AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ATHEIST

Dear Atheist,

CreationIf you say there is no God, that we are just physical beings meant to return to oblivion and dust, what’s inside us that makes us desire love, appreciate beauty, or laugh out loud?

Is it possible that the molecules of our brains somehow mix at just the right proportion to create emotion?

Do you ever ask yourself: If there is nothing more within the capsule we call our bodies, are we no more than puppets of flesh that shouldn’t even have a name? If our mind was just an evolution of the physical being of our brains, without an intelligent Creator, how can we trust our thoughts?

If we somehow evolved out of chaos, each molecule arranged to form our being, how is there the moral capacity to know right from wrong?

Do we just react to the elements that have randomly crossed the span of time we are on this Earth? If we are, how is it that we have free will?

If we are a mass of inhabitants on Earth that have multiplied by the millions, while we forever spin on a planet that came together by the forces of the universe to somehow sustain life

Why would it matter what we did with our lives?

If we have intelligence to design and build buildings, where and when was the existence of original intelligence?

If we can save lives with a scalpel, where and when was the existence of original skill?

If we can cultivate the earth for food, who made the seed? If you say the fruit, who made the fruit?

When and how was the first masterpiece of art or music ever crafted?

What or Who created creativity?

How do we know good and evil?

If there is no God, then what or who has brought on the origin of good? In the expanse of space and nothingness, where did kindness begin? How was benevolence conceived?

Where is the hope beyond destruction and heartache? Is there vindication of evil to satisfy our deep-seated need for justice and an end of the pain of this life?

If good and evil had an absolute beginning, won’t there be an absolute victory of one or the other? Can you or I utterly end this struggle? Won’t whatever or whoever orchestrated the beginning also have the capacity to bring about the end?

How is it that we can contemplate eternity?

In regards to all of the above, can an undefined “life-force” of energy possess good to instill compassion within man? Can it distribute intelligence? Can it bear emotion to be able to pass on a capacity to love and grieve, to be glad or to anger?

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” Eccles. 3:11

 

 

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16 thoughts on “AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ATHEIST

    • Dear Roger,

      There are many things we cannot explain about God, but that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t exist. Aside from my own conviction, science points to His existence. I guess what I’d really like to ask to all those who have commented is: Isn’t there a mysticism involved in your belief, considering you cannot prove His non-existence? What if there is a Creator?

  1. Dear Believer,

    “What does make us desire love, appreciate beauty or laugh out loud?” you ask me and I can tell you, what I assume: Our brain. Or, to be more specific, chemical reaction inside our brain, formed by millions of years of evolution. Somehow I cannot help to wonder why this is so outrageous for believers. It is a great thing and not something to be looked down upon, because it would be better if something supernatural, like a soul, was involved.

    Can we trust our thoughts? Not in an absolute sense like it “It is completely impossible that our thoughts might be totally wrong.”. But in the “Well, they obviously seem to work well enough” sense, we can trust them. Like science. We cannot prove beyond a doubt that science isn’t fundamentally nonsense – but at the moment, it seems like it works well enough to bring people to the moon which is something, isn’t it?
    The question if we can trust our mind or our senses is probably as old as philosophy itself. Even good old Plato brought up that topic with his cave allegory.

    Where does morality come from? If you ask me, evolution, biological and cultural. It helps us to survive as a species. And of course, some moral values today are even rationally chosen, which means, they come from our brains.

    Personally, I don’t believe in free will, but accept the reality that we have the illusion of free will and act like it existed. Yes, that’s a paradox, but on the other hand, I’m neither scientist nor philosopher, so I’m not expected to have all the answers.

    If you ask for the meaning of life… There isn’t one. But what does that mean? It means that you are free to create your own. It will not be absolute. It will not be objective. But it will be all yours. If you want to be important to the universe itself, you will probably be disappointed. But if you want your life to have meaning for yourself, to make the most of the short time you have, to be important for the people around you – then you’re in luck, you can have all that. I personally have never understood the need of some people to be absolutely important, the need to have an absolute meaning. Why isn’t it enough for your life to have a meaning for YOU? Why do you have to burden it with the requirement of an absolute meaning given from the outside?

    I am sorry, but I have no idea what you mean by “original intelligence”, neither with “original skills”. Skills evolve. First nobody has one, then people try stuff, see that some things work and learn. They become better. And in the end, you can tie your own shoelaces – or operate on the brain (which isn’t that great, iirc, some early tribes also did it with stone knives – and some even survived – urks).

    What created the fruit? Evolution. What created creativity? Evolution. How did life develop from dead stuff (just to answer that question)? We don’t have a clue. Probably we’ll find out someday. Putting “god” into answer answer for which you don’t have a better one doesn’t solve anything, btw.

    How do we know good and evil? We invented the concept, so how could we not know? This answers your other questions, too. The origin of “good” is human thought, same as kindness or benevolence. Neither good nor evil are absolute and neither of them had an “absolute” beginning.

    And of course, we don’t always get, what we want. So, no, in the end, we all die. But honestly, that’s better than the Christian idea, where you get punished for all eternity for quite finite misdeeds by some guy who once killed all the people himself.

