Posts Tagged ‘Phillip Johnson’

The Three Fingers Pointing Back At Atheists When Atheists Point A Finger At Christians About Evil And Judgment

March 24, 2011

You’ve probably heard that expression, “When you point a finger at me, three fingers are pointing back at you.”  Let’s work with that today.

I recently wrote an article with the deliberately provocative title, “Atheist Country Japan Smashed By Tsunami.”

It generated quite a few cross postings to atheist blogs and forums.

One recent example attacked Christians as being “happy” that Japan was stricken by disaster, and, in linking to my blog, said:

Of course, maybe it’s because of all teh gay [sic] in Japan, or because the Japanese are all atheists. Or maybe it’s because they worship demons.

What a nasty, horrible God is the one in which they believe. What nasty, horrible sentiments they have expressed in the wake of so much suffering by their fellow human beings. What a nasty, cynical thing they do to promote their own religion by using this tragedy and other recent catastrophic events to “win converts” for Jesus.

Naming them charlatans and hypocrites does not do justice to the utter lack of compassion that resides in their hearts.

And the blogger cites my blog as an example of a fundamentalist who argues that God struck Japan “because the Japanese are all atheists.”

Well, first thing, did I actually even say that?  I quote myself from that article:

But is Japan’s unbelief the reason why Japan just got hit with an awful tsunami?

My answer is, “How on earth should I know?”

I cite passages of Scripture that clearly indicate that a disaster does not necessarily mean that God is judging someone, such as Luke 13:1-5.  I could have just as easily also cited passages such as John 9:1-3 about Jesus’ distinction between suffering and sin.  I could have cited 2 Peter 3:9, describing God’s patience with sinners rather than His haste to judge.  These passages aren’t at all out of tune with what I was saying.  And I actually DO single out by name for criticism men like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell who have immediately pronounced the wrath of God following some disaster.

I begin my article saying, “That headline is a deliberate provoker.  But please let me explain why I used that headline before you erupt one way or another.”  Then I proceed to state two undisputed facts: that Japan is atheist, and that Japan got hit by a disaster.  I urge someone to actually read the article and reflect on the possibilities.  But Boomantribune is an example of most of the atheists who cross-posted or commented to my article by NOT being someone who wanted to read or reflect; he or she is someone who refused to look beneath atheist ideology and immediately began demonizing the other side to “win converts” for his religion of atheism.  [And let’s get this straight: atheism IS a religion.  “Religion” does not need to depend upon belief in God, or Buddhism would not qualify as a religion.  The courts have ruled that atheism is a religion, and it is a simple fact that atheism has every component that any religious system has].

You can’t have a valid argument with someone like Boomantribune, I have learned.  They are either too ignorant, or too dishonest, or both to accurately represent the other side’s position or arguments.  They create straw men and then demolish claims that Christians like me aren’t even making.

Boomantribune viciously attacks me as harboring the “nasty, horrible sentiments they have expressed in the wake of so much suffering by their fellow human beings.”  But I end my article on Japan by saying:

You need that gift of divine grace.  I need that gift of divine grace.  And the people of Japan desperately need it today.

I pray for those who are in Japan.  I pray for their deliverance from both the tsunami and from their unbelief.  And I will join with many other Christians who will send relief to the Japanese people, with prayers that they will look not at me, but at the Jesus who changed my heart and my life, and inspired me to give to others.

It is also a simple fact that religious people are FAR more giving than atheists:

In the US, anyway, they don’t. Here’s just one study, done in 2003: The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions…Note that neither political ideology nor income is responsible for much of the charitable differences between secular and religious people. For example, religious liberals are 19 points more likely than secular liberals to give to charity, while religious conservatives are 28 points more likely than secular conservatives to do so…The average annual giving among the religious is $2,210, whereas it is $642 among the secular. Similarly, religious people volunteer an average of 12 times per year, while secular people volunteer an average of 5.8 times.

And this is “secular” people who aren’t particularly religious.  A lot of people rarely ever go to church, but still believe in God (basically 90% of Americans belive in God).  Since the evidence is rather straightforward that the more religious one is, the more giving one is, it is justified to conclude that atheists who are less religious than the merely “secular” are even LESS giving.

And, guess what?  My church has already taken its first of several offerings for Japan, and I have already given – and plan to give again.

I would also point out a couple of historical facts:

Christians actually began the first hospitals.

More hospitals have been founded by Christians than by followers of every other religion – including atheism – combined.

That said:

Atheist doctors are more than twice as likely to pull the plug on someone than a doctor who believes in God.

So just who is being “horrible” here?

