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I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be a Christian


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by Kyle Williams © 2005

Scripture taken from the NIV. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.


INTRODUCTIONIn their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2004) Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek claim to prove that Christianity is true beyond a reasonable doubt (pages 25, 30-32, 134, 200, 203, 213, 231, 247, 273, 275, 293, 301, 354, 373, 383, 387, 388). Their foreword, written by David Limbaugh, claims that “powerful and convincing proof exists that Christianity is the one true religion...” (page 7). These are bold claims. Are they true? Let's find out.























Knock, Knock.


I answered the door. There was a talking book on my front porch. The book said, “Hi! I was written by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek. My title is I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. I was published in 2004 by Crossway Books of Wheaton, Illinois.”


“That’s a mouthful,” I said. “May I call you Atheist for short?”


“Um. Why don’t you call me G&T?”


“That’s short for Geisler and Turek?”


“Right,” said the book. “I’m from the church down the street.”


“I’m Kyle.”


“Kyle, do you mind if I ask you a spiritual question?”


“Go ahead.”


“Kyle, if you were to die tonight and stand before God, and God were to ask you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ what would you say?”


“I would ask him, ‘Who are you?’ and ‘What makes you think I want to get into your heaven?’ To tell you the truth: I don’t believe in God. I’m an atheist.”


“You’re an atheist?”


“That’s right.”


“Well, are you absolutely sure there is no God?” the book asked.


I paused and said, “Well, no, I’m not absolutely sure. I guess it’s possible there might be a god.”


“So you’re not really an atheist, then – you’re an agnostic,” the book said, “because an atheist says, ‘I know there is no God,’ and an agnostic says ‘I don’t know whether there is a God.’”


“My turn,” I said. “Are you a Christian? Do you believe in God?”




“Well, are you absolutely sure there is a God?” I asked.


The book paused and said, “Well, I’m not absolutely sure. I guess it’s possible there might not be a God. My authors wrote on page 25, ‘Whatever we’ve concluded about the existence of God, it’s always possible that the opposite conclusion is true.’”


“So you’re not really a Christian, then – you’re an agnostic,” I informed the book, “because a Christian says, ‘I know there is a God,’ and an agnostic says ‘I don’t know whether there is a God.’”


“Yeah ... alright; so I guess I’m an agnostic then,” the book admitted.


Noticing the book’s bewilderment, I decided it was time to let it off the hook. I said, “By your definition, an agnostic is one who has the integrity and intellectual honesty to admit that he is not absolutely sure about the existence of God. Being agnostic, then, is a good thing. Anyone can be agnostic, no matter what conclusions he has drawn. You have drawn the conclusion that God exists, and because you also believe in Jesus, you correctly call yourself a Christian. I have drawn the opposite conclusion, and I correctly call myself an atheist. Yet we are both agnostic, too; we both admit the possibility, no matter how remote we think it is, that our conclusions are wrong. So you are an agnostic Christian and I am an agnostic atheist.”


“I would rather call myself Christian than agnostic,” murmured the book between its lines.


“And I would rather be called an atheist. So why don’t we drop the ‘agnostic’ moniker?”


"Good idea," the book sighed with relief. Then it continued, "So how did you reach the conclusion that God does not exist?"


“The same way I reached the conclusion that fairies don’t exist. Nobody has shown me any convincing evidence.”


The book launched its million-dollar question: “Would you be willing to look at my evidence?”


“For God or fairies?” I winked.


“God,” laughed the book.


I liked the book’s sense of humor, so I invited the book into my home. I poured a glass of ice water for myself. Because books don’t like water, I put some ink and whiteout on the coffee table. I was curious to see how G&T would use the liquids by the end of our discussion.




G&T (51): Have you ever asked yourself why people believe what they believe?


Kyle: That question perplexes me all the time. I think most people adopt the beliefs of their parents, friends, or their culture. They don’t even think about it. That would explain why you have entire countries that are predominantly Islamic, Buddhist or Catholic, for example.


G&T (51-52): I would categorize these as sociological reasons for belief. Do you think sociological reasons alone can lead you to the truth?


Kyle: No. It was only by chance that I was born into a Mormon family. I had no choice. If I had been loyal to the sociological default, I would still be Mormon. And the child who is born by chance into an Islamic society would still be Islamic. That has nothing to do with truthfulness.


G&T (51): Good. Why else do people believe what they believe?


Kyle: Some people accept certain beliefs that make them feel secure. They seek comfort, peace of mind, meaning, purpose, hope, or a sense of identity.


G&T (51-52): I categorize these as psychological reasons for belief. Are these good enough reasons to believe something?