    Why shouldn’t we able to contemplate eternity? Is there some law against it? Did I miss some memo?

    Personally, I don’t believe in a life-force as a real energy or something like that (as a metaphor, it’s ok).

    And if you don’t want to hear my answers (as you imply by trying to give some conclusion before waiting for any answers), why did you ask? Wouldn’t it be more decent to wait what the other side has to say before jumping to the conclusion that your answers are better?

    Regards,

    an atheist

    • Dear Atheist,

      Thank you for your comment. Without getting into a long, drawn-out debate, I’ll address your comment by pointing to the law of Cause and Effect. This is a scientific law that, simply put, states that for every effect there is a cause, and that the cause is always greater than the effect. Humans have intelligence, creativity, an awareness of good and evil, a sense of beauty, a sense of purpose, etc. Since the Cause is always greater than the effect, all of these attributes could not have started small and evolved to become greater, as you mentioned. This law states the opposite. They had to come from a greater Intelligence, a greater Creativity, a greater Everything.

  2. I’m not sure I understand why you believe a deity resolves any of the questions you have posed.

    How would deity know good and evil? How could deity create creativity? Why would it matter what we do with our lives if there exists deity? If our minds are simply the constructions of a deity, why should we trust their thoughts?

    Positing the existence of deity does not resolve any of these issues; it simply kicks the can down the road, a spell.

    • Dear Boxing,

      Thanks for your comment. If there is a Diety, (and I believe there is), why wouldn’t He be the end of the road? If good and evil exist, wouldn’t you expect a Diety to know good and evil if we do? If we are creative, how much more would a Diety be? (I suspect a lot more!). Most of all, if there is a Diety (and I believe there is), it would matter very much how we lived our lives because we will one day have to answer to Him.

      • You are assuming specific traits for a Deity which are not necessary to the concept of deity. Personhood, creativity, judgment– these are attributes of, say, the Abrahamic God, but they are not attributes of Aristotle’s unmoved mover or of the God decribed by Spinoza, for example.

        As for morality, this is a classic problem in philosophy known as Euthyphro’s Dilemma. Is a thing morally right because God declares it to be, or does God have knowledge of some objective morality external to himself? If the former, then morality is subjective, and God could decide that, say, murder and theft are perfectly right actions if he so desired. If the latter, then God is subject to some other external entity, and therefore not supreme.

        • Dear Boxing Pythagoras,

          Thanks for commenting,

          Concerning Euthyphro’s Dilemma, if there was an eternal entity greater than god, wouldn’t that be God?

          “If God does not exist, everything is permitted”

          Margo

  3. If you’re going to take away the option to say that there is no “who,” your questions aren’t really honest. You don’t care to know what we actually think, you just want to tell us we’re wrong.
    But if you want to know how we feel and think, ask a neuroscientist. If you want to know about evolution, ask a biologist. If you want to know about the universe, ask an astrophysicist. If you want to know about morality, ask a philosopher. And so on and so forth. No one person can have the answers to all these questions. Anybody who tells you otherwise is being dishonest, that’s why we have specialists. If you really want to know the answers, ask those who have studied the question.

    • Dear Hessianwithteeth,

      It’s funny you should mention that, because although I have not personally talked to any of the above, I highly recommend the book, “A Case for A Creator”, by Lee Stobel. This book details very lengthy interviews with very reknowned scientists, geologists, philosphers, and cosmologists in order to investigate the very questions we are talking about. The author was an atheist and set out to disprove the existence of God, but ended up a believer. It’s a fasinating read and written as a journalist, which I respect.

      • “Case for a Creator” is actually not a good example of unbiased journalism. He very carefully chose his experts; an in depth look at their actual credentials and backgrounds calls his bias into question, and many of the arguments in his book have been repeatedly debunked by countless other experts. This article goes into depth about the problems with his sources, arguments, and the book itself. http://infidels.org/library/modern/paul_doland/creator.html

        • Hello LillyBlack,

          I too have read both “A Case for Christ” and “A Case for a Creator” and found both to be highly compelling and true. I also read the article in your link. Two responses I would have is that Lee Stobel was an atheist when he began his journey for truth. He actually set out to disprove Christianity. Why, then, would his interviewees be considered biased if he set out to prove them wrong? Wouldn’t you think that he would have picked those more favorable to an evolution theory? Even if they were biased, that does not mean they are necessarily wrong. We must consider the evidence.

          For instance, the claims of evolution such as The Miller–Urey experiment, Darwin’s tree of life, Haeckel’s embryo drawings, and Archaeopteryx as the missing link have all been debunked. Here is an article listing how they are false: http://creation.com/strong-case-but-flawed-by-compromise.

          PS: Please know that my replies are not intended with a non-friendly tone. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss with someone who does not normally share my views.

          Thanks,
          Margo

  4. Pingback: A Response To ” AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ATHEIST” | humanist human being

  5. I found your article on Pinterest, and since you asked atheists these questions I decided to respond in the hopes that we can understand each other better. I don’t have time to address every question, but I’ll respond to a few of them.

    “Where is the hope beyond destruction and heartache?”

