Rebutting Common Theist Arguments
Matthew Cserhati, Ph.D., B.Sc.
As an apologetic against theists, the Lincoln Atheist website has published 35 counter-arguments as to what they perceive to be common theistic arguments against atheism. Most of them are one-liners showing that these counter-arguments are rather shallow and not thorough. They are easily refutable, which I shall do in the following, as well as supply seven new arguments against atheism.
You’ll grow out of your rebellious phase
- Wanting to understand the universe through science and reason is not an act of rebellion.
Science did not start with Darwin or atheists. Therefore, scientific inquiry is a common characteristic of all humans, according to the famous skeptic, Carl Sagan. The common mistake atheists make when claiming that science refutes the existence of God is that they presuppose right at the very beginning that God doesn’t exist, and that nature is everything that was, is and ever shall be. This is simply an unproven axiom, an article of faith. Science does only deal with examining the natural world, but beyond that can say nothing about the metaphysical question of God’s existence. The sciences of Biblical taxonomy (Linnaeus was a creationist), and intelligent design have helped our understanding of nature.
You’re what’s wrong with society today.
- Questioning the religious status quo in society is not wrong.
Questioning the atheistic status quo in other times and other countries such as in Soviet Union could land you in the gulag or even tortured or executed. Also, if atheists question the “religious” status quo, then they should also question their own presumptions, according to Carl Sagan, who said that we must be skeptical of the skeptics themselves.
- Arrogance is assuming personal knowledge of a Creator.
Arrogance is assuming monolithically that only evolution can explain our origins. It is quite possible that a Creator God exists. As such, He is surely capable of all things, meaning that He can make Himself 100% objectively known to his creation.
You are close-minded.
- I am always open to evidence that contradicts my perception of reality.
In theory, but not in practice. As we have seen, so many atheists presume God does not exist from the outset of the argument. Furthermore, atheists hardly ever come with ways to demonstrate that their viewpoint is false. Since atheism is not falsifiable, therefore it is not scientific.
So you want to outlaw all religion?
- No, but religion has no place determining law.
Yet law is based on worldview which is religion; your worldview influences how you make laws. According to atheism we’re nothing special. That is why so many atheists devalue life and make abortion permissible.
Why are atheists trying to take my faith/church away?
- Atheists are the first ones to promote free thinking, and are not trying to take anything away from anyone. We simply want faith and government to be kept separate.
Atheists were the ones who sent people to work camps and prisons in Communist gulags just for opposing the way they thought; atheist Communist leaders such as Joseph Stalin sent people to prison for no good reason at all.
Stop being intolerant of my beliefs!
- Stating that your beliefs are wrong is not intolerance.
This goes both ways, theists just as equally think that atheism is wrong. So is homosexuality, so is abortion, and modern feminism, which is a form of reverse sexism.
Why are atheists so angry?
- Atheists are not angry. Frustrated would be a better term. We see and have experienced the harm religion causes and feel motivated to do something about it.
In a similar vein, atheists have to admit that the biggest murderers in history were atheists (Communists). Thus, we Christians also feel motivated to protect the world from a nihilistic, destructive ideology which has claimed the lives of more than 100, but possibly up to 250 million people. The Jews were very right in actively propagandizing against the Nazis in the aftermath of the second world war and the Holocaust. Christians should also do something against the atheistic ideology which led to so much death and destruction, ten times worse than what the Nazis ever did.
Why do atheists hate God?
- It is impossible for an atheist to hate god. We hate god as much as you hate Bigfoot.
Yet the hatred of God is what animates atheists so much. So much so that this hatred carries over towards Christians who love and worship God. For example, some go out of their way to mock and insult Jesus Christ, the Son of God in the crudest and crassest way. They hurl curse words on the street at Christians during walk for life demonstrations. Many atheists are preoccupied with God; that is why their subjective worldview is called a-theism, it can only be defined in relationship to God.
God loves you anyway.
- That’s a lovely thought but does nothing to actually help people.
