A World Without Religion?
Often, people will say that religion is poison, or they will say that the world would be better off without religion. In this article, ‘religion’ will simply be defined as ‘Christianity.’ When we examine the typical atheist’s positions and compare their own beliefs to their argument, we find that their worldview cannot maintain this objection. There are two reasons why.
First, most atheists are empirically minded and favor using the scientific method in order to discern truth. The scientific method, however, requires experimentation. Since there is no world that does not have religion, this hypothesis cannot be tested. Thus, if the atheist believes in using the scientific method to discern truth, they must admit that their claim is unscientific, and therefore, they must reject their own claim.
Second, most atheists believe in universal-common descent. That is, the idea that all life came from a single common ancestor. If this is the case, there was some point in time during the evolutionary process where there was a thought or belief. In universal-common descent, this thought or belief would have had to come from a non-propositional source.
Why is this significant? Logic is the science of necessary inference. Logic also deal only in propositions. If logic deals only in propositions, then a proposition can neither follow from a non-proposition nor can a non-proposition follow from a non proposition. In other words, if universal-common descent is true, any conclusion the atheist has drawn, according to the implications of their views of how humans can to be, is based on a fallacy because the original thought that their ancestors (or the atheist himself/herself had) was derived from a non-proposition.
The same can be said concerning moral propositions. Because atheists do not have a way to account for the inferring of propositions from non-propositions or vice versa, they cannot logically maintain a binding standard of morality. Thus, even when they approach this issue from the standpoint of morality, they are unable to maintain their position.
What About Christianity?
If Christianity is true, then it means that if we obeyed God in the first place, there would be no pain or suffering. Thus, the world would be superior if we listened to God in the first place. Even though man fell, and even though there is pain and suffering in the world, God will end pain and suffering (Revelation 21:4). Because we have the Bible, we know who God is, what His promises are, and what our place we can potentially have in His creation is. These things are revealed to us through propositional revelation. Therefore, unlike the believer, we can validly infer these conclusions.
Answering Potential Objections
Objection: God told the Israelites to commit moral atrocities, therefore, religion is harmful and immoral.
Response: We have already discussed why atheism cannot account for moral propositions. Let’s, however, lay that truism to the side.
The alleged moral atrocities that the atheist is referring to would have never happened if we listened to God in the first place. Thus, concerning this particular issue of whether or not the world would be better off without religion, the objection the atheist raises is irrelevant.
Furthermore, when the Israelites were ordered to kill others, it was the result of God’s judgment, and when God judges, he gives opportunities for those who are against Him to repent (2 Peter 3:9, Romans 1:24, 2 Thessalonians 2:11). Specific scenarios atheists often point out will be addressed in future articles.
Objection: Religion hinders technology.
Response: Many of the pioneers of science have been Christians such as Issac Newton, Robert Boyle, Nicholas Copernicus, and Dr. Russell Humphreys. When atheists try to argue that Christianity stifles scientific progress, they are doing it all the while standing on the shoulders of Christians who laid the groundwork for much of the technology and scientific theories we have today.
Objection: You have to prove that your religion is the right religion in order to make your argument.
Response: Since the unbeliever asked us to imagine a world without religion, they too much also entertain the implications of Christianity given that Christianity is true. The type of objection the atheist gives is concerning implications of a philosophical paradigm (atheism), thus, if they expect us to grant such an idea for the sake of discussion, they must be willing to grant ours too.