Ewin James | Atheism- A denial of reality
I don't believe that there are any true atheists - men who are born without any awareness of the existence of God and who involuntarily sustain that absence of awareness of God throughout their lives. There are only pretenders who, for moral rather than intellectual reasons, profess to be atheists; usually they have the intellect and the vocabulary to verbalise and record their positions better than most people are able to. It is for this reason than many noted philosophers have professed atheism.
Lesser men, like Mark Wignall, who profess to be atheists, come off looking silly, for we can readily see through their pretence.
In the case of Mark Wignall, his profession of atheism on the pages of this newspaper is a pathetic attempt to serve nonsense on a platter of mawkishness. I will spend no time on his last effort. I will only say this - he should stick to what he does best: ferreting out the machinations of the two political parties and displaying his schoolboy fascination with sex.
The confession of many who profess atheism goes something like this: 'I once believed there was a God. I went to church as a child, then later something happened, some injustice - to me or in the world - and I asked how could a good God let this happen? And so I no longer believe in the existence of God.' This confession indicates the existence of God, for those who confess that they once believed in the existence of God, but no longer do so, admit the existence of God.
If there is no God, how at one time did they believe he existed? To say I once believed God exists but no longer do so, says nothing about God, but says something about me.
Where did professing atheists, like all other men, get the knowledge that there was a God whose existence they later came to deny? From God himself who created every man with a knowledge of his existence, however nebulous or precise that knowledge is.
Romans 1 at verse 19: "Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them." And verse 20: "For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." This says that imprinted on man's consciousness and displayed in the created order is the evidence of the existence of God.
This is why the above verse say men are without excuse. It is this knowledge which men, for one reason or another, seek to suppress and deny by claiming that God doesn't exist. They do so usually because they can't reconcile the innate knowledge of a just, holy and righteous God with Him allegedly doing certain things or permitting certain things to happen. It even goes beyond that. They made God in their image and what they see contradict that image.
One of the most famous so-called atheists of the 19th century was German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), who popularised the oxymoron that God is dead. He is revered as a true atheist, but was he really? His father was a minister and he was born in the Church and professed faith in God as a young boy.
Will Durant, in The Story of Philosophy, says of Nietzsche's childhood: "His school-mates called him 'the little minister' and one of them described him as a Jesus in the temple. It was his delight to seclude himself and read the Bible, or read it to others so feelingly as to bring tears to their eyes" ( p. 438).
Then as a teenager, he declared he no longer believed God exists. But was he truthful? I think not. He was just fighting against the God he had so lovingly worshipped as a child. Durant says. "He attacked Christianity because there was so much of its moral spirit in him." (p. 438). He tried valiantly, but didn't quite succeed: the effort made him mad, and at one time he was committed to an asylum.
It's the same with men today who profess that there is no God - they are fighting against what they know in their heart to be true.
- Ewin James is a minister and freelance journalist. He lives in Longwood, Florida.