One of the interesting – and disconcerting – things about atheists is their position that believers are credulous of events and concepts that are both unlikely and unproven, while the main tenet of their belief – that there is no God (or any supernatural presence) is fundamentally and forever beyond proof.
This does not seem to trouble them. They live in a ‘rational’ world that is explained by science, logic, and simple observation. The supernatural can safely be ignored, as it does not register on their senses.
Unfortunately, they are living in a lie, or at least a grave misconception.
Let us begin by asking an atheist about the nature of the chair in which he sits. What, pray tell, is it?
A chair. Made of wood.
Ah. Is it solid?
But, you see, a chair is anything but solid. It is made of atoms (mainly carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen) which are in turn made up of electrons, protons, and neutrons. These can be further subdivided, but we already have gotten small enough.
In comparison to the size of an atom, the particles which make it up are very, very small. An atom is far more than 99%…empty space.
What makes it “solid”, of course, are the bonds between the subatomic particles, and the bonds between the atoms themselves. Far stronger than magnetism, these nuclear forces give materials the properties that we observe, from solidity to texture to colour.
The chair is not solid, but unless we have the instruments to perform the analysis, we can never know.
A simpler example involves radio waves. A person ignorant of the electromagnetic spectrum, and not possessing a radio, would never know that the very air around him is filled with voices and music.
Our experience deceives us. Our experience is not ‘rational’; and neither is our science, because it butts up against limits in both knowledge and technology.
I think you can see from these examples the inherent fallacy in stating that there is no God, because His existence cannot be proven, and violates natural law.
To address the first point, we turn to logic, and the axiom that the absence of evidence can never be taken as evidence of absence.
To address the second point, we do not know natural law. We have theories, some of which fit the observed world quite well, but these are only models, and are not reality.
In the last post we looked at the issues involved with Newton’s Laws of Motion. Again, they work beautifully in the observed world, and can reliably be used to design everything from toasters to spaceships.
But drop to the atomic level, or expand to the galactic level…and investigate what happens near the speed of light…and a different picture emerges.
It is called Relativity.
Relativistic equations of motion accurately predict that space itself is distorted by gravitational forces, and bends light around a star (this distortion allow one to see a distant star hidden behind the Sun, and this has been observed). It predicts that time slows down as the speed of light is approached (also measured), and that the length of an object, measured in the direction of motion, decreases.
Yes, it really does get shorter near the speed of light.
We could use relativistic equations for everyday life if they were not so fearsomely complicated. As it stands, Newton’s equations work well enough…even though we know these ‘laws’ to be untrue.
And is relativity the end of the story?
Probably not. It is a model, after all, and not reality.
The atheist believes what he chooses to believe. But do not for a moment let him turn you head with talk of ‘facts’.
Answer him with the unprovable nature of his basic premise, and unmask his position for what it really is – and article of faith, a belief based upon a personal preference.