So I stumbled across an article on CNN of a woman who explains why she raises her children without God. The article can be found here http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-910282?hpt=hp_c3. Now I want to say I am not linking to this article so that you can go and leave a hostile comment on the post. Plenty of people who profess in Jesus Christ have already done that on there making the rest of us look very foolish. I link to this article as a reference. This post is not so much an answer to this woman, but rather to help some of my readers deal with some of the issues she brings up. I write about this because these are all popular responses made by atheists that we face on a regular basis.
1. God is a bad parent and role model
This is the most popular argument, and it is actually an argument repeated in this article at multiple points just worded slightly differently. If God is so good and powerful then why let his children do such bad things? The answer truly is in the matter of free will, but that is only part of the reasoning. It is free will mixed with a sinful nature. In truth this is a point that you will never truly be able to convince an atheist to be true of. We can point out God’s standard, but He alone can convict their hearts of their sin. God allowed free will in this world, and man used it to rebel against God. There are consequences of that rebellion. One of them is a distance from God. We don’t realize that God tries to steer his children form evil, but our free will towards sin has kept us from listening to God as we are supposed to. God does try and intervene, but He does not force others because that would be a violation of free will. This is perhaps the hardest point to deal. All points ultimately need to face the issue of sin in this post. If you don’t believe in sin then you won’t believe in everything else in this article. Why did God allow sin? Because then free will is thrown out the window.
2. God is not logical.
This point is partly based on a misunderstanding. Atheists hear some Christian chuck every tragedy up to God’s ways being higher than our ways. The part they don’t hear is that when sin entered this world God’s design was screwed up. That’s the bad news. Sin ruined everything. The good news is that God most certainly does have the answer, and that is through his son Jesus Christ. People may not like or agree with that answer, but it is the only one that really matters. The author does bring up an excellent point on asking why we let these tragedies happen. A true believer will ask the same question, and will be compelled by God to act on that.
3. God is not fair.
Perhaps one of the most popular arguments. Why do bad things happen to good people, and good thing happen to bad people? A couple of things to briefly point out here. There is life beyond this earth. Scripture says evil men will face judgment. It may seem like they have it all now, but they will face the judgment they have earned in the end. As for why bad things happen to good people there are a few things to remember. What makes you so certain they are a good person? Honestly what we all deserve is hell. Plain and simple. God provided a way out of that for us. As for those born with defects and illness we must remember that God can do amazing things with those people too. God can be known through those situations.
4. God does not protect the innocent.
You know, Scripture says we are mean to be stewards of this earth. I believe that includes being stewards of each other. Sometimes God protects the innocent by using us to do so. I realize bad things still happen. They are a tragedy. What we saw in Newtown was a tragedy. However, that is a consequence of sin in the world. It is a cause that we are all responsible for.
5. God is not present.
There is honestly no way to answer this one without using personal experience. I believe God is present. I believe He shows his existence through things that happen around me. Santa Claus really goofed this up in a way. If anyone is to bring this argument before you then I would say to respond to them in love, but to explain that this is something you can only truly believe if you have experienced it for yourself. There are other things I can do to help prove the existence of God, but there is no possible way for me to help an unbeliever grasp how I can feel His presence even as I write these words.
6. God does not teach children to be good.
This argument honestly makes no sense. I do not say this derogatorily to those who use it, but there is simply no logic behind it. How do we know what is right or wrong to begin with? Someone teaches the child morality. Is it the parents? Where did the parents learn it from? Where do we get our understanding of morality? Scripture says God’s law is written on our hearts. We know right and wrong. So yes, God does teach children to be good.
7. God teaches narcissism.
I have to admit this is just as much of a pet peeve for me as it is for those who throw this issue in the face of Christians. It stems from hearing people misunderstand verses like Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” What people often forget is that this verse was written to Israel in exile when they feared God had forever forgotten them. They also forget that it talks about God’s people needing to come back to him and forget their rebellious hearts. It is true God has a plan for you, but we can choose to go outside God’s will for our lives. How does this work with free will, and God still knowing how things happen in the end? I honestly can’t explain it because it is beyond my ability to explain. That is where simple faith comes in.
That’s the real issue here. In the end you need to take a leap of faith to believe this side of things. That is why I encourage all who believe when faced with these questions to realize that you have a key element they do not. You have taken that leap of faith. So do not respond in anger or frustration. Do not get upset when they insult you. Do not insult them back.
One final though. The article ends with the author giving a plea not for religion to end, but for us to simply keep it in our homes and our churches. Stand up to this idea when someone proposes it to you. Asking me to keep my religion at home is like asking me to stop breathing when I leave my house. It is a core part of my being. It would be like me asking an atheist to keep their beliefs in evolution and there being no God at home. It would be me telling the parents of a child at the same school as mine to have them not talk about God being unreal or that the universe started with a big bang. It cannot be done.
This post does not answer everyone question because I do not have all the answers. I’m still learning myself. I again want to remind you all this is not to bash the author of the original post. I respect her, and am thankful she did not use her article to throw in a cheap shot at Christians in every sentence. This is simply for those who face these question, but struggle with putting the words together to respond.