Answering atheist arguments

Published: 6 August 2016 (GMT+10)
iStockphoto question-mark

Feedback archiveFeedback 2016

Skeptics commonly raise all sorts of objections as an excuse to deny God and His Word. At a recent CMI event, the speaker was given a written list of questions written by a skeptic who would not attend citing his questions as reasons why. The pastor’s wife asked if we could respond. The letter’s questions and responses from CMI–US’s Lita Cosner, are reproduced below.

1. Primitive man needed a way to explain why the universe is, so he created religion. They didn’t know the sun was a ball of gas. They created stories to explain the world.

Everyone uses stories to try to explain the world, and everyone believes in creation ex nihilo, it’s just that some people have a God to drive the creation of matter and others don’t. See Evolution: an ancient pagan idea and Archaeologist confirms creation and the Bible.

2. The pyramids are “carbon-dated” and match the historical record of Egyptian writings.

The pyramids are made out of limestone and thus cannot be carbon-dated, as only organic material can be dated this way. In any case, it is well-recognized that carbon dating gets less reliable the older the tested objects are. See What about carbon dating? and Egyptian chronology and the Bible—framing the issues.

3. Confuscious [sic] led an orderly society, and other organized societies did not need to know about a Jewish god—they had their own.

There are clear advantages to societies that embraced Christianity. They stopped committing infanticide by exposing their unwanted babies to the elements, women had it much better as they were seen as equally in the image of God. Christians built the first hospitals and universities, and they were the first real scientists. See The biblical roots of modern science and Review of The Irrational Atheist.

4. Other cultures came up with similar religions.

The similarities between Christianity and other religions are incidental; the differences are momentous. For instance, Judaism was the only religion with a true idea of resurrection, and Christianity substantially added to it with its assertion that one man (Jesus) was resurrected ahead of everyone else. Also, Christianity is the only religion with a true virgin birth. No other religion has anything like Christianity’s doctrine of salvation; I could go on and on. Dionysus and the Lord’s Supper both use wine—big deal.

5. They have found skeletons of “Nephilim”.

No, they haven’t found Nephilim skeletons; you’re probably thinking of various Photoshop hoaxes. Search snopes.com. They also haven’t found Nephilim footprints, skulls, or anything else. See also Who were the ‘sons of God’ in Genesis 6?

6. Dogs and bears are the same creature at one point and then evolved.

Evolutionists believe pinnipeds are more closely related to the bear than dogs are. I feel no need to refute something even evolutionists don’t believe.

7. If you invalidate carbon-dating, how can you date anything? How can you date any objects to correlate with historical records?

The historical records provide us with dates. There is no scientific way to conclusively determine the age of something. See Carbon-14 dating—explained in everyday terms. Also, carbon-14 can only provide us with ages in the range of thousands of years, not millions. As such, it is actually a valuable dating method for creationists, because we find carbon-14 in things that are commonly asserted to be millions of years old, and should not have any carbon-14 in them if they really were, like diamonds and dinosaur fossils.

8. You can’t use the Bible as science because it’s not a science book. It’s a history and spiritual book.

I agree that the Bible is a history and spiritual book! But where the Bible’s teaching has scientific implications, it must be true if its history is true. And it is!

9. When we die, we just die.

How do you know that? Have you done a scientific experiment to prove that? The Bible records an eyewitness who died and was resurrected—the Lord Jesus Christ, so we believe He is the authority.

10. Fingernails are completely useless. The only reason we have them is because they are a leftover by product of evolution. The same with eyebrows and eyelashes.

No, they’re not useless, and not even evolutionists think that. Another bad argument.

This gentleman is using some bad arguments. These sorts of arguments can be found on any number of atheist websites and form a sort of antichristian ‘apologetic’. It is becoming more and more important that Christians become informed so they can answer these sorts of baseless attacks. I hope these answers help your friend to start thinking a little more critically.

Helpful Resources

Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
From
US $10.00
How Did We Get Our Bible?
by Lita Cosner, Gary Bates
From
US $2.00

Readers’ comments

michael S.

