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Atheism Responding to Objections that Leave Christians Speechless.

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1 Atheism Responding to Objections that Leave Christians Speechless

2 Atheism Objections “I just worship one less God than you.” “God is a moral monster.” “Christianity borrowed from other religions.” “I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, Locke Ness Monster, or Santa Clause either.”

3 One Less God than You

4 One Less God Than You “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one less god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” —Stephen F Roberts

5 Atheism “I don’t have to take the time to reject Christ any more than you have to take the time to reject all the millions of gods that are out there. It just happens by default. The justification for my atheism is the same as yours with respect to your rejection of all the other possible gods.”

6 One Less God Than You What is atheism?

7 One Less God Than You A lack of belief in God Or A belief in naturalism

8 One Less God Than You Definition of God: The being/thing one happens worships. The most powerful being in the universe. The transcendent Uncaused Cause.

9 One Less God Than You Seven Possible Worldviews 1.Theism 2.Deism 3.Pantheism 4.Panentheism 5.Polytheism 6.Naturalism 7.Pluralism

10 Worldviews Theism: Theistic worldview that believes an eternal God freely created all of existence (time, space, matter, celestial realms and bodies) out of nothing (ex nihilo) and that He continues to act within the creation in varying degrees. Adherents: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

11 Timeless Eternity God (ontos) Transcendence

12 Timeless Eternity God (ontos) Transcendence Creation ex nihilo

13 © Copyright 2002-2005, The Theology Program Time-bound Eternity Timeless Eternity God (ontos) Transcendence Man Heaven Angels New Heaven and New Earth Every Created Thing Creation ex nihilo

14 © Copyright 2002-2005, The Theology Program Time-bound Eternity Timeless Eternity God (ontos) Transcendence Immanence God Man Heaven Angels New Heaven and New Earth Every Created Thing Creation ex nihilo

15 Worldviews Deism: Theistic worldview that believes God created the universe, but has not been involved in it since. Adherents: Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Theistic Evolutionists (though not all)

16 © Copyright 2002-2005, The Theology Program Time-bound Eternity Timeless Eternity God (ontos) Transcendence Man Heaven Angels New Heaven and New Earth Every Created Thing Creation ex nihilo

17 Worldviews Pantheism: Lit. pan “all” theism “god.” Theistic worldview that believes God is identical with the universe. Adherents: Hindus, Zen Buddhists, Christian Scientists, Spinoza

18 © Copyright 2002-2005, The Theology Program Time-bound Eternity God Man Heaven Angels New Heaven and New Earth Every Created Thing Immanence

19 Worldviews Panentheism: Lit. pan “all” en “in” theism “god.” Theistic worldview that believes the universe is a part of who God is, but is not all that God is. Adherents: Charles Harthstone, Alfred North Whitehead, Process Theologians, Open Theists (to a certain degree)

20 © Copyright 2002-2005, The Theology Program Time-bound Eternity Timeless Eternity God (ontos) Transcendence Man Heaven Angels New Heaven and New Earth Every Created Thing Creation ex nihilo God (ontos) Immanence

21 Worldviews Polytheism: Lit. poly “many” theism “god.” Theistic worldview that believes there are many gods. Adherents: Ancient religions, Hinduism, Zen Buddhists, Mormons

22 © Copyright 2002-2005, The Theology Program Time-bound Eternity Man Heaven Angels New Heaven and New Earth Every Created Thing gods Immanence

23 Worldviews Pluralism: Worldview that believes all beliefs are ultimately true, even if they are contradictory. Adherents: Postmoderns, liberals, all religions that have adopted a postmodern epistemology, New Age philosophies

24 God Pantheism Polytheism Panentheism Deism TheismNaturalism

25 Worldviews Naturalism: Atheistic worldview that believes nature is the sum total of all reality. Adherents: Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Bertrand Russell

26 © Copyright 2002-2005, The Theology Program Time-bound Eternity Everything

27 Worldviews Naturalism Deism Atheism Nihilism Theologically: Believes in God Practically: Believes there is purpose Theologically: Believes in God Practically: Believes there is purpose Theologically: Does not believe in God Practically: Believes there is some purpose. Theologically: Does not believe in God Practically: Believes there is some purpose. Theologically: Does not believe in God Practically: Believes in no purpose Theologically: Does not believe in God Practically: Believes in no purpose Some hope in God Some hope in man Utter Despair

28 One Less God Than You “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one less god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” —Stephen F Roberts

29 One Less God Than You Fallacy of Equivocation: The misleading use of a term with more than one meaning or sense (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time).

