The ignorance of atheists



National Affairs Rory Leishman

National Affairs Rory Leishman

One can only smile at the ignorance of British atheists who have taken to plastering London buses with the false and misleading advertisement: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”


Richard Dawkins, the scientist, Darwinist and notorious atheist who helped pay for the advertisements, maintains that the universe somehow evolved out of nothing by natural selection or some other similar process. How probable is that? Most people in Britain, as in the United States and Canada, would agree that it is far more probable to suppose that all things visible and invisible in the universe were created by Almighty God.

Of course, conceptions of God differ. While deists think of god as a kind of super watchmaker who got the universe underway and then took a leave of absence, Christians believe in a loving and righteous God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and judge of all people.

The atheist advertisement is evidently targeted specifically at this Christian conception of God. In effect, the advertisement maintains that there is no such God, so now stop worrying and enjoy your life. Is this argument persuasive? Can anyone who is weighed down with guilt over abortion, adultery or some other sin now stop worrying and enjoy life because intellectuals like Dawkins have assured us that there is probably no God? Not likely. Apart from a few psychopaths, even the most hardened atheists who rob, steal, lie or kill the innocent are bound to be wracked with guilt.

As Paul explains in the second chapter of his letter to the Romans, God has created, whether we like it or not, a divinely sanctioned natural moral law that is written on the hearts of all people. For this reason, even unbelievers cannot help but know that induced abortion is evil.

Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of pro-life activists are devout Christians. Does it follow, then, that the leaders of the pro-abortion movement are right to charge that opposition to the deliberate killing of babies in the womb is only an irrational Christian belief? Not at all. Pro-life Christians are eager to demonstrate that their opposition to abortion is grounded in both reason and faith. It is the advocates of abortion who are typically unwilling to engage in any rational discussion of the science and morality of abortion.

It is the pro-life position that is eminently reasonable. No proponent of abortion can come up with any reasonable argument for supposing that it’s somehow permissible to kill a baby before, but not after, birth.

Given that all people must know in their heart of hearts that deliberate abortion is an evil that can never be justified, why do so many atheists, agnostics and marginal Christians pretend otherwise? It’s a question of self-deception. All of us are disposed to ignore and suppress the truth about our wrong and sinful behaviour. As Jeremiah observed: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt.”

However, faithful Christians are regularly called upon in worship to examine their private consciences in the light of both their reason and the revelation of the divine moral law in the Bible. And that explains why such Christians have taken the lead in every major campaign for social reform over the past two centuries – from the struggles to abolish slavery and segregation down to the current campaigns to combat the evil of abortion and euthanasia.

Some of these same Christians have had an abortion. All of them know that in many ways, they have sinned and fallen far short of the divine perfection. But they do not despair because they believe, as the Apostle Paul declared, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself so our sins might not longer be held against us.

This is the exceedingly good news of the Gospel. This is the message that the women and men suffering from the guilt of abortion desperately need to hear: there is a God. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. If we turn to him with sincere repentance and true faith, we can relax and enjoy life, confident that nothing we have ever done can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

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