Mars Hill Forum #151: Atheism Proves the Existence of God
John C. Rankin (April 30, 2012)
On April 22, I addressed one in my series of Mars Hill Forum series, with David Silverman, president of American atheists. In my opening comments, I started with a commitment to the positive, the proactive, and then posited the quandary for Dave as an atheist:
“But, too, this already introduces a dilemma for Dave. Namely, the word atheist, from the Greek roots a + theos is a negative, a reactive term. It means to be “without God.” But if there is no God, then atheism cannot exist – it has nothing to negate. To be without Something is to be without anything. Atheism’s only alternative is Nothing. [For] if Something, God, does not exist, then it must be Nothing that exists. But Nothing by definition cannot exist, and thus, we cannot exist. But here we are, pondering it all. Oxymoron and double entendre. Thus, if Something is really Nothing, then atheism means “without Nothing.” But then, to be without Nothing is both redundant and non-existent on the one hand, yet on the other, it is a double negative. In quantitative reasoning a double negative equals a positive, and thus God must exist.”
Or to sum up: Atheism has no alternative but to prove the existence of God by virtue of its own existence.
Dave interjected, “I’ve got such a headache,” and had a good laugh as well. It can be seen on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbmWYwq15Us. The audience, mostly skeptics of the Bible from one angle or another, enjoyed this interlude of serious fun as well.
My experience is that atheism is a chosen negative in an attempt to deal with human pain. But for now, keeping it within the intellectual arena, let me posit a sequence of thought.
I know of no one in history who can conceive of space, time and number ending, or not ending. Let’s think about this for a moment. If we try to conceive of the end of space, we ask ourselves: What is on the other side? And even as we peer to the edge of the universe, and run into fuzzed-out pixilation, the question remains the same. Then, what happens one minute after the end of time? Also, what is infinity + one? We cannot wrap our minds around the idea of eternity, yet it is in our hearts to wonder about, and such wonder should lead to humility and a rigorous love of learning.
The question about the end of space was the beginning point for my own faith as an eight-year old – having grown up in an agnostic Unitarian context. I was in awe of the universe and my existence within it.
In the reality of cause and effect, there is always a greater cause that produces a lesser effect. Or to put it another way, in all human measurement in the sciences, we have yet to show that nothing can produce something, or that a lesser order (in terms of complexity) can produce a greater order.
Now, here we are as persons. If we trace our molecular substance back to the Hot Big Bang, we must logically ask: What preceded the Big Bang? What or Who produced the original matter and pulled the trigger?
In all human literature, there is only one concept of that which is greater than space, time and number – the very essence of the Hebrew name of Yahweh Elohim. This is the Creator introduced in Genesis 1-2, and expressed fully in the triune reality of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In all pagan religions, the gods and goddesses are finite creatures. Secular constructs are limited by definitions of human measurement. Even Allah in the Qur’an is defined by the human concept of the number one (“no companions”), and Allah does not enter space and time as does Yahweh Elohim, the I AM, in the person of Jesus.
In other words, a simple observation is that we are only persons because we come from the Person who spoke the universe into being, and made us in his image. What greater information and logic is there? I look forward to learning it if it exists.