I do take an occasional peek over the fence to see what is on the other side, and why not since I once lived there myself. If I am going to be skeptical, then I should also be skeptical about my own position just as much as any other, and so listening to what is being said, and understanding what the counter arguments actually are is part of that process.
So over on the Christian Post we have an article by a rather prolific contributor, Dan Delzell a pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. In this he presents an article entitled “Why Evolutionists and Atheists Long for Certainty“. Side note, it has been my consistent experience that anybody deploying the term “Evolutionists” is guaranteed to be an anti-science religious nut, so even the title itself, is sufficient evidence that I really am on the right side of the fence.
Anyway, let’s see what he is saying …
In some ways, evolutionists and atheists are similar to those who believe in creationism and Christianity. Man longs for certainty. And if he is unsure about God, then he is prone to grasp for certainty in science.
Oh dear, not a great start at all, it assumes that people either believe in God or “believe” in science, and yet we know that it is not like this. There are plenty of religious people who are, quite rightly, confident that what science reveals about the world around us is not wrong, and it is not because it is a “belief”, but rather because it demonstrates this with verifiable objective evidence.
What comes next it utterly bizarre …
But since science cannot prove evolution or atheism, man must resort to believing that human beings evolved from apes over billions of years.
Essentially what he is claiming is that every university on the planet is wrong, millions of biologists are delusional, and instead his belief that has no evidence at all is right. I’m sorry but this guy has no excuse, because all he needs to do is to go to google and type “Evidence for Evolution”. As for science “proving” atheism”, that is another truly bizarre statement to write. He has a god claim, as do many others, and because he cannot provide any credible evidence for that claim, his claim is dismissed, and that is atheism. The burden of proof is his.
Christians find certainty in God’s Word and in the cross.
… for cultural and emotional reasons, not because any of the claims can be demonstrated to be true …
We also find certainty in the fulfilled prophecies of the Bible
… any yet when you critically examine such claims they rapidly fall apart, I’ve not yet found even one example that can withstand any truly honest analysis (feel free to drop a comment if you have one) …
and in the fact that God grants eternal life in heaven to those who accept Christ as Savior
How exactly does he know this fact, what evidence can he provide to verify it is true? (and no, the bible is not “evidence” it is simply a claim). He does try to answer this …
the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to believers through the Scriptures which He inspired to be written
You would think that an all knowing, all powerful god who can do anything would also know that this is quite frankly absurd and is not sufficient to convince me, but apparently not.
Evolutionists and atheists were all little children at some point. Unfortunately, many of them were not led by their parents into the arms of the Savior. You know, the way Jesus welcomed little children to come to Him when He walked on the earth. There are plenty of people who never progress beyond what they learned from their parents. They get stuck in the rut of unbelief.
… except that I used to be a born-again baptised-in-the-spirit Christian and was once quite sure that it was all true. I’m not alone, there are many who once sat on that side of the fence, but have gradually woken up to the realisation that none of it is true at all. I did try, I really tried, and was completely immersed in it, and also a string of other beliefs (but that’s another story), until I learned to think critically and came to terms with the realisation that humans inherit these cultural artefacts and dive into them for emotional reasons without appreciating that none of it is in any way real at all.
Without God and His Word, man is left to devise whatever parameters make sense in his mind.
Rather ironically, those that do truly believe can’t agree amongst themselves on what god is actually saying or what parameters he defines, hence we have a huge diversity of conflicting beliefs, so with or without belief in a god, people are still simply selecting the stuff that makes the most sense. Personally, I’ll go with embracing a degree of certainty that the things that the scientific methodology has yielded are not wrong, and is always open to modification if new evidence turns up. As for anything and everything else, I am content to bask in the honesty of uncertainty, and am no longer satisfied by easy answers that are akin to wishful thinking.
Thankfully, some of these folks come to meet the Savior later in life in spite of never having been led to Christ by their parents.
… and thankfully today, many wake up, start to think for themselves, see the light, and step out of the darkness of cultural superstition. We have a rapidly rising tide of “nones” because there is a new flow of information that punches the full conversation through the previously impenetrable bubble of belief that used to insulate many.
And people on both sides of the spectrum are left scratching their head at how the other side could ever believe such a thing.
It’s easy for many unbelievers to place their faith in evolution and atheism. Likewise, it’s easy for believers to place their faith in the Savior of the world. It comes back to what you have been taught, and what you choose to believe based upon the knowledge you have been given.
Well no … when it comes to specific things, no “faith” is required. He is of course right in that people on both sides do indeed scratch their heads and wonder how those on the other side can actually embrace such thoughts, and he appears to assume it is simply a matter of people lacking a bit of information, but that is not what is going on at all.
- Present non-believes with religious claims, and nothing happens, they don’t rush out to convert.