Why do you think this is a lovely thought? If God actually doesn’t exist, this should be a more neutral thought, wouldn’t you say? Why is it that in the motto of Lincoln Atheists, you claim to extend a hand of friendship to everyone, yet certain members of your group routinely swear at Christians who just want to have a normal dialog with you?
The name Christopher means “Christ-bearer”. The word clement means gracious or merciful. Thus, Chris Clements actually means that Christ is merciful. Whenever you call out his name in Lincoln Atheists, you are preaching the Gospel in a nutshell. You’re actually saying the same thing as we theists.
I’ll pray for you.
- And I’ll think for you.
This is common fallacy that if you pray, then you are not thinking, and that religion discourages thinking. Paul writes that he would rather pray five words with understanding (1Corinthians 14:19). Romans 12:2 says “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” In Isaiah 1:18 the Lord says “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord” Jesus also in the Gospel calls upon men to think about repentance. God created man with a reasonable, logical mind. Man must use his God-given mind as one of his talents to glorify God. Thinking and logic is not exclusive to atheists, and neither is science as we have seen before.
There are not atheists in a foxhole.
- There are atheists in foxholes, inasmuch as foxholes are rarely used in modern combat.
Of course, the argument was a figure of speech – foxholes denote a situation on the battlefield where soldiers are on the field, being attacked by enemy bullets and missiles. What this figure of speech means is that when faced with an extremely dire situation, such as immanent death, people instinctively cry out to God for help and mercy.
Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot was an atheist too, you know.
- Hitler was a Roman Catholic and Stalin was a failed seminary pupil. Pol Pot may have been atheist but none of these dictators killed in the name of atheism. Their crimes were politically motivated.
Hitler was only a nominal Roman Catholic. He did not even properly believe in God. To be most accurate, Hitler believed in pagan Arianism, which is obvious by the racial theory that he espoused. If you read Mein Kampf (My struggle), you will see two things: Hitler was somewhat inconsistent about how he talked about God, and Hitler believed in fate. Even though Hitler mentions God, or even belief in man in the image of the Creator, Hitler mentions a belief in a blind fate twenty times as much. Hitler was an evolutionist. He believed that the higher German blood pool was being polluted by inmixing of lower races (Untermensch). This in itself did not explain how the supposedly superior German stock evolved, since it constantly had to safeguard against genetic deterioration. Belief in fate, or blind chance, as you may have it is much more consistent with atheism. Hitler only courted the votes of Roman Catholics in the 1933 election to win the election; Hitler didn’t need the church afterwards and actively suppressed it afterwards. Adolph Eichmann, the chief architect of the Final Solution, the extermination of the Jews during the Holocaust declared that there is no God before his execution. Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary often reported sermons of priests and ministers to Hitler which reflected on him negatively in order to get them into trouble and get them into prison. Nazi officers often times came into church services to monitor what was being said in the pulpit (the Communists also did the same thing). Joseph Stalin may have been a seminary student, but he was a failed one at that. Only after Stalin converted to atheism (after reading Darwin’s book on evolution which allegedly showed him that there was no God) did he start out on his reign of oppression. It is more accurate to say that the reason Communists killed people was much more in line with their atheist worldview: human lives had no value, because they were just a form of matter. In this way countless millions were sent to languish and die in work camps all across the Soviet Union and other countries.
You’re doing the devil’s work!
- Atheists do not believe that devil(s) exist so that work does not exist.
This is the main question. Does God exist? If He does (and I prove that God does exist here), He is the ultimate good (since good and evil do exist). Conversely, the devil must also exist, as the opposite, ultimate evil in the universe. To deny the existence of God is thus a sin, the work of the devil.
If you read [religious text] you’d change your mind.
- Reading (religious text) is what confirmed my atheism.
Reading the Communist Manifesto and the Gulag Archipelago confirmed my theism.
Why do you think we came from “nothing”.
- No atheist or scientist claims this. Ex nihilo (something from nothing) is a creationist ideology. It is OK to say “We don’t know…yet”. Science is working to find out, while religion claims to already have the answers.
