The Atheist Delusion is a fast-moving, confrontational collection of interviews that pulls no punches in exploring faith with atheists. In around an hour, Christian evangelist, Ray Comfort, uses his own variation on some well-known arguments against atheism that bypass jargon and helpfully appeal to logical reasoning. It is simple without being simplistic and offers great tips to Christians for explaining their beliefs to others.
Nevertheless, atheists have often sought to refute the kind of arguments it presents, sometimes with a dismissive belief that they are self-evidently faulty. Comfort claims that they do so, though, to ignore God and thus avoid accountability to Him. This claim presumes a motive, rightly or wrongly, so it is helpful to examine the arguments and to consider their implications.
1. Complex design requires intelligence
Any book, he says, is intelligently designed (whereas the traditional argument uses a watch). His interviewees quickly agree. He then argues by extension that the book of life, our DNA, is surely also intelligently designed.
Atheists believe that there are examples of spontaneous assembly of genetic material and that this genetic material therefore allows life to be created from chemicals. The problem is that, at best, this material just makes more non-living chemicals, not whole organisms. In addition, the circumstances of related experiments are actually contrived. Scientists still cannot explain the emergence of life itself, one of biochemistry’s greatest mysteries.
2. Some living structures are irreducibly complex
We perhaps don’t need to answer the question of who created God if we accept His self-existence by faith. However, atheistic scientists won’t admit their own similar faith in the origins of matter or life, but also of complex animal structures. Before many of these could conceivably offer any competitive advantage to warrant their existence, they would actually have no reason to exist and could even be a liability in the supposed evolutionary struggle for survival.
For example, if a complex structure like an eye had an origin, its incomplete predecessor would not offer any vision. Why, if it couldn’t give even partial sight, would it evolve at all? If a bird’s wing needed to develop from a forelimb, any prior animal species would surely be disadvantaged enough to be at risk of extinction long before any such bird would even emerge. Millions of intermediate forms of animals would similarly be out-competed, but should exist in the fossil record if evolution has any validity; living examples should also be seen today.
3. A Big Bang needs a cause and scientists don’t have one
Atheists suggest that any lack of a process or pathway will be found with more science and not by invoking God to explain any gaps in knowledge. This presumption is, of course, just another kind of faith; faith in science. Even the most basic chemicals, if they originated from ‘nothing’ in a ‘Big Bang’, need the laws of the universe to enable their formation. Scientists have no causes for such laws and no cause for the emergence of somethingness from nothingness. A creatorless creation with no cause is simply unprovable speculation.
When atheists argue that Christians revert to tired old arguments that have been refuted, they overlook the fact that the arguments have not been refuted at all. They also forget that the rebuttals themselves can therefore be labelled as tired old arguments, too. It is easy to be disparaging of something willingly excluded from serious consideration.
Perhaps this is why Comfort is able to quickly lead his interviewees to ready acceptance of Christ. Though his forceful style may pose problems for some, more gracious approaches sometimes lack real engagement. The movie offers some helpful tips on bringing people quickly to the point of reckoning, without being bogged down by scientific terminology. Also, it will quite probably help people accept the need for Jesus with greater success than many other methods.
So, for people willing to engage with the plain logic of The Atheist Delusion without unnecessarily distracting technical detail and scientific jargon, faith will not be proved beyond all doubt, just beyond reasonable doubt.
And in the atheist’s court of last resorts, that should surely be enough for their ‘conviction’!