Why Atheists Must Steal from God Pt 2
By Jon Covey, BA, CLS(ASCP)
Edited by Anita Millen, MD, MPH, MA
Previously, we examined chapter one in Stealing from God by Frank Turek, available as a free download on www.crossexamined.org. In Stealing from God, Dr. Turek explains the reasons atheists must steal from God to make their case that atheism is true.
Stealing from God is an excellent place to begin building a library of well-informed apologetics (defenses). As Peter wrote, “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” (1 Peter 3:15, NASB95).
The rest of Stealing from God includes these topics:
Information and Intentionality
Four Points of Mere Christianity
God Will Not Force Unbelievers into Heaven
The chapter on reason begins with the question, “Bad Religion or Bad Reason?” The main point of this chapter is “not to show that all arguments for atheism fail,” but rather “to show that all arguments for anything fail if atheism is true.”
At the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Turek was confronted by someone who wanted to refute his argument that a spaceless, timeless, immaterial God created the universe. He wanted to know if anything else was spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. The answer was the laws of logic. His challenger then said that the laws of logic don’t really exist. Frank pointed out that the challenger was using one of the laws of logic to prove him wrong—the law of non-contradiction, which says that opposite ideas cannot both be true at the same time in the same sense.
Information and Intentionality
The gist of chapter 3 is, “God’s signature is not just in the cell, it’s in all of creation. God is as necessary to the universe as a band is to music. Once the band stops playing, the music is over.”
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, said that human DNA is like a computer program, but far more advanced than any existing software.
In Signature in the Cell, Stephen Myer states that the origin of the DNA code cannot be explained naturally. Where did the information in DNA come from? Among other things, DNA codes for 20,000-25,000 different proteins. Meyer points out that the abiotic development of DNA, RNA, and proteins is a “chicken or the egg” conundrum. DNA needs RNA and proteins to replicate and to be transcribed into messenger RNA and other regulatory RNAs. RNA needs DNA for its source code and proteins to produce DNA, RNA, and other proteins. Proteins need proteins, DNA and RNA for their production. Additionally, messenger RNA must be translated to produce proteins, and this requires proteins to aid in the process. How these three interdependent systems could have developed by time and chance is a major problem for evolutionists.
www.exploringorigins.org says “The discovery of ribozymes supported a hypothesis, known as the RNA World Hypothesis, that earlier forms of life may have relied solely on RNA to store genetic information and to catalyze chemical reactions….Although the ribosome is made up of both RNA and protein components, structural and biochemical analyses revealed that the mechanisms central for translation (the process of assembling a peptide chain based on a RNA sequence) is catalyzed by RNA, not protein. This suggests that the use of RNA by early lifeforms to carry out chemical reactions preceded the use of proteins.”
Meyer gives a fuller explanation and refutation of this hypothesis in Signature in the Cell. The probability of such a system’s developing by chance, however, is vanishingly small – another issue Meyer covers. If you’re interested in his arguments, much of his material is available online at www.StephenCMeyer.org, and at www.evolutionnews.org. On YouTube, see the four-part series “Intelligent Design under Fire.”
Morality – stealing rights from God
Dr. Turek begins chapter 4 with, “You can know what a book says while denying there’s an author. But there would be no book to know unless there was an author. Likewise, atheists can know objective morality while denying God exists, but there would be no objective morality unless God exists.”
Turek puts the issue of morality in a nutshell: “… if justice doesn’t exist, then neither does injustice. After all, something can’t be not right unless something really is right. If God doesn’t exist, and we’re merely the mindless, purposeless products of biological evolution, then morality is subjective. Which means that the rape and murder of your child isn’t really unjust. If you think it is, then that’s just your opinion.”
Atheists have to steal free will and morality from God in order to hold people responsible for their evil behavior. Our society once adhered to the moral absolutes revealed in the Bible, but has since drifted away to nearly amoral judgment. It has become increasingly difficult to find anyone at fault for any criminal act, no matter how heinous.
Our civilization is crumbling. Mass killings and suicide seem to be on the increase. I believe aberrant sexual behavior is becoming the norm, e.g. NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association is currently on the edge of our society, but just like same-sex marriages, this deviant behavior is now acceptable to a small, but growing, minority because morality is no longer based on God’s unchanging character. The rule of law is turning into situational ethics. What was once considered evil is now called good and vice versa. (Isaiah 5:20)
Still, Turek informs us, there are certain things some atheists find unacceptable, and atheist writers such as Sam Harris are trying to establish absolute morality based on what is the ultimate good for our species. Who decides that? Based on Darwinian presuppositions of what is superior and inferior racial stock, in the 1920s and 30s undesirable people were sterilized. Hitler accepted this idea and believed the Jewish race had to be obliterated because he thought it was inferior and interbreeding with them would negate many generations of evolution.
