An open letter to my atheist friends
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More people are rejecting God and Christ, not because of his invisibility in the world but because of lack of his imprints on the believer’s lives and the crime of the organized religion.
– Brijesh Chorotia
At the outset, I would love to appreciate my atheist friends who send many emails and comments on Facebook on my spiritual posts. Though I disagree with most of them, I want to say that I like atheists more than the religious fundamentalists. I personally am not interested in any kind of religion – you might take time in differentiating my stance as a bible based believer of God who has a relationship with God from those religious people that you know of. I know religion creates terrorists when it goes overboard in its fundamentalism; it becomes extremist. Extremists may belong to any religion but actually they form a religion of their own kind later, be it ISIS or be RSS; be it jihadists or be it love-jihadists, be it Al Quaida or be it Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu sena or Bajrang Dal etc where peace, justice, brotherhood, equality, love, compassion have no meaning whatsoever.
Having said that, I wish to now come to the real subject. I have noticed one thing about my atheist friends that they love to pose questions but shy away from answering questions. Most of the Atheists do not assume any responsibility to answer questions but only feel like raising doubts to those who believe in God. I know that atheism has a seductive power and addiction of its own kind. It attracts because of its agnosticism as well as freedom from accountability, absolute morality and coherence with any absolutes or standards. Atheism mostly uses science to justify its claim, but eventually falls back on philosophical rhetorics and piling more and more questions. I have not found atheists whowant to answer the questions.
I believe that atheism is not denial of God but it is lack of knowledge and belief in God. Atheists express disbelief in God and deny his existence but in fact it is their inability of experiencing or knowing about God (knowledge) and knowing God himself (relationship).
For example, I saw a post on FB where someone shared a metaphysical article about decomposition of body after death into smaller units like atoms and so proposed that instead of talking about God, heaven and hell, we must teach our children the scientific truths such as this. I immediately posted a brief question asking them to kindly explain who might possibly have created these atoms in the beginning and gave intelligence to these atoms to be glued together so intelligently that it worked in perfect coherence and articulation, synchronized as a body while the person lived and also what consists of life, what was it that was alive in the person and then why he/she dies. No body assumed any responsibility to answer my question but my atheist friends only either abused me, tried to hush me or just neglect/ignore the question by putting some philosophical replies such as there is no point of talking about imaginary god or humpty dumpty created the universe or that I was bringing a concept of a more complicated being so as to undermine the less complicated world and so on.
Questions to my atheist friends
I actually want to ask few questions to my atheist friends; not necessarily because I want an immediate answer but because I want them to at least give it a thought. I would not mind reading what and how do they think, nevertheless.
Lets assume for a while that God does not exist and then try to answer this small list of few questions out of many others that I have:
- Why there is evil in the society, where is the root, from where does it originate? Why does one tell lies, steal, have pride or in general, from where does a person learn to do evil when no parents, schools or colleges teach how to be evil or do anything wrong?
- Who created the basic elements of chemistry, biology and physics? How did the universe come to exist? Did the big-bang, which is collision of two non-systematic piece of landmasses, really create the super-sophisticated universe which has so many systematic processes as evaporation, condensation, reproduction and even so many intricate processes in human body (and for that matter all living beings)? What explains the homogeneous nature of elements and the natural processes?
- Was the universe created by chance or by a perfect design? Does evolution depend on chance or design? Is it possible that anything systematic comes to existence just by chance? Like, can a car or a mobile phone or Tv or surround-system or a book or a painting or a child in the womb of a woman comes to existence all by itself without proper planning and execution?
- Even if the big-bang happened, what caused the collision and who created the physical force (gravitational and other celestial forces)? Science says that due to inertia, nothing can move on its own unless some external force causes it – what or who was that created the meteoritic celestial bodies and that external force which made them to collide?
- Who gives you value or worth that you possess? Is it the state, law or the creator? Usually it is the creator or designer who decides the purpose and worth of the object he creates. If not so, why we cannot violate life, sexuality or even fundamental rights of other individual? Who decides the worth or value of an individual’s life?
