There is a movement today of intellectuals known as the New Atheists. They would rather be known as Brights, I guess hinting that those who are not atheists are not so bright. Anyway, what’s new about this ‘new atheism’ is the militant way that they approach their lack of belief in God. They don’t believe in God and they don’t want you to either. They are out to convert you. That is why they write books like The God Delusion and God is not Great. They hire billboards that make fun of the virgin birth and put advertisements on buses that read – “There’s probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
They are growing rapidly, increasing in volume and convincing young people that belief in God isn’t just wrong but that it is ultimately dangerous. In fact, according to the 2016 census of Australia the fastest growing religious classification from 2006 to 2016 is No Religion – growing from 18.7% to 30.1%. When you look at the 18-34 age group, that number rises to an astonishing 39%. That means that 4 out of every 10 people in Australia between the ages of 18 and 34 most probably do not believe that God is real.
There could be a multitude of reasons why someone doesn’t believe in God but I want to dispatch the idea, that more knowledge leads you away from belief in God. I have noticed over the years that many people around my age who do not believe in God, have done little investigation on what I believe is the most important question they will ever face. Because the existence, or non-existence, of God should effect the way you live your life.
So, the question remains – Does God exist?
I do not plan on giving an emphatic answer in this post but I do plan to provide what I would classify as evidence, or clues, that may cause you to doubt your non-belief in God or help solidify your faith in God.
I want to start out by asking the question – Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist in the first place? Why do you exist rather than not exist? The statistical probability of you being born at all is so minuscule that it is almost miraculous. Think about it. Not only did life have to develop but generations upon generations of your ancestors had to survive, meet and pro-create in order for you to exist the way that you are. That is incredible.
One thing that we learn in basic science is that every effect has a cause. It has been determined by scientists that the universe is not eternal but it did in fact have a beginning. So the question must be asked, what caused the universe? Did it just appear out of nothing? How is that possible, if everything else we know, or see, had a first cause?
Not only does the universe exist but it seems to have been designed. The universe that we live in has been described as fine-tuned. What does that mean? It means that everything had to happen precisely as it did or life, as we know it, would not exist. Francis Collins, a very respected scientist who led the Human Genome Project and is the director of the National Institutes of Health in the US describes it this way:
When you look from the perspective of a scientist at the universe, it looks as if it knew we were coming. There are 15 constants (the gravitational constant, various constants about the strong and weak nuclear force, etc.) that have precise values. If any one of those constants was off by even one part in a million, or in some cases, buy one part in a million million, the universe could not have actually come to the point where we see it. Matter would not have been able to coalesce, there would have been no galaxy, stars, planets or people.
For example, let’s just briefly examine our relationship with the sun and moon. If the Earth was 5% further away from the sun or 5% closer, life could not exist. It took us revolving around a star that was the right mass, producing the right light, having the right orbit, in the right galaxy at the appropriate location inside that galaxy for life to exist. Scientists discovered in 1993 that it was the moon who stabilises the tilt of the Earth’s axis which allows for the seasons that we experience. Again, the moon has to be the size that it is and in the location that it is, in order for there to be life on Earth.
Stephen Hawking, who was no man of faith, even wrote this about the universe:
The odds against a universe like ours emerging out of something like the Big Bang are enormous. I think there are clearly religious implications whenever you start to discuss the origins of the universe.
Of course, none of this proves that God exists or that the universe was designed but the clues are there. One scientist gave an illustration trying to explain the fine-tuning of the universe. He said it would be like someone telling you that they are going to flip a coin and it is going to come up heads 50 straight times and then proceeding to do it. Of course, it’s possible that he didn’t cheat but it sure doesn’t seem likely.
Another clue could be the existence of beauty or meaning. If we are all just the product of a mindless process called evolution then there is no true purpose for our existence. We have no real meaning and neither does our understanding of beauty and love. What we call ‘love’ is ultimately just chemical reactions in our brain. Our experience of breathtaking views, powerful artwork or incredible music is just a “hardwired response to particular data,” as Timothy Keller puts it in his book The Reason for God. Purpose is just a figment of our imagination, something that allows us to survive. The longing that you have for something more, leads to nothingness.
There are many more clues that I could have included but this is a blog post and not a book. I do want to leave you with just a few more questions to think about, if you do question the existence of God. Why are we able to reason? What is truth and how can we trust our own minds to bring us to that ‘truth’? For example, how can you trust your mind enough to do science if it’s ultimate goal isn’t ‘truth’ but survival? And finally, if there is no God then what is the point of it all?
As I said from the beginning, none of these clues prove without a doubt that there is a God but they do paint for us a picture where it is more probable that there is a God. It also strikes me as quite obvious that the vast majority of atheists continue to live their lives as if it does have purpose even though what they profess to believe says the opposite.
I will leave you with this from the Apostle Paul. In his writings to the church in Rome he addressed the existence of God by saying:
Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)