Free thinkers consider themselves sensible in denying God. Does the arguments of free thinkers make sense or not? Read on and find out!">
Free thinkers consider themselves sensible in denying God. Does the arguments of free thinkers make sense or not? Read on and find out!
In this text we are going to reveal some ideas posed by freethinkers. The ideas are mostly taken from the volumes of Vapaa-Ajattelija magazine. Our aim is to examine the ideas and claims presented in those magazines. This task is made easier by the fact that my own background is similar to many of the freethinkers’. Before I turned to Jesus I was an atheist and believed in evolution. I had attended Sunday school a few times as a child, but later atheistic views of the world and denying God became more prominent in my life. I remember providing the following three reasons as my arguments for my views. Most of the freethinkers and atheists still use them.
1. Suffering and evil in the world
2. Mistakes of the church
3. My perception of my own scientific merit and evolution proving creation wrong
The existence of God. One of the most prominent themes popping up in the ideas and magazines of freethinkers is denying the existence of God. They think that God is merely a product of human imagination. That is why there cannot be a God who would have created our universe and be separate from it. This is considered impossible.
This notion posed by freethinkers and atheists is, however, just as much an assumption based on faith, as is having faith in God. How could atheists be certain of the fact that God isn’t a part of an area, which they know nothing about? The picture beneath illustrates my point. If you only know a fraction of all knowledge, it is difficult to dismiss certain things that haven’t been seen. God might be one of those things.
Miracles never happened. Freethinkers keep referring to science in their magazines and keep saying that supernatural things don’t exist. That is why, e.g., biblical descriptions of healings, walking on water or fulfilled prophecies cannot be real. They are considered impossible and seen as something which reflects the worldview of gullible people of the past. Now, we have mostly gotten rid of such thinking, as science will prove the impossibility of supernatural things.
This view, however, is deals with the same issues which we discussed above. How can freethinkers or atheists know that their knowledge is perfect? Maybe they just don’t happen to have any experiences of these things, as illustrated in the image above.
This view is about a naturalistic worldview, where matter is all there is. It is not considered possible that there could be anything outside of our knowledge, because the universe is seen as a closed system, quite like a box. It is not about science, because if the healings, awakenings of the dead and other miracles that happened through Jesus and the disciples were real, they would also be science. It is a logical consequence if they in fact were historical events. Science and miracles do not rule each other out.
What does the evidence suggest then? Freethinkers might claim that the miracles in the New Testament couldn’t have happened, however there are some external sources that suggest otherwise:
• Josephus the historian and Talmud have both mentioned the miracles of Jesus.
• Talmud describes how the disciples healed the sick ones and did miracles.
• The fragment of Quadradus mentions how some that were healed or raised from the dead by Jesus were still alive. These were publicly known events.
Mistakes of religions are a constant theme in the magazines of freethinkers. Religions are seen as harmful and the wrongdoings committed by churches from different centuries are being referred to. I myself used to use this very same argument to support my negativity towards God.
However, freethinkers and atheists don’t take into consideration the following aspects in denying God:
• When freethinkers and atheists attack against things related to faith, the first mistake they make is that they don’t differentiate between religious groups and religions, although they expect everyone else to make a difference between different atheists. They hardly wish to be categorized into the same group with, e.g., Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot and with other extreme atheists. In other words, they practice different logic with religious groups than they do with atheists making their logic inconsistent. Religions (as well as atheistic groups) cannot be labeled together as if the same phenomenon would be present in all of them. John C. Lennox has addressed the issue:
It is ridiculous how new atheists are incapable of differentiating between religions, because it is clear that they expect everyone else to do that when it comes to atheists. Having declared themselves as peaceful people they wouldn’t want to be put in the same group with Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot just based on their worldview. Why don’t they then warn people that compassionate and calm atheism might generate an atmosphere, where radical atheism strives naturally as it did during the last century? If we were to use these atheists’ own excessive simplification technique, we wouldn’t have to wait for long till they would protest against it.
This rather blatant inconsistency – expectation that outsiders will differentiate between atheists all the while they strictly abstain from doing the same with religious groups – doesn’t reinforce the intellectual credibility of their message in the slightest. (1)
Additionally, freethinkers don’t consider the following aspects when rejecting Christianity:
• Wrongdoers won’t inherit the kingdom of God: Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived… (1 Cor 6:9)
• Jesus refuses to recognize wrongdoers: And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. (Matt 7:23)
• Jesus, John the Baptist and the disciples preached about the repentance. Jesus also said: ”but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3).
