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Atheism: an intellectually challenged world view

Published:Sunday | June 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Dr Wayne West, chairman of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society.

In a stroke of genius, the Bible begins, "In the beginning, God ... ."

No attempt is made to prove the existence of God. The author does not consider himself to be bound by any necessity to provide scientific evidence for God's existence but simply starts the narrative.

The disregard for scientific evidence is quite logical, however, for science is about observing, measuring and experimenting on the natural (things we can examine with our five senses). God, on the other hand, is transcendent and, therefore, beyond our senses and not subject to scientific evaluation. There can be no direct scientific measurement/study to determine whether God exists.

So how can we know whether God exists, or, rather, determine whether it is logical to believe that there is a God and a transcendent realm - something beyond our natural world? One way to do this is to make the assumption that there is no transcendent, that is, that God does not exist, and seek to determine the logical implications of such a claim.

Let us be atheists for a day.

If there is no God, we humans will be wholly material, that is, made entirely and solely from the matter of which the universe itself is made. All of the universe and its contents, including us humans, are wholly controlled by the laws of physics. Therefore, all that we are and all that we do will be completely produced and controlled by the laws of physics. This includes all our thoughts and actions. There can be no possibility of escaping this complete control by the laws of physics.


No free will


In the context of atheism, therefore, a human being is ordinary, unconscious matter that has evolved, solely under the directions of the laws of physics, to produce thoughts, which thoughts are again wholly under the control of the laws of physics and those thoughts produce the epiphenomenon (effect/feeling) of consciousness. A person's perception of being an individual, separate and distinct from the environment, is a secondary effect, a product of thoughts that are produced by physical laws.

In this construct, there is no possibility of free will or volition of thought (capacity to initiate and control thought). Human beings can have no control over the production of, or processes involved in, the continued existence of their thoughts. These are all totally controlled by the laws of physics. The concept of reasoning will then be an illusion.

We will not have free will and volition of thought to reason. And what of scientific enquiry? That will also be mere illusion. Fully determined epiphenomena produced by the laws of physics, which lack free will, volition of thought and capacity to reason, cannot do science. The science that atheists claim to be their plumb line for truth becomes mere illusion.


Christian view more logical


The Christian theistic world view, on the other hand, is much more logical and provides a firm basis for science. The Christian world view, based on the Bible, affirms that man is not wholly material. This is an amazing insight for such an ancient book. God knows the essential link between having a non-material component and free will and, in his prescience, the importance both to make us this way and record it.

The Bible states that we have a non-material component. This non-material component cannot be accessed by science. If it could be accessed by science, it would be material and useless for the purposes for which it exists. The non-material component is the substantial 'you' and it is this that frees us from the absolute control of the laws of physics. This non-material component allows us to have free will, volition of thought, capacity to reason and the ability to do science.

Modern-day atheists claim to depend on science in order to understand truth, but they live in a world view without free will, and science without free will is mere illusion. On the other hand, eminent scientist Sir Isaac Newton pursued science because as a Christian theist, he was convinced, not only of his own free will, volition of thought and capacity to reason, but also that a logical and intelligent God had created the world and that the world would, therefore, be logical and amenable to investigation.

The atheistic world view and that of Christian theists provide stark contrast for our approach to understanding the world. The former is entirely illogical. It is little wonder then that the Psalmist also finds it unnecessary to attempt to prove the existence of God, saying simply, in Psalm 14:1, "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God ... ."

The genius of Genesis 1:1 is the recognition that without the supernatural, the natural is illogical.

- Dr Wayne West is chairman of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society. Email feedback to and