Response to "Answers to positions held by atheists"


I received an e-mail from someone who said an atheist had attempted to refute this paper.  I have reproduced the paper and answered the atheist's "refutations."  His comments are in brown, and my comments are in green. The original paper is, of course, in black.

  1. There is no God
    1. This is not a logical position to hold since to know there is no God means the person would have to know all things to know there is no God.  Since he cannot know all things (if he did he would be God), then he cannot logically say there is no God.
      1. "This argument is invalid. I do not need to know all things in order to know that no even prime number greater than two exists. Similarly, some God concepts are self-contradictory, while others (e.g. a truthful god who has painted the sky pink) are excluded by observations . . . "
        1. The atheist missed the point.  We can know with certainty various mathematical truths.  This is because we can easily grasp the basics of simple math.  But, not so with God.  Therefore, this atheist has made a mistake in categories.  The nature of God, that he exists in relation to time and space in a way that we cannot comprehend.  Yet, He is able to influence our world, does not fall under the same category as knowing prime numbers.  Again, the atheist has made a mistake of not recognizing that knowing the existence of a being who exists beyond space and time is not the same thing as knowing numbers that you can write on a piece of paper.
      2. I agree that gods like His Supreme Indifference (who created the universe 14 Years ago and doesn't care a iota what happens here) cannot be excluded; but the same is true for creation of the universe by my cat, last Thursday."
        1. I do not argue for the existence of any God or gods besides the one revealed in the Bible.  So when I speak of God, I am only speaking of the Christian God.  In light of that, this atheist fails to understand the biblical empathy God shows for his creation.  Biblically, God cares a great deal about what happens to us, which is why He sent Jesus to die for our sins.  This atheist does not know what he is talking about.
  2. I believe there is no God
    1. To say "I believe there is no God" is a conscious choice.  Then, on what do you base your choice: evidence, logic, faith, or a combination of the three?
      1. Regarding "To say 'I believe there is no God' is a conscious
        choice" immediately above, he says, "No it isn't. It is a simple statement of fact, like "my left foot hurts".
      2. To say that one's left foot hurts is not the same choice about believing in the existence of something or not.  Sure, a person can believe his foot hurts by experiencing it.  But to say "I believe there is no God" is a choice of what to believe.  After all, the comment "I believe there is no God" contains the word "believe."  Believing in something is an act of a person's will.  Therefore, this atheist has failed to understand the difference between an act of will regarding believing something or not, and making a simple observation.
    2. If evidence, then what positive evidence is there that disproves God's existence?
      1. There can be no such evidence since evidence is physical in nature (evidence is an effect and/or result of something in reality). How could evidence disprove God's existence who is, by definition, the creator of reality and separate from it?
        1. "If so, how could evidence prove his existence ? If God is separate from reality ("all that is"), how can he create it ?"
          1. This atheist is not being logical.  He asks, "If God is separate from reality, how can he create it?" First of all, he is misusing the term reality here.  Reality is that which exists, that which has being, is true, possessing actuality and existence.  Therefore, this atheist has produced an illogical statement: If reality is what exists and if God exists, then God is within reality.  But what he has said is "if God is separate from reality ('all that is')."  This is not logical.  That would be like saying if God exists separate from that which exists. It makes no sense, and is a self-refuting statement since it is internally inconsistent.
            Nevertheless, I will assume that the atheist is intending to state that if God exists separate from the physical universe, then how can he create it?  If this is his question, there is no problem because the Biblical God who exists can create that which is separate from Himself.  As I write this article, the article is not me.  It is separate from me.  I exist and it exists.  I wrote it, and in that sense I created it.
          2. (I am defending the Christian God as revealed in the Bible).  
        2. "Lack of belief in X is the default condition for extraordinary beings, in the absence of evidence in their . No evidence against their existence is necessary."
          1. This small paragraph makes no sense, so I'm not able to respond to it.
    3. Testimony is admissible in court as evidence, but no one can rightly testify that God does not exist.
      1. "So if no one can rightly testify that I haven't killed my daughter, will the court convict me of murder ?"
        1. Again, the atheist misses the point.  When an atheist says he "believes" there is no God, or he "knows" there is no God, he cannot logically and authoritatively demonstrate that what he "believes" or "knows" is objectively true.  Of course, this precludes any attempted atheist logical proofs that God does not exist.  The atheists have not come up with one yet.  If they had, they would be using it everywhere.  Nevertheless, the issue of his daughter has no relevance to the point at hand that an atheist cannot logically and authoritatively demonstrate that God does not exist.
    4. If logic then what logical proof do you have that negates God's existence?
      1. "See above. God's existence has to be proven, his non-existence doesn't have to be proven in the absence of objective evidence in his favor."
