We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion)
Listening to atheists on YouTube, one hears this argument all the time. At first glance, this argument seems to make sense. “You don’t believe in Zeus or Baal or Osiris or Allah and neither do I. I just take it one God farther. Whatever reasons you use to disbelieve in Zeus are the same reasons I don’t believe in Jesus.” Let’s think it over.
2+2 = ?
Let us say that we take the simple math problem above. Now we will all agree that the answer is not 5. We will all agree that the answer is not 6. Of all the numbers we could come up with, atheists and Christians would agree that a huge number of them were not correct. Why not go just one integer further? The reason we don’t go one integer further is because going one integer further ignores the really good reasons that we should not go one integer further. Going one integer further breaks mathematics and would result in all kinds of mathematical absurdities. In a similar way, going one God further requires believing in a great deal of nonsense.
When Richard Dawkins and other atheists look at the astonishing complexity of the innumerable organisms that make up the biosphere, they conclude that all the amazingly sophisticated mechanisms were created by natural selection operating on random mutations over only a few billion years. Ask about the origin of free will and atheists will tell you that there is no such thing and that evolution has created the illusion of free will. Ask why the universe follows elegant mathematical laws to twenty places of the decimal and atheists will argue that the universe only appears to be governed by artifacts of a cosmic mind. Ask about the fine-tuning of the laws of physics to allow for life and atheists will respond that there are a huge number of unknowable universes with different constants of physics. Ask about the origin of love or morality or reason and atheists come up with similar answers that negate the common experience of humanity. Complain that their explanations leave a great deal to be desired and they will tell you that you believe in the “God of the gaps”. “Rationality, consciousness, natural law, free will, design and love are all delusions”, they constantly reassure us, “all we have to do is go one God further.” What are they afraid of?
Another problem that I have going one God further is that it equates all the various alternatives. Can anyone who studies the question honestly conclude that a belief in Zeus is as rational as a belief in Jesus Christ? A while back, I wrote an essay called “Jesus Christ the One and Only” where I described the distinctives of faith in Jesus Christ. I don’t go one God further, therefore, for two primary reasons. Firstly, because denying the divine denies the reality of human experience and secondly because it is impossible for me to deny the uniquely compelling rationality of faith in Jesus Christ.