Kyle: No, not if you’re looking for the truth. Reality is sometimes frightening and troubling. You can escape into a comforting fantasy from time to time, but if you don’t come out of it, you can become delusional. And that's a dangerous way to live.


G&T (51): I agree. Why else do people believe what they believe?


Kyle: Some people believe in holy scriptures, or churches, or pastors, priests, gurus, rabbis, or imams.


G&T (51-53): Let’s call these religious reasons for belief. Should you believe something just because some religious source or holy book says so?


Kyle: No. All these religions, with their books and leaders, contradict one another.


G&T (53): Right. So we have to judge which religion, if any, is true. But we can’t use sociological, psychological or religious reasons for judging religions. There must be something else.


Kyle: I prefer logic, reason, science and evidence.


G&T (51, 53): Let’s call these philosophical reasons for belief. Is something worth believing if it’s rational, if it’s supported by evidence, and if it best explains all the data?


Kyle: Yes, of course.


G&T (53): I agree. By exposing inadequate justifications for beliefs, the way is cleared for the seeker of truth to find adequate justifications. I will attempt to show you good reason and evidence to support belief in God and Christianity.


Kyle: I’m skeptical that you will succeed, but I applaud the attempt.


G&T (54): Thank you. You know, there are many false beliefs in the world – beliefs that are based on subjective preference rather than logic and evidence.


Kyle: Of course.


G&T (53-54): Well, I’m here to tell you that any teaching, religious or otherwise, is worth trusting only if it points to the truth. Are you ready to give up subjective preferences in favor of objective facts – facts discovered through logic, evidence and science?


Kyle: Yes. I will follow the truth wherever it leads. Will you?


G&T (66-69): I should hope so! Truth is vitally important. Apathy about truth is dangerous.


Kyle: I couldn’t agree more.


G&T (56): So, are you familiar with the basics of logic? Do you know, for example, what the Law of Noncontradiction is?


Kyle: Yes. It means a claim can’t be both true and false at the same time, in the same sense.


G&T (62): Good. How about the Law of the Excluded Middle?


Kyle: That means something either is or is not. For example, either God exists, or he does not. There is no third alternative. Now, it is possible that God exists in the imagination, but not literally, but these are two different claims. Either God exists in the imagination, or he does not exist in the imagination. Either God exists literally, or he does not exist literally.


G&T (63-64): You’ve got it. You know how a syllogism works? Deduction? Induction?


Kyle: Yes, I think so. They just make common sense. If I have any question about them, I’ll ask when we come to them.


G&T: Good enough.


Kyle: You're not like other missionaries. Most of them want me to believe them without evidence.


G&T (53-54,159-160,213): Not I. I want you to discover the truth by reason, logic and evidence. I will prove that God exists without using the Bible.


Kyle: I like that. Let’s get started with some evidence.




G&T (74-75): One of the oldest and strongest arguments for the existence of God is the Cosmological Argument:


1. Everything that had a beginning had a cause.

2. The universe had a beginning.

3. Therefore, the universe had a cause.


Kyle: I can accept your first premise: “Everything that had a beginning had a cause.” The Law of Causality makes sense. I’m not so sure about your second premise. Did the universe really have a beginning? Doesn’t the word ‘universe’ mean everything that exists? If God existed, for example, wouldn’t God be part of the universe? G&T (94): Well, if you define ‘universe’ to include God, then no, the universe did not have a beginning, because God never had a beginning. If God had a beginning, we would have the impossible situation of something emerging from nothing. Nothing comes from nothing.


Kyle: So, how do you define the word ‘universe’?


G&T (79-80, 92-93): By ‘universe,’ I mean space, time and matter. I sometimes call this the ‘space-time universe.’ Everything that exists outside of space, time and matter is not part of the universe.


Kyle: Okay. So the “universe” consists of four dimensions – length, breadth, height and time. I've heard about String Theory, which suggests there are eleven dimensions. Assuming String Theory is correct, the remaining seven dimensions are outside of the space-time universe.


G&T: Do you have evidence to support String Theory?


Kyle: No. All I'm saying is that you've placed God outside of our four dimensions. Therefore, if God exists at all, he must exist in other dimensions. Whether String Theory is correct or not, you must believe in other dimensions.


G&T: That sounds like a reasonable conclusion.


Kyle: So it would be more accurate to restate your Cosmological Argument this way:


1. Everything that had a beginning had a cause.

2. Space, time and matter had a beginning.

3. Therefore, space, time and matter had a cause.


G&T: If you insist. Kyle: I do. I think the word ‘universe’ is misleading if it doesn’t include everything that exists.


G&T: So, do you believe that space, time and matter had a beginning?


