The God Debate

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The God Debate

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Recently, two of the world's most vocal atheists published books to defend their claim that there is no evidence for God's existence. Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) and Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great) have presented their best arguments for their position that God does not exist and that religion poisons the world. Ironically, their own books provide much "evidence" to the contrary.

So what are their claims? As vertical thinkers, let's consider their reasoning and conclusions. Common arguments by atheists against God include:

• Comparing the God of Israel to all gods through history.

In the minds of atheists, all gods take on the same value. Whether it is Zeus, Thor, Baal, Vulcan, Vishnu or the God of the Bible, there is no difference in their eyes. They conclude that all gods have been humanly contrived to accommodate the social and psychological needs of man.

• Discrediting the notion of God because of violence done in His name.

As atheists evaluate history, they often note how many times violence, genocide, killing, rape, murder and war have happened in the name of God. Whether the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades or the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and Africa, these types of violence are commonly cited as the hypocrisy of religion and a result of belief in God. Atheists conclude that there could be no benevolent, loving God behind this.

• Claiming errors and duplicity of Scripture.

Many atheists deny the existence of the Judeo-Christian God based on alleged discrepancies of the Bible. Examples of biblical disagreements they cite include issues related to history, science, the teachings of Jesus, death, murder and war. If the Word of God—the Bible—contradicts itself, they reason, the book cannot represent the mind of an omniscient God.

• Showing that paganism is in mainstream Christianity.

Both Dawkins and Hitchens cite the fact that, although mainstream Christianity claims its origins from Jewish forefathers and the writings of the Bible, much of its doctrine, ceremony, images and worship have their origins in pagan practices actually condemned by the God of Abraham. They correctly note that the origins of Christmas and Easter (mainstays of many churches) come from Babylon, Egypt and Greece—not the true, Creator God of the Bible.

Atheists point out that these practices are hypocritically borrowed from earlier pagan religions. If the forms of worship are this flawed, they reason that claims by these same worshippers that God really exists must likewise be hypocritical.

• Asking who designed God.

When trying to debunk intelligent design (a movement of scientists claiming that the complexity of systems enabling all life to exist cannot be adequately explained by Charles Darwin's theory of evolution), atheists fall back to what they believe is the mother of all questions: Who designed or created God? In answer to Christians saying that God is the original cause of all things, they want to know who created Him. Since there is no acceptable answer to this question (at least to them), they believe that there clearly can be no God.

• Concluding that Darwinism must be true!

Atheists believe that there is only one answer to the origin and development of life: that of Darwinian evolution. Most professors, teachers and scientists in the fields of zoology, anthropology and biology believe and teach this theory as fact. Atheists see this instruction by educators as further proof that there is no God.

When atheists make sense

You might be shocked to know that some of the observations from which atheists argue make perfect sense! When you consider the observations and knowledge of religion and history that avowed atheists embrace, it is easy to see why they struggle with believing in a Creator God! Much of the historical evidence of religion, biblical interpretation and deeds done in the name of God discredit religious people's efforts to justify their belief in God. Some facts to consider:

• The many gods in varied cultures through history do not represent the true God. These gods are often deceptive and evil.

• The varied practices, doctrines and historic acts of Christians through the ages (in the Middle East, Europe, America and around the world) are confusing and hypocritical.

• The confused and often contradictory interpretations of the Holy Bible by so many denominations, sects, groups and individuals are mind-boggling. These individuals have misrepresented the Bible!

• Many of the practices that began in the church of Rome in the second and third centuries were borrowed from the pagan customs of the pre-Christian world. The observance of Christmas, Easter, New Year's Day and even worship on Sundays is not taught in the Bible!

A missing dimension, once again

Fact is, we do live in a world that is confused about virtually everything— including God, science, morality, religion and the Bible! While many people (like Hitchens and Dawkins) assume that the history of mankind and religion represents a God-centered worldview's best shot—actually, the opposite is true! The history of mankind generally represents man's rejection of God. Human history doesn't represent God at His best, but man at his worst!

For nearly 6,000 years man has been devising his own view of morality and life—which includes various forms of religion (including Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.). What we see in the practice, teachings and history of these religions is too often generated and designed solely by human beings—not by God at all!

Jesus Christ told His disciples nearly 2,000 years ago that, as time went on, the masses would be deceived by many claiming to be His true representatives. He said: "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5, King James Version).

Put another way, the vast majority of the world's religions and religious leaders would be counterfeits. The result is that millions of people have been deceived by Satan the devil—the real ruler and god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9).

While there are as many views of the meaning of the Bible as there are religious sects, even this confusion was foretold by God! The written history of the God of Israel is unlike the accounts and historic writings referring to any other deity in human history. In the writings of the Holy Bible, God is referred to as transcending the physical realm, including the many gods conceived in the human mind. The gods of images and human imaginations are nothing compared to the invisible, all-powerful God of the Bible!

Evidence of a Creator

The Bible tells us that people, having the physical creation before them, are truly "without excuse" when it comes to knowing that God exists (Romans 1:20).

Interestingly, while the modern intelligent design movement acknowledges that the creation truly was created, a majority of educators deceptively decries the concepts of irreducible complexity and design inference as non-science. Even so, a large and growing body of scientists and educators today realizes that this complex universe could not exist without some intelligence behind it!

In more than one place in the Bible, God tells us that "the fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalms 14:1; 53:1). And yet, some of these same "fools" that have sadly rejected the idea of a loving, omniscient, creator God do have a clear understanding of the hypocritical, confusing and often violent history of mankind and his many religions.

Their fundamental error is that they attribute such confusion and chaos in man's history to the best the idea of God can offer, when, in fact, man's sordid past (and his immediate future) are the result of man's rejecting the true Creator. VT