The very fact that hundreds, if not thousands of creation scientists (such as myself from UNL by an atheist professor, among a flurry of curse words) are being forced out of their jobs doesn’t speak of much tolerance. This means that atheists do think that they have the answer to the origin of life, and that it can only be evolution.
You can’t prove there’s no God!
- There’s no need to disprove a spurious claim. (Santa Claus, leprechaun, werewolves, etc.)
No, quite the contrary, it is one of the most difficult things to disprove a negative. You really can’t prove that there is no God. To be able to do this you would have to have full knowledge of everything in the universe. You would have to account for all evidences which might show that God exists. By saying that you can’t prove there’s no God is a spurious claim is saying that a prioiri you don’t want to deal with this issue.
The evidence for God is all around you!
- The extant Universe does not necessitate an anthropomorphic creator.
Atheists quite readily acknowledge that sonar was copied off of the echolocation system of bats. The nervous system and vocal tracts of these animals is more complex than sonar. Similarly, if DNA, the language of life can be interpreted by human beings, the question is, Who then created DNA?
What are you going to tell your children?
- I would tell them their own experience is all that they have and they should decide how they see the Universe on their own.
This is incorrect and a bad pedagogy, and frankly, quite ridiculous. How can a child think for themselves when they have no life experience? Children must be taught. Whatever facts you present to a child will be biased in the selection of those facts.
Atheism is a religion too!
- Atheism is strictly the absence of belief in deity(s).
Atheism is indeed a religion, or worldview, and this is quite evident. A religion is a set of axioms which cannot be reduced any further then a basic set of statements that are simply presupposed. In order to be free from religion, one must know all things about everything in the universe. Only God can know everything and communicate it to His creation. The atheist religion presupposes evolution, materialistic naturalism and that nature is everything. As one atheist put it, the atheist Bible contains one word: Think! One word, but still a religion.
What is an atheist’s purpose in life?
- Atheists believe that any meaning we can derive from life can only be done in the here and now. Purpose can be anything from charitable service, raising children, getting an education… the possibilities are endless
No, that is quite wrong. If this life is all that you have, then obviously you’d want to feel as good as you could while in your body, because after you die, there is nothing; according to the atheist saying, the one who has the most toys at the end of his life wins. Therefore, atheism becomes inherently selfish. That is why there are no atheist schools or hospitals. On the other hand, if true life begins in the afterlife (either heaven or hell), you only have this one life on earth to determine where you go after you die. What you do here on earth has meaning for where you end up after death. If you end up in eternal bliss, in heaven, then you will make all the sacrifices in the world here in this life.
If you do not believe in god, what do you believe in?
- A critical thinker believes in nothing, though as human beings, almost all of us do have beliefs of some sorts. Best not to use belief, or faith, to determine truth, but to accept the evidence given and be willing to change views when presented with new evidence.
While it is true that in order to determine objective truth, we must jettison faith and belief, and focus on evidence, we cannot do away with faith and beliefs entirely, no matter how hard we try. Even the atheist Bible is made up of one word. Atheism presupposes that nature is everything that was, is and shall be, and in all cases, tries to give natural explanations for what it can’t understand (this must be admitted as a bias). Since we do not know everything, and we arguably cannot know everything (and atheists must also prove that it is possible to do so), we all must make do with a minimal set of presuppositions. This set of presuppositions is our worldview, our religion. Atheists such as the Communists religiously quoted Marx and Engels. Atheism really is a religion.
God doesn’t believe in atheists either.
- Thanks for the rhetorical nonsense.
Billions of believers, how could this many persons be wrong?
- That is an Appeal to Popularity fallacy. Billions of children believe in Santa Claus, too.
And billions of people believe that their brain evolved from slime. Thanks for the rhetorical nonsense.
Think – your brain didn’t evolve!
95% of the world believes in God. Doesn’t that say something?
- 5% of the world has a clearer understanding of reality.
In Hungarian culture there is a saying that “more eyes see more things”. While sheer numbers cannot ultimately confirm something, still, if more people are seeing the same thing, that may mean that what they believe in has something to it. The 95% may be seeing the same thing but from different angles. Atheists refuse even to look. By flat out saying that “we know better than all of you” comes across as rather arrogant.
