Question: I'm a believer but i have so many questions which need to be answered especially important when I discuss Jesus with atheists. I saw Zeitgeist and have a couple of questions Could you help me with the answers?
1) They say that Judeo-Christianity is copied from Egyptian beliefs because there is similarity and the egyptian gods are older than judaism itself
2) they say that when christianity believes the world is 12,000 years old then the scientific facts i.e. dinosaur fossils prove to be older
How do i react to this? you have any answers?
They say Christianity is not based on truth. Thanks, Deepti
Answer: Skeptics have attempted to undermine the Bible and Christianity for centuries. The types of criticisms you are exposed to are commonplace. To answer your several questions let’s begin with atheism.
The first point that I establish with atheists is that they are attempting to operate out of their field of expertise when discussing the “God question.” Atheists often claim that God is a “crutch” for those that can’t handle life’s difficulties. Some atheists such as Richard Dawkins suggest that God is an immoral myth created by mentally disturbed people. Atheists deny the existence of a metaphysical realm a priori and that assertion results in their inability to rationally discuss the God-subject.
I recently wrote1 of atheism that:
When atheists proclaim that science alone is the final arbiter of truth, that science alone is the only methodology of understanding, they are in fact making a declaration of faith. In so doing they have offered a “do as I say and not as I do” approach because while telling people to take nothing on faith but always defer to empirical evidence, i.e. scientific methods, they have themselves succumbed to accepting the scientific method by faith. Christopher Hitchens is oblivious to his predicament and says, “If one must have faith in order to believe something, then the likelihood of that something having any truth or value is considerably diminished.”2 Of course this statement is self-refuting because there is no empirical evidence to prove this statement is true. Hitchens thus becomes victim to the very thing he roundly criticizes in Christian theists, namely presupposition. A more obvious atheistic presuppositional bias is provided by Lewontin who says, “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment – a commitment to materialism . . . Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”3
At issue is not that the new atheists won’t admit to the presence of adequate evidence and clear logical reasons for believing that God exists. The primary issue for them is that they do not want to believe that God exists. For the atheist, the resultant implications of allowing the “Divine Foot” through the door are unsavory to say the least. What atheists refuse to understand is that evolutionary theory encroaches on metaphysical matters of importance to Christians and thus have opened wide the doors for God to, in the least, enter the discussion. Some examples from evolutionary theory prove this point. Evolutionary theory offers a story of origins and therefore the concepts of creation are open to debate by the Christian theist; evolution suggests an origin story for human life and thus it touches on the biblical teaching of original sin; evolution also speaks of species and uniqueness and therefore touches on the biblical teaching of the image of God in man.4
Any argument that suggests an entire belief system is copied entirely from another based on perceived similarities is a lazy argument, easily discarded. In this instance, the fact is that Christianity is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the gospel accounts were all written by eye-witnesses to the life and teachings of Christ within a generation of the actual events themselves. It is easy to make the assertion that Christianity is nothing more than plagiarized Egyptian religious systems. It is impossible to make that same assertion based on facts and evidence that clearly point to the contrary.
Finally, the debate between old earth and young earth advocates is not going to go away any time soon. One fact that I will point out is that a young earth position does not undermine the testimony of the Scriptures, nor does it detract from the central claims of Christianity and of Jesus Christ.
For resources on this subject visit Answers in Genesis - http://www.answersingenesis.org/
1 Mike Spaulding, “The New Atheism: Another Skirmish With a Twist,” presented at the International Society of Christian Apologetics annual meeting April 18, 2009, at Trinity Evangelical, Deerfield, Illinois. Available for download at www.cclohio.org
2 John F. Haught, “Amateur Atheists,” Christian Century (February 2008): 22-28.
3 Dinesh D’Souza, “What’s So Great About Christianity” (Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2007), 161.
4 Gregory R. Peterson, “Whose evolution? Which theology?” Zygon. 35 (June 2000): 221-232.