Recently I have been greatly intrigued by the science of apologetics. Apologetics finds its heart in 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”. My motivation is simple, I have a passion to know the truth and communicate it to growing number of people who do not believe in Jesus as God.
I write this post today for my cousin in law, Elise, who was recently given the assignment of looking at the atheistic world view and the Christian worldview. My reflection comes directly from a lecture series from Oxford put together by Ravi Zacharias Ministries. I will be pulling particularly from the lecture of Dr. Alister McGrath, the Head of Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture at King’s College London.
I want to be upfront — I cannot prove that God exists, neither can any atheist prove that God does not exists. What I can offer are pieces that put together paint the picture that is most clearly seen.
“Everything that moves is moved by something else.”Thomas Aquainus
Where better to start a discussion of the existence of God than the beginning. If you can prove the world’s creator, whether from a big bang or an intentional Creator, you can prove the existence or non existence of God. The problem of atheistic philosophy is that they have no answer for the order of the world or the eternal nature of it. Something had to move first, the world is simply too complex and ordered for it to be by chance. This is not just a Christian response but instead the main stumbling block of many atheistic thinkers. Richard Dawkins, the face of modern Atheism states in this way, “I am intrigued by how the universe came into existence, with the laws of nature already written into it.” Something had to write the laws by which the world works, and they are just too perfect to be done by chance.
“We are here because God wants us to be here, and he longs for us to discover Him.” Augustine of Hippo
The great overwhelming majority of the world seeks a deity of some kind to worship. The global desire for religion shows that men have a deep longing to worship something greater than themselves. If God were a figment of imagination and we humans were to evolve to point of not needing him, we should have already reached that point. The thing is, we do seek God, and every generation feels a longing within them for a true beauty, wonder and knowledge. Why is this? I believe men and women are hard wired to seek God. The sheer number of people who worship something points to a someone who has created them to worship. “To be truly human means to discover God.” (McGrath 2011)
“I believe Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not just because I said it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis
Ultimately every worldview, religion or belief system whether God centered or not is asking the same question — how did we get here and what is our purpose. I think the principle that the simplest answer is often the best answer applies well in our understanding of how we see God here. I believe Christianity is the clearest and most coherent explanation of the world. When the Christian world view is applied to see the world, it makes sense. When you take the Atheistic world view and apply it, it leaves too many questions unanswered. Their world view cannot make sense of the order of the world, the natural moral pull of humans and sacredness of every life.
“Without an absolute transcendent notion of good we cannot live out the good life.” Iris Murdoch
Killing is wrong, so is stealing, and so is rape. How do I know? These core moral ideas are both written on my conscience and given by God in his written word. You could poll a hundred people and come to a unanimous decision that these things are all wrong. Why? Because they are all written on our consciences. The Christian worldview knows that there is a standard of truth because a greater being (God) holds that truth. “God has disclosed himself in nature, in Christ and in the Bible so that we may know what goodness is.” (McGrath 2011) When you remove a greater being, you remove any and all authority which leaves no common morality. What is good for you is good and what is good for me is good.
The concept of God is foreign to many people because you cannot touch, see, or smell him. We can, though, touch the world we live in, fell the pull of the moral standard he has left within us, see the beauty of the world around us, be dumbfounded by the perfect order of creation, and feel the wonder of the universe. God is real. Perhaps the burden of proof is not on those who follow what is natural. Perhaps the burden is not on those who believe as God has wired us. Perhaps the burden of proof is on those who wish to reject what is humanly natural and cling to a false emptiness.
*McGrath, Alister. “The Existence of God.” Foundations of Apologetics. Oxford: Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, 2011.