Here’s another example of an atheist attack on me that backfired, followed by the dishonest atheist “cutting and running” from his own attack:

For what it’s worth, I have never withdrawn a single post:

Also, unlike too many blogs – particularly leftwing blogs, in my experience – I don’t delete anything. When the Daily Kos hatefully attacked Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol and claimed that Bristol Palin had been impregnated by her own father with a baby, and that Sarah Palin faked being pregnant – only to have that hateful and vile lie blown away by Bristol giving birth to a child of her own – they scrubbed it like nothing had happened.

I’m not that despicable. Every single article I have ever written remains on my blog. And with all due respect, I think that gives me more credibility, not less: I don’t hit and run and then scrub the evidence of my lies.

If I post something that turns out to be wrong, I don’t destroy the evidence; I stand up and take responsibility for my words.  I apologize and correct the record.  As I did in the case above.

That, by the way, is the first finger, the finger of moral dishonesty pointing back at these atheists. 

That’s not the way the other side plays.  History is replete with atheist regimes (e.g. ANY of the officially state atheist communist regimes) destroying the record and any debate; history is replete with atheist-warped “science” making one claim after another that turned out to be entirely false.  As examples, consider Java Man, Nebraska Man, Piltdown Man, Peking Man and the various other hoaxes that the “scientific community rushed to embrace in their rush to falsify theism.  In some cases “scientists” created an entire community - or even an entire race of people - around totally bogus evidence in “It takes a village” style.  There was the bogus notion of “uniformitarianism” by which the “scientific community” ridiculed creationists for decades until it was proven wrong by Eugene Shoemaker who documented that the theory of “catastrophism” that they had advanced for millennia had been correct all along.  And then all of a sudden the same evolutionary theory that had depended upon uniformitarianism suddenly morphed into a theory that depended upon catastrophism. It morphed so that it was equally true with both polar opposites.

Then there’s this:

Ann Coulter pointed it out with the false claim that evolution was “falsifiable” versus any religious claim which was not. Darwin said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” And Ann Coulter brilliantly changed a couple of words to demonstrate what a load of crap that was: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by God, my God theory would absolutely break down.”

In any words, evolution is no more “scientifically falsifiable” than even the most ardent young earth creationist claim. Their standard is impossible to prove. I mean, you show me that God “could not possibly have” created the earth.

The whole way they sold evolution was a lie.

There is NEVER an admission of guilt or an acknowledgment of error by these people.  They simply suppress or destroy the evidence, or “morph” their argument, or anything but acknowledge that just maybe they should be open-minded and question their presuppositions.

There is the extremely rare admission:

For the scientist who has lived by faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries. -Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

But those are extremely rare, indeed.  The rest of the atheist-assuming “scientific community” is all about saying, “Move on, folks.  Nothing to see here.  Why don’t you look at our new sleight-of-hand display over in this corner instead?”

Phillip Johnson, in a very good article, points out how the “bait-and-switch” works:

Supporting the paradigm may even require what in other contexts would be called deception. As Niles Eldredge candidly admitted, “We paleontologists have said that the history of life supports [the story of gradual adaptive change], all the while knowing it does not.”[ 1] Eldredge explained that this pattern of misrepresentation occurred because of “the certainty so characteristic of evolutionary ranks since the late 1940s, the utter assurance not only that natural selection operates in nature, but that we know precisely how it works.” This certainty produced a degree of dogmatism that Eldredge says resulted in the relegation to the “lunatic fringe” of paleontologists who reported that “they saw something out of kilter between contemporary evolutionary theory, on the one hand, and patterns of change in the fossil record on the other.”[ 2] Under the circumstances, prudent paleontologists understandably swallowed their doubts and supported the ruling ideology. To abandon the paradigm would be to abandon the scientific community; to ignore the paradigm and just gather the facts would be to earn the demeaning label of “stamp collector.”

[...]

Naturalistic philosophy has worked out a strategy to prevent this problem from arising: it labels naturalism as science and theism as religion. The former is then classified as knowledge, and the latter as mere belief. The distinction is of critical importance, because only knowledge can be objectively valid for everyone; belief is valid only for the believer, and should never be passed off as knowledge. The student who thinks that 2 and 2 make 5, or that water is not made up of hydrogen and oxygen, or that the theory of evolution is not true, is not expressing a minority viewpoint. He or she is ignorant, and the job of education is to cure that ignorance and to replace it with knowledge. Students in the public schools are thus to be taught at an early age that “evolution is a fact,” and as time goes by they will gradually learn that evolution means naturalism.

