The Irrationality of Atheist Belief
by Jefferson White
I. That the Atheist Conception of
Evolution Is Illogical
In this argument, we are not interested in whether macro-evolution actually occurs. For the sake of argument, we will assume that it does. Thus the argument is that it is the atheist’s conception of macro-evolution that is illogical.
According to Western atheists, there is a Big Bang and energy emerges. Energy then evolves into matter. Matter eventually evolves into life.
However, this scenario is logically impossible. It is illogical because the conclusion of any logical argument is also found in the premise of the argument. For example, the argument that “one plus one equals two” is a logical argument since “one plus one” is just another way of saying “two.”
Thus, as a matter of logic, energy cannot evolve into matter unless matter is already presupposed in energy. Nor can matter evolve into life unless life is already presupposed in matter – and also in energy – from the beginning. Logically speaking, life is presupposed from the instant that the cosmos begins. Although life as a structure may not appear until billions of years later, this appearance is possible only if life is presupposed.
If it is only energy that exists at the beginning of the cosmos, there can only ever be energy. According to the law of identity (A=A) it is impossible for energy to evolve into something other than itself. If energy does evolve into matter and matter evolves into life, this can only be because matter and life are already implicit within energy.
This is why the atheist conception of evolution is logically incoherent. It is logical nonsense to believe that life can evolve out of non-life.
II. That the Atheist Conception of
Reality is Illogical
All Western atheists hold three beliefs about the nature of reality, each of which contradicts the other.
First, the atheist is convinced that nature has no intent, no purpose, and no design. Nature simply is and evolves without purpose.
Second, the atheist is convinced that some intellectual system – usually modern science or progressivism, or both – somehow can create intent, purpose, and design. This logically contradicts the first belief. Since modern science and progressivism are a part of nature, the atheist claim that they can somehow create intent, purpose, and design logically must be an illusion, because nature has no intent, purpose, or design. However, the atheist is distinguished by his refusal to recognize this logical contradiction.
Third, the atheist is convinced that the reason why he is an atheist, while the rest of the world remains mired in superstition, is because he is uniquely capable of employing reason to discover that the cosmos has no intent, no purpose, and no design. But again: if nature has no intent, no purpose, and no design, how can it be possible for the atheist, who is himself part of nature, to rationally discover this truth? How is he able to invent purpose in order to discover that there is no purpose? The atheist has no real answer to this question
So why is the atheist rationally incapable of recognizing the logical contradiction between his belief that the cosmos has no meaning and his belief that he can somehow create meaning?
A possible answer is that the atheist does not really believe in one or more of these three claims. Perhaps he does not really believe that nature is without purpose. Or he does not really believe that modern science or progressivism can create purpose. Or perhaps he does not really believe that he himself is a rational human being. However, as anyone who has actually dealt with an atheist knows, the atheist will vehemently assert the truth of all three of his claims. One is forced to conclude that, if a lie detector test was given, it would reveal that the atheist does believe all three propositions.
And what this tells us is that the atheist is someone who is uniquely irrational.
III. That Theophanic Events Are Real
A theophany is an intervention of God in the world. By definition, therefore, no atheist can believe in a theophanic event. But there is a logical problem with this atheist disbelief.
From a scholarly paper written in 2012:
In the spring of 1976 at the University of Washington [the philosopher] Eric Voegelin presented a series of lectures…During one such session, Voegelin was expounding upon the crucial notion of a “theophanic event” to the utter astonishment of a world-renowned Weberian scholar in the audience. After all, as the professor remarked, how could Voegelin talk of such things in an age that Weber described as one of “disenchantment.” What could Voegelin possibly mean? Voegelin’s response to the professor must have seemed even more bizarre. Voegelin asked whether the professor was indeed serious about his question and really wanted to know what Voegelin meant. Or was he an “intellectual crook”? The professor, of course, vehemently denied the latter possibility and affirmed that he truly wanted to know. “Well,” responded Voegelin, “that is a theophanic event!”
The rational absurdity of atheism is revealed in this exchange. It is revealed in the puzzlement of the “Weberian scholar” who both “knows” and “does not know” that it is impossible to understand anything at all unless that understanding transcends what is being understood. And transcendence is an attribute of God, a gift that is given to man by God. Human understanding is a theophanic event. However, because the “Weberian scholar” considers himself to be a “modern man,” he is utterly opposed to Voegelin’s reference to theophanic events, since “modern man” can no longer believe in such events. This is why Voegelin asks him whether he really wants to know why Voegelin believes what he believes or whether the professor is simply an “intellectual crook.” When the professor states that he really wants to know, Voegelin points to the desire to know as an example of a theophanic event.
The atheist asserts that there can be no such thing as a transcendent understanding of reality, while at the same time claiming that his own understanding is transcendent. The atheist is, as Voegelin says, “an intellectual crook.”
IV. That There Is No Rational Atheist Argument
The difficulty in arguing with any atheist is that the atheist has no rational argument.
However, to make this the argument is to “disrespect” the atheist and his claim to be a rational human being. And if there is one thing in which the Western atheist believes, in addition to atheism, it is in his own personal rationality. Indeed, the atheist considers himself to be more rational than other people because he is an atheist.
Thus one can only engage in a rational argument with an atheist on one of two grounds. Either one will participate in the atheist lie that he actually has a rational argument or one will “insult” the atheist by demonstrating that he has no rational argument. Unfortunately, most people who argue with atheists participate in the atheist lie out of a misguided sense of civility.
Now why do we say that the atheist has no rational argument?
We say this since the atheist denial of God alwaysinvolves the re-appearance of God at some other level of his argument and that this is never acknowledged.
For example, if one argues that free will, purpose, and design are possible only if human beings are a reflection of the divine, the atheist will answer in one of two ways. Either he will insist that these human attributes can exist as the products of an completely evolutionary process or he will agree that such human attributes do not really exist, but that we do not need these attributes to be fully human.
Let us begin with the first atheist argument, which is that these attributes are the products of an evolutionary process. According to the atheist, evolution as a process contains no free will, no purpose, and no design. And yet somehow this evolutionary process produces human beings who have all three attributes. As a matter of logic, however, if the evolutionary process does not already contain these attributes, then the attributes can never “evolve” out of that process.
Now the atheist will go on to argue that, because of modern science, we are now able to “understand” evolution and that our “understanding” empowers us to “control” our evolution. However, this argument is nothing more than rhetorical hand-waving. It is simply magical thinking. The logical truth is that if we are the products of a completely evolutionary process, which contains no free will, no purpose, and no design, then those particular attributes can never “emerge” as part of that evolutionary process. The atheist has just re-invented God by claiming that human beings have become God by transcending the evolutionary process.
This brings us to the second atheist argument. In this case, the atheist agrees that there can be no such thing as free will, purpose, or design, but then goes on to argue that we can be fully human anyway. The problem with this argument is that the atheist who makes it nevertheless lives as if he did actually have free will, purpose, and design. In short, the atheist who agrees that these attributes do not exist is the living refutation of his own argument. No atheist can live as if this there is no such thing as free will, purpose, and design.
Logically speaking, if we are completely the products of an evolutionary process then we can never transcend that process. The puppet who is called Pinocchio can never become anything more than a puppet. He can never become a real human being. But the atheist believes either that Pinocchio can become a human being, and therefore believes in an atheist miracle, or the atheist believes that he is really is nothing more than a puppet, while putting the lie to this belief by living as if he were a human being.
This is why the atheist has no rational argument.