        1. Again the atheist is missing the point, which is clarified under the initial comment (2A) "To say 'I believe there is no God is a conscious choice.  Then, on what do you base your choice: evidence, logic, faith, or a combination of the three?" [emphasis added] He has failed to take this into context in his comment.  He has failed to answer the possible atheist's objection which would claim that logic demonstrates that there is no God.  This is why I responded by asking, "what logical proof do you have that negates God's existence?"  It is a logical question to ask, but this atheist is apparently responding without thinking the argument through and without paying attention to context.
      2. At best, logic can only disprove theistic proofs.  Disproving theistic proofs does not mean there is no God.  It only means that the proofs thus presented are insufficient.
      3. Logic can only disprove theistic proofs that are presented and negating such proofs is not a refutation of all possible proofs since no one can know or present all possible proofs of God's existence.  Therefore, negation of proofs does not disprove God's existence.
      4. If there were a logical argument that proved that God did not exist, it either has not yet been made known.  If it were known then it would be in use by atheists.  But since no proof of God's non-existence has been successfully defended by atheists, we can conclude that thus far, that there are no logical proofs for God's non-existence.
        1. "Depending on your God concept. The logical existence
          of a triune god is doubtful (it entails that 1 = 3).
          The logical existence of an omnipotent god is doubtful
          as well (it violates Cantor's Power Set theorem). Etc.
          I already agreed that His Supreme Indifference cannot be logically excluded. But that's hardly what you want."
          1. Contextually, I stated that I am not defending any position except the biblical position regarding God.  It would be nice if the atheist would focus on the Christian topic instead of blurring the discussion regarding God.  He gives an erring view of the God of the Bible. God is triune; that is, he is a Trinity.  By definition, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity does not state that 1 = 3.  The Christian doctrine of the Trinity states that one God exists in three persons, not one God in three gods, or one person in three persons; but one God in three persons.  The atheist demonstrates that he does not know the Christian concept of the Trinity.  He is criticizing what he does not understand.
            Cantor's Power Set theorem says that for every set that exists, a larger one can always be considered.  The atheist does not state how an omnipotent God violates this theorem.  Simply saying it does is not sufficient.
            Nevertheless, the nature of God being all-powerful rests in His infinite nature.  Since God exists, (He is in the set called reality), and by definition He is omnipotent, then He is by definition that which nothing more powerful can exist.  This is not an additional truth to reality (refuting the omniscience criticism application of the theorem), but a fact of
            definition of the Christian God, whereby God's omnipotence is reality and thereby encompasses the set of actuality in which God is omnipotent.
    5. If faith alone, then the position is not held by logic or evidence and is an arbitrary position.
    6. If by a combination of evidence, logic, and/or faith, then according to the above analysis, neither is sufficient to validate atheism.  A combination of insufficient means does not validate atheism.
      1. "Yes it does. Atheism is the absence of belief in the existence of any god, not the positive belief in the non-existence of all gods.
        Lack of belief is justified by the absence of objective evidence, either you would have to believe in Last Thursdayism (which cannot be logically excluded)."
        1. I have addressed the "lack of belief" in another article.  This atheist has defined atheism in his own terms.  He has the right to do that, but he must understand there are atheists who positively affirm that there is no God, as well as there are atheists who simply "lack belief" in God's existence.
          To say that lack of belief is justified by the absence of objective evidence is really a subjective statement. 
          Evidence is interpreted based upon a person's presuppositions.  If an atheist presupposes that God does not exist (as this atheist seems to be doing ), then no matter what evidence is presented, his presuppositions will not allow him to be objective.  In other words, he subjects the objective evidence to his subjective desires.  Furthermore, he doesn't have the authority to state that there is no objective evidence for the existence of God, since he does not know all possible evidences.
    7. For someone to believe there is no God is to hold that belief by faith since there is no evidence that positively supports atheism and there are no logical proofs that God does not exist.  It is, after all, virtually impossible to prove a negative.
      1. "Not quite, as indicated above (I can prove the non-existence of a fire-breathing 30-meter dragon in my room). But atheists don't have to, since in general they make no positive claim."
        1. The discussion over proving a negative can get rather intricate.  But his comment really doesn't add anything to his argument.
  3. There is no evidence for God   
    1. This is not a logical position to hold since to know there is no evidence for God's existence necessitates that the person knows all possible evidences for God's existence.  Since he cannot do this (if he did he would be God), then he cannot logically say there is no evidence for God.
      1. "Ridiculous. According to this line of argument, I'll claim that you cannot know that there is no proof which unambiguously demonstrates that your God does not exist. After all, in order to know that such a proof does not exist, you would have to be omniscient.
        "There is no evidence for God" means of course "There is no objective evidence known to us". But who knows - perhaps some day there will be objective evidence of Odin ?
