Floyd Rogers – Texas Gospel Volunteer, Christian writer
An atheist writer once opined: Atheism is a conclusion, not a belief. Is there merit to this non-believer’s words? To answer this question we need to be clear on a few things. What is the difference between “a conclusion” and Christian faith. What is Christian faith? It is also important to ask from where does Christian faith come? Let’s consider these things and determine if the writer’s conclusion is reasoned.
Let’s use Webster for the definition of “conclusion.” It seems to be the most, if not one of the most, widely-accepted dictionaries. Webster defines a conclusion as a reasoned judgement. I’ll concede that one could reach atheism as a conclusion depending on what evidence he or she has. To be clear, I did not say it is a correct conclusion. One must rule out the source of Christian faith or not be aware of its source, before he or she can call the writer’s conclusion reasoned. So what is Christian faith?
I’ve watched debates where non-believers reject a Biblical definition of faith while accusing Christians of re-defining words to win an argument. But a Biblical definition is the only one that matters if we are talking about Christianity and what Christians believe. The book of Hebrews tells us, “…faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” This is part of the needed information. This definition says nothing about the source of our faith. It speaks only to its definition. So from where does Christian faith come?
Saving faith is a gift from God. Ephesians says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…” For a person to reasonably conclude that there is no God they must reasonably reject all evidence of God. They must have a reason to reject the idea that saving faith is a posteriori knowledge (knowledge from experience) that comes as a gift from God. If one does not have a reason to reject this evidence, then they have only an idea or a belief. It is not sound logic to say, “God does not exist therefore he could not give you knowledge of His existence,” without first demonstrating there is no God. Let me restate that a different way: A logical argument can’t use the premise “there is no God” if the conclusion is “there is no God.” That’s circular logic. At the center of all of this is the difference between saying “I don’t know” and having a reasonable conclusion. If an atheist says “I’m simply not convinced…” or “I don’t know,” then they have not reached a conclusion.
As of this writing, Webster online defines atheism as, “a lack of belief or strong disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods.” An atheist who doesn’t know if God exists has not reached a conclusion. An atheist who says he or she strongly disbelieves in God has a belief; that is, a belief that God does not exist. The writers claim that atheism is a conclusion is either based on limited evidence, rejection of evidence without reason, or a belief.
What are your thoughts?