    I don’t believe in a God but I have plenty of hope. I have hope in my family, in love, in myself, in the unpredictable way life pans out- there’s always good and bad in life, so there’s always hope that tomorrow will be a day with good in it. My heart is full, and yet I don’t believe in an afterlife or a deity. How? We all create our own purpose and hope, there is none pre-decided for us. it’s a choice we make to find hope and purpose, it’s not some mysterious force outside of ourselves.

    “Is there vindication of evil to satisfy our deep-seated need for justice and an end of the pain of this life?”

    Yes, we do want retribution for injustices done to us and to others, but it doesn’t always happen. That’s life, it’s not always fair. That’s why we create legal systems to try to get the justice we desire. Believing that a God will deal out perfect justice after death is a comforting thought, but just because a thought is comforting doesn’t make it true. Children are comforted believing that Santa will reward them for being good or that the Tooth Fairy will give them money to make up for the pain of their pulled tooth, but it doesn’t mean those things are real. I don’t mean that to be insulting, it’s just the most relateable example I can think of.

    As for an end to the pain of this life- we all die, and any pain we’re experiencing ends then. Many elderly people greet death as an old friend, without fear, because they’ve lived a full life and are ready for it to end. I don’t seek it out because I want to enjoy my life as long as I can, but I don’t fear it either. Death ends everything for us, including pain and suffering. To be honest, believing in an afterlife seems more unsure to me because what if you end up in Hell? Then your pain never ends.

    “If good and evil had an absolute beginning, won’t there be an absolute victory of one or the other?”

    Who said there was an absolute beginning?

    Good and evil are not black and white. Is killing someone wrong? Depends on the situation- was it self defense or senseless murder, was it an accident? Is it wrong to kill a helpless animal? What if you’re starving? What about stealing, is it always wrong or is it understandable if you live in a society that forced you into poverty? Is anger always wrong, or is it necessary sometimes when injustice is done? Is jealousy always evil, or can it be a catalyst for someone to work harder so they can have those things too? Is violence evil, or is it good when it’s used in the defense of others? It’s not black and white… we need both sides of ourselves to survive. The important thing is keeping everything in balance, and using them in ways that benefit people instead of harming them. So no, I don’t think there will ever be a victory of one over the other; but rather I hope that we will all find the perfect balance between the two within ourselves.

    • Dear Lillyblack,

      Thank you stopping by, and taking the time to respond to the questions on this post. So sorry for the delay, life has been hectic! Anyway, it’s nice to come across comments that remain civil even though the writer may not agree, especially when it comes to belief systems. I have contemplated your response, and while I don’t agree, I’m not here to convince you of my views, either. All I can do is share.

      You mentioned that your hope is in the good things in this world, that there is always hope for a better tomorrow. You mention hope in the sense that it is a concept based on a wish or desire for a positive outcome. Yet, as you mentioned, with the unpredictability of this life there are no guarantees, we do the best we can.

      While I am not opposed to man’s ingenuity or ability, I just acknowledging the God who invented the systems we use, for instance, the legal system. But if we alone “create our own purpose”, with no eternal goal or meaning, what would it matter how we lived here? What about the circumstances in life to which we have no control? What if you or I were born into extreme poverty and left to die as babies? Where is the hope or purpose of our existence if there is no God? Where is our hope and purpose if we are starving, abandoned by even our own families? What kind of chance do we have?
      The reality is that we live in a broken world. Man can strive to fight evil (which BTW, is a concept only recognizable because we can compare it against a hard-wired, instinctive knowledge of what is ultimately “good”), but we cannot end suffering. We cannot cure death. The concept of hope that you are referring to is “in the sense of saying “I wish something would happen”, like I “hope” it doesn’t rain this weekend. Then there is hope as defined in Christianity as a “confident expectation”, something that we are assured of, and therefore keeps someone going, like knowing there is a finish line at the end of a race. Our hope is based on the evidence of Christ’s resurrection, and the promise in His word that there is an eternal reality in heaven for those who know Him.

      And as to death itself, you said that just because it is a comforting thought to believe in God doesn’t make it true. I’d have to say that no unbelief in Hell ever determined whether it is indeed there or not either. In other words, just because it is comforting to believe there is no Hell doesn’t make it so.

      As to good and evil, you asked, “Who said there was an absolute beginning?” my response is simple. If acts of good and evil have been countless over thousands of years, there must have been a first good act and a first evil act.
      There may be instances when motives are right and actions are wrong and vice versa. While this is true, then the question would be: How do we decide whether an action in any given situation is “good” or “evil”? Where, inside or outside this universe did we attain this code of conduct, this decision making as to when a particular action is right or wrong? If the answer is cultural, then who is to say that one culture is better than the other? Yet we do. We determine that one may be more evolved or closer to ideal moral than the other. Democracy vs. Nazism, for instance. Additionally, there are certain offenses that we all agree to be evil, pedophilia, for instance. If our sense of Moral Code evolved, then you would think that actions such as pedophilia, rape, beatings of innocents would have wavered in our perception of them, yet they haven’t. If there is no meaning beyond this world, why are we so adamant to serve justice to the perpetrators of evil, if death is merely an end to suffering?

      All the best,
      Margo

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