Summary: Consider the evidence. (Part 1 on a series dealing with atheism.)
WHY DON’T ATHEISTS BELIEVE IN GOD?
C: Rational belief in God
Pr: LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE.
PA: How is the change to be observed?
• Consider the evidence.
• Be a listener.
RMBC 11 November 07 AM
ILL Belief (H)
Nine-year-old Joey, was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday school.
"Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his engineers build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then he used his walkie-talkie to radio headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved."
"Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?" his mother asked.
"Well, no, Mom. But if I told it the way the teacher did, you’d never believe it!"
The story about the exodus is an incredible story.
It is nothing short of miraculous.
That being said…
1. We realize, as Christians, that many of the narratives in the Bible are hard to believe.
When it comes right down to it, those of us who are Christians believe some really incredible, impossible things.
We know that.
This is why I have never desired to be harsh on people that do not believe, especially for those that are more thoughtful by nature.
Today, I want to talk to two groups.
I want to speak to Christians, to give you a snapshot of some selected history regarding atheism, and more importantly, what a new breed of atheists are saying today.
I also want to speak to non-Christians who do not believe there is a God or who may be wrestling with the question of His existence.
I want to assure you that I am not a man with all the answers.
I, too, am on this journey of life, constantly searching for truth and more truth.
What I cannot do, this morning, is present such an airtight, cogent argument that everyone who listens will be immediately convinced that what I say is true.
But what I want everyone to do this morning is to seriously look at the evidence – know both sides – without disparagement – which I think both groups have a tendency to do.
Admittedly, there are times that Christians have been particularly harsh about those that claimed atheistic belief.
At the same time, please understand that I do speak from a Christian worldview.
I make no apologies for this.
I intend to humbly persuade this morning.
First, I want us to consider selected points in the…
I. History of Atheism
For those that believe in God, I think it is particularly interesting to note that…
2. The Romans believed that Christians were atheists.
The culture into which the church was born was not a friendly one.
They were not inclined to be in favor of religious diversity.
So, when Christianity began to grow, it was not met with approval.
The Roman government considered this new Jewish sect as subversive to the state religion.
If you did not believe in the Roman gods, it was described as impiety and heresy, and was considered a capital crime.
This is why many a Christian lost their lives in the early years, both from their homeland in Palestine, and as they stretched out across the Roman empire.
Through the years, we know that Christianity took hold in the empire by the late 300s, and became the dominant worldview in the western world even until this day.
However, as the modern world ushered into place in the 1800s, the belief in atheism began to take a prominent role in the intellectual world.
The criticism of Christians began to increase.
It was claimed that Christians were uncritical thinkers.
They were wasting their life on wishful thinking.
They revered a book with glaring inconsistencies, bizarre mythology and inaccurate history.
Such thinking caused Karl Marx to conclude that…
3. Karl Marx: “It (religion) is the opium of the people.”
It is a drug to help a person get by.
It is used to dull the pain caused by reality.
In other words, religion was being used as a “crutch.”
And according to Marx, if people want happiness, they need to give up what is illusory and unreliable to experience what is real.
Friedrich Nietzsche, a prominent 19th century philosopher, is well-known for coining the aphorism "God is dead" (German: "Gott ist tot").
4. Friedrich Nietzsche: “…God is dead, that the belief in the Christian God has become unbelievable..."
Although the original quote of “God is dead” was not spoken by Nietzsche directly, it was spoken by one of his characters in one of his writings.