Religion of Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Source: Edmund Tamakloe

Atheism: An Irrational Faith

Let me point out from the outset that I used to be an atheist, and what I mean by that is that I used to believe that there was no God, that there was no afterlife, that there was no such thing as absolute morality, that religion was hogwash used to enslave the weak and naïve, that everything was a product of chance and that we were all here for no particular purpose except whatever purposes we fashioned for ourselves in this brief, accidental journey called life. I convinced myself—excuse me, I meant deluded myself although I didn’t know it then—that the reason I believed all what I believed was that I was a skeptic, a rational man and a man of science and that that was what all truly educated or enlightened people believed. Of course, it was easy for me to believe what I believed until I took the time to actually investigate my own beliefs as well as the assumptions behind those beliefs and came to realize how irrational my purported “rational” atheism was! Through skepticism, reason and analyses, all of which allegedly form the bulwark of atheistic thought and belief, in this essay, I will prove in no uncertain terms that atheism is an irrational faith contrary to its proponents’ majestic claim to rationality and reason. In the end, I hope I would have done enough to convince you that atheism is no more than a pretense or show put on by irrational minds seeking to present themselves as rational, intellectual and knowledgeable people.
The Issue of Evidence
To begin, imagine you, a rational human being, waking up one day and finding yourself lost in a large forest and while trying to find your way home, happen to chance upon a beautiful hut built from wood. Would you, a rational, thinking being, postulate that somehow that hut appeared out of nothing and simply through chance or would you postulate that the hut had been built by a thing of intelligence, perhaps a human or an animal? The atheist, in his or her arrogance which he or she mistakes for wisdom and knowledge, would have you believe that you would not only be wrong to conclude that the hut is a product of intelligence but would also be stupid and a wishful thinker to believe so because there is no concrete evidence of an intelligent creator and that the more “rational” conclusion you should make is that the hut came out of nothing and through chance. If that sounds like nonsense to you and like an insult to your intelligence, that’s because it is—and the two reasons for that are very simple. Firstly, you, a rational being, realize that to agree with the atheist on that matter not only requires extraordinary faith, but also requires the complete suspension of reason because true and pure reason would have you believe that the hut was produced by an intelligent being even in the absence of evidence. Why? Because through experience and knowledge you have never witnessed or heard of anything actually coming into existence out of nothing and through chance, but you have certainly witnessed and heard of—and continue to witness and hear of—intelligent people inventing things. In other words, you have an undeniable frame of reference from which to postulate that intelligence gave birth to the hut you see, hence, making you give the benefit of the doubt to intelligence!
The second reason for which the atheist’s claim would sound like nonsense to you and like an insult to your intelligence is because you realize that the odds are far more in favor of the hut coming about through an intelligent creator and far more against the hut coming about through chance and nothing. Why? Because had it not been highly favorable or likely, you would not be witnessing and hearing about such things happening around you every day. But you do! You not only see or hear of people building cars, computers, cell phones, space shuttles or airplanes, but you also see or hear about authors writing books, construction workers building houses and shoemakers making shoes etc! On the flip side, had the odds been far more favorable to chance and not against it, you would be witnessing and hearing of things coming about out of nothing and through chance regularly before your very eyes. But do you?
For the atheist to object to the above conclusions on the grounds of logic, he or she does not only have to prove that your perspectives are illogical or irrational, but he or she has to also provide concrete and incontrovertible evidence to prove that the hut in question arose out of mere chance and out of nothing. But should the atheist fail in doing that, not only would he or she have to concede that the hut came about through an intelligent creator, but he or she has to also concede to the fact that your perspective is both logical and valid!
Having established the above critical points, let’s move on now to critique some of the supposed major cornerstones upon which the atheist builds his or her irrational faith, and in so doing, further point out how irrational his or her beliefs are, contrary to his or her constant assertions.
