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THE ARROGANCE OF THE ATHEISTS
I'm sure you've seen them before — arrogant, spoiled children. Kids who have no respect for their parents, their teachers, their elders, their peers. Kids who for some reason think they know everything, when in reality, they know nothing. They're condescending, obnoxious, prone to shouting, mean-spirited, and selfish. They're the kids who are always bragging that they have better clothes, better sneakers, better toys, better video games, better houses, better everything than their friends. They never seem to learn humility. They're always clamoring to be first. Always looking for attention. Always screaming to be recognized as the best. And if, by chance, they aren't given the credit they think they deserve, then woe to the guilty culprit whose fault it is — because that person will be treated to a noisy temper tantrum.
The type of arrogant children I'm talking about never take correction in a constructive way. They never take any kind of challenge to their "superiority." Their first reactions are always anger and petulance. Even worse, these children never seem to know when to keep their opinions to themselves. As someone once said of them: "Two-thirds of what they think on a topic is borrowed from their parents or older siblings, and the remaining one-third is based on whether they have an immediate desire for something."
Now, kids like this usually have no basis for believing the things they do. Their attitude stems from some form of immaturity or insecurity. But if their arrogance, by chance, is founded in real circumstances — for example, if the child comes from a wealthy family or is "gifted" in some way — then their smugness is often of the very worst kind. Left unattended or uncorrected, these are the kids who become the notorious bullies and "haters" of the world.
But whether a child's arrogance is a consequence of wealth, upbringing, immaturity, insecurity, or simply natural disposition, the end result is always the same: rudeness and bad behavior. The end result is always a child who mistakenly thinks that everyone is beneath him; who deludes himself into believing that he is somehow smarter and better than everyone else, when, in fact, he is much worse.
Now, most of you who are reading these words have encountered children like this at one time or another. If you have, please fix that image in your minds for just a few minutes. It will be very valuable in understanding not only the subject of this chapter but also the theme of this entire book — because this image of the typical arrogant, condescending, bullying child that I've just described is, in actuality, the exact picture of the typical modern-day atheist.
That's right. Just as we've all seen spoiled, misbehaving children in action, we've also witnessed the spectacle of the new atheists spreading their particular brand of toxic arrogance throughout society. You know who they are. They're the ones who are offended by the slightest bit of religious imagery in public, the ones who are mortified if even a whisper of "Merry Christmas" escapes the lips of some well-meaning but naive department store clerk during the holiday season, the ones who object vehemently to the phrase "In God We Trust" on money or the walls of government buildings. These are the self-righteous twits who cause a storm of protest whenever something overtly religious is spoken of in anything but hushed tones or behind closed doors. These folks are loud, nasty, unapologetic, and in your face. And, unfortunately, they're not going away.
In the following pages, I'm not going to focus on proving God's existence or showing how much sense it makes to be a believer. As noted earlier, plenty of books on popular theology do that already. Rather, my main purpose here will be to expose once and for all the blatant hypocrisy, dishonesty, and intellectual bankruptcy of the atheists themselves. For when you really look at what the new atheists are saying, you don't find a carefully constructed, logical argument against the theistic position; in fact, you don't find any argument at all. What you find is a lot of hot air. A lot of bluster. A lot of disdainful, unfounded, and empty dogmatism. Above all, what you find is arrogance.
Arrogance has been the calling card of atheists for a long time. It didn't start with Richard Dawkins or Bill Maher. Friedrich Nietzsche — the great patron saint of atheism, and, coincidentally, the favorite philosopher of Adolf Hitler (a fact atheists conveniently neglect to mention) — proclaimed famously in the nineteenth century that God was "dead" and "in his grave." That preposterous pronouncement set the tone for atheistic arrogance over the next hundred years.
The militant atheists of the twenty-first century have raised this kind of pretentious egotism to an art form. Sam Harris superciliously writes, "It is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail," and that "atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious."
Richard Dawkins haughtily states: "Faith is the great copout, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence."
Bill Maher rants: "Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking ... and those who preach faith and enable and elevate it are our intellectual slaveholders, keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy."
Christopher Hitchens condescendingly pontificates that "religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody ... had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs)."
These are not arguments; they're snide, schoolyard taunts. And they demonstrate perfectly the deeply ingrained sense of superiority that modern-day atheists seem to have. By ridiculing believers for "failing to accept the obvious" and "copping out" and "evading evidence" and being "infantile," they show themselves to possess the very same traits that are so characteristic of the arrogant children I just described.
