by Kenneth Francis (October 2023)
Savaoph God the Father, Mikhailovich Vasnetsov, 1885-96
Many atheists, including my younger self before reverting to believing in God some 20 years ago, say the most ridiculous things about the Bible. I will try to answer a few idiotic questions on the Greatest Book of All Time that reveals the Truth. The first question is usually asked by five-year-old children, as well as atheist professors and State proxy-warrior “comedians”/celebs who have been socially engineered to hate a God they don’t believe in.
Let’s begin with this kindergarten howler: “Who made God?”
God is an eternal, Necessary Being. Such a Being always existed and didn’t need a creator. In contrast, the universe, which had a beginning (proved by the Second Law of Thermodynamics [“In the beginning…”]), and physical Humans, who are finite, needed a creator to create them.
“But the Bible was written by men, and you can’t trust the words of men on the meaning of life or God’s existence.”
This is a self-refuting statement, as it is being asked by a prone-to-fallibility human. Also, those men who wrote the Bible (prophets, Gospel writers, scribes, etc) were carrying out the instructions of Divine revelation by the Holy Spirit. A crude analogy would be to see these noble, holy men as ancient ‘stenographers’, inspired by God. Isiah certainly wasn’t some ancient nomadic desert rapper, shaking his fist at the sky and ranting about his personal world view and disdain for human folly.
“A virgin birth is impossible.”
A God that created the universe could easily make it possible.
“Don’t tell me you believe Noah built a giant ark and put two of every species in the world into it.”
Noah certainly didn’t travel to the Arctic Circle to pick up two polar bears. However, with supernatural divine intervention, anything is possible. That’s how Noah achieved what he did with the help of God. The notion of him also sailing to Australia to pick up two kangaroos, two koala bears and a pair of platypuses is silly. The Ark story also has metaphors and symbolism to be considered.
“But how can a believer be 100% certain God exists?”
How can the atheist be 100% certain God does not exist? No believer in God is 100% certain He exists, in the same way they are not 100% certain in the existence of the external world or other minds. The case for belief in God is based on reasonable faith, either existentially (properly basic) or on the enormous cumulative evidence for the existence of such an Entity, both theistically and scientifically. There is also the case for Christ and His ministry of miracles and resurrection from the dead. The writer Lee Strobel has written an excellent book on this.
“Christians are weaklings and afraid of the dark.”
Perhaps atheists are afraid of the Light. As for weaklings: Consider the bravery of the Crusades, defending Christendom from barbarians, or Joan of Arc, burnt at the stake for her faith.
“Then what about ‘blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth’?”
This refers to Matthew 5:5 (The Sermon on the Mount) and it has to be understood in the original Gospel texts written in Greek. It’s meaning is not physical weakness but ‘praus’: A war horse that is broken-in and, in the context of the Beatitudes, serving the Lord with calm acceptance of God’s will, with humility and great strength.
“What about ‘turning the other cheek?”
The ‘slap’ is meant as a metaphor and not a physical act. One meaning could be to never argue with an idiot, as onlookers won’t know the difference. When ignorant elders in the Sanhedrin or thuggish Roman soldiers mocked Jesus, He did not retaliate. Instead, He either spoke truth or remained silent (John 18:19-24; John 19:3; Matthew 26:62-68). In the Old Testament, Isaiah predicted that the Messiah, Jesus, offered his back and cheeks to his abusers and “did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 50:6; 53:7)
“Why all the suffering in a world ruled by God?”
We live in a fallen world ruled by the devil, and he never had it so good. But when the Bible says that Satan is the “god of this world,” it is not saying that he has ultimate authority. It is conveying the idea that the devil rules over the unbelieving world in a specific way. Ultimately, God has sovereign power. As for suffering: A lot of it is caused by the moral shortcomings of most human beings. A good metaphor for this is the survival-of-the-fittest dominant behaviour displayed in a troupe of baboons.
“How could a good God ask Abraham to murder his son?”
The Bible verse seems to suggest that Abraham, consciously or unconsciously, was aware that the sacrifice of his son, Isaac, would not happen. Consider the verse extract from Genesis 22: ‘… 4: On the third day, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5: Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”’
“Atheists can be good without God.”
True, atheists can be good, but there is no such thing as good or bad without God. There are only molecules in motion; atoms bumping into one another. Face it: On atheism, we are all grown-up worms living on a speck of solar dust orbiting a giant ball of fire.
“Christianity is a ‘crutch’ for fear of dying.”
Atheism is a ‘crutch’ for moral autonomy and fear of final judgment and disbelief in the horrific prospect of eternal suffering in Hell.
“What kind of fool believes in the talking snake in the Garden of Eden?”
There is no mention of a talking snake in the Garden of Eden. But there is mention of a serpent, a metaphor for something sly, slippery, and evil. The Bible version is not like the Jungle Book’s cartoon snake with a lisp. To hold such a view is based on a Crayon Christianity mentality lacking sophistication.
“The Bible is incompatible with science”
The Bible is compatible with authentic science and not the current, corrupt pseudo “scientism” that is rampant today.
“How can God be three persons?”
Three persons (natures) make up the one Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If that sounds confusing, consider a human being who is made up of two natures: The species homo sapiens and the mind/soul personality inhabiting that body. To stretch this a bit more, it could be crudely argued that a human also has an extra third nature as well as those mentioned above: A career/profession that a person works at throughout their lives: Joe the professor in maths or Mary the brain surgeon. This analogy does not define the Trinity, but it points to another example of something vaguely resembling a Triune spirit.
There are many more questions worth answering, but the above ones are the most common. The key to understanding the Bible is not to read it, but to study it in context, both hermeneutically and metaphorically. And no other book equals the Bible in its beautiful use of language. But don’t take my word for it. According to the late atheist Christopher Hitchens, who lamented the gradual eclipse of the King James Bible, was against words in the Bible being altered in any way.
Hitchens said: “A culture that does not possess this common store of image and allegory will be a perilously thin one. To seek restlessly to update it or make it ‘relevant’ is to miss the point, like yearning for a hip-hop Shakespeare … ‘Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward,’ says the Book of Job. Want to try to improve that for Twitter?”
Fellow atheist Richard Dawkins said: “A native speaker of English who has never read a word of the King James Bible is verging on the barbarian.”
Although most of us live busy lives and don’t have the time to sit down and study the Bible, I would urge non-believers to listen to it while driving your car, especially the Psalms. I highly recommend downloading the audio of The Essential King James Bible, narrated by Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres.
Kenneth Francis is a Contributing Editor at New English Review. For the past 30 years, he has worked as an editor in various publications, as well as a university lecturer in journalism. He also holds an MA in Theology and is the author of The Little Book of God, Mind, Cosmos and Truth (St Pauls Publishing) and, most recently, The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd (with Theodore Dalrymple) and Neither Trumpets Nor Violins (with Theodore Dalrymple and Samuel Hux).
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