The Issue of Science
The first major cornerstone upon which atheists build their irrational faith stems from science. Science, they claim, refutes the existence of God because to this date science has not yielded any physical proof for the existence of God. But is this claim that science refutes the existence of God really true? Of course not! If at all science refutes anything it is the presumptuous idea borne by atheists that science can answer all questions. In other words, what science actually proves (despite its many technological victories and glories) is the glaring fact that science is limited as the sole tool for the quest of knowledge and truth!
To clarify the above point, imagine a pot of water boiling on a stove. What can science tell you about that water? Science can certainly tell you about what is happening while the water boils and how the molecules of the water are behaving as the water boils, but what science can never tell you is why that water is on the fire in the first place. In other words, science cannot tell you the purpose for which the water is on the fire because science does not know and can never know!
In addition to the above point about the purpose of the boiling water on the fire, there are so many other questions science cannot answer—questions that matter most to your life and welfare, questions such as why the universe is, why you are here in this world or the meaning of life, whether or not there is life after death etc.
For atheist’s to claim that science refutes the existence of God, they not only have to prove that science has successfully combed through every corner and crevice of the multiverse and did not find God, but also have to prove that science knows everything and has answered all inquiries. But should the atheist fail to do that, he or she not only have to concede to the fact that science does not refute God, but he or she has to also concede to the fact that science is limited as to what it knows and can know!
The Problem of Evil
Moving on, another major cornerstone upon which atheists build their irrational faith stems from the so-called problem of evil. Evil, they claim, cannot exist if there is an all-powerful and good God as proposed by the Abrahamic Faiths. But since there is evil, an all-powerful and good God who does not eradicate it is either not all-powerful or good, but is rather weak and/or malevolent; therefore, the existence of evil proves that there is no such God as proposed by the Abrahamic Faiths. On the surface, and to the untrained mind, this argument sounds like a very smart and logical argument. But is it really logical or does this claim that the existence of evil refutes the idea of an all-powerful and good God (as proposed by the Abrahamic Faiths) really true? Of course not! If at all the existence of evil refutes anything, it is the idea that there is no such thing as absolute morality or the idea that all morality is relative—another idea believed upon and preached by atheists.
Here is what I mean: you cannot say an act is evil unless you first acknowledge that there is an absolute or higher moral standard to judge evil by…in the same way that you cannot say a line is crooked unless you first admit that a perfect straight line exists to judge the crooked line by. If, like the atheist, you fail to acknowledge that there is an absolute or higher moral standard—or in other words, say that all morality is relative—then you cannot say evil exists as what is considered evil then becomes merely a matter of opinion; hence, making acts such as rape, abuse or murder legitimate from the rapist’s, abuser’s and murderer’s points of views. In other words, the atheist cannot have it both ways by stating that morality is relative and then claim that there is evil because by his or her logic both cannot exist at the same time or in the same space!
Notwithstanding the above refutation, since the atheist’s claim about evil refuting the existence of God is more or less an attack on the tenets of the Abrahamic Faiths, it would only be apt to call upon the Abrahamic Faiths to make a defense of their own truths. It is indeed true that the Abrahamic Faiths claim that God is all-power and good, but what they also claim—a point that atheists deliberately leave out of their claim that evil disproves the existence of God—is that God is also righteous and just. As a result, even though God is all-powerful and good, and can put an end to evil anytime He wants, He is also constrained by his righteousness or justice to let humans, whom He created to be caretakers of the world but who willfully chose rebellion over obedience, reap what they sow or reap the consequences of their rebellious actions. In other words, from the point of view of the Abrahamic Faiths, the existence of evil no longer refutes the existence of God, but rather confirms His existence as an all-powerful and good being as well as a moral lawgiver and judge of sin, immorality and unrighteousness!
In addition to the above, the Abrahamic Faiths further contend that, God is not only being constrained by His righteousness and justice, but He is also being constrained by human freewill, an immaculate and splendid gift He bestowed upon or endowed humans with during their creation. In other words, as lovely as the gift of freewill is in that it enables us humans to make our own choices, and as a result, choose our own destinies, it also restricts God from acting in our lives and world without our consents, because if God were to choose to act in our lives and world through His own power and deliberation and without our consents, we no longer have freewill but become like robots, slaves or pawns being manipulated on the game board of life!
