Dear Atheist

Dear Atheist,

What are your thoughts are concerning the recent shooting in Texas? I would be grossly unfair to associate you, personally, with the thoughts and actions of that shooter–just as it would be unfair of you to associate the foolish and hateful actions of a self-proclaimed “Christian” with me. But I would love to know if you think the actions of the shooter were wrong. Or right.

And if you believe his actions were wrong, I’d love to know why.

Atheism leaves out any notion of a divine being who created mankind. Most atheists I know believe we exist as a result of billions of years of natural selection. In essence, we came from nothing…and to nothing we will return.

So why exactly would you decry the actions of the atheist shooter? It seems to me he acted consistently with his belief that there is no God. If there is no God, there is no judgment, no moral consequence to his actions. If there is no God, there is no objective standard of right and wrong. Who is to say what he should and shouldn’t do? If he had gotten away with it, would it not be a case of the strong surviving?

In an article on atheism and ethics, a champion of atheism writes,

“The behavior of Atheists is subject to the same rules of sociology, psychology, and neurophysiology that govern the behavior of all members of our species, religionists included.”

No doubt that is true. I’m not arguing that Atheists have no moral code. I’m asking where does your moral code come from? I agree with the writer above that all men possess some moral ethic, some rule inside us which tells us one thing is right while another is wrong. Why is that? Sometimes our internal moral code flies in the face of strict rationality. We see a mother give herself to save her infant child, and we feel deeply the great rightness of that action. On the other hand, we see pictures of partial-birth abortions and strongly react against the wrongness of it.

However, if we were purely rational about these situations (taking the view that there is no God), the woman would have been just as right to have traded her infant’s life for her own. We could shrug our shoulders at the momentary pain and death of the aborted child because the mother was avoiding long-term stress and worry.

A little later in the article, the author writes, “Nature also has provided us with nervous systems which are, to a considerable degree, imprintable.” Nature did that? Apparently nature has missed quite a few individuals.

The writer labels his moral code “enlightened self-interest.” What he means is that nature imprints upon our species the collective wisdom of millions of years of trial and error, and we are able to make choices based upon what will give us the greatest short- and long-term happiness. It’s a purely selfish model. We love others because that love will reflect back to us, making us feel good. We don’t harm others, only because it might come back on us and make us unhappy. We live by a series of consequences and rewards.

Atheists generally insist that the problem of pain and suffering is a huge problem for the Christian. “How can you believe in a God when there is so much evil in the world?” But the Christian understands there is EVIL in the world! It’s not just people choosing poorly and experiencing undesirable consequences; it’s people actively hating one another and exacting vengeance upon each other. The atheist has no argument against the existence of actual evil and good. In his mind, we only label things “good” which we have decided bring us the most happiness in this world. There is no external, objective “good” in this world, so why should we subject anyone to punishments for their actions? After all, are they not just doing what they think is “good” for them?

The atheist believes the real problem in this world is religion. We perpetuate the violence and evil. But what if we claim that Nature has given us this understanding? What if nature itself has taught us, imprinted upon us, a knowledge of a supernatural being? Every man and woman, contemplating the awesome world, feels deep in his or her DNA the rightness of a Master Designer.

Dear Atheist, it seems you can’t really decide what is evil and what is good, because you have no objective standard. You cannot say that religion is wrong, nor can you say it is right. If it gives me the most happiness in this life to believe in a future with a compassionate a loving God, that this life is not the extent of my existence, why would you take that belief from me? You will take my happiness along with it.

Dan Barker, author of Godless who preached for a time in charismatic Christian churches before transitioning to atheism, wrote the following in an article called “Dear Believer“:

If Christianity were simply untrue I would not be too concerned. Santa is untrue, but it is a harmless myth which people outgrow. But Christianity, besides being false, is also abhorrent. It amazes me that you claim to love the god of the bible, a hateful, arrogant, sexist, cruel being who can’t tolerate criticism. I would not want to live in the same neighborhood with such a creature!

I also find Christianity to be morally repugnant. The concepts of original sin, depravity, substitutionary forgiveness, intolerance, eternal punishment, and humble worship are all beneath the dignity of intelligent human beings and conflict with the values of kindness and reason. They are barbaric ideas for primative cultures cowering in fear and ignorance.

Finally, Christianity is harmful. More people have been killed in the name of a god than for any other reason. The Church has a shameful, bloody history of Crusades, Inquisitions, witch-burnings, heresy trials, American colonial intolerance, disrespect of indigenous traditions (such as American Indians), support of slavery, and oppression of women. Modern “fruits” of religion include the Jonestown massacre, the callous fraud of “faith healers,” the sex scandals of televangelists, and fighting in Northern Ireland. Religion also poses a danger to mental health, damaging self-respect, personal responsibility, and clarity of thought.

If Christianity is truly harmful to society, then shouldn’t freethinkers praise what the shooter did last Sunday? Are not his actions justified? After all, he wiped out 26 believers of nonsense who won’t be able to pass that worldview down to the next generation.

So, dear Atheist, where do you stand?

A 200-Year Prophecy

Atheist Carl Sagan posed the question:

“…has there ever been a religion with the prophetic accuracy and reliability of science?” [1]

Gates of All Nations in PersepolisYesterday, I introduced two of my favorite Bible prophecies. Today, I share a third concerning Cyrus the Great, King of Persia.

