Atheists Have Doubts Too

Doubt is an inherent part of having faith. Faith, the Bible tells us, is having convictions about things which you cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). This extends to things which cannot be empirically proven through scientific method. If you can see something and prove it, there is no need for faith. Doubt therefore, is not how faith ends, but is the occasion where faith and trust begin.

But it is not only “believers” who have doubts. Studies have shown that professing atheists also have doubts about whether they are right.

CS Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity said, “When I was an atheist, I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable.”

A recent poll from Newman University and YouGov found that one in five British atheists and over a third of Canadian atheists agreed with the statement: “Evolutionary processes cannot explain the existence of human consciousness.” [1]

In his book The Reason for God, Timothy Keller challenges those who doubt to “doubt their doubts,” i.e. to consider to the faith and beliefs (the assumptions which cannot be empirically proven) that underly their doubts, and to honestly question whether they actually stand on firm ground. His conclusion is that faith is God is actually more plausible than the alternative.

This week in our Sermon Extra, Pastor Mike and I discussed the role of doubt in faith, the fact that atheists have doubts too, and what we should do with our doubts. Check it out here:

In this week's sermon extra, Pastors Nick Cady and Michael Payne discuss reasons why people doubt Christianity and what the Bible says about it.   I Could Never Believe in a God Who…  The Trouble Is…  To listen to Sunday's sermon: — Support this podcast:

11 thoughts on “Atheists Have Doubts Too

  1. Of course atheists have doubts. That doesn’t mean we’re wrong in concluding that there are no god or gods. There is no evidence for them/it.

    I stand on firm ground. I suspect I have the same reason you do to doubt that gods exist (other than your own): no evidence.

    “Evolutionary processes cannot explain the existence of human consciousness” this is nothing more than a argument from personal ignorance. That people think this doesn’t mean it is true.
    “His conclusion is that faith is God is actually more plausible than the alternative.”

    which god? You have no more evidence for your version than any other theist. Indeed, you all often use the exact same arguments to try to support that your god does exist.

    1. “There is no evidence for them/it.” Well that’s just not true. There is the evidence of matter for example, which has to have had an origin. There is the issue of the irreducibility of the complexity of organic systems, which necessitates belief in spontaneous origination. There is the issue of human consciousness. There are other evidences about which others have spilled much ink and written better than I can here in a comment on a blog, for example, in The Reason for God – half the book is devoted to what Keller calls “the fingerprints of God,” which, although none of them on its own constitutes a slam dunk, together they form a very strong argument for the existence of God which cannot be ignored.

      As I say in the message attached to this post, going from doubt to belief involves hearing testimony, seeing the evidence, and responding in faith. Part of the evidence for the God of the Bible is the testimony of the Scriptures and those who gave their lives for the claim that the things which they claimed to have seen and heard from Jesus did in fact happen.

      If you really want evidence, both for God in general and/or for the God of the Bible in particular, I would encourage you take a look at Keller’s book The Reason for God and see if it doesn’t cause you to doubt your doubts (in the existence of God, in this case).

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I sincerely wish you all the best.

      1. Nick, do show that your version of your god is the creator. Most, if not every, theist makes the same claim “the universe is evidence for MY god/s” and none of you have any evidence of that at all. The laws of physics can be just as eternal and making matter, no god needed.

        There is no such thing as the nonsense that Behe claims about irreducibility. He became a laughing stock at the Dover trial. Different structures can evolve to do new things.

        We have no idea why we have human consciousness. But we do know that it is destroyed or harmed if the brain is harmed. No evidence for duality at all. If your “soul” can interact with a electrochemical organ like the brain, then it should be detectable by other electrochemical instruments. It has never been.

        I don’t blindly accept lies passed on from creationist to creationist. Keller is just like you, making laims about his god and having no evidence for it at all. And no, they don’t form a “very strong argument” since they are dependent on false claims.

        Testimony is nonsense, and I’m sure you don’t believe the testimony from other theists who don’t agree with you. I don’t believe them either and for the same reasons, I don’t believe you.

        Theh bible is the claim, it isn’t the evidence. That’s what you fail to produce. And people die for stupid things all of the time. So, does that mean that Islam is as true as your version of Christianity?

        I’ve read the “Reason for God”. It is the typical apologetic nonsense of a Christian who thinks that the arguments that most, if not all theists, use, should only be used for his god. He has no more evidence that his god is the creator than any other theist. His has to be the magic true one, and everyone else who uses the same argument must be wrong. How? He can’t explain.

        and neither can you.

      2. The universe and how it functions is evidence for A GOD, and one must go beyond that to learn what the creator God is like, and which claims about God are to be received and which are to be rejected.

        “The laws of physics can be just as eternal and making matter, no god needed.”
        The laws of physics include the laws of motion, thermodynamics, and others. These laws are not “matter making” in the least, in fact they state quite clearly that in order for something to change, be created, or gather energy, they must be acted upon by an outside force.
        So by definition, while the laws of physics are eternal, matter and systems must have had a spontaneous origin according to the laws of physics, in this case thermodynamics and motion, the former of which also states that everything is naturally moving from order to disorder. That’s law.

        What you’re talking about is a theory, which is improvable by science: namely that matter can create itself. That is not a law of science, that is a claim which requires faith and belief in something you can’t prove or observe.

        So please at least have the integrity to be honest enough to admit that you have a faith claim about something you cannot prove, which then forms a hermeneutical lens through which you create your worldview. At the end of the day, you are quite similar to a theist in this regard.

  2. I really enjoyed reading the book, “I don’t have enough faith to be an Atheist”. I highly recommend it and, if you’re not into that, the author’s college/university campus presentations are available on YouTube.

  3. Automotive engineering cannot explain your miles-per-gallon ratio. Apples Oranges. :roll
    Matter may need to have an origin. That is a claim, not a fact. Even if true, there is no evidence that the origin was your pet God. 😯

    1. Hi. Actually automotive engineering can explain your miles per gallon ratio. And yes, matter needs to have had an origin. Matter does not spontaneously create itself. These are laws of science- not theories. And you are correct: all this part of the discussion is about a creator. There are other reasons why Christians believe the creator is the God of the Bible.

      1. Actually, it can’t. No two identical vehicles get the same mileage. It doesn’t take into account, lead-foot racers, brake-riders, vehicle loads, tire condition, road condition, weather condition, etc.

        I believe you meant, “Matter does not spontaneously create itself.” which is another claim, not a scientific law.

        Perhaps an even greater Being, which is not God, created everything, and He is merely taking undeserved credit. 😛

      2. To your first point: that’s because the mileage changes based on variable factors. That doesn’t mean that engineering cannot design, control, or explain mileage within a range which encompasses the possible variables.

        The First Law of Biology: all living organisms obey the laws of thermodynamics.

        The first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another. (Things with energy got that energy from something outside of themselves)

        The second law of thermodynamics says that the entropy of any isolated system always increases. Isolated systems spontaneously evolve towards thermal equilibrium—the state of maximum entropy of the system. (Things left to themselves are moving from order to disorder, not from disorder to order. This is a law of science).

  4. Doubt is a a good start to asking questions to find truth. All people have doubt. It’s how they satisfy those doubts that differ.

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