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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Atheists


We read about the people who profess to be atheists, not believing that God exists, but I wonder really how many true atheists there are.  It is truly difficult to believe that anyone can live in and experience life with its physical surroundings and the multitude of marvelous attributes the earth and universe has to offer, and still formulate in their mind's eye a worldview without a Creator.
If it wasn't so tragic it would be humorous to watch a person who proclaims their atheism so publicly and proudly.  Tragic in that the person is such a defeatist with a pessimistic, negative viewpoint; that creates for himself a fatalistic worldview that everything eventually will end up into nothingness.  Humorous in that watching the person interact with the world around him using only the created earth and universe, from the microscopic, sub-atomic design that extends throughout the universe as the proof-text for his fatalistic worldview.
An atheist looks to a Christian and derides him because of his faith and acceptance in the Word of God as presented in the Bible.  The popular cry is to negate any proof of God's existence by using the Bible as a proof-text.  The atheist says of the Bible, "You cannot use something we don't accept as a proof to believe in something else we don't accept, the existence of God."
Yet, the atheist only has the planet earth, solar system, galaxies and universe to observe and deduce from their observations of the consistent design found therein that it somehow negates the existence of God.  To that so-called scientific method of observation, analysis and conclusion, as a Christian, I say, "You cannot use that method to prove something does not exist when you have not completed an exhaustive, complete observation and analysis with the apparent infinite number that exists, and reach a conclusion with such incomplete data."  In a matter so important as the existence of God it is not enough just to generalize from a sample of data to make inferences to the total number of possibilities that exist in the universe.
Any researcher knows that you must isolate variables and manipulate conditions to determine the effect on some dependent variable.  In a very controlled study the researcher can establish a set of independent variables to measure their effect on some dependent variable on which his research hypothesis rests.  It is a valid method to speculate that within this specific set of variables used in this particular research this independent variable had this much effect on the dependent variable and this other independent variable had this much effect.  But that is true for only that particular experiment.  Replication with similar results is required for even the smallest amount of "truth" to be sustained from any set of conditions.  From that method comes knowledge, and knowledge becomes cumulative over time and certain generalized inferences can be projected toward similar populations of datum.
Of course discovery is an important part of the "scientific-method" that leads people to make inferences.  Think back to the earliest times when men dreamed of flying.  Each person knew through observation, even before Sir Isaac Newton, that there was something that caused an object to fall from heights.  Things simply fell out of trees, or off of cliffs; if it was up higher than the ground it would eventually fall.  Someone, however, discovered that if air was heated and trapped by some kind of bladder it somehow defied the "falling" phenomenon and drifted up into the air.  Eventually balloons became a way to leave the ground; even they fell to earth when the air inside cooled. 
With each new discovery and each new application of that discovery it drives researchers to explore deeper into the new discovery and test it over and over for more applications.  With all that research into the effects of heat on air we learned we can have balloons of many different shapes, we can heat the air inside them in more than one way.  From that research came the knowledge that heated air rises; but not only rises, but rises consistently and with purpose.  Our inference was that generally, all air when heated will rise; and when trapped in something it will cause that to rise as well. 
Hundreds of years have passed since the balloon was researched and inferences made.  We make those kind of discoveries all the time, and make inferences about what we find here on earth, and now, even in space as we continue to reach out to make discoveries all the time.
The point is, somewhere, sometime in history someone made an inference that was invalid.  Somewhere someone said, "Oh, now that I know this about that, it must mean there is no God; no Creator."  Well, I believe that was an incorrect conclusion based on incomplete data at best, or irrelevant data at least.  
 The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Christians in Rome where he explained, "1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, 1:19 because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 1:20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. 1:22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.
1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. 1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." (Romans 1:18-25)
Even in the days of Paul people needed to be reminded that God is a part of the human experience.  He has made Himself known in so many ways through His creation that we really do not have any excuse to believe or say that He does not exist.  For those who say that He does not exist are not basing their belief on any fact they have discovered, it is simply their deep-rooted faith that is based on a long line of inferences that have been proposed by those who have observed some cause and effect relationships in their observations and then pronounced such inferences.
Consequently, as with everything, whether there are true atheists or not depends on each individual and the choices they make.  I suppose in the end to be a practicing member of the church of atheism requires more faith than it does for the Christian to be a part of the Body of Christ.  After all, for a Christian it only takes a faith no larger than a mustard seed; but for the atheist it takes a faith large enough to overcome all the evidence of the entire universe.  Could anyone have that much faith?


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