Class Date: May 10, 2023
In this class, Dan addresses some of the arguments offered that have led many to abandon the church. Many of these arguments have been around for a long time.
One argument that is widely cited is this; there is so much moral and natural suffering in the world, that there cannot be a God that loves humanity. If there was a God, presumably he would have created a world where people were not subject to suffering from natural disasters or evil acts by others. The truth is that neither science or philosophy can offer any way in which we can have a planet that is capable of giving rise to living beings, that does not also have conditions that cause natural disasters. Season change is a major factor in producing both tornadoes and hurricanes. In order to support life, and the ability to produce food, seasonal change and the earth’s rotation are necessary.
What about evil in our world, such as Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and the many, many wars? This argument seems to suggest that suffering caused by humans is an argument for atheism. God did not cause the suffering we see throughout history – humans did. The Christian faith asserts that humans are bound to sin, and that God sent a Son capable of rescuing us from ourselves. God has addressed the problem of evil, as a father figure that loves us and wants to preserve our freedom to be independent. God is no stranger to the shadows of life. In Jesus Christ God became human. He did this so that we would be assured that God is present in our suffering, and has overcome it. Faith, and faith alone receives Christ, and Christ’s presence gives us comfort, peace, and hope.
Another argument commonly made by atheists is that God is a delusion in our minds. Because we are imperfect and fear death, we create the idea of a Heavenly Father – a loving parent who looks over us and solves the problem of death by rising from the dead. This argument has several problems. Just as science cannot proves the existence of God, neither can it prove, demonstrate, or validate that this is why people have faith. During the first three centuries of the common era, persecution of Christians was not unusual. Many such as all but one of Jesus’ disciples died for their faith. No one can come up with any evidence that faith is the result of a need for a crutch. Faith is something people have been willing to suffer and die for since Christianity began.