• Jesus warned us about drawing the sword and urged us to love our enemies (Matt 26:52, 5:43,44).
• Many don’t consider Paul’s words, when he warned us of the savage wolves that would come after his departure. The development of history can clearly be seen in those words. They describe those centuries and wrongdoings that were committed in the name of God and that actually happened. It is impossible to deny that Paul wasn’t right. Moreover, Paul showed us that acts can testify against people. He might have even said this to others: Brothers, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an ensample, Phil 3:17.
- (Acts 20:29-31) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
- (Tit 1:16) They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate.
• Many wrongdoings have been committed in the names of Catholic and Orthodox churches. However, these churches and most of their members have largely given up their faith in Jesus and replaced it with Maria and other saints (This was visible, e.g., when Pussy Riot band sang about president Putin. Their song the lyrics were directed to Maria). This is not Christian faith anymore, but something else. Many freethinkers don’t realize the difference between these two.
Atheists and freethinkers rarely distinguish, for example, between Christianity and Islam, as noted already. There is a huge difference, however. If we followed the teachings of Jesus and the disciples, it should affect society and relationships positively.
Even Richard Dawkins, who is known for his atheism and denial of God, has acknowledged after having written The God Delusio that Christianity might serve as a protective barrier against something way worse:
As far as I know, there are no Christians blowing up buildings. To my knowledge, there aren’t Christian suicide bombers either. I am not aware of any major Christian doctrines that would believe apostasy to be punishable by death. I have conflicting feelings towards the decline of Christianity, because it could be that it operates as a protective barrier against something far worse. (2)
Where does atheism lead then? Many people, who have turned to God and Jesus, can attest to having been freed from drugs and alcohol, having put an end to stealing, deceiving, cheating and having quit doing other things that are commonly perceived as harmful to society. Faith in God and Jesus Christ has caused positive change in their lives.
Can atheism provide the same kind of positive influence to society? Many freethinkers and atheists are convinced that it could be the case. They believe that if atheism were the major societal view and everyone were atheists, it would lead society into a better direction. Most of the wars would disappear and societal problems would decrease. Or at least that’s what many freethinkers and atheists would like to believe.
However, not everyone agrees with them. For example, Greek Plato disagreed with nowadays’ atheists, as he considered radical atheism as a threat to society. He wrote about it in one of his last dialogues; the Laws dialogue. Plato’s views can easily be understood, as a worldview based on naturalism and atheism doesn’t render a strong foundation for moral. It gives room for wrongdoings, because it doesn’t hold a binding moral compass, as do, e.g., religions.
The latest century also provides us with clues as to where atheist worldview can lead in the worst case. It was one of the most brutal centuries in the history of mankind and the name ‘Dark Ages’ would have suited that era much better than it did the Middle Ages. Apostate church and Christianity that has alienated from the Christ haven’t caused as much destruction over the centuries, as was caused by atheism in the last century. The most well-known cases, where atheism has been the official doctrine, were the governments of Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot and countless communist nations. The majority of the sovereigns, who were communist or supported Nazism, also believed in Darwin’s evolution theory. This was the case with Hitler, and it’s also known that Stalin became an atheist after he had read Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species. What would have happened if that book didn’t exist and these people had believed that one day they’ll have to answer to God for their actions? History would have probably turned out quite different.
