Fox News and William Lane Craig have fired a shot across our bows in the War on Christmas.
It’s the usual fear. Atheists are destroying Christmas. It’s their own little Christmas Story. Christmas is under threat of a shady destruction by a nefarious evil (Atheism) . However it always survives. The good guys win.
We slink off to our hovels and eat crow, they sit around and scarf pigs in blankets. Ho Ho Ho!
For atheists, Christmas is a religious sham. For if God does not exist, then obviously Jesus’ birth cannot represent the incarnation of God in human history, which Christians celebrate at this time of year.
No it’s a festival of historical importance to western culture that has taken on global significance due to colonialism and globalisation of culture.
I am sure you will wail and gnash your teeth when you hear how my family used to celebrate Christmas as Hindus. Our Turkey was a lot more spicier.
However, most atheists, in my experience, have no good reasons for their disbelief. Rather they’ve learned to simply repeat the slogan, “There’s no good evidence for God’s existence!”
For the gods. Please. Let’s not discriminate against every god that doesn’t exist.
In the case of a Christian who has no good reasons for what he believes, this slogan serves as an effective conversation-stopper. But if we have good reasons for our beliefs, then this slogan serves rather as a conversation-starter.
Also? I don’t think I have ever asked a Christian around Christmas why they have fun at a festival I don’t believe in. For the same way I still have fun at Diwali.
Sure start the conversation.
The good thing is that atheists tend to be very passionate people and want to believe in something.
The atheist who merely repeats this slogan after having been presented with arguments for God’s existence makes an empty assertion.
You can argue that a tortoise is faster than an arrow but all you get is tortoise kebabs in practice.
So what reasons might be given in defense of Christian theism? In my publications and oral debates with some of the world’s most notable atheists, I’ve defended the following five reasons why God exists:
So here we go! This is our Christmas gift and I am asking for the receipt.
1. God provides the best explanation of the origin of the universe. Given the scientific evidence we have about our universe and its origins, and bolstered by arguments presented by philosophers for centuries, it is highly probable that the universe had an absolute beginning. Since the universe, like everything else, could not have merely popped into being without a cause, there must exist a transcendent reality beyond time and space that brought the universe into existence. This entity must therefore be enormously powerful. Only a transcendent, unembodied mind suitably fits that description.
There is no scientific evidence that an intelligent entity created the Universe let alone the intelligent entity of the early Jews called Jehovah. There is as much evidence for such a being’s existence as there is for Brahma.
The actual argument of philosophers boils down to “We do not understand the complexity of the universe and so it must be created by an intelligent being” and when asked why that intelligent being was not created we have the absolute breakdown of said logic.
And the probable scientific cause for our existence is a singularity event which is enormously powerful considering it would be an energy source that would make our Sun pale in comparison.
If you are going to give this singularity magic powers and a soul and a set of rules that tells you to throw rocks at Elton John then I am afraid that’s simply nonsensical. It’s like claiming the volcano is angry and that we must sacrifice someone who likes blowjobs to satiate it. It’s a force of nature. A physical even that cannot be reasoned with anymore than you can convince a typhoon.
2. God provides the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe. Contemporary physics has established that the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent, interactive life. That is to say, in order for intelligent, interactive life to exist, the fundamental constants and quantities of nature must fall into an incomprehensibly narrow life-permitting range. There are three competing explanations of this remarkable fine-tuning: physical necessity, chance, or design. The first two are highly implausible, given the independence of the fundamental constants and quantities from nature’s laws and the desperate maneuvers needed to save the hypothesis of chance. That leaves design as the best explanation.
If you win the lottery, the lottery did not exist solely for you to win. This is a creationist argument that ignores the fact that the spread of human life on this planet is so large that we effectively live at a range of 60 degrees Celsius. From the Inuit to the Deserts .
For William Lane Craig to claim that the entire universe in which we are just a single blue dot… that this entire universe exists for a bunch of people in the Middle East who believed in Jehovah is just abject arrogance. It is like claiming the Eiffel Tower exists for the coat of paint.
We have a mechanism for evolution. This means we fit into the environment.
3. God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties. Even atheists recognize that some things, for example, the Holocaust, are objectively evil. But if atheism is true, what basis is there for the objectivity of the moral values we affirm? Evolution? Social conditioning? These factors may at best produce in us the subjective feeling that there are objective moral values and duties, but they do nothing to provide a basis for them. If human evolution had taken a different path, a very different set of moral feelings might have evolved. By contrast, God Himself serves as the paradigm of goodness, and His commandments constitute our moral duties. Thus, theism provides a better explanation of objective moral values and duties.
Yet the genocide of the various people in the Bible and the Slavery were perfectly acceptable. At no point does Jehovah say “find peace and get along”. He exhorts his followers to great acts of genocide. Of rape and murder. And while this is par for the course in a Bronze Age civilisation it is no Moral Code that we should aspire to.
In order for a civilisation to exist there must be a moral code. Even the Aztec had a moral code that we considered wrong. We don’t consider Human Sacrifice to be moral but they did. Why? Because their religion made it moral. In the same way that Christian faith made it acceptable to own slaves and indeed kill those who didn’t agree with their faith.
See the Aztec believed that their gods sacrificed themselves to create the paradise they lived in. So they sacrificed themselves to emulate the sacrifice of their gods. Horrible but to them a good moral person would do human sacrifice just as the Old Testament shows that a “good, moral Jew” should kill the various people who are Jehovhah’s hit list.
4. God provides the best explanation of the historical facts concerning Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Historians have reached something of consensus that the historical Jesus thought that in himself God’s Kingdom had broken into human history, and he carried out a ministry of miracle-working and exorcisms as evidence of that fact. Moreover, most historical scholars agree that after his crucifixion Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty by a group of female disciples, that various individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death, and that the original disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe in Jesus’ resurrection despite their every predisposition to the contrary. I can think of no better explanation of these facts than the one the original disciples gave: God raised Jesus from the dead.
Dear William Lane Craig.
I don’t know how something works so “fuck it! It’s magic!” is NEVER an acceptable explanation.
And no historian says that. In fact the only people who say that are people who think the Bible is a Historical document and that the world is 6000 years old and we are all a product of some serious incest.
5. God can be personally known and experienced. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Down through history Christians have found through Jesus a personal acquaintance with God that has transformed their lives.
As have people who have had a personal relationship with Horus, Mithras, Zeus, Vishnu, Shiva and probably every other god out there. Doesn’t mean they are real. After all when stated the Christians quickly try and make their specific relationship more special. Oh obviously all those gods are “fake” this is a relationship, not a religion!
The good thing is that atheists tend to be very passionate people and want to believe in something. If they would only put aside the slogans for a moment and reexamine their worldview in light of the best philosophical, scientific, and historical evidence we have today, then they, too, would find Christmas worth celebrating!
It’s worth celebrating. Not because of the gods, but because we have fun and because we spend time with family and that’s something real and more meaningful than a convoluted story about the son of a god.