- Do you not believe that even the constitution of our country is only but a collection of rules which places a value on an individual life and protects it because it is worth it? So does the Bible in the 10 commandments – it asserts the value of the life and thus will not allow an individual to violate others. Yes or No?
- How do you differentiate between good and evil, right and wrong? Is it based on some standards or by your feeling or is it just a matter of preference?
I do agree that when it comes to God, mostly religious people do not want to THINK about it. They may not appreciate questions and so they either hurl abuses on you or ignore you. This is quite true about most of the religion, but when you meet people who believe in Christ, you may have to do a bit of struggle in arguing about existence of God, not because they think but because they are a bit more logical and methodical. The irony even with many faithful Christians is that that they do not want to think but only have faith.
Yet, there is a very scarce lot of believers of Christ, who completely believe in the power of faith but also THINK. Now, here you will have no excuse but to think hard and discuss or even argue logically at least to the point where either of us become coherent with its opposing ideology.
I know of a story of a young man who once got up in the middle of the night, woke up his wife and said, you know what, I am dead. She tried to explain that the very fact that he was able to communicate it, he was alive. But he would not believe so she arranged visit to some physicians who could give him some medicines to relax his mind and come to his senses but it failed. He yet believed that he was dead.
So she arranged for a bunch of psychiatrists to explain to him that he was alive. They went on the explain just one thing to start with – that only living people bleed. He would not give up easily but at last, he gave up and agreed that only living people bleed. This psychiatrist than pocked him with a needle and blood gushed out. Team of psychologists exclaimed that see, you bleed, so are alive but the man said, Oh my goodness, today I came to know that even dead man bleed.
The point is, there are some people who would not agree even to the any amount of logical statements and evidences. If you are one of them, I am sorry, this blog is not meant for you.
Answer to few atheistic apprehensions
Now coming to answer few generic questions which my atheist friends ask, lets talk about them one by one:
You say that if God exists why there is so much of evil and disparity in the world?
I heard a classic way of handling this question from Ravi Zachariah, a world class apologist. He has a reputation of person who comes from a top-notch hindu brahmin family but now preaches and defends Christian theology by logical explanation. He said, if you believe that there is evil in this world, you must also have some good to compare to. So when you say the evil exists in this world, you are also asserting that good exists too. If there is good then you cannot differentiate between good and evil unless you have a moral law.
I firmly believe that if there was no morality, there would be no faithfulness, if no faithfulness then no marriage and if no marriage then no social structure and everything would have collapsed long ago. Theism has taken the responsibility of putting the boundaries and accountability of moral law. Only that some set the rules and became religious whereas others set the accountability by establishing a relationship with the law-giver (God) and became spiritual.
Ravi Zachariah still gave a different shape to his logic. He says, if you agree that there is a moral law, then you must assume that there is a moral law giver. Because if there is no moral law giver, then there is no moral law, if there is no moral law then there is nothing to differentiate good from evil and if there is no good then there is no evil. So what is your question.
Basically it is impossible to make a moral law without taking a metaphysical or spiritual being as an absolute reference who cannot succumb to human desires, selfish desires and weaknesses but one who is holy, abstract and the one who is not affected by good and evil.
Few others say, have you seen God? If you have not seen God, how can you believe in something imaginary and waste your time following it?
My very practical and first response is – we do not believe in everything only when we see it. We do not check the flying record or license of a pilot before sitting in the plane. We do not check the record of a bank before depositing our money if there is a corrupt employee who has a police case and who can steal our money. We do not check the degree of a doctor before we get our treatment. We do not even do DNA test before believing the man living with us in the family as our father, just because our mother and society says that he is our father. This is the relationship aspect of God.
Apart from this, we cannot see the wind but we know that it exists because it moves stuff. We see wind by its power, its results. We do not see the electricity flowing in the live wire but we do not dare to touch it because the bulb is on, AC is working. The result of the power makes us believe that wire has electricity. It is the same principle with God. We do not see him with our physical eyes but we see his power at work in the whole creation around us. This is the power aspect of God.
