Summary: Whereas traditional Atheism denies the existence of God, Christian Atheism accepts that there is a God but rejects the supernatural claims of Jesus. Navigating this reality takes wisdom, patience, and a commitment to clarifying the truth.
Good Morning! Welcome to church! Whether you are listening online or you’re here in person; we’re glad you’ve connected with us!
If you are visiting or this is your first time listening, we are in a series called Talking Faith. It’s a series about apologetics; learning how
“…to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).
So far, we’ve laid a foundation for doing apologetics by taking a closer look at our culture and the questions people are asking, last week we developed an apologetic for talking with our friends about the reality of absolute truth and why all roads do not lead to heaven.
Today, in Part 3, I’d like to turn our attention to something that might hit a little closer to home in a message called Combating A New Kind of Atheism.
SHERLOCK HOLMES AND DR. WATSON GO CAMPING
As we work our way into this topic, let me begin by telling you a story of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. They decide to go on a camping trip and after dinner and a bottle of wine, they laid down for the night and went to sleep. A few hours later, Holmes woke up and nudged his faithful friend:
"Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."
Watson replied, "I see millions of stars."
"What does that tell you?"
Watson pondered for a minute.
"Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets."
"Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo."
"Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three."
"Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow."
"Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant."
"What does it tell you, Holmes?"
Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke: "Watson, you idiot. Someone has stolen our tent!"
People can be very profound in giving an answer and miss the larger point.
When it comes to atheism, atheists try to give a rationale for the existence of the universe and the meaning of life, without a belief in God.
GET YOUR OWN DIRT
They’re kind of like the group of scientists who got together and decided that man had come along way and no longer needed God. So, they sent a delegate to tell him,
“Listen, God, the scientific community has decided that we don’t need you anymore. We’ve made significant advances in technology and medical science. We can transplant organs, grow tissue, and we can even clone people.”
“Wow. That’s impressive. But you say, ‘You don’t need me anymore’? How about we put your theory to the test. Why don’t we have a competition to see who can make a human being?”
The scientist agreed and God said,
“Great. Now, here’s how we’ll do it. We’ll make a person just like I did back in the olden days with Adam. Ok? Go ahead, you go first.”
“Fine, no problem,” said the scientist and scoop down to get a handful of dirt. To which God responded,
“Whoa! Wait a minute. Not so fast. Get your own dirt.”
Get your own dirt, indeed! This is, of course, the main problem atheism is unable to solve: how did matter come into existence? Only God has the capacity to create something out of nothing (ex nihilo, Latin).
INVITATION TO SCRIPTURE
If you have your Bible, turn with me to John 14, and let’s go back to the same conversation we read about last week. Jesus had told his disciples he was leaving and that they knew the way to where he was going. Thomas had told Jesus, “Actually, we don’t know where you’re going” [paraphrase of John 14:5]. And it was then that Jesus made the claim,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)
Well, right after that, Philip chimes in on the conversation and says,
“Lord,” Philip said, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us” (John 14:8)
If Thomas was a skeptic, Philip was pragmatic: “Show me the money!” Philip wanted to see the goods.
Whether Jesus rolled his eyes, I don’t know, but the response he gave Philip revealed that to know Jesus is to know God, and the search for (1) God, (2) truth, and (3) reality ends with Jesus. Let’s read what Jesus said,
“Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves” (John 14:9-11).