[What would you say to those, who blame religions?] I would try to make them think about the horrific 20th century, during which we encountered more destruction than ever before. Possibly, along with the destruction of Jews, the greatest crimes were committed by two openly atheistic nations. The Soviet Union with its atheist museum being one and Mao’s China being the other. Both were militantly atheistic. And what did they do? They killed 70 million of their own people. Why won’t we ever hear that this is what atheism causes? There is something devious about it. Why the sins of religion are always so harshly judged (as they should be), but no one ever pays attention to the sins of atheism. (3)
Dr. Paul Johnston, a British historian: “Typical of the 20th century and the primary reason for its terrors, is that people, who gained great carnal power, were not afraid of God and did not believe that any absolute behaviourial code was restricting them.” (4)
Alexandr Solzenitsyn: Over half a century ago, when I was still a child, I remember hearing many elderly people talking about the disasters that Russia faced like so: “People have forgotten about God; this is all because of it.” After that I have studied the Russian revolution for over 50 years; during that time I have read hundreds of books, collected personal stories and have written eight books myself to research those phases. But, if I were asked to summarize as shortly as possible the primary reason for the horrific revolution, which took ca. 60 million of our people, I could not say it any more clearly than to repeat: People have forgotten about God; this is all because of it.” (5)
Controversial questions. Freethinkers and atheists usually want to come across as being healthy and balanced. They consider themselves as rational, progressive and tolerant. By tolerance they usually refer to positive attitude towards e.g., abortion, ordination of women and homosexuality. These kinds of themes are usually prevalent in their magazines. However, if you take a second to have another look at these things, you should take a note of the following aspects:
Abortion is killing a baby, no matter what anyone says. During the stage, when most abortions are done (around 7-8 weeks old), the aborted fetus has the same body parts as newborn babies and adults. They have hands, feet, eyes, a nose, a mouth and individual fingerprints. Similarly, they have their own heart, heart sound and blood circulation, as do adults. They are human beings growing inside a mother’s womb.
What if someone is impregnated against their own will – e.g. through rape (a small percentage of unwanted pregnancies are caused by rape)? It is true that in such situations we shouldn’t react lightly to people’s feelings, as that might sometimes happen. However, we need to ask ourselves, whether killing the child is the best way to get out of the situation? For example, adoption could be a solution to this problem.
The ordination of women is something that divides congregations’ views (this also applies to so-called conservative congregations). Others see it as something that is also meant for women, but others gather based on, e.g., the third chapter of the First Epistle to Timothy (A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach), that it is only meant for men. Either way, both parties usually emphasize the importance of men and women’s activity in spiritual work: everyone is needed. Additionally, one must be born again; otherwise they have a wrong foundation and cannot lead other people to eternal life.
What if there are freethinkers and atheists, who don’t understand someone’s negative stance towards the ordination of women? Is it worth it to reject God based on that? If eternity is in fact real, it is probably not wise to go about it that way. According to the Bible God has a good plan and will towards us (1 Tim 2:3,4: For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.), but we can make it all worthless with our excuses.
Homosexuality and positivity towards it is also somewhat present in the magazines of freethinkers, as well as, in the secular media. Freethinkers commonly regard it as a positive thing and as something that is inherent, such as skin color, for example. If someone disagrees with them, they see it as similar oppression to oppressing people because of their skin color.
How should we approach this issue? The most important thing is to consider this by taking into account our eternity. If it is true that we are eternal beings and practicing homosexuality is included in the many sins (1 Cor 6:9,10: Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.), that keep us away from God, shouldn’t we take it into consideration? Freethinkers don’t believe that our behavior and choices affect our eternal faith, but it should be taken seriously. If the possibility of us being eternal beings is even at one percent, it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Secondly, if one believes in eternity and based on that belief warns others of wrong choices, you cannot think it’s because they don’t love other people. It is similar to someone warning others of thin ice: “Don’t go on thin ice! You could get hurt!” It means that the people care, because they warn others of the bad consequences their actions can have.
What about the innateness of homosexuality? Is it something we are born with, like skin color? Many homosexuals don’t admit this. Some homosexuals might heavily speak for its innateness, but there are many that disagree. They think that harmful environment and the way they have reacted to it has played a part in their sexuality. This was also the common view in psychology a few decades ago.
I read an interesting study by an expert: it was a survey to find out how many actively homosexual people believed they were born that way. Eighty-five percent of the interviewees were of the opinion that their homosexuality was a learned way of behaving caused by destructive influence early on in their home and enticement by another person.
Nowadays, my first question when meeting with a homosexual is usually, “Who gave you the inspiration for it?” All of them can answer me. I will ask then, “What would have happened to you and your sexuality if you hadn’t met your uncle, or if your cousin had not come into your life? Or without your stepfather? What do you think would have happened?” This is when the bells start to toll. They say, “Maybe, maybe, maybe.” (6)
Scientific worldview and perception of one’s own scientific merit are constantly being brought up in the magazines of freethinkers. They juxtapose belief and rationality, and also scientific and religious worldviews. They are convinced that what they represent is rationality and science and that their views are based on definite facts. They have exactly the same kind of view, as I used to have when I was an atheist and believed in evolution. The same attitude can also be seen in the book Miksi en ole kristitty? [Why I’m not a Christian?] (p.199,200) by V.T. Aaltonen:
I wish briefly that people would think scientifically.