Scientist are usually compared to God or believed to reject the existence of God because they invent so many things. But the truth is, scientists of all kinds only discovers the reality and the truth hidden in the substance or the process. No scientist has every created any basic element of Chemistry or any principle of physics – they only discovered that copper is a good conductor of electricity, they did not create copper. Copper existed in the nature as an element which if found and used as a wire would allow electricity to pass through it. Who created it? God did. He planned it, designed it, created it and left if for our use. This is the knowledge aspect of God.
You do not have to see God with your physical eyes. You could not even see the galaxies by your naked eyes, you could at the most see a few thousand stars in the sky, this does not mean galaxy does not exist. If there are people in the world who have long hair, that does not mean that the barbers do not exist. God is universal and he just exists. He was not created but He just exists. He is beyond time and he is not limited by geography. All such dimensions are created by him.
Another question is, how can a loving God allow so much pain, suffering, problems in this world?
Our understanding of love, right-wrong, pain and suffering is very limited. Our definitions are made out of our experience but God is beyond such dimensions. Yet, Bible says that God is love. Which also shows the experiential aspect of God. The God of the Bible is a triune God, where three personas of one God coexists – Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. They live in perfect harmony and unity – which explains their ability to love and be holy. The concept of togetherness, relationship and society can also be understood in the triune God.
God is not emotional about death. For God, physical birth and physical death are just 2 events as much as switching the light on and off for us. We are not emotional about it. In the same way, God is not emotional about physical death else no one in this world would die. God is interested in the spiritual birth by faith in Christ and concerned about the spiritual death of those who reject God’s love.
To us, a poor man seems neglected, wretched and under-privileged and a rich man looks like a blessed being; however, from the God’s throne view, there may be an opposite perspective. Without knowledge of God and faith in his salvation, both are equally doomed but if the poor man has a relationship with God and the rich man not, the poor man is blessed in God’s eyes and not the rich man. This also applies to the physically disabled, financially poor, mentally challenged person or any kind of lack that we perceive in the world.
My understanding of atheism
In my experience of dealing with atheists and myself being kind of an atheist for some time for very different reasons altogether, I have reached to the following observations:
- Atheism has an equal amount of ego as much as religion has, albeit for altogether opposite reasons. Atheists doubt on the very existence of God and religious believe in him. Neither of them want to give up on their stance or adjust themselves to learn each other’s viewpoint. However, I find them both failed on the scale of love, morality and sacredness of life compared to the other category of people who are practiser of spiritual truth of the Bible which teaches humility, love, forgiveness and equality. I find atheists opposing the belief of theists whereas their own philosophy is based on their faith, the faith in their theory of ‘no god’, their theory of nature creating and maintaining itself, theory of subjective good and evil etc.
- Atheism is willing to accept or make an attempt to adjust with many things on intellectual level. It tries to bring out a rationale or artificial basis to support their viewpoint. For example, sex before, after or outside the marriage as well as live-in relationship is accepted on account of freedom, homosexuality (gay and lesbian relationships) accepted on the grounds of equality, masterbation is justified as an act of personal satisfaction without any moral stigma as normal as eating is for the body etc. While atheism accept personal gratification as a normal thing without its impact on the morality of the person, atheists come forcefully against pornography. Atheism does not explain why it is compeletely acceptable to make a paid visit to an art gallery of nude art whereas it is disgusting to watch pornography. Theists lay emphasis on the sacredness of life and therefore consider sex as God’s gift to procreate life which is sacred. Sex within the boundaries of marriage is considered pure, pleasurable and godly by the Bible and display of nudity is banned in every sense which explains modesty in clothing which atheists and the activists come against on account of freedom of choice and expression.
