Atheism, Christianity & The Elephant

Let us attend to the Elephant that is not actually in the room…

As someone who is naturally skeptical; who is distrustful of institutions which lay claim to authority by virtue of their own existence; who believes that the pursuit of truth must trump all other biases and preconceptions – I have often found myself on the outside looking in.  Thus when I first came across a treasure trove of Atheist videos on YouTube I was delighted.  Frankly, I look forward to hearing what critical thinkers of all kinds have to say and even more so when their rhetoric is seasoned with comedy.  Unfortunately what I found was that the charges raised against the Judeo-Christian Faith were still based on the same Straw-Man Arguments, Deviation from the Design, or outright Misinterpretation of the Biblical Text as I have always encountered.  The thing is if I didn’t know better, I would be in agreement with these arguments because they are entirely reasonable given the premises which are used as the starting point.  But I have poked that Elephant and in so doing I found that it was not.

So for instance, if Christians really didn’t like science – as Bill Nye has concluded- I would be mortified.  The fact is that the scientific method is based on the a priori belief that we live in a world where reality is itself testable and the results of those tests reproducible and thus trustworthy.  Without a belief in this concrete nature of reality, the scientific method is nonsensical.  If we applied a belief in Random Chance to medicine, engineering, food production, or any other real-world situation we wouldn’t get very far.  As such the Follower of the Way of the Cross should be the strongest adherent of science because their belief in a transcendent designer forms the foundation of the scientific method and what is more the mandate of that same designer according to Genesis 1:26-28 is to do the work of science.  Now if the issue which is labeled as being anti-science is one of disagreeing with the Establishment, then I believe that I am in good company when I say that the voice of the majority can never trump evidence.

Likewise, the accusation leveled against the Judeo-Christian Faith that it is invalidated by the hypocrisy of its subjective morality is one that I have also struggled with.  The idea that you can cherry-pick the scripture, embracing what you are comfortable with and sweeping away what you are not, is truly offensive and those who do so bring shame on the One they claim to believe in.  However, this argument itself is also faulty because it is what I would call an argument based on Deviation from Design.  In other words, the basis of this argument is not truly representative of the Judeo-Christian Faith and is therefore invalid.  For example, the argument that biblical marriage (one man-one woman) as seen in the Judeo-Christian Scripture as opposed to homosexual marriage is invalidated by professing believers’ marital infidelity and divorce, is itself a invalid argument because it assumes that the basis of Judeo-Christian Morality is the collective conscious of the adherents rather than an objective source which sits in judgment on all deviation from design equally.

Finally, what seems to me to be the trump card of most arguments against the Judeo-Christian Faith is the notion that the Biblical text is full of contradictions which seemingly prove that the book was written by men about a God they made up to justify their own desires.  As with the video “Still the Good Guys” which at the 3:39 mark presents the following sentiment:

“So, why don’t we need to be told that Superman, Batman, The Avengers, etc, are good, but we do need to be told that the God of the Bible is good – if those verses were omitted – would you come to that conclusion on your own?  The destroyer of cities and worlds who fail to worship Him… Good?!  OR is it more likely that this God is a product of a culture seeking to justify its methods and actions against other cultures?”

The fact is that if all I had to go on was a KJV bible and some old guy telling me not to ask any questions I might have arrived at these same conclusions, but I had a Pastor who encouraged me to ask the hard questions, who encouraged me to embrace my unwillingness to allow someone else to do my thinking for me and who helped me to understand that if YHVH created us in His image as rational beings then there was no reason to assume that He had set Himself in opposition to Reason.  So I researched the history and the culture, I learned to read the original languages, I wrestled with Philosophy and Theology and Science… and what I have found is that the supposed contradictions don’t exist.  In reality, most people just choose to stop short of actually investigating the text with an open-mind because they are comfortable with their life the way it is and they don’t want to have to deal with the hard work involved in critically evaluating the text or their own biases.

But then it is we who are Followers of the Way of the Cross who must set the example here, that loving the Lord our God with ALL of our Heart and Mind and Strength means not letting others do our thinking for us.  So let us keep digging, keep prying, keep doubting, keep questioning- for the veracity of Truth can never be diminished by honest inquiry and the Sovereign Maker-King turn away those who seek Him.

  “…You will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

~Jeremiah 29:13~