Why There Is No God

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I read a book this week titled Why There Is No God, by Armin Navabi, a former Muslim turned atheist.

Navabi explores 20 common arguments for the existence of God and offers counter evidences for each. He writes in his introduction, “As a believer, you may find that you disagree with much of what is said here, and that’s okay. Reading this book will allow you to see what many atheists believe and how some people may question the beliefs that you hold. If you plan to defend your faith in discussions, this book can help you understand the reasoning behind the lack of belief in your opponents. Knowing this will help you debate from a more informed position, and the atheists you talk to may appreciate that fact that you’ve taken time to understand and consider their arguments.”1

Navabi is correct. Too many Christians for too long, (myself included), did not and do not have answers to some of the tough questions atheists can ask. Many of the questions an atheist may ask Christians have never heard of before, especially those who are new to the faith, or have never been exposed to any apologetic material.

Imagine playing a game of chess and you knew the moves your opponent would make ahead of time. How much easier would it be to win the game if you were able to anticipate and prepare for their strategy. Exploring the answers and questions non-believers have concerning God, the Bible, and the historicity of Jesus is not only wise, but the Bible tells us to be ready to give answers for our faith. 1 Peter 3:15  According to Strong’s Concordance, ready is the Greek word ‘heteos‘ or fitness. Anyone who has played any sports know the importance of being fit and well prepared for a sport or match.

I understand that apologetics is not a game, and I don’t look at my conversations I have with non-believers as some kind of match where there are winners and losers. If you begin to study apologetics, you shouldn’t look at it as a contest, and this goes double for those who are competitive by nature. Rather, studying apologetics satisfies the 1Peter mandate in scripture, and can allow you intelligently express reasons for your faith. When an informed atheist or skeptic asks why you believe in God, Jesus, the resurrection, or trust the New Testament, replying, ‘because the Bible told me so’ will carry very little weight with them.

If you are  more liberal in your political views, and then discuss politics with those who are more conservative, you do so in an attempt to persuade them how our state or nation would be better off with left leaning policies and laws. Same can be said for those who are conservative in their views; they believe our country would be better off with more conservative philosophies and constructs.

Discussing your belief with a non-believer is no different, in the simple sense that you believe they will be better off having a Christian world view, not to make the world a better place, but rather for their inheritance of eternal life. Atheists, on the other hand, believe you and the world would be better off if the minds and lives of people were clear of the absurdity of religion. Religion, in their eyes, often does more harm than good.

Navabi’s first chapter discusses science and the complexity and order of life. Concerning design and complexity, Navabi referenced a Youtube video, and I also have quoted text from the Atheist Republic web site concerning the video.
“Back in the 1970s, an unexpected breakthrough was made by a mathematician named John Conway, here in Cambridge. He devised something called The Game of Life.
A simple simulation that shows how a complex thing like the mind, might come about from a basic set of rules. The simulation consists of a grid, a bit like a chessboard, extending infinitely in all directions.” 2

Key words here I find significant.
“He devised something called…” Would it be fair to replace the word devised with designed? I think so.

What is interesting is the example given to demonstrate how simple rules can create complex designs and patterns requires not only a simple set of rules, but a complex computer, monitor, keyboard, and a binary system, that all must work together to process the information input into the system, by a designer. Designed mathematical formulas that create complex designs argue for a designer, not against one.

“…might come about from a basic set of rules.” Where do you get the rules or forces that govern our universe?

Stephen Hawkins describes the four forces that act on our universe: Gravitational force, electromagnetic force, weak nuclear force, and strong nuclear force. Each of these have very unique characteristics. Gravity is the weakest of the four, but it can act over great distances and is always positive. The electromagnetic force is 1041 times stronger than gravity, but can be positive or negative. The weak nuclear force is radioactive, but it acts on some particles, and not at all on others. Finally the strong nuclear force holds the quarks together in protons and neutrons and holds the protons and neutrons together in the nucleus of an atom. 3

Likely that was more information than you wanted to know, but where do these forces come from? Why do they act the way they do? There is nothing inherent in these laws that make them necessary.

Navabi also asks the question, “If complexity requires a creator, who created God?” 4 If God had a creator, then we would just be pushing back the question of a ultimate, initial designer. If God had a creator, then who would have created that God? And who created that God? On into infinity, backwards in time.

We now know that time and space have not existed eternally. This is an important point to understand and be clear on.

In 1929, Edwin Hubble noticed a red shift in distant galaxies that he was observing from the Wilson Observatory. A red shift simply meant that galaxies were moving away from us. In fact, the further out the galaxies, the faster they were moving away. This discovery became known as the Big Bang theory. Simply put, if we move backward in time, the galaxies would move closer and closer together till they converged on a single point. It was so significant that Einstein himself came out a year later to make his own confirming observations.

So if space and time had a beginning, then the beginner must be outside space and time.
Atheists may insist that we will eventually find a natural cause for nature, but that does not make any sense. How can something be the cause of its own existence? If nature did not exist, how could nature be the cause of its own existence? It did not exist to cause anything. It must be something outside of nature, something unnatural, or supernatural. 5

William Paley, a Christian apologist, theologian, and philosopher who lived in the late 1700’s, had a famous argument about finding a watch in a natural setting such as a beach or forest. Paley argued that we would know the watch was designed because of its complex nature. It would be foolish to assume nature, somehow, despite great odds, was responsible for the watch. Navabi also wrote concerning complexity, “If design were truly responsible for everything, there would be no fundamental difference between a stone and a watch because both would have been designed by an intelligent creator.” 6

I am not sure what is implied by fundamental, but I do believe, both the watch and the stone are designed. Granted the design of a stone, say a granite rock, at first glance seems very rudimentary. Maybe a comparison between a simple wooden go-kart, hammered, nailed, and screwed together by a 14 year old boy, and that of a $400,000 dragster would be on par of that of a stone and a watch.

Yet even a granite rock, formed below the surface from slowly cooling magma, has multiple compositions such as quartz, micas, orthoclase and plagioclase feldspar, and amphiboles. 7 Not to mention the complex molecular structure we can’t see with the naked eye, which includes the forces Steven Hawking mentioned above.

A personal God created the universe. This universe, and the world we inhabit, have obvious indicators of design. Kenneth Samples wrote, “…the world exhibits elegant order, detectable patterns, and dependable regularity. These teleological (purposeful) qualities are essential to the nature of science, for they make self-consistent scientific theories possible.” 8

Some Christians may struggle with responses to his arguments against God, but listening to, reading about, thinking about the claims of skeptics and atheists can increase ‘heteos’, your fitness, or readiness for the encounter. Understanding the beliefs and reasons atheists or skeptics have, not only strengthens your position, but increases your knowledge base for defending your faith. Navabi had this right, take the time to understand and consider the arguments on both sides, can only aid the discussions of opposing world views.

Why nature is mathematical is a mystery…The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle. – Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist known for paving the way toward our understanding of quantum mechanics.

 

Sources:
1. Navabi, Armin. Why There Is No God. Atheist Republic, 2014. Print.
2. Ibid.
3. Hawking, Steven W. A Brief History of Time. New York: Bantam Books, 1988. Print.
4. Navabi, Armin. Why There Is No God. Atheist Republic, 2014. Print.
5. Turek, Frank. Stealing From God. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 2014. Print.
6. Navabi, Armin. Why There Is No God. Atheist Republic, 2014. Print.
7. King, Hobart. “Granite.” Geoscience News and Information. Geology.com, n.d. Web. 30 May 2015
8. Samples, Kenneth R. Without a Doubt. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004. Print.

 

 

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Why There Is No God by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog.

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