- Atheism cannot explain depression. Atheism cannot explain any emotion as such to its core question – why. Why do we love? Why do we hate? Why do we get depressed? Why do we feel ashamed? Why does evil exist in this world? They cannot explain but they keep asking the question that IF GOD EXISTS, WHY THERE IS EVIL IN THIS WORLD? Same question I asked atheists to answer without God and I answered it keeping God in the center. Basically, here we need to agree that atheism cannot explain the suicidal thoughts of the people who try it or do it in spite of having wealth, beauty, success and power in this world. Theism sets boundaries of bodily exposure and so can easily explain shame but without moral boundaries it is impossible for atheism to define shame in the real sense or even practise or implement it. The danger of having a world without sense of shame and morality would the greatest tragedy of the human history. Why I say atheism cannot explain depressions, despair and hopelessness because of its lack of hope beyond natural.
- Atheism does not have hope beyond the natural. They build a fort of potential hope based on the result of their efforts; however, it succumbs to its own fate with the failure of natural circumstances. For example, an atheist may have hope in medical science but it crashes as soon as the doctor or medical report gives a fatal news. There is no hope beyond the natural in atheism whereas faith in resurrected Christ gives hope to a practicing believer beyond his personal effort and natural events. For an atheist, there is nothing after death and therefore there is no recovery for an atheist at the end of life, even if he realizes that God exists.
- Atheism does not leave with us any option to produce a legacy to be left behind in terms of any philosophical learning. Atheism does not have any origin or originator and therefore no set standards of philosophy. Therefore anybody who must become an atheist should learn and practise it on his own. In such case, a child must be free to develop his own reasoning, morality and culture. If that was allowed, respect for elders also need not be taught but left alone to develop in the child by itself since atheism is autonomous in nature; therefore the freedom of the child should not be curbed. What I am saying is you can teach him what is right and wrong but you CANNOT punish the child if he chooses to do wrong despite all learning. In such case, you do not have any right to impose your learning of NO GOD theory on your children as you would not want any set rules in this regard for yourself too. This makes a very dangerous situation as we all know that without a proper guidance, the natural tendency of every human being is sinful, selfish and contrary to the set rules of the society.
- Among the many observations, I am jotting down a few which carry more weightage and last of them is this – atheism does not give us any compelling reason to place our values in good versus evil. There can be good atheists, socialist atheists, politically left atheists but inherently they will know that its not their atheism which prompts them to choose to do good but its their personal choice driven by their conscience which has learnt by experience that if somebody steals my belongings it hurts and therefore it is bad so I must oppose anyone who steals. This is subjective morality and has no absolutes.One thing may be wrong for one and right for another. Since its personal, the scale or measure is also personal without any accountability therefore it cannot be helpful in making a moral framework for the society as a whole.
Many dictators derived their sense of utter cruelty by adopting to atheism as this set them free from the very sense of accountability and right-wrong or good-evil. Discussion of numbers can blunt our sense of the horrific personal character of each killing and the irreducible tragedy of each death. As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, the difference between zero and one is an infinity. Yet, it is important to learn that only Hitler and Stalin, who were initially a bit religious; Joseph Stalin raised in a Christian orthodox way later turned to atheism. He and Hitler are believed to not have attacked christians or catholics but it was for political reasons and not their inclination towards theism. A sane religious person does not choose killing millions of innocents without any moral obligation towards the creator or God. They were only born in Christian families but gave up their religion for their political motives and adopted atheism at least inherently if not explicitly. Just being born in a Christian family does not make you a Christian as much as standing in a kitchen does not make you a cook. Atheists do not want to take this blame on themselves and so project Hitler as a theist; however, it is staggering to realize that they both must have collectively killed around 30 million people in the war or otherwise out of 66 million lives lost between 1917 and 1959. By this, I am not saying that theists may not be cruel. But I see fewer examples of such a large scale of cruelty among theists than atheists. The total killings in 20th centuries might far exceed the cumulative number of killings in the human history of 19 centuries put together by such atheist dictators. Does this not open our eyes to the effects of atheism on the overall society?
Instead of saying that God does not exist, atheists should have courage to say, I don’t know if God exists.
