Opponents of naturalism/atheism recognize that it has an incurable flaw in the area of knowledge and rationality. Rationality typically means that an idea is known and justified on the basis of reason (as opposed to tradition or emotional grounds). i.e. the idea is logical and not foolish. A careful analysis of atheism reveals a problem so serious that it fails as a legitimate worldview worthy of adherence by rational persons. It is a worldview that is fundamentally irrational. If you are an atheist and you are reading this post, then I mean no disrespect, but your worldview has a fatal flaw that should cause you to reconsider your point of view. If you disagree, at the very moment you attempt to refute my point of view, you lose the debate. Consider the problem that, Dr. Paul Cox, suggests:
If naturalism [atheism] is true, then human reason must be the result of natural forces. Natural forces are not rational, nor can they be the result of a rational cause [or intelligent mind]. It would follow, then, that human reason is the result of non-rational causes. If human reason is the result of non-rational causes, there is strong reason to distrust human reason, especially in its theoretical exercises. Atheism itself is an exercise of theoretical reason. If it is true, there are strong reasons to distrust theoretical reasoning. If theoretical reasoning should be distrusted, then particular applications of it should be distrusted, too. If atheism is true, we have strong reasons to distrust that it is true.
If an atheist, therefore, agrees to debate a theist, he must at least agree on the preconditions necessary to have a debate. But what are those preconditions? The atheist and the theist agree on preconditions for debate such as the existence of reason, logic, principles of thought such as the law of non-contradiction, the possibility of intelligence and knowledge that can on some level come to understand and describe the real world. The necessary preconditions for disagreement to be possible, make more sense in a theistic worldview. Christian theist Doug Wilson states:
The atheist wants to say there is a correspondence between what he is saying and what is actually going on out there in the universe. He wants to claim that atheism is more than random neurons firing in the brains of atheists; he wants to say that atheism is in fact true. He wants to say that a debate between an atheist and a Christian is really possible. He says that the arguments he presents correspond to the way the world actually is. But on what basis does he assume such a correspondence? How can he show that a certain tiny subset of matter in motion has suddenly decided to give an incisive and cogent account of itself? If someone spilled the milk on the kitchen floor, and we wanted to know what had happened, we wouldn’t, as a general rule, ask the milk. It doesn’t know about such things; it is the accident.
This line of thinking demonstrates the inherent and fatal flaw of of atheism in the area of knowledge and rationality and is support that the theory is self-refuting. As philospher Alvin Plantiga suggests in his Warranted Christian Belief, “the scandal of atheistic skepticism is that I am relying on the very cognitive faculties whose unreliability is the conclusion of my skeptical argument.” Even Charles Darwin himself felt the force of this objection in relation to his theory of evolution. He states, “With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”
The problem of the existence of knowledge and rationality for an atheist is insurmountable. Keep in mind that an atheist makes the claim that the super-natural does not exist while simultaneously affirming the existence of true debate. But the preconditions I mentioned earlier like the laws of logic are not material/natural nor are they conventional. Logic and reason exist universally and are thus non-material or super-natural. Atheists and a theists agree that they disagree. Even if they didn’t there would still be a difference between the claims and thus it must follow that there exists certain preconditions for true debate, i.e. contradiction to take place. Indeed, both the theist and atheist assume the authority of reason and both see a correspondence between rationality and the external world. The atheist assumes that the proposition “God exists” and the proposition “God does not exist” are mutually exclusive. This assumption is inconsistent within an atheistic worldview because atheism at the ultimate level is mind-less and must admit that rationality is untrustworthy. Yet, at the same time, an atheist also assumes that reasoning has validity by the mere fact that he tries to make rational arguments. i.e. he acknowledges that thinking about the world is capable of genuine insight and can correspond to reality. CS Lewis in his book on miracles argues that, “all possible knowledge…depends on the validity of reasoning…[and] unless human reasoning is valid no science can be true.”
The atheist’s acceptance of the validity of reason while necessarily denying its trustworthiness is evidence of its incoherence. Just as a theist is called to give an account of why he thinks God exists, an atheist must also provide “proofs” for the existence of his rationality. However, if the universe is as the atheist claims- nothingmore than time and chance acting on matter in motion, then how can a non-physical and authoritative rationality be explained? And even if the existence of reason can be explained, on what basis can the explanation be trusted? How could intelligent minds arise by chance out of mindless matter in motion?
The atheist cannot consistently answer these questions. He must simply assert that the chemical reactions in his brain are true and that the chemical reactions in the theist’s brain are false. But how can chemical reactions be true or false? Are they no all simply chemical reactions coming from mindless matter in motion- neither true nor false?
Ultimately, the atheist must realize that according to his view, chaotic chemical reactions of mindless matter in motion cannot be objectively true. If he makes the claim that his views are “true,” then he is inconsistent with his own view. Any assertion of “truth” for an atheist is a contradiction because in his view there can be no reason or rationality above physical and material causes. Again the former atheist Lewis argues:
No account of the universe can be true unless that account leaves it possible for our thinking to be a real insight. A theory, which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have been reached by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved that no argument was sound- a proof that there are no such things as proofs- which is nonsense.
An atheist, therefore, who merely assumes a difference in value between his truth claims and those of a theist, by making any arguments at all is inconsistent, and demonstrates the irrationality of his own worldview, which denies an ordered and rational life of the mind. In order for an athesit to be consistent, he would have to stop making truth claims, but even this attempt at consistency assumes the need for consistency, which is again inconsistent.
To close, let me say boldly that the existence of objective truth and rationality clearly confirms the bankruptcy of atheism as a worldview. Philosopher Ronald Nash agrees in his article Miracles and Conceptual Systems:
It is hard to see why naturalism [atheism] is not self-referentially absurd. Before any person can justify accepting it on rational grounds, it is first necessary to reject a cardinal tenet of the naturalist position. In other words, the only way people can provide rational grounds for believing in naturalism is to cease being naturalists.”
I hope this post has been an encouragment to you in your journey toward the Truth.