Updated: Apr 11
If you have not read the Introduction to this series, read that here. And then read this article.
When we discuss the issue of God and His existence, we have presuppositions even before we intend to prove the case. What makes better sense? The “new atheist” movement claims its views need no defense and that all that is required is to attack opposing the worldview. They claim that atheism is only “a lack of belief.”
If that were really the case, then atheism could not make claims to anything in a positive statement. (A lack of belief cannot deny.) I may not like mushrooms, but that does not prove the statement, “No one likes onions.” Famous agnostic prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi corrects this misunderstanding; ironically, he does so in a book meant to refute Christianity, The Divinity of Doubt. He wrote,
“First, in a trial, the side making the allegation has the burden of proof (the prosecution in a criminal case, the plaintiff in a civil case) that first presents the evidence to prove its allegation or case.
The defense provides evidence to poke holes in the other side’s case, and, many times, [it] even presents affirmative evidence to prove the opposite (that the allegation is not true).
In this context, the theist making the allegation that God exists would open the case, and the atheist would try to knock this allegation down by establishing weaknesses in the theist's case and/or by attempting to affirmatively prove that God cannot exist.
The agnostic would not fit into this theoretical trial, because he is not making an allegation one way or the other. The only position he is taking is that he doesn't know”
—--Vincent Bugliosi, The Divinity of Doubt, ch. 2, pg.19, “God in Court”
So we can not confuse the burden of atheism with the absence of agnosticism as the new atheists propose.
But, life gives us a different set of circumstances. Life is an issue of risks and faith. We don't know when we are going to die, so the risk of death is available every day. If there is no God, we could have a good life, but eventually it is cut short, or we could have a bad life with no relief. There would be no justice, because whether we do right or wrong, we have the same consequence.
Plus, what if we die in pain? Is our pain forever? Meanwhile, if we are unbelievers, then God will punish us eternally in Hell. But if we are believers, we have eternal life in paradise.
What’s the consequence if the believers are wrong? They have a life with less evil and the same end as the atheist. So the greater risk and rewards is that we should seek for God.
Some may claim that God is a myth, but this is irrational. When we understand God, we know He is eternal, immutable (unchanging), all-knowing, and everywhere. Is a myth all-knowing? Everywhere? Eternal? No, a myth is none of these things. So God is not a myth.
Some might retort, “God cannot be understood.” But while we don't exhaustively know everything about God, we can do systematic theology, an academic discipline that has been taught up to the doctoral level for well over a thousand years around the world. The problem is that if God is not a myth or incomprehensible, then we have exhausted the options, and God exists. Meanwhile the questions grow without God, and the answers shrink.
Ask yourself, how much in the universe do you know—-99% or 1%? Honestly, we don’t even know 1% of the universe. Could not God be hidden in over 99%? Have we searched the multiverse, our universe, our solar system, or a hollow earth? Many of these might not exist, but we just don't know. Where did time come from? Where did science, justice, or even beauty come from?
I have a little joke I often tell. “Your arguments against the existence of God sound good, but I just don't believe I can convince God with them!” People could argue if they really know God, but I am glad He really knows me. Of course, God is rational, and it is ludicrous to ignore the Lord without hearing Him out. So with this understanding, we can move on.
And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.
And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”
Continue to Article 2 here.
So in legal terminology, the atheist argues that the theist has the burden of proof. But agnostic prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi points out that the atheists' must hear out the full case of the theist and come up with an alternative scenario to defend their own views; but that’s often not what is going on. Moreover, this is a lifelong issue, and not just a “trial.” Then with "Pascal's Wager," we see that the chances of a better outcome lean toward theism over atheism. Blaise Pascal presents that it is in man’s best interest to believe in the existence of God as it is rational, does not harm, and hell needs to be averted.
So, this would motivate the search for monotheism as truth. Now the T.A.G. (Transcendental Argument for God) points out that the atheistic worldview has a problem having any kind of objective knowledge or epistemology. Thus, in its collapse, theists win by default.
Reformed epistemology asserts therefore the right to presuppose God to overcome the philosophical hurdles of knowledge. So, it is less aggressive a strategy to assert that disagreement can never create uniformity.
Finally, the ontological (related to the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence or being as such; metaphysical) argument shows that God’s definition has to exist because of God's essential properties.
In fact, in the 20th century mathematician Kurt Godel proved that it is mathematically logical that essential properties like those belonging to God are reasonable. We can thus conclude that God is real. His math was later tested and vindicated by a super computer.
This means that there is mathematical proof for God!
The anecdote at the end, “I just don’t believe I can convince God with them [the arguments]!” points out the atheist problem of a religious relationship. Psychologist William James has diagnosed many cases where religious experience causes mental reactions that are real, not like fictional imagination which is under the power of the mind. Religious experiences with God influence our future behavior and character. Theologian E.Y. Mullins made a case of these millions of experiences showing an empirical reality which, by implication, points to the God of the Bible. This is called, “Subjective empiricism.”
Legal application: Often the government has interpreted faith under the philosophy of existentialism started by Soren Kierkegaard. Existentialism sees faith as a leap into the darkness or the unknown. This says that faith is not rational but rather, an exercise of the imagination which is used as a crutch for the weak.
But biblical faith is rational. However, faith enables us to receive knowledge through the revelation given by God. So, this is a different source of knowledge than logic or evidence within man's ability. However, coming from an all-knowing God, it is objective truth. So, through faith in God, we can see this revelation.
Since the government and secular academia appear to assume an existential faith, then christian faith is often denigrated as a right of imagination which has no effect upon others.
An application for this is what we see in the government's treatment of the family. For many, marriage is deeply sacred, and divorce should be rare if ever. Yet the government imposes its will on the family to allow (if not encourage) it. Also, many believe the man to be the head of the household and provider for the family. Often, the courts deny this and give the wife a preference in terms of custody. More than this, however, is the fact that the father has no say over the issue of aborting their own children. In fact, they do not even have a right to be notified that their children have been killed in the womb.
All of this rests on the premise that the element of faith within the idea of the family is to be despised. This is a direct attack upon religious liberty for the simple fact that the concept of faith has been straw-manned.