Kyle: I can understand matter coming from immaterial stuff. But a universe without space? That’s inconceivable. A universe without time is also counterintuitive. How could anything exist outside of time? It sounds too bizarre for belief.


G&T (90): If you think it through, a beginning of time is rationally inescapable.


Kyle: Really?


G&T (91): Yes. Our timeline is undeniably finite.


Kyle: I’m from Missouri. Show me.


G&T (90): Kalam is Arabic for ‘eternal.’


Kyle: According to William Lane Craig, kalam means ‘speech.’ I have a critique of Craig’s book, The Kalam Cosmological Argument. But go on.


G&T (90-91): The Kalam Argument goes like this:


1. An infinite number of days has no end.

2. Today is the end of history.

3. Therefore, there were not an infinite number of days before today.


Kyle: For time to be finite, it must have both a beginning and an end. G&T: Right.


Kyle: There are two classes of infinite time: Time that has a beginning, but no end is a potentialactual infinite. The past is an actual infinite. infinite. The future is a potential infinite. Time that has an end but no beginning is an


G&T: Unless there was a beginning.


Kyle: Right. If there were a beginning, the past would be finite. But your argument fails to prove that there was a beginning.


G&T: How?


Kyle: Your first premise – “An infinite number of days has no end” – describes a potential infinite. It looks toward the future. It says nothing about the past as an actual infinite.


G&T: Oh!


Kyle: Neither of your premises mention the real issue – whether there was a beginning.


G&T: By golly, you’re right.


Kyle: Therefore, your conclusion is a non-sequitur. Your argument proves nothing. Would you care for some whiteout?


G&T (94): Not yet. I have too much invested in my position.


Kyle: The offer remains open.


G&T (91): Thanks. But what about this: You can’t add anything to something that is infinite, but tomorrow we will add another day to our timeline.


Kyle: Who says you can’t add anything to an infinite set? Of course you can. Ask any math teacher. What you probably mean is that the total number of days doesn't change. Add one day to an infinite set of days, and you still have an infinite number of days. But the new set of days has one unique day in it that it didn't have before. A day has been added to an infinite timeline.


G&T (91): Okay.... Let’s consider this argument from a different angle. If there were an infinite number of days before today, then today would never have arrived.


Kyle: The opposite is true. In an infinite number of days, every day must arrive.


G&T (91): But you can't traverse an infinite number of days.


Kyle: If you begin on a particular day and progress one day at a time, you're right. You will never traverse an infinite number of days. A beginningless timeline, though, doesn't begin on a particular day. By definition it has no beginning at all. It has been progressing day by day forever. Every day arrives precisely on schedule, and it's added to the infinite timeline.


G&T: I hadn't thought about it that way.


Kyle: Of course, there was never a day when a finite number of days became an infinite number of days. The number of days has always been infinite.


G&T: Hmm....


Kyle: The Kalam Argument, which you called “rationally inescapable,” is false. Philosophically, there is no reason to limit the number of days before today.


G&T (chapter 3): Well, there is still a lot of scientific evidence. Do you believe there was a Big Bang?


Kyle: I’m not sure. Scientists seem to disagree among themselves. I could do exhaustive research and come to an informed conclusion, but that would take more time and effort than I’m willing to put into it.


G&T (42-43): So you’re agnostic when it comes to the Big Bang, right?


Kyle: I suppose.


G&T (76-84): To back up the Big Bang theory, we have what I call SURGE science:


S – The Second Law of Thermodynamics

U – The Universe is Expanding

R – Radiation from the Big Bang

G – Great Galaxy Seeds

E – Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity


Kyle: Fascinating. G&T (62): According to the Law of the Excluded Middle, the science, as I present it, is either right, or it is wrong.


Kyle: If it’s wrong, your Cosmological Argument is weak. If it’s right, your second premise is proved: Space and time had a beginning.


G&T: So do you accept the science I presented as correct?


Kyle: I don’t have the training to refute it. Therefore, for the sake of our discussion, I accept it as correct. Space, time and matter had a beginning. It’s counter-intuitive; it’s difficult to grasp such a bizarre concept, but for the sake of our discussion, I accept it as correct.


G&T: Isn't it even more difficult to understand the past as being an actual infinite?


Kyle: No. The way I see it, a beginningless past makes much more sense than time beginning out of non-time.


G&T: Anyway, for the sake of the argument you accept both premises?


Kyle: Yes, assuming the science to be correct.


G&T: Does the conclusion follow logically from the premises?


Kyle: Yes.


G&T: Then you admit that space, time and matter had a cause.


Kyle: Yes, assuming your science to be correct, there was a Big Bang when space, time and matter came into existence.


G&T: Good. Then who is it that caused space and time to come into existence?


Kyle: Who!? Don’t you mean ‘what’?


