May 07

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The subject of atheism is not easy to understand at first, as even the atheist define it differently. In other words, like most of us, we like to put the best light on ourselves and the atheist is no different! Therefore, let us take a look at the subject.
One writer put it this way: “Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities.” Another writer said: “Atheism is usually defined incorrectly as a belief system. Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.” Now, as you are working your mind around these two expressions, read with care a third statement: “The only common thread that ties all atheists together is a lack of belief in gods and supernatural beings.” So, is atheism a “disbelief in gods,” or a belief that God does not exist? When does “disbelief” become a “belief” system? However, the word “atheist” itself, has a meaning!
The word “atheist” comes from the negative “a” which means “no,” and “theos” which means “god.” Hence, atheism in the most basic term means “no god.” When you talk with atheists, and ask them to prove that there is no God, most will tell you that it’s logically impossible to prove that God doesn’t exist. Ann Druyan (the wife of the late Carl Sagan) was asked: “What most people mean by “atheist” is: “belief that there is no God…” So, is atheism a belief system, or not? It is a belief system; the atheist says: “I belief that there is no God!” It is not a system based upon evidence but a “leap in the dark,” it is a rejection of God! By-the-way, the word “faith,” the word “believe,” is not so used this way in the New Testament as it is based upon evidence!
Now, contrast this with Paul’s inspired words: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). Paul is addressing “the invisible” which comes from the Greek “aoratos” and means: “that which can not be seen.” So, how do you prove “that which cannot be seen?” Paul answers: “by the things that are made.” In essence Paul is simply saying, by the things you see! These words bring us to the words of Psalms: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psa. 19:1). The word “declare” implies that the heavens “inscribe the glory of God;” while the word “sheweth expresses “acting as a cause of God’s handywork” as they announce it. Therefore, the heavens are there to be read as evidence of the “invisible” God that he exists!
The atheist is one who denies the evidence that proves that God exists! He long ago gave up the claim that he can prove that God does not exist! Therefore, the “atheist” in truth is not an atheist, but an agnostic! Yet, he will not give up his claim to being an atheist! So, what does this say about his honesty?
This naturally brings us to the agnostic. What does this word mean? First, the word just means: “a person who does not believe or is unsure of something.” But second, when applied to God, it means: “a person who does not have a definite belief about whether God exists or not” (Merriam-Webster). However, allow Ann Druyan to answer our question: “Literally yes, we do not know. Not that we can’t know, but at the moment in the present state we know so little about the universe. We’ve only been at this exploration of the universe in any sort of systematic way for what, four centuries? That’s such a tiny fraction of history. Carl (Sagan, frw) would say ‘we just don’t know,’ and the more we acknowledge how much we don’t know, the less chance we have of assuming things that turn out not to be true.” (The interview was done by Michael Shermer of SKEPTIC). It should be clear that the so-called “atheist” and the agnostic both stand on the same quicksand: “we do not know!”
If the foundation of atheism-agnosticism is “we do not know,” and it is; here is a natural question: “Just where does all their boldness come from?” It came through the field of philosophies; such as: existentialism, secular humanism, Marxism, feminism and the general scientific and rationalist movement. Proponents such as Bertrand Russell emphatically rejected belief in God; Ludwig Wittgenstein and A. J. Ayer, in their different ways, asserted the unverifiability and meaninglessness of religious statements; J. N. Findlay and J. J. C. Smart argued that the existence of God is not logically necessary; naturalists and materialistic monists such as John Dewey considered the natural world to be the basis of everything, denying the existence of God or immortality. (History of Atheism).
But, keep in mind, it was not and is not based upon a field of philosophies of proof, of evidence, but “we do not know!” Whereas the inspired writer pointed to the heavens and said: “see!” and “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psa. 139:14).

— Frank R. Williams

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