The Art of God Avoidance

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One New Atheist motto says “There is no God and I hate Him.”

You hate someone who doesn’t exist?

That doesn’t make sense.

However . . . perhaps it makes perfect sense. This absurd statement could well be a most revealing one. Maybe the New Atheists have let the cat out of the bag, and we can now get down to the real issue.

What the God-deniers are saying is this: “I reject God. I don’t want Him in my world. I know He’s there, but I want nothing to do with Him. And, to ensure that He doesn’t interfere with my life, I will even deny that He exists. That makes it just a little bit easier to steer clear of God and to run my life just as I please.”

There’s an old word for this: subterfuge. It comes from a verb which means “to evade, escape, flee by stealth.” Avoidance by distraction. We are all good at playing that game, aren’t we?

And here it seems that the New Atheists are playing it. The God-deniers are telling us that they are, in fact, God-rejectors, and that the philosophical and scientific banter is really a smokescreen. The root issue is much deeper and more personal.

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We can all find plenty of reasons to reject God, but deep down there is one fundamental reason: We are rebels at heart. We harbor within us a deep-seated craving for self-autonomy. We don’t want God messing with our lives.

If we are honest, that’s what’s going on inside. It’s true of all of us.

Unfortunately, it’s a dead end street. A forever dead end.

Listen to Martin Luther: “It is the utmost stupidity for us to imagine that our cure lies in flight from God rather than in our return to God…”

The incredibly good news of the Gospel is that the God we run away from is the God who lovingly and patiently pursues us. His name is Jesus. He became human and died on a cross to destroy the lies we have believed and to bring us back.

When we finally lay down our arms, listen to His voice, and respond to His call, everything changes. Our life is flooded with light. The truth sets us free.

And we begin to discover that the Good News is better than we ever imagined.

–J. O. Schulz

What New Atheism Has to Offer

New atheismNew atheists are opposed to faith in God. In place of God what do they offer? Well, there’s a lot they don’t offer. No rules, no truth, no purpose, no morals, no absolutes, no purpose, no meaning, no afterlife, no ultimate justice, no basis for human dignity, no real reason for being here.

Is there anything left?

When you stop believing in truth, everything turns mush and grey. You can no longer discern between good and bad, knowledge and ignorance, sacred and sleazy. It’s all up for grabs—and you don’t have to worry if you got it right.

When you stop worshipping God, pseudo deities rush in to fill vacuum. You end up bowing before the gods such as sex, pleasure, consumerism, and success. When you resist serving God you infallibly fall into the servitude of self-gratification. You end up serving a pitiful deity—yourself.

When you stop believing in the sacred, you end up undermining the ideas of beauty, and goodness, and wonder, and dignity, and virtue. If there’s no Higher Power everything goes flat.

Not believing in a Supreme Lawgiver leaves you with no boundaries, no guidelines. It is like playing soccer with no rules—the game self-destructs.

When you refuse to believe that the universe has a Maker, you end up believing in the ultimate magic trick that the universe popped out of nowhere, on it’s own, from nothing. Frankly I can’t muster up that much faith. It’s remarkable what you end up believing when you don’t want to believe in God.

When you reject the idea of a Creator, you have to create yourself. You are the master of your fate, the captain of your soul. Lots of luck.

There’s no one to pray to and no one to thank. You’re on your own.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the New Atheists.

-J. O. Schulz

What is “new” about the New Atheism?

Alister-McGrath 3An innocent reader might assume that this movement had discovered new scientific evidence or philosophical arguments that demonstrated that God was the arbitrary and meaningless construction of the human mind. Yet it soon becomes clear that there are no new arguments here. The old, familiar and somewhat tired arguments of the past are recycled and rehashed. What is new is the aggressiveness of the rhetoric, which often seems to degenerate into bullying and hectoring. It serves a convenient purpose, by papering over the obvious evidential gaps and argumentative lapses that are so characteristic of this movement. But it does little to encourage anyone to take atheism with intellectual seriousness.

–Alister McGrath

“The God Delusion” makes me ashamed to be an atheist

michaelruseBut I think first that these people (the New Atheists) do a disservice to scholarship. Their treatment of the religious viewpoint is pathetic to the point of non-being. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course. Proudly he criticizes that whereof he knows nothing. As I have said elsewhere, for the first time in my life, I felt sorry for the ontological argument. If we criticized gene theory with as little knowledge as Dawkins has of religion and philosophy, he would be rightly indignant. . . . Conversely, I am indignant at the poor quality of the argumentation in Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and all of the others in that group. . . . I have written elsewhere that The God Delusion makes me ashamed to be an atheist. Let me say that again. Let me say also that I am proud to be the focus of the invective of the new atheists. They are a bloody disaster and I want to be on the front line of those who say so.

–Philosophy professor Michael Ruse

Atheism: a moral absurdity

john-lennoxIf the terrorists, or Hitler, or Pol Pot, or you or I, are simply dancing to our DNA, no one can blame us for anything. One Russian intellectual put it to me, ‘We thought we could get rid of God and retain a value for man. We found we couldn’t, we destroyed man as well.’ … The new atheists, ladies and gentlemen, devalue human beings. And ironically, for all their moral outrage, they deny the one thing that upholds moral value: justice! They hold justice to be a delusion; because for millions of people there is no justice in this life and they will never get justice after death by definition. There is no hope. Terrorists eventually get away with it. And reason and experience tell me this is morally absurd. And Christianity backs me up as it teaches me that death is not the end. There is to be a final judgment at which justice will be done and done fairly.

–John Lennox