For centuries, people have claimed to be atheists because no one could prove to them that God exists. One of the most ardent members of that group has been British author Richard Dawkins. I’ve read and listened to Dawkins challenge believers to prove to him that God exists and that if they could he might believe in God.
But in reality, the opposite is true. The onus is on people like Dawkins to prove there is no God and this is something he has finally realized he cannot do. With the realization that he cannot prove God does not exist, Dawkins shocked many throughout the world with his announcement that he is not an atheist after all, but rather he would classify himself as an agnostic.
The definition of an agnostic is someone who believes that the existence of God is unknown and that human knowledge is limited to physical evidence plus things that can be experienced and this is where Dawkins find himself.
However, many Christians, like evangelist and author Ray Comfort, challenge Dawkins statement about being an agnostic and that it has everything to do with evidence and proving that God does not exist. Rather, Comfort says that people like Dawkins are making a decision on the moral choice to deny the existence of God. If they acknowledged God in any form, they would have to realize that they would have a moral obligation to be responsible to Him.
Comfort goes even further and describes Dawkins as not only being ignorant but of being an ignoramus. He explains,
“Richard Dawkins is ignorant when it comes to the existence of God. However, it’s a willful ignorance. He has in the past stated that he believes that nothing created everything, which is a scientific impossibility. It’s not only impossible, it’s crazy to believe that. That’s why the Bible uses the word ‘fool’ to describe someone who says that God doesn’t exist.
“Professing atheists will often slip into pleading ignorance, but that plea doesn’t solve their case, because they just move from being a ‘fool’ to being an ‘ignoramus.’
“The word ‘ignoramus’ is a legal term derived from a Latin word meaning ‘we do not know. An ignoramus is like a man who looks at a building and says that he ‘doesn’t know’ if a builder exists. Obviously, the building is proof that there was a builder, because buildings don’t build themselves.
“The reason why anyone would be that ignorant is clear. It’s not a case of a lack of evidence. The problem with Professor Dawkins isn’t intellectual, but moral. He doesn’t want to admit that God exists, because if he does, he’s admitting that he’s morally responsible to Him.”
I found the definition of agnostic interesting because it is not only based on physical evidence, but also relies on things that can be experienced. I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced the presence of God numerous times in my life. I’ve witnessed things that defy all natural explanation and can only be explained by a God who watches over and gets involved in our lives. To be honest, I didn’t pick my wife some 42 years ago, but rather I can see where God caused a number of things to happen, that shouldn’t have happened, that led to us getting together. (Knowing that God picked her out for me also tells me that I have to do whatever it takes to make sure nothing happens to destroy our marriage.)
Deep inside all of us we experience the presence of God as we were made in His image with an ingrained knowledge of him from the very beginning. One of my favorite examples of this was Helen Keller, who at the young age of 19 months developed a fever that left her blind and deaf. She was so young at the time that she had little memory of vision or hearing. She grew up in a black and soundless world without any communication with others, other than touch until Ann Sullivan found a way to communicate to her.
In one of her letters, Helen told Bishop Brooks that she had always known about God, even before she had any words. Before she could call God anything, she knew God was there. She didn’t know what it was. God had no name for her — nothing had a name for her. She had no concept of a name. But in her darkness and isolation, she knew she was not alone. Someone was with her. She felt God’s love. And when she received the gift of language and heard about God, she said she already knew.
If Richard Dawkins is correct, Helen Keller should never have been able to experience the presence of God, but she did because the knowledge of God is part of who we all are. Therefore, Ray Comfort is absolutely correct when he says that Dawkins and others are making a moral decision to deny the existence of God since they know that God exists in them and cannot prove to others that He doesn’t.