It takes just as much faith to be an atheist as it does to be a believer!
- Empirical evidence requires no faith.
But nobody has all of the facts in their hands. We know an extremely small proportion of things that there is to know about the universe (0.00000001%, or even less). We can only say that we do not need faith, when we know all things (such a being is God). But this atheist counter-argument is refuted by the atheist response to the very next question in this series of arguments, read below:
But you HAVE to believe in something!
- I believe the Universe exists in all the ways humans are able to perceive it.
If you don’t believe in god, why are you trying to disprove his existence?
- One does not have to disprove that which has never been proven.
It would be helpful from the atheist side to give certain criteria which they would accept us positive proof for God’s existence. Otherwise all of their arguments are mere rhetoric, unverifiable and therefore unscientific.
Why do atheists celebrate Christmas?
- Because it is as much cultural holiday as a religious observance, one that Christians happen to have borrowed from pagan celebrations that preceded it, just as with Easter. No one culture has a monopoly on the winter solstace.
The atheist response is an empty argument. Think about it, if atheists don’t believe in God, then why do they feel compelled to celebrate anything at all? Some Jewish people go to work on Christmas Day. Or, if atheists do want to celebrate on some day, why is it so coincidental that they choose the exact same day as Christmas? The selection of the day to celebrate is non-random (and the Reason this Season display was directly chosen to be during Christmas week so that Lincoln Atheists could poke their finger in Christians eyes). This again illustrates the fact that atheism is inherently dependent on theism. Lincoln Atheists but atheists in general are under no kind of obligation to celebrate during Christmas time, yet they do so.
Where do you get your morals?
- Morality is a function of evolutionary biology and culturization.
No. Morality must be given by someone who sets the rules. Morality is absolute. Without an absolute lawgiver morality would be meaningless. If morality were a function of culturization, then nobody can accuse Hitler for killing six million Jews, because during the Nazi regime that was what they defined as good.
- Morals predate religion. We get our morals from the same place as everyone, from empathy. Unlike theists, we do not attribute morality to the teachings of a book.
This is again wrong. We could ask the question, where does empathy come from? Somebody had to create empathy and define what is right and wrong, to make it absolute. The Bible is the self-revelation of God. Jesus Christ says in the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 6 says: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Jesus is the truth, because He is the Son of God; God in the flesh.
What’s stopping you from going on a crime spree right now?
- My intrinsic morality and desire to exist in a peaceful society.
Atheists are the biggest murderers in human history (Communists). Yet so many atheists support abortion on demand. How is that a peaceful society, when almost half of all deaths today are due to abortion? The fact that some atheists are peaceful is contrary to the logical consequence of atheism. Atheist inconsistency is actually a good thing. There have been some atheists who saw the logical consistency between atheism and lawlessness and ended up shooting children at schools. I am thankful that God exists Who restrains evil.
I feel sorry for you not having reason to live.
- We only have one opportunity for life so I choose to make the most of it.
This counter-argument is a repetition of argument #21, so I will forego refuting it.
Aren’t you afraid of hell?
- I am generally not afraid of non-existent locales.
Voltaire was also an atheist and just before he died he had visions of the afterlife, and claimed to have seen demons before he died. It was so horrible that his nurse decided then and there she would never be an atheist. So did Joseph Stalin. Many an atheist has had a terrible deathbed experience.
What if you’re wrong?
- This is a well debunked apologetic philosophy, known as Pascal’s Wager. There are thousands of proposed gods. Picking the wrong god could provoke anger. Provided you picked the right god, an intelligent god would know that merely hedging your bets is not genuine faith.
Yet so many atheists, when faced with immanent death still turn towards God. And what God is the true God? The atheist argument leaves out the possibility that God makes Himself known to humans. That is why the Bible for example is the Word of God, the revelation of God. The true God is powerful enough to be able to make Himself known to His creatures. There is proof that all of the different pagan gods came from the same basic set of false gods created by men’s imaginations: the Greek, Roman and Scandinavian gods all played the same roles, but just had different names. In Greece the main god was known as Zeus. In Rome, his name was Jupiter. In Scandinavian mythology, he was called Odin. People didn’t go around making up new gods, like the flying spaghetti monster, but rather recycled and renamed new gods based on existing gods, which were all separate from the true God (El), of the Bible.