For goodness sake Jack M, how you can say Lita Cosner needs to understand evolution better when the person said that bears and dogs were once the same creature, which is a TOTAL misunderstanding of evolution-theory. Bears and dogs aren't directly related on the phylogenetic tree, and there is obviously a closer branch to pinnipeds. The gap between bears and dogs is separated by many branches on the purported phylogenetic tree, so dogs and bears were always pretty far apart, but would have had a distance common ancestor, so to say they were "the same" creature once, is like saying that "me and my great grandfather were both wolves once."
Filipp T.
Good job Lita! keep up the good work!
Jack M.
No one but you mentioned pinnipeds. You're just avoiding the question you were asked.
Lita Cosner
Wait a minute, that's an entirely different criticism! You said, "You don't understand evolution". I showed that I did, and then you totally switched gears and said I dodged the question. Which is it, or is it simply that any stick is good enough to beat a creationist with?
Steven T.
Regarding [4], why is bodily resurrection bigger, as a difference, than rewards or punishment in the afterlife is as a similarity? I've noted myself that the virgin birth seems unique to Christianity -- but I don't see how it could be the cause of the dual nature (complete humanity and complete deity) attributed to Christ, so again, how important is it? You seem to regard differences between Christianity and other religions as more important than the similarities simply because they are differences. Why is [5] an atheist argument? Are atheists trying to prove that the Bible is right about the Nephilim, or do you find something in Genesis that argues that they could not have left fossils (as opposed to merely did not leave fossils)? At least it cannot be a common or important atheist argument. A similar point applies to [10]. Why address, at all, a point that you yourself declare hardly any nonbeliever would advance? As for [6], dogs and bears sharing a common ancestor does not mean that the ancestor has no other descendants (your interlocutor is not asserting canid-ursid monophyly). Just how big is the "dog kind?" There is at least one young-earth creationist who suggests it includes the entire suborder Caniformia (i.e. that dogs and bears descend from the same pair aboard the Ark).
Lita Cosner
[4] The similarities are mundane. Harvest festivals, ceremonial meals involving wine, etc, aren't particularly earth-shattering. That Christianity started saying in contrast to everyone else at the time that 1) The resurrection is possible (contra Greeks and Sadducees) and 2) that it is happened to Jesus ahead of everyone else (contra the Jews that believed the resurrection was solely a future eschatological event) is a huge difference, and wouldn't have been culturally popular.

In short, I regard the differences as more important than the similarities because the differences are larger and more unexpected than the similarities.

[5], [10] I have no idea why that particular atheist used these as arguments. I don't make the questions, I just answer them!

[6] I'll need a better argument than an anonymous creationist once positing a common ancestor for all of Caniformia. Of course affirming or denying any other common ancestry arguments (i.e. defining the limits of the biblical kind(s) involved) is beyond the scope of this small article.
Dylan Biggs D.
Wait didn't we find actual Nephilim skulls? Or is the responses in black the atheist talking? Any who, that was great article!!
Lita Cosner
No Nephilim skulls have been found. See the links in the article for more information.
William M.
Wow! This guy didn't even touch on the almost plausible atheist excuses! He obviously did no research on Creation Science or Christian Apologetics sites, or he would have had his answers.
Russell C.
The main atomic constituents of limestone are calcium, carbon and oxygen: CaCO3. Thus c12/c14 ratios should be obtainable.
Lita Cosner
I did a bit of research. As I suspected, the limestone cannot be carbon-dated, though some artifacts found in the pyramids have been carbon-dated.
David P.
Ref. Answering Atheists: One day a couple of years ago, just out of curiosity, I decided to find out just what the Bible does say about science. Ultimately, I found passages referring to the origin of 35 of the scientific disciplines. So, yes, the Bible is about science.
Lita Cosner
David, clearly the Bible makes statements relevant to the scientific disciplines, but for instance, it will not give us the periodic table of elements or the coding of the gene for hair pigmentation. It introduces several very important theological and philosophical statements that give the necessary foundation for science, but it is not a science book; it is a history book.
gabriel S.
God ten; mankind zero - but still the evolutionist will persist in his ways [Prov 14:12], reason to the evolutionist is relative. Speaking about Confucius, we know very little about the man as the first biography about him was written nearly 400 after his death, the China of his day was all but an 'organized society' ; I would not even call them one today. But let's not be hard on the blind, are we not ordered just to help them and God, if He so wills, will open their eyes to behold the truth - 2Kgs 6:17 "And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."
Jack M.
You really think 'even evolutionists don’t believe' that dogs and bears have a common evolutionary ancestor? You need to study evolution in a little more depth.
Lita Cosner
Nice way to misrepresent what I actually said. What I said was "Evolutionists believe that pinnipeds are more closely related to the bear than dogs are". As such, I felt no need to address "dogs and bears were the same creature at one point and then evolved", because evolutionists don't believe they are as closely related as other creatures.
Dean R.
Modern man needs a way to deny God, they created a (clever but not so clever)story to explain away God. They devolped an organised society based on Eugenics, Abortion & adoration of the superior self. When we die thats it because my faith says so, in the meantime I am god, king & ruler of my life. Atheistic dogma fools many, they take the bait, hook, line & sinker & get dragged along & reefed aboard. If only they were told & educated in its many failings & faults. The media seem to have a blind spot when it comes to challenging science that debunks evolution. No wonder there is so much ignorance & defiance. Both the West & East want to crack down on Christianity with any means possible.

Comments are automatically closed 14 days after publication.