How to Answer Every Atheist Objection to the Existence of God

Answering Atheists

This is another installment in the series  on how to answer atheists – in light of the many atheist memes out there. This article is a bit of a departure – instead of looking at graphical memes we’ll look at some of the overused but fallacious arguments. And since I was looking for the toughest arguments atheists present – you may or may not find memes for these:  these particular arguments from atheists don’t necessarily lend themselves to a simple graphical presentation – though some are indeed out there.

So as I was reviewing the atheist themed memes and objections it occurred to me the answer to all the reasons and objections that atheists present for why they believe God does not exist was surprising simple – because it was the same answer.  You can respond to every atheist reason for being an atheist with this same single answer. And here it is: That objection  (or reason – whatever it is) is neither proof nor evidence that God does not exist.  That’s it. Simple. But the atheist will no doubt challenge you on that response so to be most effective, you must setup your response in the proper context, and be prepared to point out the obvious flaw underlying the atheists’ reasoning. Here’s how to do that:

Start with the obvious: atheism is the claim there is no God. Some will quibble and claim it’s a lack of belief in God, to which you can have them clarify:

Therefore due to your lack of belief in God, you live your life as if God doesn’t exist correct? You certainly don’t live as if he does exist right? Because if you did I’d say you are a theist, not an atheist.

Once they agree they don’t live as a theist, your answer is the same – their lack of belief is neither evidence nor proof that God doesn’t exist any more than a lack of belief in satellites circling the earth is proof that they don’t exist. Or lack of belief that the earth is a sphere makes it flat.  A mere lack of belief is not proof or evidence of anything. It’s just their lack of belief. Atheists are supposed to be about reason, evidence and proof. Ask them if they have any of that.

Thus the main thing that atheists must do apart from claiming there is no God is to support that claim  with some sort of reason or evidence. But you’ll find they are spectacularly unable to do so.

Instead, atheists are always trying to place the burden of proof on you,  claiming either there’s no evidence or there’s no proof of God. (Since “proof” is philosophically difficult to produce, the more careful among them will simply demand evidence not proof as you can see here.) Either way – it doesn’t really matter which one they’re asking for – don’t let them change the point. Stick to your point and ask them, for people claiming to live by the evidence, where’s the evidence that God doesn’t exist?  As you can see from the below examples, they will be unable to come up with either evidence or proof, and with a little thought into the matter you can see why that’s the case. To get you started I’ve give you the reason for some of the popular atheist arguments below. But the main thing you need to remember is the standard response once you challenge an atheist to provide evidence either that atheism is true, or that God doesn’t exist (different ways to ask the same question.)  Whatever their response, your follow up is the same:

That’s not proof that God doesn’t exist.
(For those asking for proof.)
or
That’s not evidence that God doesn’t exist.
(For those claiming that God doesn’t exist, and providing evidence why that is the case.)

And the reason: Their objection misses the point. Their objection will typically point to why they want to live a life apart from God, or why they don’t like some aspect of the present world, or why they’re angry at God, or why something is unfair, or something they don’t like.  But note – none of these claims are reasons for their stated belief that God does not exist.  At best it’s a reason for them to live their lives as if God does not exist – (a foolish proposition given the reality of hell) but it’s not actual evidence or proof of the stated claim that God does not exist.

It’s merely an assumption. Note – the basis of the assumption will vary based on the argument, but to get you started identifying them, I’ve pointed out the errors in the assumptions of the more popular atheist reasons below. So let’s see how this response works to various atheist objections to the existence of God.

Atheist reasons why God doesn’t exist
(and why they don’t prove what they claim)

1. There’s No evidence of God.
This is a perennial reason given by atheists as this short illustration demonstrates.
Simply supply the standard answer for atheists: 
That is neither proof, nor evidence that God doesn’t exist.
Reason: There are a number of reasons why you haven’t discovered the evidence for God yet. For now consider bacteria. Antony Leeuwenhoek is credited with the first one to discover them in 1676.[1] Prior to that time, there was no evidence of bacteria yet they existed all the while. Likewise there is plenty of evidence for God, you just haven’t discovered it yet.
Going Deeper: To discover why you haven’t seen evidence yet, and why seeing evidence requires first at least a modicum of faith, read
Evidence is for Believers, Not Mockers

2. The Problem of Evil
This is typically setup like this:

If God is all good and all Powerful, then why is there evil?