Generally, it looks like most people try to manage by thinking as little as possible. (…) The most important part of a scientific way of thinking is freedom from prejudices, predilections and devotions. The target of a scientist is always the truth, regardless of how unpleasant it may be or how much confusion it may cause to people whose beliefs it shows wrong.
Scientific view or one that is based on belief? When freethinkers consider their worldview to be scientific, it might not be as scientific as they believe. How many people are there really, who only rely on facts when it comes to science and everyday life, but never relies on belief? Is it possible to find anyone like that?
If we’re being honest, there really isn’t anyone, who wouldn’t sometimes do thing because of their beliefs. In the science world we can see this phenomenon in the form of people relying on others’ believability and information. Their assumptions are regarded reliable, because they are considered experts. When it comes to our everyday life, we follow the same rule. We trust what other people say and take their words as the truth. We really check only a fraction of everything that we take in and believe to be true.
The following examples emphasize the significance of belief, and how it is present in our everyday life. There is no such person, who is completely scientific, because it is impossible.
• A girl trusts her mother, who promised her a new dress. That is faith.
• People believe that such a place as the Antarctica exists, although a very few people have been there.
• Advertisements on papers are believed and people buy things because of them.
• Everything we know about history is based on someone else’s words. For example, we can no longer prove completely scientifically that Napoleon or Caesar had existed, but instead we have to rely on other people’s words on it. This is having faith, and everyone has to resort to it sometimes.
Belief and interpretations of the past. Freethinkers usually refer to the accidental birth of life and development and also to the preceding self-generated birth of the universe, Solar System and the earth, when they emphasize the scientific nature of their worldview. They believe that this kind of ideology is only based on facts and that there’s no room for belief.
However, that’s where they’re wrong and there’s a simple explanation as to why: we cannot prove anything that happened in the past. That means any questions relating to the origin of the universe, life and humans, have something to do with belief. None of us were there to witness these things come to life. There can only be different theories of how they came to be, but scientifically it is not possible to prove anything. We cannot travel back in time to witness these things, which means that technically we are all in the same boat on this matter. Freethinkers and atheists cannot prove, e.g., the following theories. We can see major deficiencies in all of them:
• Origin of the universe is based on belief. At the moment the most common theory is the Big Bang, where everything came from a tiny space.
It is comparable to someone claiming that they have a matchbox (which is way bigger than the space assumed in to have been in the Big Bang), which generates all kinds of large things, such as: an elephant and the grass it eats, a rock that weighs a thousand pounds, as well as, other rocks and cliffs, a fast cheetah also emerges from the same box, roaring lions, birds that chirp and fly, mosquitoes that the birds can eat, fish and the oceans around them also originate from that same tiny box, beautiful scented flowers and tall trees too come from the same matchbox, billions of galaxies, stars and planets also come from that very same box, the Sun that warms us and gives us light, humans that can speak, feel emotions: cry, laugh, get angry, be scared, mourn, like someone and fall in love, tasty strawberries, bananas, blueberries, peas, grapes and nuts. If someone doubts these claims within the Big Bang theory and other theories related to the beginning of the universe, they must be well within their reason to do so.
• Origin of the galaxies is also based on belief. Distinguished astronomers have admitted that their origin is a mystery.
• Beginning of life is based on belief. It has not even been able to be replicated in laboratories. The more we have researched it, the more difficult it has become for us to understand it.
• Origin of the Solar System is based on belief. Scientists acknowledge that all theories contain serious shortcomings. The different compositions and movements of planets, moons and the Sun puzzle them.
The largest conflict arising between theistic and naturalistic worldviews is the understanding of how to interpret the past. There are two differing interpretations of the past. One assumes that everything came to be for no reason and the other presumes that everything has to have a creator. Atheism and theism are both views that rely on belief. The view based on theism becomes apparent, e.g., from the following words of Paul.
- (Hebr 11:3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
What does the evidence suggest? Earlier in this text it was pointed out that interpreting the past causes the most dispute between theistic and naturalistic worldviews: Did everything come into existence by itself or is there a creator behind everything? David Pawson discusses these views and two other alternatives to account for our existence with the help of a metaphor. Only one of those alternatives can be correct. The most reasonable alternative is the last one, which is that God has created everything. For example, option number two cannot be true, because celestial bodies are still radiating energy. They cannot be eternal, as they must have had a beginning. Otherwise their energy resources would have run out already. Option number three cannot hold true either, because nothing can appear out of nothingness by itself. Nonexistent things cannot cause their existence. It is a definite impossibility and against logic:
Let’s assume you are exploring a deserted area with four of your friends, when you come across a magnificent palace. All of your friends offer to explain how this palace came to be. “It is only a vision in our heads”, the first one says – even after you’ve knocked his head on the physical palace walls.
