Answering Atheist Objections

by Randy Everist

answering objectionsThese are not scholarly objections to theistic or Christian arguments, by and large, but rather more popular-level objections. They are of the sort you may run into on the Internet, or even with an atheist acquaintance, family member, or friend.

1. You believe ____________? How can an intellectual person believe that?!

This is the “appeal to incredulity,” as I like to call it. This kind of objection is seen largely because Christianity and/or theism is just not seen as a viable option for thinking people not ready to run a suicide cult. This is why apologetics is useful for the Christian. “It [the Gospel] is always heard against the background of the cultural milieu in which one lives.  A person raised in a cultural milieu in which Christianity is still seen as an intellectually viable option will display an openness to the Gospel which a person who is secularized will not.  For the secular person you may as well tell him to believe in fairies or leprechauns as in Jesus Christ! Or, to give a more realistic illustration, it is like our being approached on the street by a devotee of the Hare Krishna movement who invites us to believe in Krishna.  Such an invitation strikes us as bizarre, freakish, even amusing.  But to a person on the streets of Bombay, such an invitation would, I assume, appear quite reasonable and be serious cause for reflection.”1

The answer to the objection lies in the fact that rational people occupy “both sides of the aisle.” If a valid argument is presented which contains premises which are more plausibly true than false, then a person can be comfortable both with the rationality of his position and the fact it is theistic or Christian in nature. Only if the objector can point to a specific argument as invalid or a specific premise as untrue can he accuse the Christian of being inaccurate (and many times, even the charge of irrationality can yet be avoided).

What to do?

Point out, kindly, that this is not an objection to any argument the Christian has made, and show him there are arguments to the contrary. While the objector may howl that he does not believe these arguments, his lack of belief does not demonstrate you are being irrational. Rationality is simply having some justification to hold a belief or set of beliefs. This should allow you to focus the conversation…

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