I deal with atheists online regularly as a result of my online presence as a Christian apologist and a creationist. As such I have become well-acquainted with the types of comments or attacks they make. This series will share those with you all and in the process I hope to give some idea as to how they can be responded to effectively.
“I’m searching for the evidence for God with an open mind, but there just isn’t any which stands up to scrutiny.”
For your sake I really hope you are examining your worldview as you say. But the evidence I’ve seen from our exhaustive interactions does not really show it to me. Your behavior has been not unlike that of virtually all atheists I’ve come across on the internet. They put on pretense of asking for evidence, but when shown evidence after evidence, they choose to remain ignorant of them all and reject them. They don’t really want evidence, because they’ve already made up their mind they don’t want God.
“I’ve heard your arguments, but, sorry, I’m still not convinced.”
You’ve never actually defeated my arguments here, you’ve just made a personal decision not to be convinced. It’s so easy of course to do that. Not being convinced by an argument is as easy as saying the words. But defeating the argument- that’s something entirely different.
“Prove that God exists.”
Of course I cannot prove to you with absolute certainty that God exists. That’s not what this is even about. It’s about showing that the theistic worldview I hold is more plausible than its alternatives. That I have certainly shown. God has specifically designed this experience such that people are forced to make a free and personal decision to seek God and have faith in Him. He has given plenty of evidence to show any reasonable person that He exists, but has left enough room for doubt so that people can delude themselves if they choose, and ignore that evidence. This is the most loving thing He could do; God doesn’t want forced “love” or people submitting to Him out of fear alone without actually loving Him.
“I’m failing to shake you out of your theistic delusions. Let’s regroup and figure out what went wrong.”
This statement here just proves how inconsistent you are with yourself. This is the kind of fissure that develops and displays the inherent problems in a worldview. You have just admitted you’re trying to change my worldview, yet, if I take yours seriously, it makes no sense whatsoever to say a thing like that. First of all, you deny free will. So neither of us are free to make decisions about what to believe. Secondly, even if we could decide what to believe, it wouldn’t matter, since we have no solid foundation on which to rest our assumption of the reliability of human reasoning. We have to have blind faith in the ability of a physical instrument with no designer to do something it didn’t develop for- namely, to understand abstract “truth”. And thirdly, it doesn’t matter what a person believes if there is no God and no afterlife. We all end up in the same state. So, if I believed as you do, I’d just shut up about it and let people believe what they want- whatever makes them happy.
…. but you don’t. You can’t. You innately know that truth does matter and we can know it and we can decide to believe it. So you are at war with yourself, and I only need to stand back at a distance and watch you tear yourself apart.