Theists may be found in large numbers too who may have been cruel and blood thirsty but this would need further division of theists to understand the picture clearly. Theists can be simply philosophers, or practicing spirituals, religious people bound in the set rules, religious fundamentalists and the religious extremists. This will give a clear explanation why terrorism exists and what is the contribution of theists in this. It is only the small group of religious extremists who have got to bear the responsibility of all religious atrocities and terrorism. Few other fundamentalists bear its moral responsibility by funding, teaching or supporting and allowing their ideology to spread. However, this does not make all theists fall in the same basket; whatsoever.
Where do you find solace ultimately when you see relentless amount of evil unless you believe in the existence of a God in whom we find rest.
There is too much evidence in the world which tells us about the existence of God and very few proofs which can disapprove God. Some deny God’s existence just because they did not see God; however, that is so foolish a rationale – because they still believe in air, oxygen, hydrogen, gravitational pull, electricity flowing in a live wire, historical figures, galaxy and astronomical objects which they have not seen by their naked eyes ever. An atheist also need to support his claim by some supporting philosophy or science; however, those who do not know science easily gets defeated and start using philosophical standard for claiming their belief in atheism to be true. There are yet few others, who have studied science and have got a better arrows in their arsenal; yet, they do not wish to go beyond some level of science.
Lets take an example here.
Those who have read science and wish to use it to defy the logic of God’s existence, I wish they had studied science a bit better. I always say that if you had studied the astronomical science, you would stop claiming atheism to be an ideology or philosophy that you would rely on. From galaxy and stars to the atoms, the very structure of our universe is determined by the fundamental constants such as mass of the electron, electromagnetism coupling constant, cosmological constant (2.3 x 10-3 eV)4 , etc.
Science does many calculations based on these fundamental constants and variables. Now these constants which are used in calculations cannot be directly measured but have been found it after much careful study. These eventually reached values are already fine-tuned to such a great precision that even the minutest alteration in the value can make the life impossible in this universe. No physical, interactive life of any kind anywhere, no life, no stars, no planets, no chemistry.
Consider GRAVITY for an example: (Force of Gravity) F = G(m1m2/r2) where G is the Gravitational Constant. If this constant varied by just 1 in 1060 parts, none of us would exist. To understand how narrow this life permitting range is, imagine a dial like a watch, divided in 10 raised to the power of 60 units, just one tick can bring a make the gravitational pull so different that no astronomical body can exist because either they will repel each other or pull each other more than how much it does today to co-exist. To understand that scale, you need to know that a human body has only 10 raised to the power of 14 cells in the human body. The precision of the Gravitational constant is even much much more precise. If we use the cosmological constant which is tuned to the degree of 10120; which means any change in the infinitesimally small unit will alter the expansion or contraction rate of the universe to happen so rapid that still no stars, planets or life could exist.
And this is just one example. Now the point is – does this happen by chance or by design. Even a fool can understand that only by a very careful design of someone very intelligent mind and precise execution of that very intelligent being who is so magnificent who can see the largest of the objects and minutest of the distances can design such a sophisticated system of our universe.
That super intelligent being is God, who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. God has created us with a purpose. I wish to make 3 assertions in the end:
- Physical universe if slashed to the minutest state (of atom or molecule) cannot explain its origin or reason to exist. It has to have its meaning and purpose in non-physical, which is God.
- Music, dictionary, a painting, process or for that matter any equipment does not come to exist by itself; there has to be an intelligent being who creates it. Man and universe is a result of careful design and precise execution and a mere accident of 2 meteorites.
- Morality demands explanation of its origin. Without a origin and reference, the morality is subjective and useless in making a framework of social life.
Unless we know our purpose – to have a relationship with our creator, who created us to wonderfully, our morality, knowledge and assertions are useless.
It is better to believe and reach to an end. Why? Because, it won’t hurt in the end if we did not find at the other end of the tunnel since we already lived a moral life within the given constraints of the moral, spiritual framework of theism and lived happy. However, nothing can be tragic than realizing at the end of life that we missed all opportunity to believe and establish a relationship with our creator. To me, if God did not exist, yet it was a fruitful journey in which I lived with peace, love and purpose in my life but what would you do, my atheist friend, if God does really exist. I believe he does.