This leads atheists to conclude that God does not exist.
Our standard answer for atheists covers this:
That is neither proof, nor evidence that God doesn’t exist.
Reason: You are merely assuming that an all Good, all powerful God would not allow evil. Your assumption proves nothing. You don’t know what an all Good, all powerful God would allow – since you’re not him.
Going Deeper:  This question – since it is so common has been answered a number of times a number of ways.[2] Here’s one of them: if God does not exist, you have no basis for calling anything “evil” or even “wrong” as even atheist cheerleader Richard Dawkins acknowledges.

Moving on to the next objection, I take the next atheist arguments from an article that lists what the author considers 3 famous atheists and their best arguments [3]The first of the three is generally credited to Richard Dawkins, and is an objection I’ve dealt with previously (here). But here you see it can also be addressed by our universal answer:

3. We’re all Atheists
The full statement is,  “We’re all atheists about most of the gods humanity has believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”
Standard answer for atheists: That is neither proof, nor evidence that God doesn’t exist.
Reason: Even if it were true that everyone were an atheist about most gods (a false assumption) you’re compounding it with the assumption that  just because you think that either everyone a) believes or b) claims that God doesn’t exist – that therefore that belief in itself makes the claim true. It doesn’t. Beliefs by themselves don’t make claims true. (A truth re-enforced with every claim that believers have a “blind faith”.)
Everyone could believe that Darth Vader is  a real person with real Sith powers and not a character in a movie. That doesn’t make that belief true.
Going Deeper:  This is a basic denial of what atheism is. For a fuller explanation, see Atheist Meme Mistake – we take atheism one god further.

Next in line, from Friedrich Nietzsche
4. Atheism is instinctual
By which he means atheism is an innate quality in humans.
Standard answer for atheists: That is neither proof, nor evidence that God doesn’t exist.
Reason: You’re merely assuming that if atheism (or theism for that matter) is instinctual, that it has something to do with the truth of whether God exists or not. It does not.  God’s existence is totally independent from what people believe about or even their instincts about it.
Going Deeper: Research has shown that belief in God is part of human nature[4]. If that is true then clearly atheism is not also part of that nature.

Also from Nietzche:
5. Religion is Desperation
Which approaches the same idea as Karl Marx’s famous axiom that “Religion is the opium of the people.”  The point of both being that life is so depressing that religion is a means of escape. Richard Dawkins also points to this reason for atheism[5], though obviously it’s not original with him.
Standard answer for atheists: That is neither proof, nor evidence that God doesn’t exist.
Reason: Religion isn’t the same as God. And even if it were, the extremes people resort to out of desperation have nothing to do with whether or not God exists.
Going Deeper: What people chose to believe about “religion” is a separate question from the existence of God.  This is clearly the case since not all religions believe in God (like Buddhism[6]), nor do they believe the same things about God, with some believing God to be an impersonal force (like Transcendental Meditation[7] and the Unity cult[8]). How does a belief in an impersonal force relieve desperation? And regardless, what does your state of mind have to do with the existence of God?

The next is from atheist Susan Blackmore from an interview with eternal seeker (but apparentlly never finding) Robert Lawrence Kuhn in his series “Closer to Truth”[9]:

6.  Atheism is a better way of living
Susan Blackmore explains:

“The main reason seems to me that you can live a better life as an atheist. Think of the harm that religions do. Not only do religions start wars, but they cause people within the same town, within the same village, to be fighting against each other…”

Once again the Standard answer for atheists: That is neither proof, nor evidence that God doesn’t exist.
Reason: What you consider a “better way of living” has nothing to do with whether or not God exists. And as mentioned above “religion” is a concept distinct from the question of the existence of God.
Going Deeper:
This objection clearly points to the real reason why people choose to live as atheists. (I say “live as atheists” not “believe God doesn’t exist” because I’m confident that deep down they know God exists. (Rom 1.19-20). When you look deep enough ultimately you’ll find that atheists have neither evidence nor proof that God does not exist, but they choose to live a life style of atheism, claiming God does not exist so they can be their own God and do as they please. (That by the way (doing all that he pleases) is what God says he does – Is 46:10. Clearly they want the prerogatives only God has.)

