Category Archives: Other gods Questions

Questions About Other Gods: Atheism—What If There Is No God?

 

Though a recent poll indicates that only about 5 percent of Americans do not believe in God, the influence of atheistic thinkers in our time is certainly widespread. Most college students have studied the writings or the thoughts of existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, communist Karl Marx, capitalist Ayn Rand, or psychologists Sigmund Freud and B.F. Skinner. In the 1960s, the following passage from Friedrich Nietzsche became a motto for the “God is dead” movement:

“Where is God gone?” he called out. “I mean to tell you! We have killed him—you and I! We are all his murderers! … Do we not hear the noise of the grave diggers who are burying God? … God is dead! God remains dead!”

Religion Without God?

In 1961, the Supreme Court ruled that there are some atheistic religions and cited among them Hinayana Buddhism, Taoism, and secular humanism. Here are some of the beliefs of secular humanism:

1. “Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.”

2. “Humanism believes that man is a part of the universe and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process.”

3. “We can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species.… No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.”

4. “We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics are autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction.”

5. “Moral education for children and adults is an important way of developing awareness and sexual maturity.”

6. “To enhance freedom and dignity the individual must experience a full range of civil liberties in all societies. This includes … an individual’s right to die with dignity, euthanasia, and the right to suicide.” [All quotes from Humanist Manifestos I and II, ed. by Paul Kurtz (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1973).]

Not all atheists are quite as militant, however. Karl Marx echoed the sentiments of many modern atheists when he wrote, “Nowadays, in our evolutionary conception of the universe, there is absolutely no room for either a creator or a ruler.”

While a skeptic doubts that God exists, and an agnostic says that he doesn’t know if God is out there, the atheist claims to know that there is no God. There is only the world and the natural forces that operate it.

What Do Atheists Believe About God?

There are different kinds of atheism. Some believe that God once existed, but died in the body of Jesus Christ. Others say that it is impossible to talk about God because we can’t know anything about Him, so He may as well not exist. Still others say that there is no longer any need for the God-myth that once flourished among men. But the classic view holds that there never was and never will be a God either in the world or beyond it. Those who hold this view object that the arguments used to prove God’s existence are faulty. God is simply a creation of human imagination.

What Do Atheists Believe About The World?

Many believe the world is uncreated and eternal. Others say it came into existence “out of nothing and by nothing.” It is self-sustaining and self-perpetuating. They argue that if everything needs a cause, then one can ask, “What caused the first cause?” So they claim that there must have been a series of causes that reaches back into the past forever. Some simply say that the universe is not caused; it is just there.

What Do Atheists Believe About Evil?

While atheists deny God’s existence, they affirm the reality of evil. They think the existence of evil is one of the primary evidences that there is no God. One atheist philosopher even wonders what could possibly make a Christian admit that his beliefs are false if he still believes in the existence of God while evil is present in the world. Some also argue that it is absurd to believe in God since God made all things, and evil is a thing, so God must have made evil.

What Do Atheists Believe About Values?

If there is no God, and man is merely a collection of chemicals, then there is no reason to believe that anything has eternal value. Atheists believe that morals are relative and situational. There may be some enduring ethical principles, but these were created by man, not revealed by God. Goodness is defined as whatever works to achieve the desired results.

Atheist philosophers have asked some questions which challenge us to think about our faith. However, the objections that are raised about God’s existence have already been addressed in our arguments in chapter 2. Briefly stated, an infinite series of causes is impossible and unnecessary, because Christians never said that everything needs a cause—only events or things that change need causes. Asking, “What caused the first cause?” is like asking, “What does a square triangle look like?” or, “What is the smell of blue?” It is a meaningless question. Triangles can’t have four sides; colors don’t smell; and first causes don’t have causes because they are first. (See chap. 4 to answer questions about evil.)[1]


[1] Geisler, N. L., & Brooks, R. M. (1990). When skeptics ask (pp. 37–39). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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