What do you think happens after we die?
- No one knows, that is why we place emphasis on the here and now.
But the way you place emphasis on the here and now is not that you would lead a moral life, but rather that you live like there’s no tomorrow – carpe diem. That’s why some atheists are preoccupied by sex and would like to have sex with whoever they want, whenever they want. According to some atheists, the person who collects the most toys by the end of his life wins. Hence atheism is characterized by inherent greed and selfishness. That is why there are no atheist schools or hospitals.
Additional, unanswered arguments
Now some additional theistic arguments will follow, arguing for the existence of God and against atheism. These will be longer arguments, not just shallow, “off the top of the head” style arguments as seen earlier.
If evolution never happened, God must exist
So many observations in nature can demonstrate that evolution is false. First of all, science didn’t begin with Darwin. Therefore, creationism is just as worthy an explanation of origins as is evolution. We also must make note that evolution cannot objectively be called science. In order for that to be true, evolution must be observable in its entirety from the first cell to the human brain. Geological processes must also be observable in such a manner, over millions of years, all across the globe. But, by the very nature of geological processes, this is impossible. On the other hand, gravity can be tested and verified over and over again. As of yet, the whole entire process of phylogeny (macroevolution from single-celled organisms to humans) has happened only one, single time. Atheists never prove, nor can prove that evolution happened, only how it possibly could have happened.
In genetics scientific progress has shown that 100% of genomes is used for functional elements. The evolutionary “junk DNA” hypothesis has been buried in its evolutionary graveyard for over decades. Genes and other genetic elements are said to be evolutionarily conserved, a great oxymoron. Genes and proteins form clusters, orthologs with the same function, distant from each other in structure and function, and which all came into existence at the beginning of life, in a sort of big-bang of macromolecular sequences. Simulation of regulatory elements in the promoters of genes show that even a small combination of short motifs cannot be produced by random chance, let alone the whole sequences of genes, or genomes. Duplication and divergence is a moot process, which ends up in displacing the fragile equilibrium of physiological processes in the cell – observe the fatal effects of trisomy in Down syndrome’s patients. Just as a fine portrait painting cannot be created by random brushstrokes of a blind artist, so the information packed genomes of organisms cannot be brought about by random mutations. This would be equivalent to translating the book War and Peace from Russian to Spanish by randomly changing letters.
On a cellular level, evolution predicted that cells are simple molten globules, yet with scientific progress, cells have been shown to be wonderful microcosms of designed molecular machinery, functionally integrated with each other to make life possible.
Evolution predicted one hundred vestigial organs, leftover from evolutionary development, yet scientific progress has shown that of these, at least 94 have functions. It is okay to say that “we don’t know yet” the function of the remaining six.
The science of taxonomy was invented by Carl Linnaeus, a creationist. Evolutionists have not been able to find any set of fossil transitions between different kinds of groups. Gradual evolution flatly contradicts punctuated equilibrium (known by some as the “punk-eek” theory). While gradualism may explain small-scale genetic and morphological differences, and punctuated equilibrium may explain why there are big differences between different kinds of organisms, they both suffer from fatal flaws. Creation theory is the best explanation in that it posits that species vary within a kind, but that species between two kinds are not related. It synthesizes the fact that species do vary, but within bounds, so that intermediates do not exist between any two kinds.