Next from J.L. Schellenberg also speaking to Robert Kuhn on the “hiddenness argument”:

7. If God is real and loves us, why is he hidden so people can’t love him? Therefore he must not be real.
This argument is built on a number of  non-sequitors as we’ll see. Too simplify: it supposes that a loving God wants to be in a loving relationship with those who are free to love him. So far so good. But then this stunningly irrational conclusion is drawn, as related by J.L. Schellenberg:

... it makes the point that, for God to really be open like that, uh, people have to be in a position to participate in a relationship with God. For that to be the case, they have to be able to believe that God exists, um, and then you look around and you say, well, there are a lot of people that don’t believe in – in the existence of God who would believe if there were such a being.”[10]

Once again the Standard answer for atheists: That is neither proof, nor evidence that God doesn’t exist.
Reason: This argument is filled with non-sequitors – conclusions that don’t follow from the premises. For example, it does not follow that since God is hidden, he doesn’t exist (X Rays are invisible and the microscopic Tardigrades are hidden, yet both exist). Nor does it follow or even make sense that because God is hidden, people can’t love him, or that because God is hidden people can’t believe in him.
Going Deeper: This objection illustrates not only a stunning lack of rational thought, but even more fundamentally it demonstrates a fatally flawed view of the character of God and the appropriate reaction to Him.  I’ve pointed out the bad logic, so let me point out a little about the other two errors concerning the character of God and the appropriate reaction to Him.

It does not follow that if people see God, they’d love him.  When God is not veiled in flesh, he is so holy and powerful people are terrified of him (Ex 20.18-19; Is 6.5). It also does not follow that when they see Jesus, they’ll love him.  Many saw Jesus – God veiled in flesh – who said “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”  (John 14.9), yet as he himself pointed out, many hated him. (John 15.24-25) 

It also does not follow that you cannot believe in God unless you see him. Jesus said blessed are those who are able to do that – (believe without seeing – John 20.29).  Another obvious fallacy: it also does not follow that you must be able to see God to love him. How many expectant mothers love their unborn child having never seen him or her? Or fathers away at the time of birth who have never seen their child after the child’s birth, yet still love the child? This argument would insist such parents could not love their children.

Further if it were the case that you must see God to love him, it would make no sense for God to command that we love him (even though he’s hidden). And yet there is a command to love God – known as the Veahavta – Hebrew for “and you shall love” the first word (Hebrew) or words (English) of Deut 6.5 – and it is recited in Jewish and Messianic[11] synagogues every Shabbat. Clearly there are plenty of people who believe you can love a hidden God – and do.

And perhaps most importantly, it does not follow that the only reason people don’t believe in God is because he doesn’t exist. People are known to believe in things that don’t exist – like extra-terrestrial aliens who have visited earth. Which means it’s possible to believe in things that don’t exist. Rather,  the reason people don’t believe is not because God doesn’t exist, but because people are sinful (Rom 3.23), and as stated above want to play God themselves and live as they please. So they like to pretend he doesn’t exist. Such pretense is shown to the world as atheism.

And our final sample argument from atheists:

8. Evolution has done away with the need for God
This argument hardly needs introduction or explanation since it is the de facto position of not only secular scientists, but the secular world in general. That of course includes atheists, and unsurprisingly, this makes the list of the top objections atheists have to the existence of God.[12] But our standard response suffices here as well:
Standard answer for atheists: This (evolution) is neither proof, nor evidence that God doesn’t exist.
Reason: Those who use this excuse typically don’t realize they have painted themselves into a corner. To demonstrate the foolishness of this argument, you need merely point out the facts:

1.  The evolutionist is using evolution as an explanation for the origin of life (Otherwise why are they claiming it has done away with the need for God? They are not claiming it as God. What then, are they claiming about it if not to explain the origin of life?)

2.  Evolutionists fall into two camps when it comes to the origin of life:

Camp A) Those who acknowledge that evolution tries to explain the origin of life via Chemical evolution, but realize it fails miserably
Camp B) Those who claim that strict Darwinism never tries to explain the origin of life.

The response to those in camp A is relatively obvious: How can you claim evolution has done away with the need for God when evolution itself can’t even explain the origin of life?