The position of the typical atheist today can be summed up in the following way:
Believing in God is not just wrong or misguided. It's tantamount to insanity. It's the same as believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Since there is absolutely no empirical or scientific evidence for God, there can be no rational basis to believe in him. Since God can't be seen, felt, or heard with the senses, and since there isn't any geological or fossil record of him, and since he can't be proven mathematically, he simply can't exist. Period.
The reason why so many people throughout history have believed in God, they smugly assert, is because these poor ancient folk were ignorant of scientific facts. If they had known what we know, they never would have believed in something so absurd as God.
And as for the people today who still believe despite the marvels of scientific achievement, they've obviously been brainwashed by their religious upbringing, or have some kind of psychological need to believe in a supernatural being and an afterlife. They surmise this dependence comes from three primary sources: a fear of death, an unwillingness to accept the permanent loss of loved ones, and an inability to cope with life itself.
In other words, modern atheists think that those who believe in God fall into one of two general categories: we are either imbeciles or cowards!
This is not an exaggeration. This is truly what the new atheists believe. Read God Is Not Great by Hitchens, The God Delusion by Dawkins, or The End of Faith by Harris. The titles of these books betray the attitudes of the authors. Not one of these works presents a carefully reasoned argument against belief in God. They are all diatribes against the very notion of belief.
The bottom line is that atheists today do not acknowledge any connection between faith and reason. According to them, to be a believer means, ipso facto, that one must have below-average intelligence. It means that one has no ability to think rationally and lacks the necessary mental and emotional strength to face the problems of life unaided by recourse to prayer and other such "superstitious" practices. Mostly it means that one must be devoid of any real understanding of science.
The most laughable thing about this position isn't that it's unfair or untrue — which, of course, it is — but that it's so extraordinarily ironic. In fact, it's one of the most hilarious parodies of rational argument ever put forth by anyone, anywhere, at any time. Even the most cursory glance at history shows that the whole discipline of rational thinking on this planet — as well as almost all of our scientific knowledge — comes not from atheists, but from the minds of men and women who believed deeply in God.
Putting aside philosophy, logic, and mathematics for a moment, let's just take the field of science as an example and conduct an abbreviated survey of its principal historic figures.
First, who was the father of science and the father of scientific thought itself? The great Aristotle, of course. Now Aristotle, being an ancient Greek philosopher, didn't know anything about the founders of the world's major religions. But the man who organized and classified human thinking into categories such as biology, physics, zoology, and epistemology, and the man who is still recognized today as perhaps the greatest thinker who ever lived, did believe in divine intelligence. In fact, Aristotle rejected the notion of a strictly material universe and instead posited the existence of a first, uncaused cause. This "first cause" of the universe is another way of saying "God." And Aristotle believed in him.
What about Francis Bacon, the father of empiricism? Empiricism is the theory that all knowledge is derived from sense experience — a position so dear to the hearts of atheists today. Bacon is also the person credited with establishing the inductive method of experimental science. In other words he was the man who created the scientific method itself. Did he believe in God?
Yes, he did, and he was a devout Christian too. In fact, his last written words were in the form of a prayer: "Be merciful unto me, O Lord, for my Saviour's sake, and receive me into thy bosom."
Pick another famous scientist from history at random — say, Leonardo da Vinci. Here was an inventor, a mathematician, a botanist, an astronomer, and an engineer. Da Vinci was the father of medical anatomy, paleontology, geology, ichnology, aircraft design, and a host of other scientific disciplines. He was the prototypical universal or "Renaissance" man. Did he believe in God?
You bet he did — and he created some of the most sublime religious paintings of all time.
What about the father of physics: arguably the most prominent scientist of the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century, and the man who discovered the principle of gravity?
This was Isaac Newton — and he, too, believed in God.
Indeed, the greatest geniuses of physics — including Daniel Bernoulli, the man whose work underlies the operation of the modern automobile and the airplane wing; Wilhelm Rontgen, the discoverer of X-rays and the winner of the first Nobel Prize in physics; and Max Planck and Max Born, the founders of quantum theory and quantum mechanics — all believed in God.
The supreme figures in astronomy — Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler — all believed in God.
The supreme figures in the field of botany — Brunfels, Turner, and Boerhaave — all believed in God.
