Why I am Not an Atheist, Part 3

Atheists Change the Meaning of Faith.

By Jon Kauffman

Several atheists have tried to convince me that atheism is true. Most atheists are not evangelical atheists and most of my atheist friends do not try to convert me. I have been asked by several atheists why I am not an atheist. I am answering that question.

I am thankful for outspoken atheists. As a result, many have gone to great lengths to explore the validity of the Christian faith. Biblical scholars have used textual criticism to demonstrate the Bible to be extremely reliable in relation to early manuscripts. Many apologists have developed the historical evidence available. Christian scientists have written many books demonstrating that science and the Christianity are compatible.

Definition of Faith

How do atheists define faith: Peter Singer says, “And what is faith? It is just believing in something for which you have neither rational arguments nor good evidence.”

How does the dictionary define faith: 2. a. 1: belief and trust in and loyalty to God. 2: Belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion. Meriam Webster.

Also: The assent of the mind to the truth of a proposition or statement for which there is not complete evidence; belief in general. The Century Dictionary.

How I define faith: I agree that faith is a belief and trust in and loyalty to God. Belief in God is based on the evidence. Faith comes when evidence ends and give us confidence to reasonably believe what is logically based on that evidence. But faith is more. Whenever we believe something that is a logical extension to the evidence, we are practicing faith. Almost everything we believe is based faith

Example: A paleontologist may find a jaw bone and tell us many things about that animal. If we follow the evidence, more bones found later may prove some of his theories incorrect and change our view of that jaw bone. We can have faith that the conclusions reached by the paleontologist correspond to truth about that animal.

If we follow the evidence, we can have faith that Jesus rose from the dead. The evidence is strong enough that we can easily believe that beyond a reasonable doubt the resurrection occurred. Millions have believed. Based on the fact of the resurrection, we can by faith follow the teachings of Jesus in the way we live. Because we are human our knowledge of the truth about God is very limited.

Everyone has faith. Each of us has a worldview. Our worldview is what we think is really true about our world, ourselves and about God. That worldview is determined by our experiences, the culture in which we live, the evidence we see in theology, philosophy, and science. As our knowledge increases our world view may change.

We are very small human beings, on a tiny planet earth, on a small galaxy that is one of billions. From a scientific perspective we know almost nothing. From a spiritual perspective we know almost nothing. Almost everything we think we know is based on faith.

Atheists pretend the evidence does not exist.

Atheists pretend that the New Testament is not reliable. “How Badly Was the New Testament Corrupted?”, Dan Wallace at SDSU.

They pretend evidence of Israel in Egypt at the time of the Exodus does not exist.

They pretend evidence for reality beyond the material world does not exist.

They pretend scientists who disagree with them are liars.

They pretend evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus does not exist.

They claim changes Christian’s experience are only psychological. They do not understand. We cannot understand until we have experienced it.

By blind faith atheists believe the blind watchmaker can create the universe and life and fill the gaps.

When atheists begin looking for truth, they find God.

We know that atheists such as C. S. Lewis, Alistar McGrath, Jane Fonda, Lee Strobel, David Wood and Michael Guillen and many other atheists became Christian due to the evidence.

The historical evidence strongly suggests that Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus became Christian before their deaths.

Anthony Flew became a deist.

When we become Christian, the Holy Spirit speaks to us. Many people experience drastic changes in their lives and in their behaviors. As we develop a relationship with Jesus our personal experience provides more evidence.

Great archeological finds.

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12

In this world of unbelief, the mountains and hills are breaking forth into singing and giving us evidence. The boyhood home of Jesus has been found in Nazareth. The site of Sodom has been found. A great deal of evidence for Israel in Egypt dated from 1850 BC to 1450 BC has been found. More evidence demonstrating the reliability of the Bible as a historically accurate document is being found by archeologists every year.

The New Testament often refers to the Evidence.

Writers of the New Testament thought we can only believe if we have evidence. They often referred to the evidence.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our[a] joy complete. 1 John 1: 1-4.

Only by the evidence can we figure this out.

“There is evidence that God exists and that the Christian faith is true.” John Lennox

If we want to believe in Jesus and follow Jesus, we can see by the evidence that we can believe and follow Jesus.

If we do not want to believe and follow Jesus, we can easily come up with one more excuse explaining why we should not believe.

If we pretend evidence does not exist and do not include that evidence in forming our world view, how is it possible to have a faith or a world view that corresponds to reality?

If Jesus is not risen from the dead than our faith is useless.

8 “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:6-11

Referenced in this post:

 “Is Atheism Dead?” by Eric Metaxas. If only I was as intelligent and witty as Eric Metaxas perhaps, I too could write such an entertaining and well thought out book.

“Believing is Seeing: A physicist Explains how Science Shattered his Atheism and Revealed the Necessity of Faith” by Michael Guillen, PhD.

