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A View from the Altar / Answers for an atheist
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Answers for an atheist

The New York Times published an interview with atheist Louise Antony who confidently affirms that there is no God. Read the linked article if you like, but her arguments against God boil down to a just handful of things.

First, Antony says, “I deny that there are beings or phenomena outside the scope of natural law.” This, of course, is no argument at all. It’s just assuming the conclusion. Presupposing materialism merely evades the debate about whether God exists. The Christian idea of God is that He is transcendent, meaning that He is “above” or “beyond” or “outside” the universe. Looking for God by material methods is like prospecting for diamonds with a metal detector. Wrong tool.

In her second argument, Antony says religious people can’t all agree on what God is, what He is like, or whether there are more gods than one. This is all true, and all irrelevant. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that all religious people are hopelessly muddled on the nature of God. Does this mean they’re all equally deceived on the existence of God? Not at all. Even in a total fog, people can know something is out there without knowing any details about it.

Antony then says she cannot reconcile the existence of evil with the existence of God. Beg pardon, but what is this “evil” she speaks of? The existence of categories like “good” and “evil” assumes a Supreme Authority who establishes what’s good and what’s not. And consider again Antony’s statement, “I deny that there are beings or phenomena outside the scope of natural law.” Yet the very categories of good and evil are outside of natural law. You cannot derive morality from Newton’s laws or the Schrödinger equation. That requires a transcendent source.

On the other hand, if good and evil are not real categories, if they’re just cultural norms or her own private intuitions, then her objection vanishes. Her argument amounts to, “I’m displeased (or we are); therefore, there is no god,” which is absurd.

But Ms. Antony is left to ponder the motions of her own heart. Why is she outraged by rape or brutality? Who cares, and why should anyone care, if orphans starve, tyrants strut, armed gangs pillage and plunder, girls are bought and sold, and all the rest of human misery is played out before our eyes? If Ms. Antony knows anything at all, she knows there’s Something Big moving out there in the fog.

And following that, Ms. Antony should be the first to accept religious experiences. After all, she’s had a big one. She’s felt the wrong of this fallen, sinful world and felt the need to put it all back right. That didn’t evolve from a big cloud of hydrogen gas. God has set eternity in our hearts, and that’s what it sounds like when people pay attention to it, even a little bit.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

One Comment

  1. Right.
    Have you seen “God’s Not Dead” at the theater? What a timely movie for our young generation so imbued with atheism. While it may be a bit sweeping to make a generalization, I DO think it’s true that the majority of atheists are filled with hate. Take away the object of their wrath and you have no God — a “reality” they say exists, but one that is belied by their nature.

    Posted on 26-Mar-14 at 8:45 am | Permalink

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