        1. On the contrary, it is not ridiculous.  The issue is when an atheist says there "is no evidence for God."  This is not a logical position for an atheist to hold, because an atheist cannot know all possible evidences.  An atheist can say he does not believe there is a God, or he does not think that the evidence is sufficient.
          Again, the subject is the Christian God, not mythology.  The atheist needs to stick to the topic.
  4. I have not seen sufficient evidence for God's existence.
    1. To say you haven't seen sufficient evidence for God's existence is a more intellectually honest position, but it is really a form of agnosticism which maintains that God is not known or knowable while admitting that the possibility of God's existence.
      1. "No. It is weak atheism (an ontological position). Agnosticism states that it is impossible to know in principle whether god(s) exist(s): an epistemological position.
        1. An ontological position deals with the nature of existence.  An epistemological position deals with how we know something.  Weak atheism does deal with whether or not God can be known to exist.  It is, after all, a position of lack of belief, denial of, etc.  This has to do with knowledge, and atheists repeatedly demonstrate, or try to demonstrate, that no God exists.  How do they do this?  By seeking to find logical problems and refutations for theistic evidences.  Their ontological position leads to epistemological statements.
    2. If a person has not seen sufficient evidence for God, then it means he has not yet seen all evidence and there might be sufficient evidence.  This would mean that God may indeed exist and the person really is an agnostic concerning God and his atheist position is inconsistent with his statement.
      1. "This argument cuts both ways. If a person thinks he has seen sufficient evidence for his god, how would he know that further evidence will not disprove his beliefs ?"
        1. It is certainly possible that future evidence could disprove his beliefs, but we do not act upon that which we do not know.  We act upon what we do know.  The atheist does not see sufficient evidence for God's existence.  Theists do.
  5. I lack belief in God.
    1. To lack belief in God appears to be a defensive position since the assertive atheist positions are wrought with logical problems (shown above). 
      1. "Not so much as you'd like to think, as demonstrated above. There are quite a number of specific God concepts whose instantiation in reality can be disproven (e.g. a non-deceiving god who caused a Biblical flood). Strong atheists are talking about those concepts when they say that they believe that God X does not exist."
        1. This isn't an issue of what I would "like to think."  Furthermore, I do not believe that this atheist should practice mind reading.
          Again, this paper states that I am not defending the position of the existence of gods, but only the existence of the Christian God.  More specifically, the original paper seeks to refute atheistic positions.  Anyway, to speak of "a number of specific God concepts" is irrelevant to the topic.  I would even stand with the atheists in stating that all god concepts are false -- except of course the Christian one.
          As far as the biblical flood issue goes, I do not see what point he is trying to make in talking about a "non-deceiving God" and the flood.
    2. If the atheist says he "lacks belief" in God, then it appears its goal is to maintain a position that is unattackable since then he has no position to attack.
      The problem is that "lacking belief" in God is an intellectual position made by a choice to "lack belief."  Therefore, it is a position since it is the result of a choice. 
      1. "Quite wrong. Lacking belief is not a choice, it is the result of the lack of evidence. Is your lack of belief in leprechauns the result of a free choice ? If so, then it should be easy for you to reverse that choice, and believe - honestly - in leprechauns for exactly one hour. Please do the experiment and report its results."
        1. I have written a paper on this ("I lack belief in God") that I think is worth looking at here.  People are not motivated to action by lack of belief, but by belief.  I know of no one who performs various actions based upon a lack of something; that is, a lack of belief in something.
          Again, there is evidence for God's existence, but as I have stated above, a person's presuppositions govern how he interprets evidence.  If his presupposition does not allow for the existence of God, then the evidence presented cannot be interpreted to be supportive of God's existence.  This is another discussion.
          I do not have a lack of belief in leprechauns.  I openly believe that they do not exist because the evidence is contrary to their existence.
    3. Any position held, must have reasons or it is not a position.  It would be nothing.  The atheist who asserts that he lacks belief is asserting a position of lack of belief. 
      1. "And the reason is: Lack of objective evidence."
        1. Again, a person's presuppositions govern how he interprets evidence.  Notice that he uses the term "objective evidence."  But he defends atheism, a "lack of belief" in God.  His actions do not reflect a lack of belief, but an active belief.  I conclude that no matter what evidences are presented, they will fall by the wayside because his atheistic presupposition cannot and will not allow their objectivity to be accurately examined.
    4. My cat lacks belief in God as does my computer.  Are they also atheists?  Therefore, simply lacking belief is not a sufficient statement since it can include animals and inanimate objects.
      1. "A semantic pedantry, which is easily corrected. If you want to call my cat an atheist, please be my guest."
