Addressing a common atheist objection: “I didn’t get a good answer to my question about God, so He doesn’t exist”

This comment from an atheist on the epic Richard Dawkins / Wendy Wright post* represents a common objection of skeptics:

My troubles began when I was being prepared for my first communion. I asked our chaplain “who moved the stone” since the Gospels are contradictory. He could not give me a satisfactory answer. Then I discovered many other contradictions in time and place – how, I reasoned can any of this be offered as proof of anything – I still don’t have satisfactory answers. Can you answer me?

Many atheists have similar stories about how they left the faith because they didn’t get satisfactory answers to their questions. The Jodie Foster character in the movie Contact made much of that (though ironically the rest of the film was a testimony to the principles of Intelligent Design!).

But their conclusion is illogical. While I wish all Christians were better versed in apologetics as they are commanded to be, just because the person you asked gave you a bad answer or got defensive doesn’t mean solid answers don’t exist. These stories are perfect examples of why atheists give up all too easily once they’ve “stumped” an authority figure. It is more evidence that they are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. There are countless places to dig deep into the difficult questions of life and Christianity if you really want the truth.  Check out any of the apologetics links to the right.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

It is foolish and rebellious to think that you get to define whether God exists and what He must be like.  Repent and believe while you still have time.  Eternity is a mighty long time to suffer for your foolish pride.

So if you are an atheist, keep searching and don’t use flimsy excuses.  And if you are a Christian, study a little more and know of other resources to which you can point authentic seekers.  And don’t get defensive and give lame answers if you can’t answer the questions.

—–

* 400+ comments and counting, and that is without the many I’ve deleted for violating the commenting guidelines.  Every few months some atheist site links to it and I get tons of traffic, though not necessarily the good kind.

7 thoughts on “Addressing a common atheist objection: “I didn’t get a good answer to my question about God, so He doesn’t exist”

  1. Reblogged this on Sifting Reality and commented:
    It has been my persistent experience that the majority of the reasons Atheists give for why they believe God doesn’t exist are actually irrelevant to whether he does. In other words, often, even if their complaint were true it says nothing about whether God exists.

  2. “… just because the person you asked gave you a bad answer or got defensive doesn’t mean solid answers don’t exist. “

    I couldn’t agree more. As you know, I would categorize myself an atheist, but I emphatically agree that “no answer” is not an answer, and that a personal bad experience is not a Universal one.
    For the sake of consistency, the statement “no answer is not an answer” applies to both atheistic and theistic claims.

    Granted, at times I catch myself using such reasoning; but that is only proof that at that moment, I exercise bad faith and poor argumentation. I can’t deny that.

    However, at times, I consider certain arguments and logical points — made in context — sufficient to trigger reasonable doubt. And to be honest, I do apply that suspension in judgement towards Evolution just as much as I do for Creation — just to mention one controversy (to be clear, I’m talking about the controversy between the two lines of thought).

    My quest is to find nuggets of Truth in the clouds of contradicting claims.
    I am certainly not saying my judgement is free of bias and fault, but I am saying that my conclusions (open to change) are deeply sincere and accepted to the limits of my understanding.

    This is why the argument from Faith easily stumps me. I cannot argue Faith — I can only claim to understand it, as I have practiced profound Faith for the most part of my life.

    I can honestly say that my loss of faith did not stem from a rebellious heart. I lost it because the answers that became apparent to me were making my cognitive dissonance buzzing noisily. My current understanding does not conform to unanswered questions as the OP suggests, but to solid logic within context.

    I will admit my style of argumentations needs a face-lift, because I DO present my arguments in the form of questions… and thankfully, you have called me on this. I projected my opinions as if I did not have a satisfying answer. So to be unambiguous; I do have strong opinions, albeit open to correction with more complete or correct information. I realized that my form of questioning for politeness was understandably felt as hypocrisy. So this, I must change.

    Thank you for the opportunity to explain myself. :)

  3. John Barron, I agree with your statement “It has been my persistent experience that the majority of the reasons Atheists give for why they believe God doesn’t exist are actually irrelevant to whether he does. In other words, often, even if their complaint were true it says nothing about whether God exists.”

    However, to be fair and consistent with that frame of reasoning, you must acknowledge that when Theists give their reasons for why they believe God does exist, their argument is irrelevant to whether he does.

    This is where we must find a point of commonality, and shared standards of reasoning.

    We are talking about Faith, and the lack of. Hence the discussion will always suffer a lack of common grounds — but we can try.

    That is my wish. I’m willing to concede that my understanding is open to question. Are you?

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