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Has denying the Christian God become intellectually disordered?

Unsplash/Hao Wen
Unsplash/Hao Wen

I understand that atheism is a denial of all religious deities, and I agree that the burden of proof is on the claimant. However, I have come to realize that a denial of the Christian God is intellectually disordered.

The implication is not that unbelievers are themselves intellectually disordered. They could possess fine intellectual aptitude but when it comes to a denial of the Christian God, I believe the content requires intellectual order. I use the term “disorder” by its meaning on, “lack of order or regular arrangement; confusion.”

So what is the point of this article? In the midst of raging cultural wars, it’s necessary to highlight how attempts to undermine a Christian’s faith are intellectually disordered. The Gospel remains a powerful message that offers grace, forgiveness, and a real personal relationship with God. The relevancy and credibility of it should be articulated with confidence. It resonates and makes complete sense of the human experience of reality. Christians should remain steadfast, “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began” (Tit. 1:2). Skepticism does not engage in serious orderly conversation, but seeks mostly to annoy by sarcastic rhetoric. Christian claims are nitpicked, and disordered with intent to disable their potency.

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The first disorder is treating Christian faith like all other religions. Logic reveals that religions contradict one another. They teach different tenets and so they cannot all be correct. A Christian believes that “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). So whenever skepticism retorts by mixing all religions together, it’s simply fallacious and disordered. For Christians, conversing with other religions seems more worthwhile as we respectfully acknowledge our unique differences, and thus logic is maintained. With many skeptics, we have lost that common ground of logic. Skeptics should admit that all religions do not teach the same things. That would initiate a necessary disentanglement in skepticism’s intellectual disorder.

Skepticism also talks as if it has a monopoly on scientific enterprise. Indeed, science is powerfully descriptive, and observations provide knowledge. Skeptics refer to their sources of interpretation as arbitrary over the ones that infer God. For example, the observed red shift is extrapolated to a point the size of a pinhead that exploded and brought the universe into existence. There is no evidence that the “pinhead” contained fine-tuning, the laws of mathematics, physics and chemistry, the potential for male and female to procreate in perfect conditions, and all the nutrients to sustain life. It’s nevertheless assumed in conversation with Christians as ironclad science. When an excellent contemporary philosophy of science, such as, The Return of the God Hypothesis by Stephen C. Meyer is brought into conversation, skeptics arbitrarily label it as unscientific.

Thus another intellectual disorder is that while skepticism constantly looks for opportunities to discredit Christian faith with preferred interpretations, it shows hardly any knowledge of “the God hypothesis.” Skeptics should take a lesson from the learned professor Jordan Peterson who read Meyer’s book and said, “well written, densely informative . . . It’s not often I encounter a book that contains so much I did not know.” If such a stalwart public intellectual admits to learning “so much (he) did not know,” how much more is there to learn for contemporary skepticism?

Conveniently, skepticism often quips, ‘there is no evidence for God.’ (I have written on this elsewhere, “No evidence for God? Says Who?”). This also leads to a conversation that is intellectually disordered. Even the great philosopher, Immanuel Kant said, “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe ... the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.” Kant was not necessarily alluding to God, but to our consciousness of practical reason that could suggest something beyond humanity. You could have an intellectually ordered conversation about Christian faith with someone who acknowledges that scientific laws cannot explain their own existence, that the actual human conscience exists apart from social conditioning, and that our capacity for practical reason seems inbred.

The realities of justice, love, free will, and rationality are as indisputable as mathematical equations. Intellectual disorder occurs as contemporary skepticism takes Christian concepts and treats them as human inventions by applying preferred interpretations. It says humanity created God; order simply emerged from primordial chaos; humanity then developed laws and the concept of justice; it delineated objectively right from wrong; it discovered the need for love; it created all the talents and gifts to compose art and music; finally, it neatly packaged them all in what has become Secular Humanism. This is not a caricature; it’s an intellectually disordered view. (Again, I have already written about this in “Christian faith and the illusion of secularism.”)

Christian faith and skepticism have become too far apart, but don’t take my word for it. Take it from the chief of skeptical rhetoric and sarcasm, the late Christopher Hitchens. In the documentary, Collision, with the competent Christian thinker, Douglas Wilson, Hitchens said: “despite our good personal relations, on a side apart, divided from one another ... there’s no bridge that can suffice(YouTube, 6:58-7:25).

Wilson reasoned that skeptics critique the Christian worldview by invoking a worldview that has no justification for its supposed superior moral judgments. Wilson said of Hitchens, “Notice that he is not ... appealing to a standard that overarches all human beings that is obligatory for all of us. He says things like Substitutionary Atonement is immoral, well by what standard? Why? What worldview considers it to be immoral? Why is that worldview in charge of the Christian worldview” (17:58 – 18:25)?

Criticism of the Christian faith often contains sarcasm, ridicule, disordered rhetoric, and lacks genuine openness to discovering the Truth. A believer can press on with confidence that in an intellectually ordered conversation, Christian faith is philosophically, scientifically, and existentially sound. Regrettably, the shared center of civility seems all that’s left in conversations between Christian faith and skepticism.

Marlon De Blasio is a cultural apologist, Christian writer and author of Discerning Culture. He lives in Toronto with his family. Follow him at MarlonDeBlasio@Twitter

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