Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doubt?

Are you a sincere seeker who has questions about Christianity, or a Christian with doubts about your faith? Post them here to receive a thoughtful response.
Post Reply
Ukranianlys
Familiar Member
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:33 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Undecided
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doubt?

#1

Post by Ukranianlys » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:15 pm

Hello all,

I see alot of cases for Atheisim, many of them saying that they are seekers of Knowledge and have the power to change things, that they relentlessly pursue the truth, and they jump the bundaries of fallacy that christianity has put in place by gapping Knowledge with God. More of less proclaiming to be the intellectualy superior. Normally I would dissmiss this, but for some reason I cling onto the question "If I have reasons for my belief, and I feel that they hold ground, Could it be that the atheistic claims hold ground too? That perhaps all this excitment over how they are truth seekers be partially true? I as a Christian cannot just blow off their claims, because they too are fellow humans, They think, they use reason, they are flesh and blood, and they are like me. I suppose what im getting as is, If I have legitimate reasons for my Faith, could they too have Legitimate reasons for their unbelief? If this is true should i take these claims seriously and find answers for them? or are they perhaps meerly lying, trying to gain the approval of the masses?

To add, A question that has bugged me to no end and really gets my goat (so to speak) Is the claim that Chrsitianity as a whole is a much more "Stupid" than the Whole of Atheism. That they are Freethinkers And we are blind
Im almost positive that you all have heard this before, I have as well, but i guess i would like to hear your opinions rather then just read a Article on it.

Thanks for your Time

bippy123
Prestigious Senior Member
Posts: 1918
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:56 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Has liked: 93 times
Been liked: 30 times

Re: Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doub

#2

Post by bippy123 » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:09 pm

Ukranianlys wrote:Hello all,

I see alot of cases for Atheisim, many of them saying that they are seekers of Knowledge and have the power to change things, that they relentlessly pursue the truth, and they jump the bundaries of fallacy that christianity has put in place by gapping Knowledge with God. More of less proclaiming to be the intellectualy superior. Normally I would dissmiss this, but for some reason I cling onto the question "If I have reasons for my belief, and I feel that they hold ground, Could it be that the atheistic claims hold ground too? That perhaps all this excitment over how they are truth seekers be partially true? I as a Christian cannot just blow off their claims, because they too are fellow humans, They think, they use reason, they are flesh and blood, and they are like me. I suppose what im getting as is, If I have legitimate reasons for my Faith, could they too have Legitimate reasons for their unbelief? If this is true should i take these claims seriously and find answers for them? or are they perhaps meerly lying, trying to gain the approval of the masses?

To add, A question that has bugged me to no end and really gets my goat (so to speak) Is the claim that Chrsitianity as a whole is a much more "Stupid" than the Whole of Atheism. That they are Freethinkers And we are blind
Im almost positive that you all have heard this before, I have as well, but i guess i would like to hear your opinions rather then just read a Article on it.

Thanks for your Time
Yes and they claim to be the purveyors of intellect and knowledge etc etc etc. They love science so much except when it goes against their atheistic worldviews, and I've seen them do it so many times. I've seen it in their argument to against the shroud of turin, against miracles, against veridical Nde's and so on. I've seen it to the point of them completely abandoning reason and the scientific method. To me atheism is more of an emotional worldview then an intellectual one.

If they were Truely rational free thinkers, they wouldn't need to keep repeating this to us. The would would have pointed this out. Most atheistic sites use the words reason, logic or rational , and if they use the words enough they will suddenly become what they describe themselves to be.

If you Truely are the smartest and the greatest you would be recognized as such, you wouldn't need to try to convince anyone of it.

User avatar
Furstentum Liechtenstein
Ultimate Member
Posts: 3295
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 6:55 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: It's Complicated
Creation Position: Young-Earth Creationist
Location: Lower Canuckistan
Has liked: 110 times
Been liked: 34 times

Re: Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doub

#3

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:19 am

The Bible clearly states that atheists are fools. You may want to look up the definition of fool but most people will agree that a fool is a harmlessly deranged person unable to understand what is clearly before him. If you look at the discussions we've had with atheists on this forum, it will become evident that they are unable to understand what is said to them in answer to their questions. A good case in point would be the topic Facebook athiests are at it again! in Questions for Christians.

