Countering the Rise of Atheism
CMI responds to the atheists’ global convention in Melbourne, Australia
God, creation and the Bible were topics of conversation around Melbourne last weekend thanks to the 2010 Global Atheist Convention held in the city. It was dubbed “The Rise of Atheism” and billed as the biggest ever atheist event in Australia. Some of the world’s most vocal atheists were featured, including leading atheist Richard Dawkins, who was promoting his new book The Greatest Show on Earth: the Evidence for Evolution, and P.Z. Myers, an infamous anti-Christian blogger.
On the same weekend a large crowd between four and five hundred people attended a multi-session seminar, also in Melbourne. Called “Countering the Rise of Atheism—the Evidence for Creation”, and organized by Creation Ministries International, it was hosted by Life Ministry Centre in their large venue in Chirnside Park. CMI arranged the seminar after the atheists had refused a challenge to a public debate with CMI’s scientists while they were ‘down under’ (for the polarized reaction to that refusal to debate, see this article and follow the associated links).
One attendee said that they were thrilled with the turnout and felt sure that part of the reason was the tremendous airplay given by the local media to the atheist event, and to Richard Dawkins in particular.
The meeting kicked off with a well-attended ‘early bird’ screening of Darwin: The Voyage that Shook the World. One pastor commented that he thought it was in the league of The Jesus Film in terms of its long-term impact.
Evolution: the key to unbelief
During the seminar, plant scientist Dr Don Batten explained why atheists are so passionate about evolution. “As their ‘hero of the faith’ Richard Dawkins said, ‘Darwin enabled him to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.’ For atheists, evolution (everything made itself without the need for a Creator at any stage) is an axiom, a given. For them, evolution is all about God—all about dispensing with Him. It’s important for the Christians to be aware of this connection so they won’t be intimidated. Furthermore, as something that opposes faith in God, Christians should be opposing evolution, not accommodating it (2 Cor. 10:5).”
“There is no reason for Christians to be bluffed into retreat on this issue”, Dr Batten said. “The claim that atheism is reasonable, rational, even scientific is a claim that is unreasonable and not at all scientific. Now, more than ever before, science is revealing the wisdom and power of the Creator God. New discoveries on genetics and DNA shout design and affirm the history of Genesis. Is it any wonder that atheists won’t debate informed creationists?”
Dr Batten showed why evolution is an impossible process: natural selection and mutations, which are supposed to be the mechanism for evolution of microbes into microbiologists, both do the wrong thing.
The audience was gobsmacked when Dr Batten showed a newly-created animation of how the cell synthesizes proteins from the specifications coded on the DNA, a process which had to operate in any first cell. However, this animation only reveals the big picture; there is so much detail that cannot be conveyed easily. Dr Batten commented, “We marvel at the intelligence of the scientists who are discovering these things, but what about the One who invented it all? How much more intelligent is He? It sounds like the Creator of all revealed in the Bible; the One who is all-knowing. Atheists claim to be reasonable and rational, but a proper understanding of the issues shows that atheism is anything but reasonable and rational.”
Indeed, atheists have to believe that the universe popped into existence with no cause whatsoever, but Dr Batten showed from logic that the universe had to have a cause which was both eternal and all-powerful; again consistent with the Creator revealed in the Bible.
Attendees heard how destructive it is to the Gospel of Jesus Christ to try to accommodate evolutionary thinking into the Bible: how millions of years of death and suffering that the atheistic/secular view of the world’s history insists upon undermines the Gospel at its foundations. Dawkins lauds churchmen—the bishops and archbishops—for their enlightened attitude in accepting evolution, but at the same time he calls them “barking mad” for their inconsistency in believing in a mythological sin of the ‘first Adam’ but the real sacrifice for sin of the ‘last Adam’ (Jesus Christ).
In one of the breaks a young lady, accompanied by her father, shared how even the religious education teacher (supposedly Christian) told her year 10 class that the Bible is just about morals and “people back then did not care about facts” and that “nothing can be proved”. So it is not just the atheists who are destroying the faith of the young!
“Surrounded by evidence”
Ex-atheist, Dr Carl Wieland, Managing director of Creation Ministries International, thrilled attendees with scientific evidence for creation in the rocks and fossils. “We are actually surrounded by evidence that affirms the Bible but we need to know what to look for if we are to see it. It is a matter of having our eyes opened.”
“In particular, atheistic belief collapses when we examine the rocks and fossils”, Dr Wieland said. “When we wear the right ‘glasses’, we discover that, rather than evolution and long ages, the rocks and fossils are recording a global catastrophe on our earth, the catastrophe that is described in the Bible.”
Dealing with the ‘big picture’ he showed the overwhelming pattern of lack of transitional fossils, from the evolutionists’ own publications.