- Point out to believers that they have no evidence for their claims, and they don’t think “Gosh that’s right, I have no reason to believe any of this”
In some ways, men are not really that different from one another. We all just want to be certain of what we believe, and we want to be certain that what we are believing is the truth.
So in many ways it all comes do to how we work out what it really true. For the religious, even if they don’t come to terms that it is like this, they do lean very heavily upon human emotions – “I have faith” and “I know Jesus is real” actually translates down to “I’ve had an emotional experience, and I feel these emotions when I think about God, and so that convinces me it is true”. The problem is that human emotions are not a truly reliable means for working out what is true because we are so easily prone to being fooled like that. If indeed we become aware of how biased and partial we can be, then it opens us up to the possibility questioning such feelings. Even then it can be challenging because we also have a very heavy emotional investment in specific ideas and so we find it hard to cope with the idea of putting that aside.
The beginning of human wisdom is doubt. We all hold specific ideas to different degrees of certainty, and often take a cue from those around us and crowdsource that degree of certainty. I would however argue that the true human spirit is our ability to rise above such cultural certainties that we emotionally anchor ourselves to, swim against the tide, and challenge the prevailing status quo. We all have this possibility within, and yet many hearts faint at the very idea of doubt.
5 thoughts on “The view from the other side of the fence – “Evolutionists and Atheists””
Funny blog and interesting read. Although brought up a catholic, they’re idea of sending you to heaven was to beat the hell out of you. That was hardly a convincing way to get someone to seek the LORD. Regardless, I knew HE was with me and also lead me thru these end times and finally put me in a place as
a servant in the household and my small job is to show those searching that there is a great deal of evidence because the book of truth is finally open as promised. Quoting daniel11truth – “To prove anything to an atheist, you would first have to prove that the Bible is real. That’s one thing that Daniel 11 can do because it matches verifiable history to 29 consecutive verses (2 through 30), with no gaps, manipulations, or omissions. If an atheist was open-minded and checked for themselves, they could see that only God could proclaim a summary of events, 2500-years ago, and then make it happen. One verse might be a chance encounter but 29-in-a-row can’t be an accident.”
I’m commenting to explain why I’m not convinced by Daniel 11, and other similar prophecy claims. I do accept that you will not agree and so my goal here is not to change your mind, but rather to simply explain why I have such doubts so that you understand my position.
Generally when dealing with biblical prophecy there are several things that need to be carefully considered. These are as follows:
1) In some instances it documents what has already happened
Many of the events documented within Daniel 11 happened before the text was written. It is not “Prophecy”. Permit me to cite the Wikipedia page that explains charters 10, 11 and 12 in detail …
Then follows Daniel 11, the “Book of Truth”: much of the history it recounts is accurate down to the two successive Syrian invasions of Egypt in 170 and 168 BCE, but there was no third war between Egypt and Syria, and Antiochus did not die in Palestine. The failure of prophecy helps pinpoint the date of composition: the author knows of the desecration of the Temple in December 167, but not of its re-dedication or of the death of Antiochus, both in late 164; the countdown of days remaining to the end-time in Daniel 12:11–12 differs from that in Daniel 8, and it was most likely added after the original prediction failed to come to pass.
Scholars use such textual analysis to precisely date the text. You might find the full article of interest.
2) Vague and open to interpretation
Often a prophecy is not specific, but instead is very general and vague. This in turn can become a powerful tool for people to interpret it in whatever way they feel. I’m not suggesting deliberate fraud. Those doing this are sincere. It is more akin to people looking up at the clouds and interpreting the shapes. Our brains are natural pattern seeking engines and so they do this.
3) Something specific
A third category is where something very specific is described and it then supposedly happens … except it does not actually happen. The classic example here would be references in the OT to the death of Jesus. The authors of the gospels were familiar with such prophecies and so wrote such details in. For some this is proof, but the problem is that there is no independent verification that such details actually happened.
Generally these things tend to find a balance. What is claimed is sufficient to convince those that already believe … but dig a bit and you discover serious issues, and so those who seriously examine it with a critical eye are simply not convinced.
Many thanks for reaching out,
Hey thanks for the speedy reply! I promise you I’m not stalking all your posts, I’m just subscribed to the site so I get all updates and you post a lot lol.
I’m glad we agree on the “science vs faith” false dilemma. I’m sorry I misunderstood.
Actually the largest argument against fulfilled Biblical prophecies is that there is no way to verify that they were actually predicted before the event happened and not after. In fact, there are so many prophecies given in the Old Testament that have “come to pass” that it’s hard to address it in a comment section. Here’s a decent link- http://www.bibleevidences.com/prophecy.htm , but again I’ve already given you the strongest counter argument ;)
And I don’t doubt your good intentions Mr. Gamble. I know you do not see any reason to believe, but if you have a moment I would like to direct you to the places that are better places to look.