I used to be a fool and a member of an atheist organization which met once a week. Looking back, I would have to say that atheists have no legitimate reasons for their doubt in God. What motivates atheists is a hatred of, and a desire to be free of, God. In some atheists, this hatred is conscious; in most, I would have to say it is unconscious.

So, to answer your question, Do [atheists] have legitimate reasons for their doubt?...No! hatred, stubboness and willful blindness are not legitimate reasons for doubt. I can see this now, by the grace of God who saved me from this folly.

FL
Hold everything lightly. If you don't, it will hurt when God pries your fingers loose as He takes it from you. -Corrie Ten Boom

+ + +

If they had a social gospel in the days of the prodigal son, somebody would have given him a bed and a sandwich and he never would have gone home.

+ + +

User avatar
Philip
Board Moderator
Posts: 8642
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:45 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Location: Betwixt the Sea and the Mountains
Has liked: 413 times
Been liked: 649 times

Re: Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doub

#4

Post by Philip » Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:58 am

If I have legitimate reasons for my Faith, could they too have Legitimate reasons for their unbelief?
Romans 1 says NO!

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by THEIR unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is PLAIN to them, because God has SHOWN it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been CLEARLY perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because THEY exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And since THEY did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they KNOW God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1 ESV)

Not to mention that talking to God is as close as one's own breath - if someone truly and sincerely wants to know if God exists, they can do the simplest thing - ASK Him: "Are you there, are you real? - IF so, please reveal yourself to me." Now Romans indicates that people ALREADY know God exists but they "suppress" that knowledge in their own unrighteousness. Searching for all of these "reasons" to believe in God will never create 100% certainty. We know that God wants all to come to saving knowledge of Him, and thus He will honor those who sincerely desire to know Him or to initially even understand He exists. So not engage God with a simple test - why not ask Him, in the quiet by yourself - as an experiment that no one will ever know except you, God and the wall. As what does a person seeking the truth of God's existence have to lose - except perhaps his unbelief? And to gain? Eternal life! Seems that, as the payoff is so potentially enormous and as the risk so small and unknowable to anyone else - why not ask God to reveal Himself? Unless you truly don't want to know - meaning, what you have isn't a lack of evidence, but a self-imposed emotional block, designed to remain in determined unbelief, no matter the powerful evidences otherwise.
Last edited by Philip on Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

bippy123
Prestigious Senior Member
Posts: 1918
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:56 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Has liked: 93 times
Been liked: 30 times

Re: Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doub

#5

Post by bippy123 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:41 pm

Philip wrote:
If I have legitimate reasons for my Faith, could they too have Legitimate reasons for their unbelief?
Romans 1 says NO!

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by THEIR unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is PLAIN to them, because God has SHOWN it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been CLEARLY perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because THEY exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And since THEY did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they KNOW God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1 ESV)

Not to mention that talking to God is as close as one's own breath - if someone truly and sincerely wants to know if God exists, they can do the simplest thing - ASK Him: "Are you there, are you real? - IF so, please reveal yourself to me." Now Romans indicates that people ALREADY know God exists but they "suppress" that knowledge in their own unrighteousness. Searching for all of these "reasons" to believe in God will never create 100% certainty. We know that God wants all to come to saving knowledge of Him, and thus He will honor those who sincerely desire to know Him or to initially even understand He exists. So there is a simple test - why not ask it in the quiet by yourself - an experiment that know one will ever know. What does a person seeking the truth of God's existence have to lose?
Absolutely beautiful.
:amen:

User avatar
Silvertusk
Board Moderator
Posts: 1952
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 5:38 am
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Undecided
Location: United Kingdom
Has liked: 8 times
Been liked: 24 times

Re: Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doub

#6

Post by Silvertusk » Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:05 am

Ukranianlys wrote:Hello all,

I see alot of cases for Atheisim, many of them saying that they are seekers of Knowledge and have the power to change things, that they relentlessly pursue the truth, and they jump the bundaries of fallacy that christianity has put in place by gapping Knowledge with God. More of less proclaiming to be the intellectualy superior. Normally I would dissmiss this, but for some reason I cling onto the question "If I have reasons for my belief, and I feel that they hold ground, Could it be that the atheistic claims hold ground too? That perhaps all this excitment over how they are truth seekers be partially true? I as a Christian cannot just blow off their claims, because they too are fellow humans, They think, they use reason, they are flesh and blood, and they are like me. I suppose what im getting as is, If I have legitimate reasons for my Faith, could they too have Legitimate reasons for their unbelief? If this is true should i take these claims seriously and find answers for them? or are they perhaps meerly lying, trying to gain the approval of the masses?

