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 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 evolves into matter and matter eventually evolves into life.

But this scenario is impossible as a matter of logic.  It is illogical because the conclusion of every logical argument is found in the premise of that argument. For example, the argument that “one plus one equals two” is a logical argument because “one plus one” is simply another way of saying “two.”

Therefore, as a matter of logic, energy cannot evolve into matter unless matter is presupposed in energy. Nor can matter evolve into life unless life is presupposed in matter – and in energy – from the beginning. Logically speaking, therefore, 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 only energy that exists at the beginning of the cosmos, there will 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 then evolves into life, this can only be because matter and life are 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, with each belief contradicting the others. 

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 – can somehow create intent, purpose, and design.  This logically contradicts the first belief. Because modern science and progressivism are a part of nature, the atheist's claim that they can somehow create intent, purpose, and design must be an illusion, since nature has no intent, purpose, or design. But the atheist is distinguished by his refusal to recognize this logical contradiction.

Third, the atheist is convinced that the reason that he is an atheist, while the rest of the world remains mired in superstition, is because he is uniquely capable of using 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 is it possible for the atheist, who is himself a part of nature, to rationally discover this? How is he able to invent purpose in order to discover that there is no purpose? And again, the atheist has no real answer to this question

So why is the atheist rationally incapable of recognizing the contradiction between his belief that the cosmos has no meaning and his belief that he can somehow create meaning?

One possible answer is that the atheist does not actually believe in one or more of his three claims. Perhaps he does not really believe that nature is without purpose. Or perhaps he does not really believe that modern science or progressivism can actually create purpose. Or perhaps he does not really believe that he is a rational human being. But as anyone who has actually dealt with an atheist knows, the atheist will vehemently assert the truth of all three of these claims. And one is forced to conclude that, if a lie detector test was given, it would reveal that the atheist does really believe all three propositions.

What this tells us is that the atheist is someone who is uniquely irrational.


III. That Theophanic Events Are Real

A theophany is an appearance 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 at all unless that understanding transcends that 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. But because the “Weberian scholar” considers himself to be a “modern man,” he is utterly opposed to Voegelin’s reference to theophanic events, because “modern man” can no longer believe in such things. This is why Voegelin asks him whether he really wants to know why Voegelin believes what he believes or whether the professor is  an “intellectual crook.”  When the professor states that he really wants to know, Voegelin points to that desire to know as an example of a theophanic event.

The atheist asserts that there is 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 an atheist is that the atheist has no rational argument.

But 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 views himself to be more rational than other people because he is an atheist.

Therefore one can only engage in a rational argument with an atheist on one of two grounds. Either one participates in the atheist lie that he  has a rational argument or one “insults” the atheist by demonstrating that he does not have a 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 because the atheist denial of God always involves the re-appearance of God at some other level of his argument and that atheist never acknowledges this.

For example, if one argues that intent, 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 entirely evolutionary process or he will agree that these human attributes do not really exist, but that we do not need these attributes to exist to be fully human. 

Let us begin with the first argument, which is that these attributes can be the products of an evolutionary process. According to the atheist, evolution as a process contains intent, no purpose, and no design. And yet somehow this process produces human beings who possess these attributes. As a matter of logic, however, if the evolutionary process does not 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 this“understanding” empowers us to “control” evolution. However, this argument is nothing more than hand-waving. It is magical thinking. The logical truth is that if we are the products of an entirely evolutionary process, which contains no intent, no purpose, and no design, then those attributes can never “emerge” as part of that 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 is no such thing as intent, purpose, or design. But he then goes on to argue that we can be fully human anyway in that we illogically believe that we possess these attributes. The problem with this argument is that the atheist himself lives as if he actually believes that he has intent, purpose, and design. In other words, the atheist who agrees that these attributes do not exist constitutes the living refutation of his own argument. 

Logically speaking, if we are completely the products of an evolutionary process then we can never transcend that process. The puppet called Pinocchio can never become anything other than a puppet. Pinocchio can never become a real human being. However, the atheist believes either that the wooden puppet Pinocchio can become a human being, and thus believes in what amounts to an atheist miracle, or the atheist believes that he is really is nothing more than a puppet, while putting the lie to that belief by actually living as if he were a human being.

This is why the atheist has no rational argument.

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Jefferson White is also the author of the book The Political Theory of Christ

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