The Apologists Call is to Love

Recently, I saw a meme on a local atheist’s Facebook page. It was actually a picture from a “free-thinking” society in Asheville, NC. The meme read, “God hates facts”.

Atheists love to call Christians arrogant. In fact, the only interaction so far that I have had with this particular group resulted in the same treatment for me. Although they did encourage their readers to read my article, all in all their reaction to me was to call me “condescending” and “arrogant”.

It seems that the epitome of arrogance is in statements like this one though. “God hates facts”? (Please understand, that’s a shot at the intelligence of all Christians.)

What are facts? It seems to me that facts are by definition true statements. They are true by definition.

What is truth? Well, I could write a book on that. Many have. I will resort to the simple definition. Truth is that which corresponds to reality. Truth is what is.

Here are some things that are…

All things that are an effect have a cause.

What this means is things don’t spontaneously come into existence. Some people may deny this, but they don’t live as if they believe their own defiance of reality. They sit on chairs unafraid of the spontaneous appearance of snakes instead. They walk as if they don’t expect tigers to suddenly appear in front of them. I could go on. The fact is this, skeptics deny the reality of the law of cause and effect, but they only deny it in theory.

The universe (or its theoretical predecessors) had a beginning. There has been much debate over the origin of the universe. Great efforts have been made to get away from the fact that because the universe is, there must have been a time when it was not. Especially since modern astronomy has found a great deal of evidence for the big bang, atheists have looked for a way to dodge the implication of a beginning.

Unfortunately, science is only catching up with philosophy as far as the beginning of the universe is concerned. For centuries the beginning of the universe has been practically assumed by philosophers. It’s been fun to debate, but it’s a philosophical impossibility for the universe to be infinite.

That radiation is residual heat from the Big Bang, the event that sparked the beginning of the universe some 13 billion years ago.” Craig Hogan, University of Washington

To juke science and philosophy, skeptics have come up with theories like the string theory and the inflationary theory that on the surface seem to indicate an infinite existence of something other than this universe. This something is what generated our present universe.

Universe generators, strings of universes, and even infinite numbers of universes are postulated to make the present universe’s obvious beginning merely the product of another, more infinite universe.

Of course the problem with all of these theories is the same problem the theorists began with. Everything that is an effect had a cause. They must answer the question, where did those strings of universes, universe generators, etc. come from?

Another fact is the anthropic principle. There are certain constants in the universe that make life possible. Not only do these things like the gravitational constant, atmospheric density, and the tilt of the Earth make some life possible, if they varied in very finite amounts human life would cease. Furthermore, if the universe had expanded too quickly or too slowly it would’ve been a catastrophic failure, one way or the other.

All of those facts point to the theory of design. The universe seems to be uniquely designed for human existence and flourishing. It’s a fact that even many skeptical, agnostic and even atheist astrophysicists don’t deny.

Fred Hoyle (British astrophysicist): “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”[1]

Skeptics deny the fact that the universe is uniquely fit for life. Rather, they claim coincidence. If there is life, then of course the universe must exist in a way that allows for it.

I admit that the import of a designer into the universe is a matter of perspective, but the facts that point to design are indisputable. Yet, in the mind of the skeptic they are deniable.

Morality may be the hardest of all of these facts to deny. It seems that the whole world would agree that there are those things that are universally immoral. Whether ideas like racism or acts like rape, immorality is ascribed to them as real. By real I mean to put into lay terms the transcendence of their condemnation as immoral.

Immorality itself though can be slightly arbitrary, but only if it is relative to people or people groups. That is a misunderstanding of what transcendent morality is though. Immorality can only be understood in light of morality. It can only be known to be really immoral if we already know real morality. Otherwise, it is only preference.

We intuitively agree that it is not only preference though. We know down deep that what Hitler did when he killed so many Jews was wrong. We know inside of ourselves that raping and torturing young children is wrong. We know these things because we know intuitively, goodness.

Real goodness that is transcendent points to a transcendent moral lawgiver. Therefore, skeptics try to deny transcendent morality. Many of them actually would agree that what Hitler did, although reprehensible, is not really wrong.

Now I would say that I’m not sure about everything that God hates. I doubt that facts are one of those things. I would say that he doesn’t like dishonesty, even intellectual dishonesty.

On the other hand, it seems that skeptics go out of their way to avoid facts. They tend to build all kinds of counter-facts to avoid the implications of reality. They may not hate them but they sure are uncomfortable admitting them. They are so uncomfortable that they often attack us rather than our arguments or the facts.

This can be one of the most frustrating parts of presenting the Gospel, denial of the facts. Expect it though.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18, ESV)

If you are inclined to give the Gospel to a skeptical person, be ready for their denial of the facts. Have answers for their questions though. Why? Because it is not the facts that they hate. Skeptics hate God. That’s really what bothers us when we give the Gospel. Don’t return that hate. Return to them the love of Christ.

That may be the hardest part of this ministry. That may be the hardest part of evangelism and apologetics, not giving the facts, but giving the love. Yet it is our call. The apologists call is to love.

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV)

I guess what I am trying to say is this. After all of the ad homonym attacks and the back and forth debate, doing all of this the right way may be the most important part of it.

[1] Hoyle, F. 1982. The Universe: Past and Present Reflections. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics: 20:16.

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