Questions for atheists (part 4 of 7)
|June 15, 2011||Posted by Joseph Keysor under Blog|
42. Richard Wurmbrand, who was imprisoned and tortured in Communist Romania for his Christian faith, wrote “The Communist torturers often said, ‘There is no God, no hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish.’ ” [William Lane Craig, On Guard: Defending Your Faith With Reason and Precision, (Colorado Springs 2010), p. 34, quoting Wurmbrand’s book Tortured for Christ]. He also stated in this context that the absence of rewards and punishments in the afterlife removed all restraint from the depths of evil – which would explain why officially Communist states have all been so brutal and bloodthirsty. Wurmbrand quoted one atheist torturer as saying “I thank God, in whom I don’t believe, that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart.” Wurmbrand then added “He expressed it in unbelievable brutality and torture inflicted on prisoners.”
So, the question for atheists is: How do you respond to these quotes? (a) By dismissing them as fraudulent; (b) by just not thinking about them; (c) by saying those were not calm rational atheists, but religious atheists (meaning not all atheists are calm and rational); or (d) by admitting that the removal of divine restraint unleashes and even sanctifies the worst human passions?
43. If people can reject God, believe in human reason and science alone, attack religious belief as harmful and dangerous, make many statements identical or closely related to those made by atheists today, yet then proceed to imitate elements of religion as a means of solidifying their power, does this mean that the religious tendency is so deep as to be ineradicable?
44. Do you endorse this line of reasoning: “Animals do something, so it is natural, and people can do it too, as we are only animals.” If not, why not? How or why has mankind risen above its original animal state?
45. According to Robert Service’s biography of Stalin [Stalin: A Biography (London 2010)], the future atheist monster was admitted to a Christian school (the Gori Spiritual School) at the age of ten, in obedience to his mother’s wishes. Stalin did well in the school, and on completion of his studies there entered the Tiflis Spiritual Seminary. He did well there also, at first, but became a discipline problem, and was also increasingly attracted to secular literature, including Marx, Darwin, and Lenin (according to a friend of that period). After being disciplined and reprimanded for rudeness and violation of seminary rules, he left the seminary without taking his final examinations and devoted himself increasingly to Marxist and revolutionary studies and activities.
So, the question for atheists is: if Stalin had sincerely believed in his seminary studies and devoted himself to them, and entered an ecclesiastical career, wouldn’t he (and many other people) have been much better off?
46. If Christians make angry, hostile, and bitter comments they violate biblical teachings (“The servant of God must not strive; but be gentle unto all men . . . In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” I Timothy 3:24-25). If, however, an atheist gets hostile and abusive, which moral standard inherent in atheism are they violating?
47. I read recently where an atheist was complaining about a sign in front of a church proclaiming April 1st “Atheists’ Day.” Given the constant stream of sarcasm, ridicule, and attacks coming from atheists, isn’t this a good example of being able to dish it out but not being able to take it? Also, wouldn’t many atheists really like to stifle opposing viewpoints if they had the power, as atheists have done in the past, and are still doing (in China, for example)?
48. In the past, when America had a much more traditionally religious culture, what atheists were ever hindered from propagating their views?
49. Some atheists (all atheists?) seem to be very proud of their intellects, and feel that they are able to determine the boundaries of what is and is not real. Is this a wise attitude, given there is so much we do not know about the origins of life and the cosmos?
50. God did many great miracles in the New Testament era, including raising someone from the dead more than once, healing a man blind from birth, and walking on water. Is God obligated to provide yet further miracles for those who find what he has done already unsatisfactory, or is it reasonable for him in later times to provide only private miracles for the benefit of his children, but not for those who ridicule and despise him? To put it another way, do atheists have the right to determine how God should manifest himself?
51. Consider all of the shameful, wrong, or humiliating things you have ever done, things that you would be ashamed to have your friends know about. How would you feel if your entire life, including all of your secrets, were to be laid open before the fundamental power underlying the universe, who made you and to whom you are responsible?
52. To what extent might atheism be the result not of knowledge, facts, reason, and evidence, but of fear of the unknown?
53. To what extent might atheism be the result of rebellion against a higher power and his wise and beneficial laws and rules?
54. Why is it that the art and music of more theistically influenced earlier Western culture are so superior to that produced today?
55. How can personality arise out of an impersonal universe? Is it that (a) personality is only a mirage, really only chemical and physical responses? Or that (b) personality is a cosmic fluke, out of harmony with the deepest “That-which-is” and hence thoroughly pointless? Or (c) the theory of an impersonal universe is an inadequate explanation for life as we experience it daily?