Furthermore, the pattern of global rapid formation of huge sedimentary rock formations is consistent with the Bible’s account of the global Flood of Noah and contradicts the millions of years claimed by materialists.
Dr Wieland knows the importance of creation for Christian evangelism. He came to see the truth of the Bible through being exposed to the scientific evidences for creation while at university. “I came to realize that to believe the Bible was not to commit intellectual suicide but was the logical and consistent position to adopt.” But as an atheist he had no respect for those Christians who were not willing to defend the Bible’s history, rather saying that “God used evolution” and the like.
“The argument is not, and never has been, about ‘the facts’ relating to origins”, Dr Wieland said. “Rather it is all about how the facts are interpreted. Atheists use a framework that begins by rejecting God and His Word. Although they present themselves as rationalists and free thinkers, they are in fact bound by their biases.”
Romans 1:20 aptly sums it up: 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.
Evolution: no first cell, and not enough time
Author of Refuting Evolution, Dr Jonathan Sarfati, flew in specially from speaking engagements in Western Australia. He was quite blunt in his assessment of evolution, “Evolution is impossible because there is no way the first cell could have generated itself by naturalistic processes … ”
“Belief in a cell that made itself underpins evolution and atheism. But it’s blind faith, and defies the known facts about chemistry—even allowing billions of years of time. And the ‘millions of years’ evaporate under scientific scrutiny, too.” He showed how even billions of years of impossibly optimistic experiments could never create the proteins needed for a basic living cell, let alone the rest of the needed components such as the DNA; evolution is dead in the water because it could never get going. As one attendee, Darrell, summarized from the talk, “Probability of life from chemical evolution = guessing your 5000 digit PIN in 1 try.” He also showed an animation of the world’s tiniest motor, ATP synthase, which produces the vital energy currency of life, ATP. Darrell commented, “The ATP synthase animation was awesome, indeed a very marvelously designed-machine.”
Dr Sarfati also provided abundant evidence against the belief system of billions of years, dealing with evidence from the presence of fast-decaying carbon-14 in coal and diamonds, helium from radioactive decay in rocks and other powerful evidences from surviving dinosaur blood cells, blood vessels and proteins, consistent with the Bible’s much shorter history.
Dr Sarfati was kept busy signing copies of his latest book, “The Greatest Hoax on Earth: Refuting Dawkins on Evolution.” It comprehensively answers Richard Dawkins’ so-called evidence for evolution, point by point, and covers a vast range of disciplines in his trademark crisp, clear style. Many people were seen to have bought multiple copies, obviously to give to their friends.
Afterwards, a public panel question time provided opportunity for folk to ask their questions that had not been already answered. Dozens of questions by eager attendees meant that the discussion could have gone longer than the hour allotted. The three speakers answered issues related to science, evolution, atheism and the Bible.
Overwhelmingly positive feedback
It was clear that people were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the seminar, expressing their gratitude repeatedly for having held it in their city. During the breaks the venue was abuzz as people were engaged in discussions, some with the speakers and others at the book tables with the volunteers. Several told of how they were already effectively using CMI’s materials to reach out to friends and loved ones.
One man shared how he had recently brought a Christian friend (who was beginning to have serious doubts about the Bible) to hear a CMI speaker at a church. He said, “His point of doubt was radiometric dating. After the talk, he said, ‘That’s it, that’s answered all my questions’ and he feels confident and bold again in his faith.”
Another young man seemed totally confused by what he had been taught in Bible college recently, about how Genesis ‘obviously’ didn’t mean what it said, and that modern scholarship now ‘knows’ this. Asked why Jesus didn’t have any problems seeing Adam and Eve as real people, present from the beginning of creation, he seemed to want to retreat into a postmodern fog with statements about different types of truth and so on. He was encouraged to read some of the materials answering those sorts of claims in detail, and seemed willing to do so. He was also asked to consider how conveniently coincidental it was that after nearly 2,000 years of consistent understanding of Genesis as straightforward history, it is only now that we are discovering these supposedly new ‘truths’ about the meaning of Genesis—which just so happen to be aimed at sidestepping the conflict between modern evolutionary beliefs and the record of the Bible.
And after the conference Facebook was humming with folk commenting on their impressions of the event.
“Fantastic day today at the ‘Countering the Rise of Atheism’ event. It’s just so encouraging to see intelligent people of God, so passionate about defending the truth of the Bible in a society completely dominated by secular world-views. God bless CMI and despite the success of today, I hope to see even more people at future events.”
“Hi guys, thanks for a fantastic day yesterday-great talks and very nice setup. Awesome to see it packed to the rafters!! Had a friend that came and said it was ‘refreshing’”
A lady, O.F. wrote:
“Excellent job yesterday at the conference guys! I feel privileged and grateful to have access to this wealth of knowledge/information ~ through your commitment to the truth”