Once again, from the above refutation of the so-called problem of evil, you can see that the atheist not only reveals his or her ignorance when he or she claims that the existence of evil refutes the existence of God, but he or she also reveals his or her irrationality in the process!
The Issue of Religion
Moving on, another major cornerstone upon which atheists build their irrational faith stems from religion. Religion, they claim, has visited several atrocities upon the world. Moreover, they claim that because there are so many religions, all of which claim to preach the ultimate truth, they are all false. In other words, they claim that the presence of numerous religions and disagreements within every religion calls into question the very credibility of religion. Don’t you see how comical that logic is? Maybe you don’t see it, so let me explain through an analogy.
We all know that through scientific inquiry, we have been able to improve our world significantly through the inventions of incredible technologies. But don’t we also know that through scientific inquiry we have been able to create incredible technologies such as the atomic and nuclear bombs that have brought or visited incredible destructions and dangers upon our world? In other words, have science not benefited us for better and for worse? So in that case, based on the atheist’s logic about religion, should we concluded that science is evil or untrue? How preposterous that will be!
It is indeed a fact that through religion people have visited so many evils upon the world; but it is also a fact that through religion people have visited many good upon the world. If religion seems to be flawed, it is not necessarily because religion is untrue as the atheist will have you believe through his irrationality; rather, it is because the very people whom religion is intended to serve are flawed! In other words, like science, it is not the religion that is the problem; it is the people who wield the religion that are the problem!
Having pointed out the above, let’s consider the second aspect of the atheist’s logic that religion lacks credibility because of its plurality. Does the plurality of religion truly refute religion and its claims? Of course not! If at all there is anything the plurality of religion refutes it is the idea borne by atheists that humans do not need spirituality or God(s). In other words, the presence of numerous and distinct religions across time and human history proves that humans have an innate need for worship and belief in something—a need that has never been proven to be found in any other living species! If you don’t believe me take a look at human societies, past and present. Apart from worshiping God(s), don’t we also worship celebrities, sports, money, careers, jobs, food, music, movies, knowledge, material things, ourselves, our bodies, sex etc? Now, why would we worship all these things if we did not have a propensity or strong attraction towards idols or worship?
In order to buttress the above point and further prove how irrational the atheist’s logic is, once again let me explain through an analogy by asking you this question: do the facts that there are numerous schools of thought in the field of science and the facts that there are so many disagreements in scientific inquiry prove that science as a whole is false or untrue? Well, if you had the atheist’s logic you would readily say yes and would realize how foolish and irrational you sound! Like I pointed out earlier, the plurality of religion does not in any way call into question the credibility of religion like the atheist would have you believe.
At this juncture, I should point out that I could go on and on and put forth many more arguments to prove to you how irrational the atheistic belief is—like, for example, the matter of life after death, the matter of purpose in the universe, and whether or not the universe is a fine-tuned one—but I suspect that I have taken much of your time so I will end here for the time being. If at all you took any wisdom from the above, however, just remember as you go that while the atheist may be free to object to religion on the grounds that he or she cherishes his or her personal freedom and does not wish to have his or her life be accountable to or regulated by a God, Gods or a set of religious creeds, he or she is not, however, free to mislead you into believing that his or her beliefs are rational and founded upon irrefutable logic whiles yours is not. Moreover, the atheist is not free to make you feel stupid and guilty or bully and intimidate you into thinking or believing that whatever it is you believe is irrational and false because he or she has no ultimate tools at his or her disposal to prove or disprove your beliefs. The fact is that all beliefs have some level of irrationality to them and require some amount of faith to accept. The question then is no longer about whether or not what you believe is rational or irrational, but rather about how much faith you need in order to espouse the belief that you hold because even faith does have a reasonable limit…

--By Edmund Tamakloe