“It has always been there”, another friend proposes. “It is as old as our world.”
“It came there by itself”, suggests your third friend, “through miraculous occurrences.”
“A famous architect built it”, your last friend says. “I have met him myself.”
Who would you believe?
The Bible says: ”For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse (Rom 1:20). In other words, the fact that anything exists, is proof that God exists as well. Thus, anyone who looks at our surrounding world and is willing to say that there is no God, has thrown out their logical reasoning and persuaded themselves to separate from the truth. Without even opening the Bible you can see something about the meaning of the word God. There must be a higher power behind all the things we see. And people have always believed that power to be God. (7)
If we consider the origin of life and the universe purely from a scientific stand point, the most rational alternative is that they were created by a supernatural and intelligent God. It would best explain, e.g., the existence of intelligence, emotions, senses and the sense of beauty. How could a lifeless matter, a rock for example, all of a sudden become intelligent and start feeling strong emotions: get mad, laugh, cry, rejoice, be afraid, feel attraction? It is absolutely impossible, although there are some scientists, who think otherwise.
Bible’s depiction of how God created the world gets reinforced by other sources. Different nations’ heritage stories and old tales refer to the same order of creation, which cannot be considered a coincidence. The Chinese Miao nation’s heritage story even mentions that a man was created first and then a woman was created from the man. It is similar to what the Bible says.
Even a stronger case is made by our seven day week, which has been common amongst all nations starting from the early days – it is mankind’s shared heritage. Why else would we share this common feature if God hadn’t truly created everything in seven days, as the Bible tells us?
On the earth he made a man from mud,
From this he created a woman.
Then patriarch Loka made a scale from stones
estimating the weight of the earth down to the bottom,
counting the mass of the orbits,
contemplated roads of the divinity, roads of God.
To patriarch Loka was born patriarch Se-teh.
To patriarch Se-teh was born son Lusu,
and Lusu had Kehlo and to him was born Lama.
To patriarch Lama was born the man Nuah.
His wife's name was ancestress Kau Po-lu-en.
Their sons were: Lo-Han, Lo-Shen and Jah-hu.
Like this the earth started to fill with tribes and families.
In creation the families and nations were formed. (8)
There are also significant links between the Genesis account of creation and nations’ ancient legends. Hence, we’ll read from one of the oldest sacred books of India: “He, who was eternal, first created water through his spirit, thus we call him the one who walks on water” (cf. Gen 1:2). “When he, who had immense power, had created the world relieved himself to rest” (cf. Gen 2:2). (9)
This is what has been written on old Persian books: “The visible world, heaven and earth, were created in six moments. First Ormuzd (i.e. God of good) created light to separate heavens and the earth. Then water that covered the whole earth. Then came dry land. Then all kinds of trees were created. In fifth came the animals. Lastly came the humans.” (10)
We can find information about the seven-day week from very ancient times to be in the knowledge of all nations – including Ethiopians, Arabs, Native Americans – all nations in the East have at all times used this seven-day week which is difficult to explain without admitting that this information has been received from the common ancestors of mankind. (11)
What about the historic nature of the Flood? Freethinkers and many, who consider their stance to be scientific, doubt that it actually happened, but there are plenty of evidence in the nature (sea animals’ remains high in the mountains etc.), as well as, in nations’ heritage stories to support the Flood. The following quotations refer to the heritage stories:
Around 500 cultures – including indigenous peoples of Greece, China, Peru and North America – are known in the world where the legends and myths describe a compelling story of a large flood that changed the history of the tribe. In many stories, only a few people survived the flood, just like in the case of Noah. Many of the peoples considered the flood to have been caused by gods who, for one reason or another, got bored with the human kind. Perhaps the people were corrupt, like in Noah’s times and in a legend by the Native American Hopi tribe of North America, or perhaps there were too many and too noisy people, like in the Gilgamesh epic. (12)
“We are able to prove that the story of the Flood is part of the universal traditions in all branches of the human family, and anything that is such definite and uniform in the tradition can surely not be considered an imaginary tale. It must be the memory of a true and terrifying event, an event that made such a huge impact on the first of the human race that even their descendents have not forgotten it.” (13)
Peoples of different races have different heritage stories about the enormous flood catastrophe. The Greeks have told a story about the Flood, and it is centered around a character named Deukalion; even long before Columbus, the Native Americans had their own stories, which had kept alive the memory of a great flood; Tales about a flood have been moved on from generation to generation up until this day also in Australia, India, Polynesia, Tibet, Kašmir and Lithuania. Are they all just tales and stories? Are they all made up? It is presumable that they all describe the same great catastrophe. (14)
Questions for freethinkers
- (John 7:17) If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
- (Matt 7:8) For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.