To add, A question that has bugged me to no end and really gets my goat (so to speak) Is the claim that Chrsitianity as a whole is a much more "Stupid" than the Whole of Atheism. That they are Freethinkers And we are blind
Im almost positive that you all have heard this before, I have as well, but i guess i would like to hear your opinions rather then just read a Article on it.

Thanks for your Time
It depends on their underlying reason for their claims. If they are genuine truth seekers then their doubts might be valid - as it is a journey most of us as gone through to become believers. I had many doubts before I became a Christian and each one slowy eroded after research and questioning. If this is what the Athiests are doing then maybe it can be said that they are just on part of their journey. The Holy Spirit may be slowly convicting them and growing the seeds planted by others to bring them back to God.

However some Athiests have other reasons for holding onto their "truth" claims and that is that they do not want to change their current lifestyle. I know some athiests that do not want to bow to an authority that they can't see or are enjoying their "sinful" life too much to want to change. Some athiests protest too much because they might fear the consequences of submitting to God.

PaulSacramento
Board Moderator
Posts: 9228
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:29 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Location: Ontario, Canada
Has liked: 124 times
Been liked: 349 times

Re: Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doub

#7

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:38 am

I think that it depends on why an atheist is an atheist.
If they do not believe because they see no evidence an proof that God exists then yes, they have a legit reason to not believe in God.
Of course what this means is that they interpret the evidence that a believer thinks is evidence of God as evidence for something else.

The Protector
Recognized Member
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:58 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Location: Washington, D.C.
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doub

#8

Post by The Protector » Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:01 pm

Ukrainianlys,

You asked if atheists have legitimate reasons for their unbelief, or if they are just lying or trying to gain approval from the masses. This makes me wonder what you mean by "legitimate." If you mean "correct" or "strong" arguments, I would have to say I generally don't think that they do (or at least most don't make very strong arguments). Even where the arguments are compelling, I don't think they are as strong as those for theism. But even if this is so it would not follow that atheists are lying. Regardless of the quality of their arguments, I think their beliefs are sincerely held; indeed, many Christians make poor arguments for theism (or none at all), but that does not mean they are insincere in their beliefs.

FL mentioned that adherence to their beliefs is, in many cases, unconsciously motivated. I think this is spot on. Many people think that Freud thought religious belief was delusional, but he did not-- he thought religious belief was an "illusion," not a delusion; the distinction he made was that a delusion is a belief that is obviously false but is held nonetheless due to unconscious dynamics, whereas an "illusion" is a belief that MAY OR MAY NOT be true, but it's being held was due to unconscious dynamics regardless of the actual veracity of the belief. This can be true of some religious believers (though not all, or not entirely-- I admit that I do WANT to belief in God, but I also think I have very good reason to think that God does exist regardless of this desire), but it can also be true of atheist belief as well. as preposterous as much of Freud's developmental theory was, he did get some things right.

As for the question of whether or not you should take atheists' arguments seriously, I must insist that the answer is YES! We must take their arguments seriously if for no other reason that becuase atheists take them seriously themselves, and we cannot engage with them effectively and try to win them to Christ unless we do likewise. That is not to say that we accept their arguments as true or valid, but that we try to honestly understand them. It is not Godly of us to merely dismiss others as fools--we must engage with them all the more for their foolishness! We do not hide a lamp under a basket, after all.

User avatar
Jac3510
Ultimate Member
Posts: 5489
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:53 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Young-Earth Creationist
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Has liked: 137 times
Been liked: 336 times
Contact:

Re: Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doub

#9

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:20 pm

Protector makes a good point. I think "legitimate reason" needs to be clarified. Can you ever have a legitimate reason to be wrong? You can have reasons to be wrong, but those reasons, by their nature, will be flawed. Perhaps you misunderstand a term or have an unfounded assumption under the reason. Let's take a nice political example. Did Bush have legitimate reasons for thinking that Iraq had WMD? He was working off the final assessment of the intelligence community, which was corroborated by the intelligence communities in other countries. But in the end, everybody was wrong.

