I used to be an “atheist.” So I know all the in’s and out’s of atheism. I could argue with the best about religion and it’s irrational delusions, about the “proofs” that there is no God, and about how everything can be explained scientifically, and that the idea of God and the need for God are just the products of a primitive worldview. I learned from history how the Church persecuted scientists like Galileo because of perceived threats to religion, and how religious wars were responsible for all the suffering in the world. Evolution showed that all life was accidental but occurred naturally without the need for a divine intervention or creation myth. Yada-yada-yada. Knowing these arguments first hand and believing in them wholeheartedly, I can now say that most atheist arguments are illegitimate, made with bad premises and indefensible assumptions.
I like what Adam Carolla says about being atheist. He wants to be an atheist because he is lazy and he wants to be left alone. He doesn’t understand angry or proselytizing atheists, because they are guilty of doing the very thing they accusing religious people of doing: namely, making a big deal out of religion. In other words, those who are zealous atheists and have an axe to grind have something else going on in their lives that has nothing to do with atheism or religion.
I call this argument the argument of theodicy: If God is exists, why doesn’t he stop or prevent evil, sickness, disaster, and injustice? Since he does not prevent or stop these things, it proves he does not exist.
For an atheist to make this argument, it is usually used against the existence of God, but it really isn’t a valid argument, because the entire premise rests upon Judeo-Christian assumptions about the nature and character of God. In other words, atheists have to assume that God is both good and omnipotent, fair and just. Such an argument would not work against Hindus, who have a manifestation of God as a violent and vengeful goddess named Kali. Nor could it be used against Sunni Islam, because while Allah is called merciful, he is also not bound to any human ethical standards nor required to be consistent in all his ways . For an atheist to make this argument, therefore, he must be assuming that God, if he exists, must be both Good and Just. He is illegitimately using Christian beliefs as the foundation of his argument... which implies he holds some innate, and internal value system that is based upon Christian morality and beliefs. More on that later…
The problem with this premise is that there is no guarantee that God is good or just. From their evolutionary belief system, for example, it could be argued that God is not personally involved or concerned about individual human beings any more than we are concerned about spiders and gnats. From the washout of dinosaurs, it could be interpreted that God or a god is merely experimenting with creation with emotional disinterest. Or it could be argued, as Deists did, that God set it all in motion and then sat back and did not interfere, watching how it all plays out. God could be amused by human suffering and take some perverse pleasure in it, as did the The Gamesters of Triskelion, or the Vorlons and Shadows of Babylon 5. In other words, atheists have no right to raise a moral question regarding the existence of God, because it assumes too much what God must be like. It assumes a Christian worldview.
However, it could be argued that the very need to argue for a just and compassionate, good God is evidence of a moral conscience and a confession of belief in the way things ought to be, if there were justice and goodness in the universe. This anger or disquiet in the atheist’s mind over injustice is perhaps the very best evidence we have for the existence of God. For why should the atheist expect or want this justice unless he or she has some intimation of the way things ought to be and that reality is not conforming to this ideal? It is a sense that things are out of balance, that evil, selfishness, and injustice do indeed prosper, and they ought not to. If an atheist truly believed that there is no God, then he should not be bothered by the appearance of accident, injustice, sickness or disaster, war or survival of the fittest, because that is just the way things are in an evolutionary and accidental universe. In fact, if he does believe in an accidental, evolutionary universe, he or she should not be troubled by the rich taking advantage of the poor, the weak being ruled by the strong, or the smart taking advantage of the simple, because it means the genes of the strong and the intelligent are prospering, while the weak are wasting away.
If one is committed to an evolutionary world view, one should also not be a liberal democrat either, for providing money and services to the poor in the form of charity only increases the weaker elements of the human race to survive, based not upon merit but sloth. By viewing nature, “red in tooth and claw,” the atheist should conclude that power and might rule by natural right, and that we should not interfere with this natural mechanism lest we undermine the evolutionary survival progress.
A true evolutionary belief system would agree instead with Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planed Parenthood. Sanger viewed welfare as a detriment to society because it increased the number of poor blacks and foreigners.
"Organized charity (modern welfare) is the symptom of a malignant social disease… increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents, and dependents. My criticism, therefore, is not directed at the 'failure' of philanthropy, but rather at its success."3 The urban poor, and their increasing numbers, she called, "an ever widening margin of biological waste."4 Welfare, she believed, encouraged the breeding of the poor, or "human waste," as she called them. She feared that welfare would encourage the urban poor to give birth to those "stocks that are the most detrimental to the future of the race…"5 Therefore, she believed the government should actively encourage the sterilization of those who are unfit to propagate the race, using as her motto: "More (children) from the fit, less from the unfit."6
What I am saying is that an atheist may have a moral conscience and a sense of right and wrong based upon some assumption of a universal standard, but he has no basis for it in an atheist world view of an accidental universe, guided by the instinctive and unconscious forces of evolutionary mandates. In fact, all morals could be seen, as an impediment to the survival of the fittest and actually be preventing the successful evolutionary process. Take for example a hemophiliac who can survive with drugs, but passes on hemophilia to succeeding generations. Whereas if he were not treated and died without reproducing, the genetic weakness would die out. In this case, charity is actually damaging the health of the human race. Note. I am being purposefully cruel here to show the consequence of true atheistic principles which are diametrically contrary to the compassionate principles of Christianity, and indeed of most other religions.
I argue instead that because such a proposal of heartlessness is revolting even to the majority of atheists, it proves in a sense that atheists don’t really exist (except perhaps psychopathic ones) Atheists, by their general desire and belief in a moral system, and by their frustration with a world that does not display this justice, are in fact confessing a faith in an ultimate moral standard which must be upheld by a universal ethic that can only find its foundation and justification in the existence of a good and just God, who represents the created order as it ought to be, not as it presently is. This innate longing for justice and the good, is indeed evidence of an awareness of the nature and character of God planted in every human being. And while not all humans share a Judeo-Christian set of ethics, all cultures display morals and standards and ethics that are not to be violated by their tribe or community. While atheists may argue that such morals are evidence of the self-preservation of the species and the gene pool, in fact, such morals and standards protect the weak from those who are stronger, and who could take what they wanted by power if not by “right.”
Why then, are atheists angry and mad at the idea of a good and just God? Well, if we take Adam Carolla’s view, the reasons may have more to do with personal issues than with actual objective principles of logic. I know a lot of people who reject faith of any sort due to loss of a loved one, failure to see healing from disease, or accidental death, or the tragedy of crime or war. They have personal loss which they cannot reconcile with the idea of a caring God. Others have political motivations. They hate the moral standards that represent constraints upon behavior, whether that be fidelity in marriage, respect for the life of the unborn, or heterosexual norms. They hate the Christian idea of God, but they would have no reason to hate the Hindu gods, whose morals are more flexible. So really it is Christianity and Christians they hate, and that works towards an ironic form of intolerance. While claiming to be tolerant and asking for tolerance, these same folks often are so intolerant of Christianity that they would like to see them rounded up and killed. The vitriol is everywhere evident on any comment section of any online newspaper.
Yet none of that angry proselytizing, or disappointed sorrow actually becomes a valid argument against the existence of God. It may allow one to question whether God is indeed good or not, but the moral argument fails to prove or disprove the existence of a God who may be totally unconcerned with human existence.