Freethinker V.T. Aaltonen wrote in his book Why I’m not a Christian? (p. 201) about, how very few have thought about the origin of their views. He mentioned how some might defend their opinions, beliefs and perceptions thinking that they are correct, but yet have failed to ever consider their accuracy:
How many has, for example, ever really thought, where they got their opinions, perceptions or beliefs that they are ready to defend as the only truth? We usually find it more important to discover and come up with evidence that prove us there is no reason to change our views.
To my understanding many freethinkers can find themselves in a similar situation to what V.T. Aaltonen described. How many has even thought about the origin of their views and whether they’re accurate? I can personally add something here, as during my former days of being an atheist and believing in evolution I didn’t really ever question my views. I didn’t consider, for example, whether evolution is accurate or not, or tried to educate myself on its deficiencies. I believed in this theory, although I only knew what I was told in school books and in nature documentaries. I used that and other weakly supported arguments to deny God. I believe that more than 99 % of freethinkers and atheists are in the same situation as I was.
How can we move forward from that? I think freethinkers should consider their views from the opposing point of view if they are certain that the way they see things is accurate. They should think about the following aspects, for example:
Is it possible that there could be a God? Freethinkers and atheists are convinced that God doesn’t exist. To justify their view they use the following arguments as I used to
1. Perception of one’s own scientific merit and that evolution has proved creation wrong
2. Suffering and evil in the world
3. Mistakes of the church
What if the situation was the other way around? What if we could prove that evolution is not accurate, there is no suffering and evil in the world and that members of the church have never done anything wrong? Would freethinkers believe in God then? If things were the opposite, would they see it as evidence for God or would they still stick to their current views? Or what could be such a thing that would make them believe in God? The following quotation illustrates the issue:
... Assumption is usually based on the hearts desires, which doesn’t let any evidence change it.
This came up in a discussion between Christians and Marxists that I took part in. When the Marxists were asked what would be enough proof for them to believe in the existence of God, a deep silence entered the room. No one was able to come up with any way that God could prove His existence. Why? Because they had already in their hearts decided that they won’t serve God. That is why they couldn’t recognize His existence either. They simply predispose their minds to what they want and refuse to look at any evidence. (15)
Isn’t there anything that would prove against evolution and the naturalistic account for the origin of the universe? Freethinkers and atheists usually think that the universe and life exerted themselves into existence in the Big Bang. Similarly, they believe in evolution. However, they should seriously consider the possibility that these theories could be false. Don’t they know any issues that would prove against them? They should at least look into the following factors:
• Is it possible that fish and the sea around it could form from a hot and dense Big Bang space, whose volume is only the size of a pin?
• Is it possible that elephants, humans, ostriches and other birds, fast cheetahs, mosquitoes, ants, whales and giraffes could come from the same pin-sized space?
• Is it possible that tall trees, beautifully scented flowers, as well as, billion galaxies, stars and planets could also come from that same tiny space?
• How could emotions – joy, sadness, hope, fear, anger, love, affection – be born from lifeless matter, such as a rock? How could senses, such as sight, hearing, taste and feel be born from lifeless matter?
• If life coming about by itself is possible, then why hasn’t it been proved yet? The more we know, the more difficult this issue will become.
• If evolution is true, then why haven’t we found any transitional forms between different created-kinds? Many distinguished paleontologists have denied the existence of transitional forms.
What if there is life after death after all? Freethinkers pose the idea in their magazines that there is no life after death, nor heaven and hell. They think both of these things are merely imagined by people.
However, freethinkers should consider the possibility of eternal life. Even if the possibility would be at one percent, it would matter. How could they know that there is nothing after death? The fact that they have only lived here on earth for a couple of decades is not enough to be certain about it. They cannot prove their view.