G&T (93): Well, let’s look at the nature of whatever it is that exists outside of space and time: First, he ...


Kyle: ... or it ...


G&T (93): ... or it ... must be self-existent, timeless, nonspatial and immaterial.


Kyle: I understand that it must be nonspatial, timeless and immaterial because it exists outside of space, time and matter. But self-existent? What do you mean by that?


G&T (93): There are only two possibilities for anything that exists: either 1) it has always existed and is therefore uncaused, or 2) it had a beginning and was caused by something else. If space, time and matter had a beginning, then something outside of space, time and matter has always existed, uncaused. It is self-existent.


Kyle: I can accept that. Something had to exist forever. But so far, you have not given any good reason that the uncaused something is a personal god.


G&T (93): I’m getting to that. The uncaused something must be unimaginably powerful, to create the entire universe out of nothing.


Kyle: Wait a minute. Instead of ‘universe,’ I think you mean space, time and matter. Right?


G&T: Right.


Kyle: Now, what do you mean by ‘nothing’? Nothing comes from nothing.


G&T (79): ‘Nothing’ means no space, no time and no matter.


Kyle: So it would be more accurate to say it this way: Whatever made the Big Bang had to be sufficiently powerful to cause space, time and matter to emerge suddenly from other dimensions.


G&T (93): Okay. Also, the uncaused something had to be supremely intelligent, to design the universe with such incredible precision. But we’ll talk more about this in the next chapter.


Kyle: So this is a wash at the moment.


G&T (93): Yes. Just be patient. Finally, the uncaused something had to be personal, in order to choose to convert other dimensions into the time-space-material universe. An impersonal force has no ability to make choices.


Kyle: Now you’re begging the question. What makes you think the emergence of space, time and matter was a personal choice? Couldn’t it have been a natural phenomenon?


G&T (85): But there could be no natural phenomenon. Nature cannot exist outside of space, time and matter.


Kyle: Our particular laws of physics might not work in other dimensions, but the other dimensions surely have some kind of order to them – some parallel to our natural laws. Otherwise, the other dimensions would be total chaos, and not even your God could exist. So if a god can exist in other dimensions, then other phenomena can occur in them, and those phenomena would occur according to the nature of those dimensions.


G&T: Do you have proof that the Big Bang was caused by natural phenomena?


Kyle: No, but the burden of proof is yours. Do you have proof that the Big Bang was caused by personal choice?


G&T: Touché.


Kyle: Indeed. So we can throw out your final point. If I understand you correctly, the only evidence you offer that a Person – a “who” rather than a “what” – was responsible for the Big Bang is that it would take intelligence to design space, time and matter.


G&T (93-94): Looks like it. And we’ll discuss that in the next chapter. For right now, I have a question for you: If there is no God, why is there something rather than nothing at all?


Kyle: That sounds like a rhetorical question. I’ll tell you the answer if you can answer this: Why is there a God rather than no God?


G&T (94): That’s a good question. That’s a really good question.


Kyle: But it doesn’t have a good answer, does it?


G&T: No, I guess not.


Kyle: Is there any significant difference between your question and mine?


G&T: No, mine doesn’t have a good answer either.


Kyle: So where are we? I agree that something caused space, time and matter to come into existence, assuming your scientific evidence is correct. But neither the Cosmological Argument nor the scientific evidence says anything about what existed before the Big Bang. It might have been a god, or it might have been another set of dimensions as complex, precise, varied and marvelous as space and time. We simply don’t know. Neither science nor philosophy tells us what may have caused the Big Bang. If you don’t mind my pointing out the obvious, you have failed, so far, to prove the existence of God.


G&T: I have other chapters. Let’s go on to the Teleological Argument.




G&T (95, 105): Perhaps the most powerful argument for the existence of God is the Teleological Argument:


1. Every design had a designer.

2. The universe has highly complex design.

3. Therefore, the universe had a designer.


Kyle: I’m a bit confused by your syllogism. The words ‘design’ and ‘designer’ are so closely related that the first premise is a tautology, the second premise begs the question, and the conclusion, therefore, is meaningless. Maybe we can fix it, though. Let’s define our terms. What do you mean by ‘designer’? G&T (95-96, 106-107): A designer is an intelligent being who intentionally plans and manufactures something.


Kyle: What do you mean by ‘design’?


G&T (95-96, 102, 104-105, 107): Design is precision ...


Kyle: ... and complexity?


G&T (95, 106, 111): Yes, and complexity.


Kyle: What else?


G&T (96, 104-107): Anything that has interdependent parts that appear to be fine-tuned or delicately balanced must be designed by an intelligent being.


Kyle: Because it’s complex and precise.


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