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We appreciate opportunities to engage our detractors in meaningful dialogue. Mark Looy, AiG–U.S., responds to an atheist’s response to our previous feedback article.
We received the following email in response to our “Dear Atheists” article:
Really? Is this supposed to be an outreach to atheists?
The first paragraph fails to deliver any message of any value to the intended audience. It gets sidetracked first by associating all atheists with a few murderous dictators—who may or may not have been atheists. Then, it goes deeper by associating us with all murderers, thieves, rapists. Then it completely goes off the rails acknowledging that some of these people think of themselves as Christians anyway. No example cited behaves as they do because they’re atheism—they do it because they’re evil. As a non-believer, I’m capable of acknowledging this, can reason against evil behavior, and act to the best of my ability in completely responsible ways.
By going off on a tangent in the first paragraph, this letter fails to address any issues of concern to me. Guilt by association is not just an invalid argument—it’s ignorant, and it’s slanderous.
I am not tired of my worldview or the outcomes associated with it. I believe in values of family, of life, of all the world around us, as well as science and technology and reason. My wife and I have been married for 35 years, we have two grown children who are both successful, productive, positive, responsible adults.
I don’t associate my values or goals with those of dictators or criminals, I don’t share their beliefs or their behaviors. I don’t consider my life worthless because I am, as we all are, another leaf on the tree of life. Life in the moment, doing our best day to day, without hope of reward or fear of punishment, is sufficient.
I left conservative fundamentalist Christianity for exactly the belief system expressed here—that the rest of us are delusional, that we’re associating ourselves with the world full of evil, that wanting to be strong and sure in yourself and your values is somehow flawed.
That’s just not how it’s worked for me in the world that you say god created. Whatever god there is or isn’t has blessed me, and I count my blessings daily.
Please print and respond in detail—it gets really boring when the only critiques you publish are the ones easiest to take apart.
Thank you for your email. We appreciate opportunities to engage our detractors in meaningful dialogue.
Please note that in our web article, AiG did not say atheism causes murder, which you imply we stated. Instead, as we often declare on our website, AiG believes that in a meaningless, purposeless world, people can justify any action they want, including killing others. Similarly, we don’t say that evolutionary beliefs cause more abortions to be performed. But people can justify abortion if they believe the baby developing in the womb is just an animal (perhaps retracing its evolutionary animal history as the baby grows).
If there is no absolute authority, people are free to make up their own rules. In fact, suppose someone considered your personal views to be dangerous and sought to harm you? Why shouldn’t they hurt you if that’s their wish and there is no absolute standard of behavior to prohibit them from doing so? So, no, we are not “slandering” all atheists when we point out the connection between evolution and bad behavior.
You did not offer a basis for the beliefs you presented in your email. You thus helped make the very point of our web article. In logic, your argument is called “affirming the consequent.” That is, you are assuming arbitrarily the very thing you believe.
We’re glad to read that you believe in some of our Christian values. But in your atheistic worldview, what are your beliefs ultimately founded upon? Indeed, by which absolute standard can you even declare something to be (to use your word) evil? You also used the word values; again, whose values are you referring to? It sounds like you are actually borrowing religious values, such as murder being wrong. But at least you are compromising your religion of atheism somewhat in favor of aspects of Christianity.
If atheists want to be consistent, why should they be upset with Christians at AiG over what we teach and then write accusatory emails such as yours? What’s the point? Why bother to write a harsh email if people are merely chemicals reacting with each other, like vinegar and baking soda? Ultimately, since in the atheistic worldview all people will cease to exist, what’s the point of doing anything, including taking care of your family members or bothering to send us an email?
Within an atheistic worldview (although perhaps you meant to write that you are actually an agnostic), when an atheist argues there is no God, that conclusion requires complete knowledge. But you can never have enough knowledge to support atheism. You see, you would have to know everything because if there is some observation outside your knowledge base, then that something could include evidence for God’s existence. In fact, an atheist would have to be everywhere in the universe (and also outside it) all at one time; if the atheist misses just one place, God might be there. (By the way, knowing everything and being everywhere is to be God-like.) In reality, humans are mere specks, limited to one time and place in a vast universe—a designed universe, we submit, that shouts God’s glory.
As to your comment that you believe in science and technology, I reply that so do we. I point out that we have several full-time staff with earned doctorates who enjoy their pursuits in science and technology.
Lastly, unless you have read a majority of our web articles (and we have posted several thousand), you can’t in all fairness charge that “the only critiques you publish are the ones easiest to take apart.” Virtually every major argument put forward by evolutionists has been addressed on this website. Recently, our site has tackled several questions posed by evolutionists who have attempted to stump us by (1) questioning how dinosaurs could fit on the Ark of Noah, (2) challenging the reliability of our conclusions regarding C-14 test results on fossil wood, and (3) asking us how we can possibly explain an apparent design flaw in a horse’s leg.
In the spirit of the original AiG article, I want to ask: even with the “blessings” in life that you mentioned, are you really a content person? Do you have meaning and purpose in life? When your head hits the pillow at night, do you fall asleep knowing that your life has meaning even if there is no life after death? Furthermore, do you ponder the point of anything you did that day if you believe there will be a time (from your atheistic perspective) when no consciousness will exist to know or remember anything? It will all have been nothingness, even with your statement that you “don’t consider my life worthless because I am, as we all are, another leaf on the tree of life.” I’m sorry, but what is the ultimate meaning of that tree?
I urge you to re-examine the Christianity of your youth. You were clearly not convinced by the validity of the Christian faith as it was presented to you. Maybe a solid apologetic for Christianity was lacking in your church life. Regardless, I hope you will continue to check our website from time to time, and we pray that one day you will come to realize that the Christian worldview is rational and defensible and then receive Christ as Savior. I would also welcome you to tour our Creation Museum near Cincinnati; I would be happy to meet with you and offer you a complimentary ticket.
I will share this exchange with the author of our AiG web article.
Mark Looy, AiG–U.S.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.