The father of modern chemistry, and the man who developed the first periodic table of elements and postulated the law of conservation of mass — Antoine Lavoisier — believed in God.
The founders of electromagnetism — Volta, who invented the battery and whom the "volt" is named after; as well as Ampère, whom the "amp" is named after — believed in God. Michael Faraday, who helped establish electromagnetic theory and electrolysis in the field of chemistry, believed in God too.
Louis Pasteur, the famous French chemist and one of the main founders of bacteriology, renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation, and pasteurization, and whose scientific work provided direct support for the germ theory of disease, was also an ardent believer in God.
In medicine, Albrecht von Haller, the father of modern physiology, and William Harvey, the father of the modern study of anatomy, believed in God. So did William Keen, the pioneer of brain surgery, and Joseph Murray, the Nobel Prize-winning pioneer of transplant surgery.
Indeed the whole modern age of science was pioneered by believers. German scientist Wernher von Braun pioneered rocket technology. Ernest Walton was the first person in history to artificially split the atom. Wireless technology — including cell phones, radios, and our whole global telecommunication system — exists thanks to Guglielmo Marconi. Charles Babbage, the mathematician and analytical philosopher, is known today as the first computer scientist and the man who originated the idea of the programmable computer.
All of these men believed in God.
And while we're on the subject of the pioneers of science, who do you think coined the term scientist in the first place? The answer is William Whewell, an Anglican priest and theologian, who also came up with the words physicist, cathode, anode, and many other commonly used scientific terms. Essentially, the very language used by scientists today comes from the brain of a believer.
None of these giants in the field of science was an atheist. All believed in a Supreme Being who created and designed the universe. The list goes on and on and on. It includes scores of Nobel Prize laureates and presidents of scientific academies and institutions. It is a list that spans the globe and all of time itself. It is a truly staggering list.
And what do atheists make of that list?
Nothing! They ignore and dismiss it, as they ignore and dismiss so many other challenges to their thinking. Or they do their feeble best to explain it away. They'll say, for instance, that these God-fearing scientists didn't know about the theory of evolution or genetics or the big bang theory. They conclude, therefore, that the list really isn't as impressive as it may seem.
But even that objection betrays an ignorance of the history of science that borders on the insane.
When Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of Species in 1859 — the work that first proposed the theory of evolution — he was definitely a believer in God. It's true that as he grew older, the spectacle of human suffering weighed heavily on his heart and caused him to doubt the existence of a personal Creator who cared about his creatures, but Darwin always struggled with his lack of faith. He was at times a Christian and at times an agnostic. But he never thought that his scientific theory was incompatible with the idea of God. Rather, he thought that while God did not have a direct hand in creating the different species of the world, he did indeed create the natural laws that governed the cosmos — including the laws of evolutionary development. Therefore Charles Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution, was not an atheist.
And what of the science of genetics — the means through which evolution supposedly takes place? According to proponents of evolutionary theory, it is only through genetic mutation and the process of natural selection that life on this planet is able to undergo gradual development. Who, then, was the father of this field of study?
The answer is Gregor Mendel — an Augustinian friar and abbot of a Catholic monastery! This monk, botanist, and professor of philosophy was the man whose famous experiments on peas led to the formulation of the rules of heredity and to the proposal of the existence of invisible "genes" — which provide a basis for the science of modern genetics.
Well, then what about the big bang theory — t he leading explanation of how our universe began? Surely an atheist must have had a hand in that.
No — wrong again! In fact, the man who proposed both the theory of the expansion of the universe as well as the big bang theory of the origin of the universe — effectively changing the whole course of modern cosmology — was Father Georges Lemaître, a Belgian astronomer and Roman Catholic priest!
Yes, you heard that right. A priest came up with the big bang theory! If you don't believe it, look it up.
Excerpted from "Inside the Atheist Mind"
Copyright © 2018 Anthony DeStefano, Inc..
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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Table of Contents
A Note to Atheists, xi,
1. The Arrogance of the Atheists, 1,
2. The Ignorance of the Atheists, 15,
3. The Ruthlessness of the Atheists, 31,
4. The Intolerance of the Atheists, 47,
5. The Shallowness of the Atheists, 63,
6. The Cowardice of the Atheists, 79,
7. The Death-Centeredness of the Atheists, 95,
8. The Faithfulness of the Atheists, 115,
9. The Malevolence of the Atheists, 133,
10. The End of the Atheists, 153,
Suggested Reading, 169,
About the Author, 179,