Humans are created with an inborn sense of right and wrong (Romans 2). Even most atheists would agree that raping children is wrong.
Evil: Does Evil Prove Atheism?
Turek’s main point for this section is, “Good reason provides all the information we need to see that the very existence of evil is a contradiction for atheism. If evil is real, then atheism is false.” [My emphasis]
Atheists often raise the issue of evil as evidence that God does not exist, but exactly the opposite is the case. The existence of evil shows that God does exist. Dr. Turek used to doubt the existence of God because of evil. Evil was a problem for Augustine too, because he reasoned thus:
- God created all things
- Evil is a thing
- Therefore, God created evil
Augustine eventually realized the second premise is false. Evil certainly exists, but not on its own. It exists as a lack of good. “Evil is like rust in a car: If you take all of the rust out of a car, you have a better car; if you take the car out of the rust, you have nothing.”
Evil is an intractable problem for atheists, however. There are two types of evil. There is moral evil where humans hurt others, and there is the evil of natural events that bring about suffering and death, e.g. earthquakes and tornadoes. Christians are not the only ones who have to explain both types of evil; every worldview has to explain the existence of evil. Some world religions deny evil exists, saying it’s just an illusion. Other religions try to explain how evil and God can coexist. Atheists tend to deny there is good or evil, using the “illusion” argument. Then “they are outraged by the great injustices and evil done by religious people in the name of God.”
Atheists, however, can’t espouse both opinions. Either evil and good exist, or neither exists. If good and evil exist, then God must exist because the standard for what is good must be absolute, otherwise it’s just human opinion. In that case, anything can be considered good or evil, and that’s exactly where our society is today, deciding what is good and what is evil based on the shifting sands of human opinion. Is what Hitler did good or evil? If there is no absolute good based on God’s character, then anyone’s opinion is valid. What is good one day can be considered evil the next. In other words, if evil and good are what an individual or society says they are; there is no objective, immutable standard—such as God.
Turek says, “Well, atheists can’t have it both ways. Either evil exists or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t exist, then atheists should stop complaining about the “evil” religious people have done because they haven’t really done any. They’ve just been ‘dancing to the music’ of their DNA [as Richard Dawkins points out]. If atheism is true, all behaviors are merely a matter of preference. On the other hand, if evil actually does exist, atheists have an even bigger problem. The existence of evil actually establishes the existence of God.”
He also says there can be good without evil, but there can’t be evil without good; and there can’t be objective good without God.
C.S. Lewis was once an atheist who thought evil disproved the existence of God. As he thought it through, he realized he was stealing from God to argue against Him. Lewis wrote, “…My argument against God was that the universe seems so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
This is true of all atheists. In order to complain against evil, they have to steal from God’s character, apart from which their argument makes no sense.
Science: Science Doesn’t Say Anything, Scientists Do
“To say that a scientist can disprove the existence of God is like saying a mechanic can disprove the existence of Henry Ford. While there is certainly evidence from science to support theism, the most important point for this chapter is not that science supports theism, but that theism supports science. In other words, theism makes doing science possible. We wouldn’t be able to do science reliably if atheism were true,” explains Turek.
People, including scientists, gather information and interpret it according to their worldview, which can be faulty. For an example, he reviews the evidence that was raised by the prosecution during the O.J. Simpson trial: Simpson’s blood found at the murder scene; Ron Goldman’s and Nicole Brown’s blood found in Simpson’s bronco; the bloody gloves – one found at the scene, the other found at Simpson’s house; the bloody footprints found at the scene and in Simpson’s Bronco. Despite this evidence, the jury decided that Simpson was not guilty.
Turek recounts this evidence to show that science doesn’t say anything, scientists do. Scientists gather data and interpret it. Science doesn’t do that, scientists, do.
The worldview of the jurors is what produced the not guilty verdict for Simpson. Because of their experience with police bigotry, most Blacks polled in the U.S. felt that prejudiced cops manipulated the evidence. Therefore the black jurors’ worldview led to their conclusion that Simpson was not guilty.
Because of their worldviews, atheists and theists interpret information concerning the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and the origin of new life forms differently. They start with opposing philosophical assumptions, therefore they come to opposite conclusions about origins based on the same evidence. Atheists and theists don’t have differing theories about many other scientific issues. There are not atheist and theist theories about electricity or gasoline engines. It’s easy to verify these theories by observation and repetition. However, the topic of origins is more controversial because origins cannot be observed and cannot be repeated in the lab.