30 One Less God Than You Fallacy of Equivocation: The misleading use of a term with more than one meaning or sense (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time). God: “Transcendent Uncaused Cause” (one) god: “Who people worship” (many)

31 One Less God Than You “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one less god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” —Stephen F Roberts “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one less god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods (polytheism), you will understand why I dismiss your God (theism).”

32 © Copyright 2002-2005, The Theology Program Time-bound Eternity Man Heaven Angels New Heaven and New Earth Every Created Thing gods Immanence

33 © Copyright 2002-2005, The Theology Program Time-bound Eternity Timeless Eternity God (ontos) Transcendence Immanence God Man Heaven Angels New Heaven and New Earth Every Created Thing Creation ex nihilo

34 Atheism Responding to Objections that Leave Christians Speechless

35 Atheism Objections “I just worship one less God than you.” “God is a moral monster.” “Christianity borrowed from other religions.” “I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, Locke Ness Monster, or Santa Clause either.”

36 God is a Moral Monster

37 “What makes my jaw drop is that people today should base their lives on such an appalling role model as Yahweh—and even worse, that they should bossily try to force the same evil monster (whether fact or fiction) on the rest of us.” -Richard Dawkins

38 "Old Testament Jehovah is simply a super-man who could take sides in battles, and be both jealous and wrathful." -Daniel Dennett

39 God in the OT What is your view of the following?

40 God in the OT 1. A woman on the news who just killed her five children by drowning them all. In her defense she claimed that she was not a bad person, but she was only doing what God told her to do to prove her devotion to him.

41 God in the OT 2. A man is creating a model airplane with his son. After a full week creating it together, spending night and day working on the details, the propeller will not stay on. On the last day, one of them goes into a fit of rage and destroys the whole thing in seconds. Which one went into this rage? Was this right?

42 God in the OT 3. There is a rally in Washington of people who say that the moral decay of our country is due to the allowance and tolerance of sinful behavior that starts with a child’s disobedience to their parents. Children who exhibit any disrespectful behavior toward their parents, therefore, should be killed immediately without a trial. It will be harsh at first, but soon people will learn and things will change.

43 God in the OT 4. There is a proposition put forward by a presidential candidate that all criminals (including gays) along with their families should be moved to an island isolated from the rest of society and be nuked. This will purify the world of evil.

44 God in the OT The Basic Problem: God, in the Old Testament seems to act in ways that are out of character for someone we would normally consider as emotionally stable, mature, and morally excusable. Therefore, some people stay away from the Old Testament while others will deny the Christian God due to such acts.

45 God in the OT “Modern Day Marcionism” Marcion (A.D. 85-160) Believed that the differences in the Old Testament and the New necessitated a belief in two god’s, one who created the world (Yahweh) and the God of the New Testament (Heavenly Father). Yahweh was legalistic while the Heavenly Father is gracious. Marcion rejected the Old Testament and any association of Christianity with Judaism.

46 God in the OT Four Primary Lines of Evidence

47 God in the OT 1. God commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac which is tantamount to child abuse that would be prosecuted as evil by modern standards of morality.

48 God in the OT Genesis 22:1-2 Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 2 He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.

49 God in the OT 2. God’s has massive mood swings and internal conflicts, resulting in fits of anger and rage that can only be satiated by man’s pleading.

50 God in the OT Genesis 6:6-7 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”

51 God in the OT Genesis 8:20-21 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.

52 God in the OT After the people had made a golden calf while Moses was on Mt. Sinai, God said: Exodus 32:9-10 The LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. Then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.”

53 God in the OT Then Moses pled with him, reasoning about how it would make God’s reputation tarnished and God relented. Exodus 32:13-14 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.” So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.

54 God in the OT Genesis 18:23-26 Abraham came near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.”

55 God in the OT 3. God command the death penalty for “crimes” that are not deserving of such a severe penalty. He shows himself to be morally capricious at best, a jealous sadistic dictator at worst.

56 God in the OT Leviticus 24:16 Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.

57 God in the OT Exodus 22:18 You shall not allow a sorceress to live.

58 God in the OT Exodus 22:20 “ He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the LORD alone, shall be utterly destroyed.”

59 God in the OT Leviticus 20:13 If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.

60 God in the OT Exodus 21:15 He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. Exodus 21:17 He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

61 God in the OT Exodus 35:2 For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to the LORD; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.

62 God in the OT 4. God’s sanction of ethnic cleansing is morally indistinguishable from the acts of Hitler and Saddam Hussein.

63 God in the OT Deuteronomy 7:1-5 When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations... seven nations larger and stronger than you – and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them.

64 God in the OT Deuteronomy 7:16 You must kill all the people whom the LORD your God is about to deliver over to you; you must not pity them or worship their gods, for that will be a snare to you.