        1. On the contrary.  The point is a good one.  If an atheist says that atheism is lacking belief in God, then by that definition, anything that lacks belief in God is also an atheist.  The point is that the definition is inadequate since it does not exclude dogs, cats, rocks, clouds, dirt, fish, electrical current, radio ways, etc.  It is a simple point that he should have grasped.
    5. If you say that "lacking belief" refers only to yourself as a human being, then see point A.
  6. I don't believe in God.
    1. Is this a choice you have made?  If so, why?  What made you not believe in God?
      1. "The same thing which made you not believe in Krishna or an ice cream factory on Jupiter: lack of evidence"
        1. This person does not know what has led me to believe in God.  I do not believe in Krishna or an ice cream factory in Jupiter because the evidence is contrary to the existence of each concept.  But that would be another paper.
    2. Is there an intelligent reason that you do not believe in God?  Can you please tell me what it is?
      1. "Lack of evidence. Disembodied minds have never been observed. etc."
        1. And how does this atheist know that disembodied minds have never been observed?  He may not like the idea, or he may choose not to believe in the idea, but to say it has never been observed is fallacious.  There have been countless people who have seen things that natural science cannot explain, and it is possible that a disembodied mind could have been observed -- though how we would verify that would be an interesting undertaking.
          In the same vain, I offer my own subjective observation.  I have seen a materialization of a human figure in a dark room.  This figure changed form into that of a cross.  A friend who was with me saw the same thing.  We were not under any influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication.  Now, I recognize that this is fodder for mockery and ridicule.  That's all right.  But the fact is that I have seen this.  I do not offer this as objective evidence, but as subjective evidence, since it rests entirely
          in my experience.
          But to say there has never been an observed instance of a disembodied spirit/mind is far too presumptuous a position to hold, and the atheist shouldn't make such an unsupportable claim.
  7. Naturalism is true; therefore, there is no need for God.
    1. Naturalism is the belief that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws.  If all things were explainable through natural laws, it does mean God does not exist since God is, by definition, outside of natural laws since He is the creator of them.
      1. "Actually, it would. "All things" includes God. Laws, not being things, are not created."
        1. This becomes a semantic argument.  The laws inherent in the nature of God are peculiar to Him alone.  Since God is different than the universe, the laws of the universe do not need to be identical with those inherent in God's nature.  Natural science presumes to quantify phenomena based upon naturalistic observations.  By definition, this excludes God's existence; or at the very least, it excludes the possibility of evidences for God's existence to be interpreted apart from the naturalistic forced mold. Again, this is an issue dealing with presuppositions.
  8. Some might say that if all things can be explained via natural laws, then it means there is no evidence for God.
    1. But, can all things be explained via naturalism?  No, because naturalism has not explained all phenomena known today, nor can we assert that all things in the future will be explained via naturalism because we do not know all phenomena that can and will occur.
      1. Your premises do not entail your conclusion ("There are things which cannot be explained via naturalism").
        1. I disagree.  I think my statement makes perfect sense.
    2. Therefore, it is not a fact that naturalism can explain all things.  Therefore, God is not negated via naturalism.
      1. "But it is not a fact either that there are things which cannot be explained by naturalism."
        1. Explain, then, how and why the gentle cooing of a baby warms the heart of a mother.  In your naturalistic explanation, quantify and predict future "warm fuzzies" in the heart of the mother, or why poetry speaks to one person and not another.  While you're at it, use your naturalistic principles to prove that I love my wife.  Come on, not everything is quantifiable and repeatable through observation.  We are not that simplistic in our makeup.
      2. "Your God is negated by naturalism in the same sense that Allah is negated by Christianity. But I agree that naturalism is just one worldview. It has the advantage of needing the smallest amount of working assumptions (aka "presuppositions"). "
        1. You make my point when you say the Christian God is negated by naturalism.  This does not mean the Christian God is proven to not exist -- a negative that, I hope, you weren't trying to prove through naturalism.  Nevertheless, again you have helped me to make the point that naturalism, by definition, excludes God.  This is why you stated, "your God is negated by naturalism."  Unfortunately for you and other atheists, naturalism does not negate God's existence.  Naturalism is only sufficient to explain many aspects of the universe and its behavior.  But if God is "other" than the universe, then to be so pompous as to say that naturalism negates God's existence is to subject an infinite God to finite principles based on human observation.  This is a presupposition of error on your part.

Much more could be said in this discussion, but what I find most amusing is the lengths atheists who "lack belief in God" will go through to behave as though they believe there is no God.  They openly attempt to refute logical arguments for God's existence, and openly seek to undermine theistic evidences.  Yet, their actions and their proclamations do not mesh.

Atheism is an unfortunate denial of God's existence.  "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them," (Rom. 1:18-19). The judgment that God speaks of in the following verses is His giving them over to the depravity of their own minds so they will believe what they want.





About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.