The response to those in Camp B – those who deny Darwinism tries to explain the origin of life: First they should be called out on their obfuscation: Honest evolutionists admit they would like evolution to explain the origin of life – though all attempts to do so have failed. In fact it was Darwin’s explicit purpose in coming up with the theory – to eliminate the need for God. It doesn’t matter if they acknowledge this because the next point is the main point:
Second: You should agree with the atheist that Darwinism does not explain the origin of life. Which leaves them with a problem: How can you claim evolution does away with the need for God when evolution itself does not explain the origin of life? And if they are not invoking evolution to explain the origin of life, what are they invoking it for?
Going Deeper:  There is no part of reality that makes sense if you believe the underlying premise of evolution – that undirected, unguided, random forces and events generated the world we see. Challenge atheists to identify:

  • How undirected material processes can make (non-material) consciousness
  • How undirected material processes can come up with the (non-material) laws of logic, math, etc.
  • How undirected material processes can come up with the (non-material) code with which the information in DNA is encoded
  • How undirected material processes can come up with the (non-material) information in DNA
  • How undirected material processes can come up with the (non-material) process to digitize the light signals received by your eyes, send it through your nervous system to the brain, where another (non-material) code processes the digitized information and puts it back together so you understand the signal not Matrix like – as a stream of digitized data – but as a  picture of what your eyes have seen. 

Those who are honest will admit they can offer no explanation.

Conclusion
There is no scenario in which the supposition “there is no God” makes sense. You can reason your way there as in the examples above. Or you can take the short cut and take it from the Bible which makes it clear: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” (Psalm 14:1). Only fools claim there is no God.  Don’t be a fool.

Duane Caldwell | March 24,  2019 | Printer friendly version


Notes  

1. Explorable.com (Jan 13, 2010). “Discovery Of Bacteria”. Retrieved Mar 18, 2019 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/discovery-of-bacteria

In “Evidence is for Believers, Not Mockers” I argue that evidence is for believers, not unbelievers, and thus it is unwise to try to persuade those unwilling to believe based on evidence alone. For details, see here: http://rationalfaith.com/2018/11/evidence-is-for-believers/
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2. I have addressed the Problem of Evil in the following articles:
The Problem of Evil – Proof That God Exists
Atheist Meme Mistakes: Morality and Sin
(See the section under “Problem 3: A Denial of Sin is just a restatement of the fact they’re atheists”)
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3. Sam Wikstrom, “3 Famous Atheists & Their Best Arguments”, July 30, 2018, https://owlcation.com/humanities/Top-Atheists-Their-Best-Arguments
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4. Tim Ross, “Belief in God is part of human nature”, The Telegraph, 12 May 2011, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8510711/Belief-in-God-is-part-of-human-nature-Oxford-study.html
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5. RK Bentley, “Another ‘best’ argument from atheists”, A Sure Word, Sept 14, 2018, http://rkbentley.blogspot.com/2018/09/another-best-argument-from-atheists.html
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6. “Buddhism is mostly atheistic. Many Buddhists do not believe in a God or a Supreme Being of any kind.”
Christianity, Cults & Religions, Rose Publishing, 1996, 2000
Also:
“The Buddha also rejected religious devotion as a way of salvation. His position was the sort of atheism we have already noted in Mahavira.”
David S. Noss and John B. Noss, Man’s Religions, 7th Edition”, New York: Macmillian Publishing Company, 1984, p. 115
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7. Regarding TM:
“Supreme Being is not personal. All creation is divine”
Christianity, Cults & Religions, Rose Publishing, 1996, 2000
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8. Regarding The Unity School of Christianity – (which cult researcher Walter Martin calls a “gnostic cult”)
“God is not a … person, having life, intelligence, love, power. God is that invisible, intangible, but very real, something we call life. God is perfect love and infinite power.”
(H. Emily Cady, Lessons in Truth, Lees Summit, MO: Unity School of Christianity, 1944, p.6)
ref. from: Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults, Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1985, p.284
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9. Closer to Truth “Atheism Best Arguments? (Part 1) – Interview with Susan Blackmore, accessed 3/15/2019, https://www.closertotruth.com/series/atheisms-best-arguments-part-1
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10. Closer to Truth “Atheism Best Arguments? (Part 1) – Interview with J.L. Schellenberg, accessed 3/15/2019, https://www.closertotruth.com/series/atheisms-best-arguments-part-1
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11. Messianic Synagogues are those who believe and confess that Yeshua – the Jewish way to say Jesus – is the long expected Messiah, fulfilling the Messianic prophecies of the first coming.
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12.
As an example of evolution making the list of top arguments against God, see:
Eric Hyde, “Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments, and Why They Fail”, Pravmir.com, 31 March 2014, http://www.pravmir.com/top-10-common-atheist-arguments-fail/
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Thanks for the succinct summary and refutations of standard atheistic arguments.

A few minor typos crept in: ture => true, compunding => compounding, Suan => Susan.