I stumbled across an article today that challenges Christians to answer 10 questions logically and rationally. The author supposes that these questions pose contradictions that are unanswerable from a Christian or theistic worldview. He asserts that these questions can only be answered logically if we assume that God is imaginary.
I found it striking that even in his posing these 10 questions, the author borrowed the presuppositions of a theistic worldview. That is, his questions assume truths that can only exist if there is a God, who serves as the ultimate standard of good.
Here are his 10 questions:
1) Why won't God heal amputees?
2) Why are there so many starving people in our world?
3) Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people in the Bible?
4) Why does the Bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?
5) Why is God such a huge proponent of slavery in the Bible?
6) Why do bad things happen to good people?
7) Why didn't any of Jesus' miracles in the Bible leave behind any evidence?
8) How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you?
9) Why would Jesus want you to eat his body and drink his blood?
10) Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians?
Our temptation may be to immediately launch into an apologetic answer to each question. I believe that a better approach would be to challenge the presuppositions behind the questions, presuppositions which are foreign to the worldview of the author. With each question, the author assumes things that can only exist if God exists.
The first thing that a number of these questions assume is that there is an objective standard of morality. The author appeals to the concept of innocence in numerous questions. In his comments on question #2, he writes, “Why would God be worried about you getting a raise, while at the same time ignoring the prayers of these desperate, innocent little children?” Question 3 is similar. Perhaps the author has not considered that the concept of innocence depends upon an objective standard of morality, which has no place in an atheistic world. How can someone or something be innocent if there is no transcendent law? There must be absolute right and wrong in order to declare someone innocent or guilty. The atheist has no objective source for right and wrong.
Some atheists have argued that morality is a function of convention. That is, morality consists of generally accepted principles that people have agreed upon over time. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that is correct. If that is the case, then what is right and wrong for one society might not be the same as right and wrong in another society. And if that is the case, one society cannot impose its version of right and wrong upon another. Morality is relative to a specific community. This does not help the atheists argument against the biblical community. This is because in the biblical community, there is no such thing as an innocent person (Rom 3:10-18), that is, this is an agreed upon principle of morality. Therefore the author of the article, who is outside the biblical community, has no business imposing his sense of morality upon the biblical community.
This relativistic concept of morality would seem to completely absolve Nazi Germany of all their many atrocities. After all, the mistreatment, ostracism, imprisonment, and murder of countless Jews were based upon generally agreed upon principles regarding the relative worth of Arians versus non-Arians. Who are any of us to question moral principles that the Germans agreed upon among themselves? And yet, modern atheists frequently use Nazi Germany as an example of pure evil inconsistent with the existence of a loving God. They universally deplore the actions of the Germans, contrary to their own worldview.
Atheists may claim that morality is relative, but they cannot live that way. There is inside of them an awareness of absolute right and wrong, which is why they naturally condemn those who violate that standard. By posing questions that appeal to morality, the author of the article undermines his own worldview and assumes tenets of the worldview he seeks to disprove. To the atheist, the material world is all that exists, and the material world cannot account for morality. Only in a theistic world does absolute morality make any sense.
Next time we’ll discover other things assumed by the author that cannot exist in an atheistic world. Until then consider that when unbelievers try to appeal to morality to dispute a theistic worldview, we should not allow them to borrow truths that only make sense in a theistic world.