What if atheism was irrational? What if, based on all the evidence available, it just didn’t make good, logical sense? Since atheists tend to harbor a certain intellectual conceit, we might imagine that they would reconsider their opinion on the matter, right? Riiiiight. (Did you catch the sarcasm in that?)
Let’s just look at the basic facts in good logical fashion. First, the universe exists. Most people would agree with this statement. A committed solipsist might insist that the universe only exists for them, but they can’t prove objectively that it exists for anyone else. A Buddhist might argue that it only seems that the universe exists independent of ourselves, whereas in truth we and the universe are just illusions – that we are, in fact, just part of the great Being of existence. Nonetheless, generally speaking, most people will agree that the universe and everything in it exists. This seems like a common-sense, basic proposition, but it is a very important one for the chain of logic that follows.
Second, everything that exists was brought into being by some other preceding thing. In plain language, this just means that something cannot come from nothing. Everything comes from something preceding it. I didn’t just pop into existence. I came from the union of sperm and egg that came from my father and mother, just as they did before me, and so on into the misty past. If you happened to walk by a lonely house in a field, no reasonable person would just assume that the house popped into existence. Most intelligent, thoughtful people would assume that somebody built the house. Now if somebody just kept on insisting over and over again that, no, darn it, nobody built that house, it just popped out of thin air, we might rightly consider that person somewhat crazy. We certainly wouldn’t think them erudite.
Third, we know that the universe, and everything in it, came into being at a specific point in time. To put it another way, there was a time when there was no universe (to be more precise, this would be a “no-time”, since “time” is a part of the universe). So, this means that at some point in the past, at “no-time”, everything that exists did not exist. Atheists accept this, but they like to create semantic arguments to deflect the logical conclusion they know is coming. They might argue that there are multiple, preceding universes. Or they might argue for the existence of some kind of quantum foam. The problem is that these theoretical constructs (and they are just theoretical constructs, because there is no evidence for their existence – in other words, atheists just make them up) don’t evade the problem. They just take more steps backwards, like the old story about the earth resting on the back of a turtle that stood on turtles “all the way down”. So even positing the possible existence of quantum foam, or bubble universes, or multi-verses, the point is, at some point, all of these things, at some no-time, did not exist.
Finally, then, as we know, everything suddenly came into existence from nothing (the so-called “Big Bang”). I mean everything. From point zero to the second you are reading this, over billions of years, we went from “no-thing” and “no-time” to energy and matter, to space-time, galaxies and planets, to plants and animals, to the human being sitting here at this table typing these words on a laptop. To go back to point two, it seems that in fact the impossible happened: something, everything, came from nothing.
How do atheists explain this? Well, they don’t. Typically, they shrug their shoulders and claim that just because there isn’t a scientific explanation right now doesn’t mean there won’t be one in the future. They further argue that a lack of understanding on this matter does not necessarily demand they accept a theistic view of things (that God exists and made the universe).
Fair enough. But let’s take a step back to the beginning of our argument and ask what is reasonable? I am not arguing that an atheist must accept a theistic view of existence. Nor am I arguing that science proves a theistic view. The only thing I am asking is that based on all the facts before us, is it reasonable or unreasonable to believe in God as the creator of the universe?
The answer, of course, is that it is quite reasonable to believe in God, and quite unreasonable not to believe in God. So then, how does logic and reason point to the existence of God? Well, if everything comes from something, and something cannot come from nothing, then the universe must have come from something. But we also know that there was no-thing before the universe. Any other things that are contigent on prior things that we posit as existing prior to our universe (such as bubble universes and quantum foam) also eventually must answer the same question: how did you come to be? Logic demands, therefore, the existence of a thing that was not caused by a preceding thing (remember, this is not a religious argument). Furthermore, this thing, or being, must not be made of matter or energy (since these are things of the universe, and are therefore contingent on its existence), and must exist outside of time (since prior to the existence of the universe, there was no time at all). This non-contigent, un-caused thing, or being, is what brought the contingent, causal universe into existence. This being we call God. Improbable? Perhaps, but logical, and quite reasonable, given the facts before us. Assuming you haven’t eliminated any possible solution ahead of time (however improbable it may be) from your equation, then the logic is sound.
But that is precisely the problem with atheism. Atheists eliminate God as a possible solution from the very beginning. This is the starting point for atheism – not a logical conclusion nor the result of scientific evidence. As such, it is an ideological position, not a logical or rational one. Therefore, no amount of evidence, scientific or otherwise, and no amount of logical reasoning, will lead an atheist to conclude that God might exist, because he has, from the beginning, eliminated that conclusion as a possibility. Does that sound rational?
For example, the well-known atheist Richard Dawkins once said (and I am paraphrasing here), if a statue of Jesus (or maybe it was the Blessed Virgin Mary) suddenly lifted its arm and waved at him, he would not conclude that something possibly supernatural had occurred. He would just believe that somehow, spontaneously, all the atoms and molecules just moved in the right way at the right time to make the statue’s arm move. Okay, but did something possibly induce those atoms and molecules to move in that way (especially considering that this would be a unique phenomenon, to be sure)? For Dawkins, absolutely not. It was blind chance. The possibility of anything existing beyond the visible universe is rejected before any evidence is evaluated. It is considered, from the beginning, as an impossibility. As Christ said regarding unbelievers (again, paraphrasing), even a man rising from the dead won’t likely change their minds. Indeed!
Looking at things fairly, then (and not ideologically) we can only conclude that it is the theist’s view that is rational, and the atheist’s view that is irrational. So the next time an atheist demands proof for the existence of God, respond by telling him that you don’t have demonstrative proof (for no one can truly prove or disprove the existence of God), but given all the facts available, believing in God is the most reasonable position to take. When he scoffs (and he will scoff – scoffing is a particular specialty of the atheist. It is the atheist’s substitute for really thinking about things) ask him one simple question: how can something come from nothing? Ask him if a house can come from nothing? He should surely agree that of course a house cannot pop into existence from nothing. Ask him if a rocket ship can come from nothing? He should answer the same. Then how can the entire universe, which is about a billion times more complex than a house or a rocket ship, come into existence from nothing? This is the absurdity that the atheist must answer, because once we reach the point of absurdity, it is incumbent upon the believers of the absurd to defend their position. In other words, when all evidence points to a builder of the house in the field, it is up to those people that insist there wasn’t a builder to defend their opinion. Unfortunately, most atheists I have encountered do everything to avoid defending their position – usually by resorting to ad hominem attacks and by changing the topic to the general and historical stupidities of religion. Don’t let them get away with it. Keep bringing the discussion back to the facts and the logic. Stress the logic. That always irritates them. The truth is, lacking any sound evidence, or reason, for the existence of everything, the atheists shudder at the thought of admitting that their most profound basis for believing what they believe is . . . faith – faith that God does not exist.