Better expert in eternal life would be Jesus. He spoke about heaven and hell. If it is true what He said about Him being the Son of God, who came from the heavens, He must also know what lies on the other side of life. The question is, how realistic and truthful His claims are. Freethinkers don’t believe in them, but they ought to take them more seriously. There are a few passages that show how the origin of Jesus is heavenly:
- (John 8:23,24) And he said to them, You are from beneath; I am from above: you are of this world; I am not of this world.
24 I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins.
- (John 17:3-5) And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
4 I have glorified you on the earth: I have finished the work which you gave me to do.
5 And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was.
- (John 6:38-43,47) For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39 And this is the Father’s will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he said, I came down from heaven?
43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, Murmur not among yourselves.
47 Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me has everlasting life.
What is good enough? Freethinkers often in their magazines bring up the thought that people can lead good and moral life even without faith. You don’t have to believe in God and Jesus, in order to be a good person.
They might even be right about that. That is, if we only measure goodness by people, many can live quite a decent life. We cannot deny that.
However, it is another thing if there is a God who expects perfection. Then all our acts would seem puny. Or as the Bible puts it: everyone has sinned and is burdened by sin. There is no such person, who would be completely without sin.
- (Rom 3:23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
- (Room 3:9) What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
- (1 John 1:8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
What is the solution to our imperfection? Freethinkers look down on what Jesus did on the cross in some of their magazines (Phil 3:18:(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:), but it is the way to finding help to our imperfection. He filled the void that was between imperfect people and God. He came in the middle so that we could join God’s kingdom. Every freethinker, atheist or anyone could experience the same mercy and have their sins forgiven. The significance of Jesus and His role as the bridge between people and God comes apparent, e.g., from the following passages. The motive behind everything is God’s love for people and how He wants to save us all:
- (John 3:16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
- (Hebr 8:6) But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
- (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
- (John 10:9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
Therefore, if you wish to receive an eternal life and be forgiven for your sins, you must understand the role of Jesus as the bridge! You must turn to Him and accept Him in your life, in order to receive an eternal life. Don’t reject Him, but instead surrender yourself to Him and welcome Him into your life.
- (John 5:39,40) Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
40 And you will not come to me, that you might have life.
- (Rev 3:20) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
So, if you have turned to Jesus Christ and received Him in your life, you are a child of God and have eternal life. You have the eternal life regardless of what you feel right now. Do not base your assurance of salvation on your ever-changing emotions, but rest in the word of the Bible and on Jesus Christ, just like the anchor of a ship is never thrown inside the ship but always outside.
- (John 1:12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name
- (1 John 5:11-13) And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.
13 These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.
The prayer of salvation: Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I confess that I have sinned against You and have not lived according to Your will. However, I want to turn away from my sins and follow You with all my heart. I also believe that my sins have been forgiven through Your atonement and I have received eternal life through You. I thank You for the salvation that You have given me. Amen.
1. John C. Lennox: Tähtäimessä Jumala (Gunning for God, Why the new atheists are missing the target), p. 79
2. Sitaatti Ruth Gledhilliltä, The Times, 2.4. 2010
3. P. Cousineau: Conversations with Houston Smith on the spiritual life, p. 259
4. Michael Green & Gordon Carckner: Kymmenen myyttiä kristinuskosta, p. 18
5. Jukka Norvanto: Raamattu elämään, Alussa 1 Moos 1-5, p. 34
6. Bill Hybels: Kristityt seksihullussa kulttuurissa (Christians in a Sex Crazed Culture), p. 132
7. David Pawson: Kristillinen usko avautuu (Christianity Explained), p. 13
8. E.V. Koskinen: Alusta loppuun, p. 12
9. Fr. Bettex: Raamatun ensimmäinen lehti, p. 4
10. Fr. Bettex: Raamatun ensimmäinen lehti, p. 4
11.Tri John Kitto in book Encyclopedia of Biblical Literature, II, entry "Sabbath", p. 655
12. Kalle Taipale: Levoton maapallo, p. 78
13. Toivo Seljavaara: Oliko vedenpaisumus ja Nooan arkki mahdollinen?, p. 5
14. Werner Keller: Raamattu on oikeassa, p. 29
15. Ajankohtainen 3, toimittanut Daniel Nylund
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life
Grap to eternal life!