Finally, linguistics decisively show that evolution never happened. All of the ancient languages such as Hebrew, Greek and Latin are much more complex than modern languages which are derived from the more archaic languages. Evolutionists are at a loss as to explain how complex languages simply appeared. No intermediates of any sort between a proto-language and any modern language can be shown. Evolutionary arguments are very hypothetical and convoluted. In reality, languages obviously simplify over time, that is, they devolve. This can be seen quite well in the German-Dutch-Afrikaans trajectory. During linguistic simplification, vocabulary is lost, classes of nouns are lost (compare Icelandic with Swedish, or the reduction of eight cases to four from Greek to German), verb inflections are also lost. Grammar rules are also simplified. In a word, linguistic entropy has increased over time, and it is a stretch of the imagination that language has evolved over millions of years, when language has obviously devolved over only thousands of years.
These are evidences taken only from genetics and linguistics, but more evidence abounds in the fields of geology, anthropology, astrophysics, and other areas, which support creation and not evolution.
Atheism is anti-scientific
Atheists must believe in evolution to support their worldview. Evolution deals with mere chance events. However, creationism is all about God creating time, space and matter, along with natural laws, because God made all things. There is order in the natural world, which makes natural laws such as gravity or thermodynamics possible. Without order and a structured universe at the beginning of time, the universe as we see it would not have been possible.
We are the result of design, not the product of chance
We can infer design from a multipart structure, with a highly specified function. The fact that the individual parts of a multipart structure all come together to form a single, integrated unit which has a specific function is highly improbable. All subparts of the structure need to be present in order for the function to work. Thus, it is highly unlikely that all of these subparts came together by random chance. To say so would be like pulling out 30 jigsaw puzzle pieces at random out of a bag of 2000 pieces and expecting them to fit into a single unit. Thus, the human brain, which is extremely highly specialized, and is made up of a trillion cells is obviously designed.
Similarly, if a simpler structure is known to have been designed, then it is highly likely that any structure which is more complex is also designed. For example, the sonar system in submarines is a human invention. Yet the sonar system was copied from the echolocation system of bats which help them find their way at night. If sonar is designed, then obviously, bats have also been designed by an Intelligent Designer. Not to mention the human body, or the genomes of living organisms.
Your mental processes are immaterial, therefore you were created by God
The very fact that people have such things as memories, thoughts and emotions and other mental processes demonstrate that there is an immaterial part of human beings. Since atheists believe that nature is everything, then they believe that we have no souls. Pure naturalism cannot explain the existence of something non-material. Th existence of a non-material entity as our souls points to the existence of God Who created us.
The reason atheists want to refute God is because they don’t want God telling them what to do
It is quite evident this is so, because atheists are pre-occupied with the existence of God, especially the Triune God of the Bible. Atheism is inherently dependent on God who they want to refute and are so angry at. The very fact that atheists wrote these counter-arguments to theistic arguments is proof of point.
Atheism leads to racism
Atheists believe that nature is everything and that we all got here by random chance mutations (which we saw earlier are not scientific). If so, then all life is interconnected with each other (phylogeny, macroevolution). If not, then that means that at least one point in the evolutionary tree there is a break between species. This means that there would be at least one complex species (such as a worm, or an insect or a fish) which came into existence without any ancestry points to supernatural creation.
This being said, if evolution is true, then that means the human species is also evolving, even if not at present. Even if the human species is in some sort of stasis at present, we will continue to evolve. Evolution happens by gradual differences in the genetic makeup of species. Genes control what we look like, how we behave, and determines our chances of survival (we have better chances of survival if we are smarter, faster, stronger). Thus, eventually a form of human will evolve which is inherently superior to all other humans. Hitler’s dream of the Ubermensch will finally materialize.
Lincoln Atheists also put an interview that they did with one Ernie Chambers on Youtube. In this video, Chambers is heard to make a number of anti-white comments. Obviously, Lincoln Atheists (many of them who are white) didn’t think that Chamber’s racist comments were wrong, so they still put the interview online.
The universe had to have a beginning and therefore a Creator
In other words, matter did not always exist. Furthermore, Carl Sagan’s idea of a universe which had existed forever in the past is even more fallacious (an infinite amount of time would have to transpire before the present moment, therefore we would never exist). Entropy is always increasing, everything is falling more and more into disorder. This means that there had to be a beginning to the universe, meaning that time, space and matter had a beginning, independent of themselves. Therefore, God must exist Who set all of these things into motion.