And I have to explain here- you will never find supernature by examining nature. Supposing supernature is real, we cannot find it by the study of molecules and numbers. A computer program will never discover a reality outside of it’s computer framework by studying the framework (even though an outside reality is valid and true)
So where can we look then? -Only by inference, and I find there are some simple inferences that make a strong case for Deism (we may only work from Agnosticism/Atheism to Deism. To jump to Christianity is much too far. We go from Deism to “which faith, if any”)
So why God(s)? Well first I’d like to state I find that the things of the universe do not transcend their cause. Hot things make things hot, a rational universe has created rational beings- why has a meaningless universe created beings that desire meaning? The interesting thing here is that if we give the universe meaning, we prove it doesn’t have one. Through inferance, I believe if we are explainable via the things that made us, the ultimate context of the universe must be meaningful despite my existence. I also infer that because I know I can give things personal meaning, that “ultimate meaning” is probably rational or personal (if I am it’s byproduct)
Also I find issue with purely naturalism’s implications on morality. I’m not saying naturalists are immoral (I believe largely to the contrary), I’m saying that in naturalism, morality is reduced to what the majority likes, or what we can agree upon is best for ourselves/society. The problem here is that either way, morality loses its solidity. If society votes that I should be killed for having a belief, where do we state that this action is wrong? Is morality discovered, or is it created? if morality is a product of the universe, it ought to be explainable either by the system or beyond it.
Also, reality is far blurrier without grounds, and grounds are unbased. If we examine human reasoning, either what we know is the result of chemical explosions in the brain (where certainty is impossible). Our mental process, while involving chemical reactions and electronic pulses, are higher than molecules. If all we know is a result of what our senses show us, and the rationality and conclusions we give the results, we have no way of knowing if we are to trust the initial data given us.
I also find the model ontological argument to be pretty strong. (Make sure you look into the model, and some counter arguments to Kant’s counter arguments)
Those are the things that had pulled me out of my skeptical phase. We are 4 dimensional creatures and if there was a 5th dimension, we would be perfectly unable to see it (the same way a 2 dimensional being may only see things on its plane- it cannot comprehend the “z” axis/ that third dimension) so please, don’t think this comes down to Atheism vs Christianity. Instead it ought to be Atheism vs Deism, to which case I do believe God can be (although not necessarily be) logically inferred apart from any sort of weak “God of the gaps” arguing or Bible trumpeting.
Sorry I wrote so much- you seemed to ask a genuine question and seem to be the type of fellow who wouldn’t mind believing in a God should a reason present itself. I don’t hope to change a mind or a worldview in a post, but maybe I can at least get you thinking (which is always good no matter where the conclusion takes us) God cannot, by definition, be found in science (the process of tests and results). Instead, philosophy (inferance and theory) better serves the purpose.
Thanks for the long read!
Mr. Gamble I’m afraid there’s quite a few things I find fallacious with your article. I’ll explain.
You start it off by saying that you either believe in God or believe in science. You’ve poisoned the pot before an honest debate has began my friend. I’m glad that characters such as Edison, Newton, and Einstein didn’t have to choose between God and science. Somehow they were able to believe both.
You talk of unfulfilled prophecy like its a new and unaddressed “problem” for the Bible scholar. I’m sorry, but I’d like to point out that the very Bible you seek to refute has God “change His mind” in it a few times. You should instead be looking at the prophecies actually fulfilled and crunch those statistical odds out (science), and see where those results lead you.
And finally as far as an “other side” article goes, again, I apologize, but you didn’t cover any of the well known weak areas of skepticism. Honest scholars will admit weakness in subjective morality, meaning, and how certainty of disbelief goes beyond the actual knowledge we have (like a faith).
Mr Gamble, I know you can do better than this ;)
// You start it off by saying that you either believe in God or believe in science. //
Actually no I don’t, the author of the article I’m criticising is taking that stance, and that (as you quite correctly point out) is simply not correct. The are indeed many who truly believe, and yet are also quite happy to embrace the prevailing scientific consensus, it it the author over at Christian Post that presents it as an either/or scenario, and so we are in perfect agreement on this aspect.
Regarding the unfulfilled prophecy, the issue is not just that some statements have not been fulfilled, but rather that none have … not one. Yes, I am aware that there are claims, and yet when you review the gospel claims, you soon discover that the events described are not actually verified by any independent witnesses, nor do the gospel stories even align, and so we either make the leap to accepting supernatural claims, or consider the more appropriate conclusion that the texts have been contrived to fit.
You believe … I get that, and that’s fine, but can you honestly present any actual evidence for what you believe to be true? I doubt, because I do not find any evidence.