This was a comment from a (drunk) atheist (although you’ll get the same thing from lots of sober people):
. . . he repeatedly said he knew God didn’t exist because of life’s general tragedies.
If atheists say they disbelieve because of tragedies, then they weren’t really tragedies. That is, they have no logical grounding to refer to them as truly tragic. They would just be purposeless and meaningless results of Darwinian evolution. That he calls them tragedies is evidence for God, not for the absence of God.
Atheist Bertrand Russell said, ”No one can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God.” But that proves nothing. The Christian worldview has answers for that situation, no matter how difficult. But what does the atheist say? Tough luck?
Of course we know that many things really are tragedies. But pretending there is no God fixes nothing. You are consciously abandoning the only one who could make sense of the tragedies and provide eternal solutions to our problems.
Ray Comfort defined atheism as:
My own definition of the word “atheist” is someone who pretends that there’s no God. Atheism therefore is the delusion that God doesn’t exist.
I would tweak that this way, a la Romans 1 below: An atheist is someone who suppresses the truth in unrighteousness and pretends that there is no God.
Make no mistake: Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
14 thoughts on “If a tragedy led you to atheism, then it wasn’t really a tragedy.”
Child gets killed by drunk driver.
Ergo, there must not be a God.
Strange thing is, child still dead.
While the Christian finds solace in the hope of purpose, even in tragedy, the atheist must settle for “$h/t happens”… If his worldview internally consistent that is. But that’s just it isn’t it? As you point out, the problem is not unbelief, it is the enmity that resides in theheart of man against God. We either hate God because we are sentenced a short lifetime east of Eden, or we love Him for not giving us what we truly deserve, but instead mercy.
May He be praised eternally!
Sometimes I think the term Hateists better describe some of the militant types…
The eternal purpose of the devil is to go to hell with as many human as possible as hell would be too uncomfortable for him alone. Atheist ism is just one of the medium to draw men to hell. A fool says there is no God, says the Book of Proverbs. All fools would obviously end up in hell except they accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
Having been around a genuine atheist in a genuine tragedy (his high school son committed suicide), I observed the reverse as well. On one hand, as you pointed out, if no God, then no basis on which to consider the death of a biochemical bag significant. On the other hand, if no God, then there is no means by which comfort can be given. There is no sense to unpleasant events and no hope beyond them. One foot on the grave and the other on a banana peel.
(I also think it’s ironic that many of the atheists I’ve known concluded there was no God precisely because God didn’t treat them as nicely as He ought. In other words, they believed they were due something from God and didn’t get it, so, instead of actually being atheists, they were mad at God.)
If I rewrote as many definitions as Ray Comfort, anything I said would be linguistically correct–at least to me. Too bad, I have to talk to people who speak a common, pre-established language.
This is a major problem for apologists as a whole, they can’t be convincing to outsiders because your words are nonsensical to them. You, for instance, define morality in terms of God’s nature and therefore anything that can be assigned an immoral value, like a tragedy, presupposes God. It presupposes nothing supernatural to anyone else, because we don’t define morality as such.
May I point out that if theism has good answers to why God allows for evil or suffering (especially of children), then it should give those answers? Lee Strobel attempted to tackle that one head-on – but he did so because he thought that Christians had no answer for it, and went out in search of that non-answer.
I know a young woman who turned away from faith when her friend died suddenly; her spiritual advisor was unable too give her a cogent reason why God allowed that to happen, or what His purpose was in taking that child.
That’s a very common objection and interesting timing as well. I saw more blog posts and book references on that topic recently and my reaction was that there were already so many out there, so why add more? It is a very important topic but it has had lots of careful answers. Not easy, but well thought out. I hadn’t seen Strobel’s work. I read “When God Weeps” by Joni Eareckson Tada (40+ yr. quadriplegic from a diving accident) and others. And the Bible isn’t silent on the topic — Job, the Psalms, Ecclesiastes and more address it — and the entire Bible reviews the cause and cure. Still a tough topic, but I think the concepts of meaning, good vs. evil, suffering, etc. support theism. I hope your friend found some good support and turns back to God.
You know that there are answers. Apologists dominos that there are answers. Many theists do not, which causes other people to assume that there are not answers.
Bridget, one can not necessarily control this idea of people not knowing that there are answers. What one can do, is to promote resources on forums such as this. By the way, here is a recent lecture on the issue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2io8FUSaH5k
Just to be clear, will I have to agree with you in order to get a comment published?
Ha! No, you just have to be someone whose blog gives a glimmer of hope that a dialog would be fruitful. But you aren’t. Apparently Darwinian evolution has led me to the point where my chemical reactions are telling me it makes more sense to do other things with my time.
Seriously, I wish you the best and hope you’ll do a more accurate job of characterizing your opponent’s views. Eternity is a mighty long time.
Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
I’ll let your other comment through as a courtesy but encourage you not to spend time on replies. Please feel free to read, link here and criticize, etc.
My site recently hosted a post from an apologist I respect in an effort to create a dialogue outside the echo chamber religion-themed blogs generally create, but if you’d rather preach to the choir, I understand. I won’t be back.
Your blog title may seem clever but it doesn’t give that “I’m interested in serious, civil debate” vibe.