65 God in the OT Deuteronomy 20 16-18 “In the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them.”

66 God in the OT Joshua 6:21 “They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.”

67 God in the OT How do we respond to this?

68 God in the OT Responses:

69 God in the OT Theological Responses: 1.This makes no actual arguments for atheism

70 God in the OT Theological Responses: 1.This makes no actual arguments for atheism 2.The argument itself has to assume God

71 God in the OT Biblical Responses

72 God in the OT 1. God commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac which is tantamount to child abuse that would be prosecuted as evil by modern standards of morality (Gen. 22:2).

73 God in the OT Response: This event must be understood against the background of the larger ANE (Ancient Near East) context. This would not have been an odd thing to do in service to a god. God was testing Abraham in a way that we culturally known and practiced. Most importantly, God does not sanction the death of Isaac and later repudiates the practice so that the Israelite culture would disassociate from such an abomination.

74 God in the OT Deuteronomy 18:9-12 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire...Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.

75 God in the OT 2.God’s has massive mood swings and internal conflicts, resulting in fits of anger and rage that can only be satiated by man’s pleading. Flood Abraham and Lot Moses

76 God in the OT Response: 1. When God changes his mind God actually does go through the situation God but, also, in his timeless existence knows the outcome. While there is tension here, we must not let that tension temp us to believe that God is working in ignorance.

77 God in the OT 2. These instances of apparent regret and change of mind reveal the grace of God as much as anything else. When God destroys humanity, he restores it and promises that he will never do it again in such a way. When Moses pleads with God, it is used to demonstrate God’s commitment to his character more than his “emotions” or the rebellion of the people. God is always acting in a way that prevents the total destruction of humanity, something that humanity has deserved from the beginning. The first curse can be seen as a microcosm through which God’s character can be seen.

78 God in the OT 3. God command the death penalty for “crimes” that are not deserving of such a severe penalty. He shows himself to be morally capricious at best, a jealous sadistic dictator at worst.

79 God in the OT Response: Israel lived under a theocracy (God-ruled government). The purpose of this theocracy was not necessarily to show God’s ideal for all governments with regard to the penal code, but to show the seriousness of certain sins that would corrupt the society. The situation, more than anything else, is tragically illustrative of man’s need for mercy. Because of this, we are better able to seek grace. Otherwise, self-sufficiency (the very antinomy of Christianity) would be the norm. These moral sins are still hideous in God’s sight today. However, it must not be over looked how much God’s mercy is in play with regard to the law.

80 God in the OT 4. God’s sanction of ethnic cleansing is morally indistinguishable from the acts of Hitler and Saddam Hussein.

81 God in the OT Response: The phrases “utterly destroy every thing that breaths,” may be idiomatic for “destroy completely,” and need to be taken literally.

82 God and the OT God did this to prevent the corruption of the Israelites. One must not discount how evil and perverse these societies were. They sacrificed their children to their gods, were sexually corrupt, and had no sense of human rights. The Israelites would not have survived were they to intermingle.

83 God and the OT We cannot judge what God was doing with these people corporately or individually. We only have this account to tell us what God commanded the Israelites to do. Remember that the Bible is redemptive history, not exhaustive history. It does not seek to leave all questions answered.

84 God in the OT Genesis 15:13-16 God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”

85 God and the OT We cannot judge what God was doing with these people individually either.

86 God in the OT The slaughter of the children, while hideous, was also hideous to God. But it could also be seen as God’s act of mercy upon the youngest of this society.

87 God in the OT Ezekiel 18:23 “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?”

88 God in the OT The New testament accepts the Old Testament’s testimony without confusion of the two. Far from treating the destruction of the Canaanites as excess cruelty, Paul sum­marizes it as the work of God, God “bore with them in the wilderness,” says the apostle, “and when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance” (Acts 13: 18). There is no trace of embarrassment about those events. Jesus refers to the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorra and the destruction of the world at the flood. Hebrews chapter 11 summons a string of warriors to join the patriarchs and martyrs, men whose exploits were in battle: “who through faith conquered king­doms... became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight” (Heb. 11: 32-34).

89 God in the OT The sensitivity toward killing in such a way needs to be tempered against the problem of hell which represents a much more troubling aspect of Christian belief and theology. In hell, death will not be an escape from the suffering. The New Testament speaks much more about this “genocide” than the Old Testament.

90 God and the OT God is the ultimate judge, Saddam and Hitler are not. Humans are never able to make such determinations.

91 God in the OT We need to realize that God is gracious and merciful. We need to realize that God is a judge who will not let evil sustain itself. We need to realize that the entire Bible is an account of our need.


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