Cyrus Called by Name

The prophet Isaiah records this startling prophecy:

24       Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
who formed you from the womb:
“I am the LORD, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,
25       who frustrates the signs of liars
and makes fools of diviners,
who turns wise men back
and makes their knowledge foolish,
26       who confirms the word of his servant
and fulfills the counsel of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’
and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,
and I will raise up their ruins’;
27       who says to the deep, ‘Be dry;
I will dry up your rivers’;
28       who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,
and he shall fulfill all my purpose’;
           saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’
      and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ ” (Isaiah 44.24-28)

Cyrus cylinder in the British MuseumIn the greater context surrounding these verses, God is proving a point: “I am the LORD and there is no other” (Isaiah 45.5-7). In order to prove that He is the only God, He calls Cyrus specifically by name almost 200 years before Cyrus came on the scene! In fact, when Isaiah penned this prophecy, Assyria was the superpower. Babylon would come next, pushing out the Assyrians and capturing Jerusalem. But after Babylon reigned in power for about 100 years, the Persian empire would rise and overcome them. Cyrus the Great is the Persian King who brought Persia to the height of power.

Jeremiah also had prophesied concerning the fall of Babylon and concerning the length of time the Jews would remain in bondage:

‘Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,’ declares the LORD, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation.’ (Jer. 25.12)

For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.’ (Jer. 29.10)

The fulfillment of these prophecies are recorded in Ezra 1.1-2:

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah…”

How did Isaiah know Cyrus’ name so many years in advance? How did he know Assyria would fall to Babylon and Babylon would fall to Persia? He didn’t! God spoke those words through the prophet, and the events transpired exactly as God had foreseen.


[1] Carl Sagan. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Random House, Inc., New York: 1996, p. 30.

A Religion with Prophetic Accuracy

Carl SaganAs one of the latest foremost proponents of atheism, Carl Sagan writes:

“…to entertain the notion that we are a particularly complex arrangement of atoms, and not some breath of divinity, at the very least enhances our respect for atoms…”[1]

He continues:

“…to find that our ancestors were also the ancestors of apes ties us to the rest of life and makes possible important–if occasionally rueful–reflections on human nature.

Like it or not, we are stuck with science. We had better make the best of it.

But superstition and pseudoscience keep getting in the way, distracting…providing easy answers, dodging skeptical scrutiny, casually pressing our awe buttons and cheapening the experience.”[1]

In a footnote, Sagan insists, “We are, as I like to say, starstuff.”[2]

While comparing religion and science, Sagan poses a poignant question:

“…has there ever been a religion with the prophetic accuracy and reliability of science?”[3]

Now that’s a good question! One of the absolute greatest evidences for the Bible is its incredible track record of prophecies and prophetic fulfillment. Over the next few days I’d like to share some of my favorite Bible prophecies.

Today, let’s think on the promise to Abraham in Genesis 22 and Jacob’s prophetic blessing on his son Judah in Genesis 49.

Promise to Abraham

To Abraham, God promised, “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall posses the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22.17-18).

CrossThe rest of the entire Bible contains the account of how God fulfilled this momentous promise! Abraham’s family did, indeed, become a great nation, one which has endured to this day. The Old Testament traces the seed of Abraham all the way through Egyptian bondage, their exodus from Egypt, their settling in Palestine, their series of judges and kings, their captivity in Babylon, their return to Palestine, and finally their rebuilding of Jerusalem and their house of worship. The New Testament picks up 400 years after the Old Testament leaves off, but it continues the same story–the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham!

The final fulfillment of that promise is through Jesus Christ, as Paul points out in Galatians 3.14, “so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith,” and Galatians 3.16, “Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, ‘And to offsprings,’ referring to many, but referring to one, ‘And to your offspring,’ who is Christ.”

Judah Is the Royal Tribe

Again back in Genesis 49.8-10, we find a prophecy Jacob spoke concerning his son Judah:

8       “Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
9          Judah is a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10       The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
      nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
            until tribute comes to him;
      and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

Lion of JudahThis prophecy was not fulfilled until King David came to the throne some 900 years later! David was from the tribe of Judah, and after him throughout Israel’s history someone from David’s family was always on the throne. What tribe do you think Jesus was from? He is called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David” (Rev. 5.5).

In a second, much later prophecy, an angel informed Mary: “The Lord God will give to [Jesus] the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1.32-33).

How did Jacob know kings would come through Judah’s lineage? How did Jacob know Jesus, the great and final King, would also be from Judah? He didn’t! He prophesied by the power of the Spirit of God.

Those are pretty specific prophecies, aren’t they? Carl Sagan wondered if there was a religion which had this kind of precision in its prophecies–I’d say yes!

The Bible itself tells us that if someone gives a prophecy and it does not come to pass, we don’t have to listen to another thing that person says (Deut. 18.21-22). So if the Bible claims to be Scripture, every prophecy had better come to pass; otherwise it invalidates itself. That is a tall order, but in my studies it always measures up to it’s perfect standard.


[1] Carl Sagan. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Random House, Inc., New York: 1996, p. 13.

[2] ibid., p. 14.

[3] ibid., p. 30.

Sermon: Not Ashamed of the Gospel

“Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” said Jesus.

Is it prideful to believe and insist that there is only one true, living God?

How should a Christian approach an unbeliever? What sort of presuppositions should a Christian be aware of in himself and in the one he attempts to teach?