Atheism. Richland Creek Community Church

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1 Atheism Richland Creek Community Church

2 The Existence of God: Does America believe in God? Google - What percentage of Americans believe in God? = well over 90%. In fact, over the past 50 years of research the percentage of Americans who believe in God has never dropped below 90%. A total of well less than 10% of the U.S. population actually identify themselves as atheists, agnostics or humanists.

3 Does America believe in God? In 2003, 85% of those with a post graduate degree in America said they believed in God. But among members of the National Academy of Sciences only 7% believe in a personal God. Thom Rainer reveals that only about 8% of the American population can be considered hostile or antagonistic to the Gospel.

4 Does America believe in God? HOWEVER the number of people who claim no religious affiliation has doubled since Non-believers now represent the third highest group of Americans after Catholics and Baptists. But these non-believers are not necessarily atheists. They simply have no interest in organized religion

5 Does America believe in God? The number of people claiming to be Christian in America is the lowest in history Nearly one fourth of those in their twenties profess no organized religion Researched Fact

6 History & Claims of Atheism The foundation stone for all humanistic thought is atheism: the belief that there is no God. Theos means God in Greek. The prefix a (alpha in Greek) negates the preceding = no god. Ephesians 2:12

7 History & Claims of Atheism Surprisingly atheism is not a very old concept and is rarely mentioned by the ancients. For most of man s history, the existence of God seemed a logical conclusion for anyone who saw His creative handiwork.

8 History & Claims of Atheism In more recent history, man has developed his own versions and opinions based upon his own wisdom. 1. The practical atheist who lives as if there is no God. 2. The dogmatic atheist who openly repudiates God. 3. The virtual atheist who rejects God by his terminology. 4. The agnostic ( gnosis Greek for knowledge + a meaning no) who says we cannot know that God even exists.

9 History & Claims of Atheism Sylvester Paul Schilling, after an extensive reading of atheistic authors and interviews with leading, living atheists, identified and interpreted seven major arguments used by modern atheists in denying belief in the existence or reality of God:

10 History & Claims of Atheism Belief in God can be explained as an objectification of purely human ideals, wishes, longings, or needs. is in one way or another inconsistent with scientific method and the scientific view of reality. the term God lacks clear, univocal meaning which can be unambiguously communicated.

11 History & Claims of Atheism is irreconcilable with the extent and intensity of human suffering. and the sovereignty of God is inconsistent with recognition of the worth, freedom, and full responsibility of man. produces passivity in the presence of injustice and opposition to social change. is untenable for many persons today who are seriously committed to the highest human values, and have no personal awareness of God.

12 A Christian Reply to Atheism Hans Kung: Atheism too lives by an indemonstrable faith. Atheists believe in something they cannot prove scientifically. They are believers like us. They just believe we are accidents. Why is there something rather than nothing?

13 A Christian Reply to Atheism Seven considerations to show the viability of belief in the existence of God: 1. Many human beings in today s world actually do believe in God. There are limits to the atheistic assertions about the absence of God. 2. Human beings, when they have rejected or failed to exercise faith in a personal God, tend to absolutize or make idolatrous somethings. Where does this proclivity to worship come from? John Feinburg: Human beings are incurably religious.

14 A Christian Reply to Atheism 3. Christian martyrs and other believers in God have suffered for their faith in God often when renunciation would have prevented their deaths or alleviated their sufferings. More were martyred in the 20 th century than all other centuries combined. Is such suffering to be explained due to an illusion or the projection of human wishes? 4. Christian missionaries have given and do give their entire adults lives to the sharing of the faith in God with other human beings, usually crossing the barriers of language and culture.

15 A Christian Reply to Atheism 5. Christians believe in God despite close contact with atheists and atheistic cultures in spite of persecution. 6. Christian believers have been for centuries and are presently engaged in various ministries designed to meet human need and alleviate human suffering. 7. Christian believers have been and are at work to help affect societal reforms.

16 Traditional Proofs for the Existence of God The cosmological argument every known thing in the universe has a cause. Cosmos is Greek for world. The world exists. Something cannot come from nothing. Therefore, the universe itself must have a cause. The cause of such a great universe is God.

17 Traditional Proofs for the Existence of God The teleological argument a subcategory of #1. Telos is Greek for end. This focuses on the evidence of an intelligent purpose. Since the universe appears to be designed with a purpose, there must be an intelligent and purposeful God who created it to function this way. Order and useful arrangement in a system imply intelligence and purpose in the organizing cause.

18 Traditional Proofs for the Existence of God The ontological argument God, who is defined as being greater than which nothing can be imagined. Characteristic of existence must belong to such a being, since it is greater to exist than not to exist. If man could conceive of a perfect God who does not exist, then he could conceive of someone greater than God, which is impossible. Therefore God exists. All men have an awareness of God. Because the concept of God is universal, God must have placed the idea within man. The idea of God implies the existence of God.

19 Traditional Proofs for the Existence of God The moral argument begins from man s sense of right from wrong and of the need for justice to be done and then argues there must be a God who is the source of right and wrong and who will someday mete out justice to all people. Often combined with what is referred to as the anthropological argument. Recognition of moral standards and concepts cannot be attributed to any evolutionary process.

20 How Do We Know God Exists? All people have an inner sense of God Many will deny this but that denial will often be voided in times of crisis. Man senses that he is not alone in this universe. Romans 1:18-32; Psalm 14:1; Psalm 10:3-4 Sin leads man to deny their knowledge of God. In the life of a believer this inner awareness of God becomes stronger and more distinct. I Peter 1:7b-8

21 Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.

22 I Peter 1:7b-8 glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.

23 How Do We Know God Exists? We believe the evidence found in Scripture and nature. Nature reveals God Acts 14:17; Psalm 19:1-2 Atheists regard the universe as self-existing and not created. This leads to incorrect views of evolution and amorality. If someone said, No one plus nothing, times blind chance, equals everything, we would call him crazy. In one sense everything that exists gives evidence of God s existence.

24 Acts 14:17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.

25 Psalm 19:1-2 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.

26 How Do We Know God Exists? When we believe that God exists, we are not basing our belief on some blind hope apart from any evidence, but on an overwhelming amount of reliable evidence from God s Word and works. If we are to know God at all, it is necessary that he reveals Himself to us. Romans 1:19; Matthew 11:27; John 1:18

27 Matthew 11:27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

28 How Do We Know God Exists? We depend on God s communication to us in Scripture for our true knowledge of God because God is infinite and we are finite. Psalm 145:3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable. Psalm 139:6, 17 Romans 11:33

29 How Can We Reach an Atheist? Love and Patience many atheists are dealing with difficult issues and experiences Peace and Happiness many atheists will admit they have not found peace or happiness in their lives. Significant Time and Relationship atheists need to spend time with and observe a believer s life. Good Apologetic knowledge this begins with knowing why you believe what you believe. PRAYER!

30 How Can We Reach an Atheist? Remember in this sinful world, God must enable us to believe. II Corinthians 4:4. Human wisdom is not enough I Cor. 2:5. We are dependent upon God to remove the blindness and irrationality caused by sin and to enable us to evaluate the evidence rightly.

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