In short, the proposition that God was in any way involved in our creation is effectively outlawed, and implicitly negated. This is because naturalistic evolution is by definition in the category of scientific knowledge. What contradicts knowledge is implicitly false, or imaginary. That is why it is possible for scientific naturalists in good faith to claim on the one hand that their science says nothing about God, and on the other to claim that they have said everything that can be said about God. In naturalistic philosophy both propositions are at bottom the same. All that needs to be said about God is that there is nothing to be said of God, because on that subject we can have no knowledge.

I stand behind a tradition that has stood like an anvil while being pounded by one generation of unbelievers after another.  That tradition remains constant because it is founded upon the unchanging Word of God.  My adversaries constantly change and morph their positions, all the while just as constantly claiming that their latest current iteration is correct.

That is the second finger of intellectual dishonesty which so thoroughly characterizes atheism and anything atheism seems to contaminate with its assumptions.

Lastly, there is the finger of ethical dishonesty that is the ocean that the “walking fish” of atheism swims in.  [Btw, when I see that fish riding a bicycle I'll buy their "walking fish" concept].

Basically, for all the “moral outrage” of atheists who want to denounce Christians for their God’s “evil judgments,” atheism itself has absolutely no moral foundation to do so whatsoever.  And the bottom line is that they are people who attack the five-thousand year tradition of Scripture with their feet firmly planted in midair.

William Lane Craig provides a devastating existential ethical refutation of atheism in an article I posted entitled, “The Absurdity of Life without God.”

To put it simply, William Lane Craig demolishes any shred of a claim that atheism can offer any ultimate meaning, any ultimate value, or any ultimate purpose whatsoever.  And so atheism denounces Christianity and religion from the foundation of an entirely empty and profoundly worthless worldview.  Everyone should read this incredibly powerful article.  I guarantee you will learn something, whatever your perspective on religion.

The thing I would say is that atheists denounce God and Christians from some moral sort of moral posture.  Which comes from what, exactly?  Darwinism, or more precisely, social Darwinism?  The survival of the fittest?  A foundation that comes from the “secure” footing of a random, meaningless, purposeless, valueless and entirely accidental existence?

As atheists tee off on God and at Christians for being “nasty” and “horrible,” what is their foundation from which to judge?

First of all, what precisely would make one a “nasty” or “horrible” atheist? 

Joseph Stalin was an atheist:

“God’s not unjust, he doesn’t actually exist. We’ve been deceived. If God existed, he’d have made the world more just… I’ll lend you a book and you’ll see.”

Mao Tse Tung was an atheist:

“Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people. If they stand up and dig together with us, why can’t these two mountains be cleared away?”  [Mao Tse Tung, Little Red Book, “Self-Reliance and Arduous Struggle chapter 21″].

Hitler was an atheist:

Hitler described to them that “after difficult inner struggles I had freed myself of my remaining childhood religious conceptions. I feel as refreshed now as a foal on a meadow” (Ernst Helmreich, “The German Churches Under Hitler,” p. 285).

Joseph Goebbels, a top member of Hitler’s inner circle, noted in his personal diary, dated 8 April 1941 that “The Führer is a man totally attuned to antiquity. He hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity.”  Now, one may easily lie to others, but why lie to your own private diary?

Goebbels also notes in a diary entry in 1939 a conversation in which Hitler had “expressed his revulsion against Christianity. He wished that the time were ripe for him to be able to openly express that. Christianity had corrupted and infected the entire world of antiquity.”

Hitler also said, “Our epoch will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity.” [Hitler's Table Talk, Enigma Books; 3rd edition October 1, 2000, p. 343].

Albert Speer, another Nazi in Hitler’s intimate inner circle, stated that Hitler said, “You see, it’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion… Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?”

Konrad Heiden quoted Hitler as stating, “We do not want any other god than Germany itself.” [Heiden, Konrad A History of National Socialism, A.A. Knopf, 1935, p. 100].

Now, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao were terrible, despicable, evil people.  But what made them ” bad atheists,” precisely?

When Mao infamously expressed this attitude -

“The atom bomb is nothing to be afraid of,” Mao told Nehru, “China has many people. . . . The deaths of ten or twenty million people is nothing to be afraid of.” A witness said Nehru showed shock. Later, speaking in Moscow, Mao displayed yet more generosity: he boasted that he was willing to lose 300 million people, half of China’s population.” [Annie Dillard, “The Wreck of Time” in Harper’s from January 1998].

- or when Joseph Stalin was similarly quoted as having said:

“One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.”