“Against the Tide, Finding God in an Age of Science” John Lennox, Kevin Sorbo.

“The Universe Next Door, A Worldview Catalog” by James W. Sire.

How Badly Was the New Testament Corrupted?”, Dan Wallace at SDSU.

Copyright © 2022 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted when used to further the Kingdom of God. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

Revised: 11/30/2022

Is Christianity Good for People?

By Jon Kauffman

Many atheists claim that Christianity is harmful to society. What does the scientific evidence reveal? Many scientific polls and studies have been performed demonstrating that without a doubt Christianity is very beneficial to people’s happiness, health and wealth. Stark assembles a few of these studies and polls to demonstrate the evidence for the benefits of Religion.

I recently finished reading “America’s Blessings: How Religion benefits Everyone, Including Atheists” by Rodney Stark.

Quote from the Introduction of “America’s Blessings:”

It is past time for a full accounting of the tangible human and social benefits of faith in American society and for the recognition that one of our nations’ primary advantages over many others lies in the greater strength of religion in American life. As will be seen, this accounting is surprisingly easy because mountains of little-reported research and reliable data exist on a wide range of important religious effects. For example, compared to less religious and irreligious Americans,

  • At all ages, religious people are much less likely to commit crimes.
  • Religious Americans are far more likely to contribute even to secular charities, to volunteer their time to socially beneficial programs, and to be active in civic affairs.
  • Religious Americans enjoy superior mental health-they are happier, less neurotic, and far less likely to commit suicide.
  • Religious Americans also enjoy superior physical health, having an average life expectancy more than seven years longer than that of the irreligious. A very substantial difference remains even after the effects of “clean living” are removed.
  • Religious people are more apt to marry and less likely to divorce, and they express higher degrees of satisfaction with their spouses. The also are more likely to have children.
  • Religious husbands are substantially less likely to abuse their wives or children.
  • Religious American couples enjoy their sex lives more and are far less likely to have extramarital affairs.
  • Religious students perform better on standardized achievement tests.
  • Religious Americans are far less likely to have dropped out of school, which is especially true for African Americans and Hispanics.
  • Religious Americans are more successful, obtaining better jobs and far less subject ot being on unemployment or welfare; this is true not only for whites but for African Americans.
  • Although often portrayed as ignorant philistines, religious Americans are more likely to consume and sustain “high culture.”
  • Religious people are far less likely to believe in occult and paranormal phenomena such as Bigfoot, UFOs, Atlantis, ghosts, haunted houses, and astrology.

Translated into comparisons with Western European nations, we enjoy far lower crime rates, much higher levels of charitable giving, better health, stronger marriages, and less suicide, to note only a few of our benefits from being an unusually religious nation. Quite aside from the social and personal benefits of religious effects, that add up to many hundreds of billions of dollars a year in financial benefits…

America’s Blessings is available on Amazon.

A few years ago, a debate between atheists and religious believers spilled out from the halls of academia and the pews of America’s churches and into the public spotlight. A crop of atheist manifestos led the charge, surmounting and holding the tops of the nonfiction bestseller lists. This offensive brought on an outpouring of religious rebuttals. As both sides exchanged spirited volleys, accusations were leveled; myths, stereotypes, and strawmen arguments were perpetuated; and bitter hostility filled the air. Today many of these misconceptions and myths linger on, along with the generally acrimonious spirit of the debate. In America’s Blessings, distinguished researcher Rodney Stark seeks to clear the air of this hostility and debunk many of the debate’s most widely perpetuated misconceptions by drawing from an expansive pool of sociological findings. Looking at the measurable effects of religious faith and practice on American society, Stark rises above the fray and focuses exclusively on facts. His findings may surprise many, atheists and believers alike. Starting with a historical overview, Stark traces America’s religious roots from the founding of the country up through the present day, showing that religiosity in America has never been consistent, static, or monolithic. Interestingly, he finds that religious practice is now more prevalent than ever in America, despite any claims to the contrary. From here, Stark devotes whole chapters to unpacking the latest research on how religion affects different facets of modern American life, including crime, family life, sexuality, mental and physical health, sophistication, charity, and overall prosperity. The cumulative effect is that when translated into comparisons with western European nations, the United States comes out on top again and again. Thanks in no small part to America’s rich religious culture, the nation has far lower crime rates, much higher levels of charitable giving, better health, stronger marriages, and less suicide, to note only a few of the benefits. In the final chapter, Stark assesses the financial impact of these religious realities. It turns out that belief benefits the American economy—and all 300 million citizens, believer and nonbeliever alike—by a conservative estimate of $2.6 trillion a year. Despite the atheist outcry against religion, the remarkable conclusion is clear: all Americans, from the most religious among us to our secular neighbors, really ought to count our blessings.

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