Tis the Season for Christian Reason
by Robin Schumacher
At least two times a year, you can count on the insecurity of some atheist organizations (like the Freedom from Religion Foundation) to be on full display. Nothing threatens these atheist’s worldview quite like the celebration of Jesus’ birth and resurrection, so to help ease their anxiety, they erect billboards and other such signage’s that are aimed at telling Christians how ignorant they are to believe in things these groups consider to be superstitions and myths.
One recurrent theme of their displays is how unreasonable Christianity is vs. atheism. Atheism, we are told, is a reasonable and adult position to embrace whereas Christianity is childish and chocked full of irrational claims.
Actually, the Bible tells us that one aspect of Christianity is indeed unreasonable to embrace, at both the unbeliever and believer’s levels. But before we get to that, let’s work our way through a few truths that unravel the atheist’s general assertion that the Christian faith is unreasonable.
Is it Unreasonable to Believe in an Ultimate Cause?
At age 17, I was trying to find my way through year number one of college and wasn’t doing that great a job at it. By contrast, at age 17 the great theologian Jonathan Edwards was answering the foundational question of philosophy, which has been posed from thinkers like Leibnitz to Heidegger: Why do we have something rather than nothing at all?
Edwards basic thought process was the following:
- Something exists
- Nothing cannot create something
- Therefore, a necessary and eternal being exists
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Writing many years later in his magisterial work, Freedom of the Will, Edwards said: “I assert that nothing ever comes to pass without a cause. What is self-existent must be from eternity, and must unchangeable: but as to all things that begin to be, they are not self-existent, and therefore must have some foundation of their existence without themselves.”
Edward’s conclusions are affirmed not just by Christians, but by skeptics as well like David Hume who wrote to John Stewart on one occasion saying: “I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause”.
So, is it unreasonable for a Christian to believe that God caused everything that we know? Not at all.
While atheists oftentimes mock Christians for their belief, they forget that both the atheist and the Christian must go back to an ultimate reality; in other words, they don’t go back forever. For the atheist, that ultimate reality is the universe; for the Christian, it’s God. The question is not whether there is an ultimate reality, but which reality is ultimate…
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