- were these men who were responsible for some 100 million deaths of their own people during peacetime expressing anything that violated some principle of Darwinian evolution, or the morality that derives from the ethic of survival of the fittest?

Mao put his disregard for human life and the lives of his own people to terrible work:

LEE EDWARDS, CHAIRMAN, VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM MEMORIAL FOUNDATION: In 1959 to 1961 was the so-called “great leap forward” which was actually a gigantic leap backwards in which he tried to collectivize and communize agriculture.

And they came to him after the first year and they said, “Chairman, five million people have died of famine.” He said, “No matter, keep going.” In the second year, they came back and they said, “Ten million Chinese have died.” He said, “No matter, continue.” The third year, 20 million Chinese have died. And he said finally, “Well, perhaps this is not the best idea that I’ve ever had.”

CHANG: When he was told that, you know, his people were dying of starvation, Mao said, “Educate the peasants to eat less. Thus they can benefit – they can fertilize the land.”

Did that somehow disqualify him from being an atheist?  How?  Based on what foundation?

Let me simply point out that the most evil human beings in human history and the most murderous and oppressive political regimes in human history have the strange tendency to be atheist.  It would seem to me that these atheists should frankly do a lot less talking smack and a lot more shutting the hell up.  But two verses from Scripture illustrate why they don’t: 1) The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1) and 2) “A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind” (Proverbs 18:2).

Let’s talk about “evil” for a few moments.  I have already begun addressing the “third finger” that points back at atheists when they denounce Christians or God.  But the idea of “evil” makes that “finger” the middle one.

Christians talk about evil.  A lot of people do.  Even atheists routinely do.  But what is their foundation for evil?  What is “evil”?  Most give answers such as, “Murder or rape is evil.”  But those would at best only qualify as examples of evil – not a definition that would allow us to make moral judgments.  Christians have an actual answer.  They point out that “evil” is a perversion from the way things ought to be.  But what “oughtness” is there in a random, purposeless, meaningless and valueless universe that was spat out by nothing more than pure chance?

Let’s just say at this point that the atheists are right in what is in reality a straw man attack of God?  So what?  I ask “so what?” because even if what they were saying were somehow true, by what standard would either God or Christians be “nasty” or “horrible”?  What is the objective, transcendent standard that stands above me, that stands above every Christian on the planet, that stands above the entire human race across time and space and holds it accountable, such that if Christians or even God do X or say Y, or believe Z they are “nasty” or “horrible”?

It turns out that they don’t have one.  And in fact, their very worldview goes so far as to literally deny the very possibility of one.  At best – and I would argue at worst – we are trapped in a world in which might makes right, and the most powerful dictator gets to make the rules.  Because there is nothing above man that judges man and says, “This is the way, walk in it.”  There is only other men – and men disagree with one another’s standards – leaving us with pure moral relativism. 

And if moral relativism is true, then the atheists STILL lose.  It would be a tie, given that atheists have no more claim to being “good” than any other human being or group of human beings, no matter how despicable and murderous they might be.  But they would lose because there are a lot fewer atheists (137 million) than there are, say, Christians (2.3 billion).  And it only remains for Christians to disregard their superior moral and ethical system just long enough to rise up and annihilate all the smart-mouthed atheists, and then say afterward, “Boy, we sure feel guilty for having done THAT.  Let’s pray for forgiveness!”  And the only possible defense atheists would have would be to abandon their “survival of the fittest” mentality and embrace superior Christian morality and cry out, “Thou shalt not kill!”

Even if Christians don’t wipe out the atheists physically, most would readily agree that the Christian worldview is still far stronger than the atheist one.  Dinesh D’Souza makes a great argument to illustrate this on pages 15-16 of What’s So Great About Christianity that shows why religion is clearly the best team.  He says to imagine two communities – one filled with your bitter, cynical atheists who believe that morality just happened to evolve and could have evolved very differently; and one filled with Bible-believing Christians who embrace that life and their lives have a purpose in the plan of a righteous God who put His moral standards in our hearts. And he basically asks, “Which community is going to survive and thrive?”

As a Christian, I don’t have all the answers (although I can certainly answer the question immediately above).  I am a human being and my mind cannot contain the infinite plan of an infinitely complex and holy God.  But I have placed my trust in a God who made the world and who has a plan for His creation which He is bringing to fruition.  And that worldview doesn’t just give me explanatory powers that atheism by its very nature entirely lacks, but it gives me a strength that I never had before.  Even when evil and disaster and suffering befall me beyond my ability to comprehend, I can say with Job – the master of suffering:

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.  And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God!  I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!”  Job 19:25-27 (NLT).


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