In that case, he thought he had sufficient warrant for his assessment. He was mistaken in that assessment. The real question here, and it seems to be close to the question you are asking, is, "Did he have sufficient reason to conclude that the intelligence was either flawed or insufficient to draw military-actionable conclusions?" In short, should he have known better?

I think that is what you are really getting at. Should atheists know better? Can they plead ignorance? And here, I think the answer is just "no." Atheists want to pretend that the default position is non-belief, but they're just wrong about that. That's just something they say to justify their own views. The default position is belief, so the question is, "Why should I challenge and drop the default belief? What warrant do I have?" Seen that way, the ignorance question answers itself. You can't plead ignorant when you are required to make the case for your position.

Obviously, atheists would disagree with my assessment. As noted, they think that non-belief is the default. Convenient. But it's just demonstrably false, and the amazing part is that they will go on to argue--that is, to give reasons--why non-belief ought to be the default. But that should tell you something. When, for instance, anthropologists point out that there has never been a naturally atheistic culture, that atheism is learned, they start arguing why atheism is the superior belief (precisely because of its learning, because of its move away from superstition). But that gives away the farm. They're showing why their view is NOT default after all. Instead, they're now making a positive case as to why the default view fails.

It just so happens that their arguments against the default view fail. Theism is not learned. Every atheist started out a theist, whether they admit it or not. Atheism is learned, and since it is leaned, it must be warranted. Since it must be warranted, it cannot, by nature, plead ignorance.

So on my view, while no one can ever in principle claim legitimate reasons for being wrong, the real question--whether atheists can plead ignorance, that is, that they should know better--equally proves the inanity of their position.

Just my thoughts.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

SonofAletheia
Recognized Member
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:27 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doub

#10

Post by SonofAletheia » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:03 pm

I think people assume all atheists are just arrogant people who want to win arguments, put others down, and hate God. While certainly this is the case for many of them its not always the case.

Many people are just confused or overwhelmed by all the information. Or maybe they are struggling with an intellectual problem or an emotional problem. I sincerely hope each and every Christian has spent hours looking into the historical evidence for the Resurrection, the formation of the Biblical canon, and the doctrines within it.

We should never assume that just because a person is an atheist that they don't have legitimate reasons for their doubt. Sometimes these people are more rational than people of faith who simply believe because they want to or their parents told them to.
I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use.
-Galileo Galilei
What comes into our minds when we think about God, is the most important thing about us.
-A.W. Tozer

User avatar
jlay
Ultimate Member
Posts: 3616
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:47 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Young-Earth Creationist
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 9 times

Re: Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doub

#11

Post by jlay » Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:36 am

SOA,
But what you describe is not an atheist.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

User avatar
Philip
Board Moderator
Posts: 8642
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:45 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Location: Betwixt the Sea and the Mountains
Has liked: 413 times
Been liked: 649 times

Re: Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doub

#12

Post by Philip » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:34 am

I think that is what you are really getting at. Should atheists know better? Can they plead ignorance? And here, I think the answer is just "no." Atheists want to pretend that the default position is non-belief, but they're just wrong about that. That's just something they say to justify their own views
An atheist has no excuse because it is not God who has obscured Himself from them, but THEY that have obscured God from themselves - as they typically don't sincerely see and listen to what God has already shown them. God wants to reveal Himself, but will not force Himself upon one determined to avoid and reject Him. If they WANT to know if God exists, then He is more than willing to reveal Himself to such people. But a man can't see if he puts on and keeps on a heavy duty blindfold (whether borrowed or of his own making). And to not see that God exists, one has to work very hard to miss Him - as His fingerprints are all over this world, in countless obvious ways.

SonofAletheia
Recognized Member
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:27 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Atheists: Do they have legitimate reasons for their doub

#13

Post by SonofAletheia » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:50 pm

jlay wrote:SOA,
But what you describe is not an atheist.
I think terms like atheism and agnosticism can vary depending on the situation. For example, lets say a person is looking for the objective truth and is genuinely open to the evidence. But this person is not convinced by the arguments and evidence presented to him at that point. So it seems rational to say this person is an atheist (or perhaps a hybrid of an agnostic and atheist).

They would not say "there is no God" but they would say "at this point there is not enough evidence for God so it's not rational to believe in Him"

It's all semantics but I considered myself an atheist when I thought the arguments for God's existence were not compelling
I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use.
-Galileo Galilei
What comes into our minds when we think about God, is the most important thing about us.
-A.W. Tozer

Post Reply