Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments, and Why They Fail
by Eric Hyde
I write very little in the area of Christian vs. atheist apologetics, and for good reason.
It was in atheist chat-rooms and blogs that I first cut my teeth in theology many years ago. Since those days I have not heard anything new from atheists.
It seems that many atheists today (some like to use the title ‘New Atheists’ to distinguish them from the more profound philosophical atheists of yesteryear) have very little to add to the discussion. To be fair, the same goes with most Christian apologists.
However, I thought it would be fun to comment on the ten arguments I hear the most. My hope is that it will help expose some of the more obvious problems with them and maybe help both sides—atheists and Christians alike—to move on to more interesting debate material.
One additional note: another reason I do not enter into the atheist-Christian debate world much anymore is because of the sheer discourtesy that both sides tend to show the other. I will not delete any comments, no matter how uncivil or juvenile they become, because, for me, it is an important part of the article. The responses (if there are any) will demonstrate the current state of atheist vs. Christian banter. Also, I will not respond to rude posts. This is advanced warning so please don’t think me rude as well if I ignore them.
Okay, here we go:
1. There is no evidence for God’s existence.
There are a couple of problems with this line. Starting with the idea of ‘evidence,’ what exactly does one mean by evidence? What is sufficient evidence for one person is often not sufficient evidence for another. A court of law provides innumerable examples of how two parties can possess
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the same collection of data, the same power of logic and reasoning, yet argue for completely different interpretations of the data. The old saying is true: the facts do not determine the argument, the argument determines the facts.
When confronted with the charge that there is no evidence for God the Christian often does not know where to start with a rebuttal. It’s as G.K. Chesterton once said, asking a Christian to prove God’s existence is like asking someone to prove the existence of civilization. What is one to do but point and say, “look, there’s a chair, and there’s a building,” etc. How can one prove civilization by merely selecting a piece here and a piece there as sufficient proofs rather than having an experience of civilization as a whole?
Nearly everything the Christian lays eyes on is evidence of God’s existence because he sees the ‘handiwork’ of God all around him in creation. But this is hardly sufficient evidence in the court of atheist opinion, a court which presupposes that only what can be apprehended by the senses rightly qualifies as evidence (in other words, the atheist demands not evidence of God’s handiwork, but rather material evidence of God Himself). For the Christian who believes in a transcendent God, he can offer no such evidence; to produce material evidence of God is, ironically, to disprove a transcendent God and cast out faith…