So You Think You’re An Atheist…How Do You Know?
By Jack Kinsella
One of the more formidible obstacles atheism must contend with is the existence of its principle tool — the ability to reason.
Knowledge is attained by reasoned thought and by reasoned thought, the atheist has concluded that he knows that there is no God.
The ability to reason is something that all men have access to. Reason is what we use to determine the truth about the real world. Finally, the ability to reason itself is something we ought to understand if we are to rely on it in order to know the truth.
What is the evolutionist’s explanation for the ability to reason? They argue it is the result of chemical reactions in the brain. But chemicals react — they don’t think, reason or plan.
It is a bedrock principle of science that an effect cannot be greater than its cause. A chemical reaction cannot generate morality, immorality, reason or rationality.
A reaction is the result of an action. Reason, on the other hand, is the analysis of that action. If mental processes are the exclusive result of chemical reactions in the brain, then there is no reason to believe anything is true.
The ability to reason can only come from one of two sources. It was either the product of intelligent design or it was the result of mindless chance.
Since the mindless cannot create the mind, there is only one reasonable explanation — that the mind was created by intelligent design and implanted with a Divine moral code.
Just as a chemical reaction cannot explain reason, reason cannot explain a moral code. Using reason alone, one can justify practically anything.
Reason apart from morality allows for the murder of the unborn. By reasoning that the fetus is not yet human, one can avoid the moral implications of murder.
Hitler’s euthanasia program justified killing the weak and the infirm as a way to strengthen and ensure the survival of the species. It was a reasonable approach.
Conservationists do it all the time. If the deer population in a particular area grows too dense, conservationists will hold a ‘deer cull’ — a special hunting season on deer to reduce the population and ensure the survival of the species.
The morality of taking a deer’s life is not at issue when the alternative is the needless suffering, starvation and death of the whole population. Why is it immoral to do the same with human beings?
Rape increases the population and therefore increases the survival of the species. Or, taken to the opposite extreme, war is a reasonable method by which to ‘cull’ overpopulation.
Even if a chemical reaction could explain how we know right from wrong, it doesn’t explain why culling deer is right and culling humans is wrong.
What is the objective standard? Upon what basis do we form such profound judgments?
Either they are the result of reasoned thought based on an ingrained moral code, or they are the mindless product of random chance chemical reactions in the brain.
The ability to form judgments is uniquely human. Everything we do, from driving a car to catching a football requires judgment.
We make judgments about what is good, what is not, what is dangerous, what is stupid, what is useful and so on.
If they are nothing more than the mindless product of random chance chemical reactions in the brain, then how can we KNOW anything?
We can’t. The effect cannot be greater than the cause. Knowledge is greater than random chemical reaction.
You can’t be an atheist without having faith in your own reason and judgment, but the basis for your faith cannot be explained apart from the Creator God that you are sure (based on your God-given ability to reason) does not exist.
Of course, recognizing intelligence design is not the same thing as recognizing a loving God Who sent His only begotten Son to atone for the sins of mankind at the Cross.
But it’s a start.
This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on March 15, 2010.