural inconsistency, and again leaves us with just his arbitrary opinions, un-argued philosophical biases.
6. Is there a free will? Not a chance.
Does not Alex make free moral choices each day of his earthly existence? Of course he does. Of course he has a free will, as we all do. God has not made us stocks and blocks, robot machines. He made us in his own image, he made us morally responsible creatures, with the ability to reason, with consciences to respond to God’s law, “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness” (Romans 2:15). However, our freedom of will is governed by our character, or our nature if you like. A man in his natural-born state is born in sin, with a hatred for God and his law, and yes he is free to do as he wills, or likes if you prefer. What does he will, like to do? Hate God, hate his law, hate his neighbour, that’s all the freedom he has. Until, that is, by God’s grace he is born again, then his will is unchained, set free to love that which he once hated and hate that which he once loved, i.e., his sin. One is either a natural-born God hater or a supernatural-reborn God lover. However, God will one day bring him to judgment for freely choosing to reject his grace, to continue hating him, his law, and his neighbour.
7. What’s the difference between right and wrong, good and bad? There is no moral difference between them.
Again we have the same old inconsistency. Does Alex actually live this way? I doubt it, else he would be in prison somewhere. Every policeman, court, judge and prison testifies to the reality of God. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), berated his fellow atheists in England, because they were clinging to their morality. That’s from Christianity he said, get rid of it, you can’t be an atheist an cling to your morality. Alex appears to be saying the same thing. But Nietzsche didn’t nor does Rosenberg live consistently with what either of them claim to believe. Why? Because deep down, they don’t really believe it to be true.
8. Why should I be moral? Because it makes you feel better than being immoral.
According to Rosenberg’s worldview he would have no problem if someone raped and murdered his wife (assuming he has one)? I mean according to the worldview of the evolutionist what basis does he have for morality, none at all? If one man murders another, isn’t that just the survival of the fittest? Isn’t this what they say they believe? But again, they don’t follow through, they live by some measure of ethical standard. But where do they get any standard of morality from? According to Alex all we are is just clumps of matter, that don’t matter. There is no God, what happens is just what happens. So they have no intelligible basis for any morality at all. But every society on the planet is a testimony against their worldview, because to some extent they all have governments, judges, courts, policemen, and we have fathers who uphold values of some kind in their households.
9. Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don’t like forbidden, permissible, or sometimes obligatory? Anything goes.
Yes Alex, sure it does. Then go for it. But of course the more this tripe is promulgated and to some extent taken on board by people, the more and more this lawlessness will abound in our societies. These are in fact the hallmarks of the last days the Bible tells us, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2Timothy 3:1-5). I look forward to seeing the IRS knock on Alex’s door looking for the taxes he doesn’t pay. No, the world we live in is pretty much messed up with sin as it is, the atheist’s worldview is a prescription for death and despair multiplied ten times. Atheism, scientism, the label Alex prefers, is a damnable doctrine. Science, to be true to itself is neutral, neither Alex nor his scientism are religiously neutral, it is anti-religious to the core of its being.
It must be understood that evolution to start with, was not and still is not scientific, it was and is philosophical in nature. Darwin, Huxley and all their cronies who popularised evolution back in their day were philosophers, not scientists. But science has since then high-jacked it. There was an unbelieving world just waiting for something like Darwin’s nonsense. It was just what it needed to help them in their struggle to suppress the truth about God. Evolution is not testable and it doesn’t get rid of a designer it just makes ‘nature’ the designer instead of God. In fact a reviewer of Darwin’s book “The Origin of the Species” rebuked Darwin for not stating exactly where he was coming from, a philosophical, and not a scientific approach. His ‘theory’ (not my description, a lie more like), was speculative, and thoroughly anti-religious. It was and still is contrary to known facts yet still held on to tenaciously. It is presuppositional. Yet another atheistic German philosopher, Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), was told on occasion by one of his students, “the facts do not fit your contentions.” To which Hegel replied, “Then the facts be damned.
Evolutionary atheism, scientism, call it what you will is no guide to reality at all. It is the very opposite, it is a guide away from reality, into darkness towards a very dangerous precipice, into everlasting damnation. There is but one guide to reality, his name is Jesus.“Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth (reality), and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus Christ is Lord and every knee must bow to him and confess him as Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).
Alex Rosenberg is right in this, if there is no God then there is no intelligible basis for logic, science, ethics, no purpose to life, thinking, or even knowledge itself. But of course he and we do all these things, we are able to, because we have knowledge, about our world, ourselves, given to us by the God who made all things great and small. I have new suggested title for Alex Rosenberg’s book, “A Guide to Intellectual and Moral Suicide.”
(© James R Hamilton, written 19th, November, 2015)