One of the most fundamental facts in the universe is Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
Stated another way, there is no such thing as an interaction occurring composed of just one force. There are always at least two forces involved in any interaction. While this scientific principle should be recognizable even to most middle school students, there is a profound idea at work which serves as a backdrop to Newton’s Law: there is a consequence to every action, no matter how small. Sometimes a large action can lead to a small consequence, and sometimes the opposite is true. But there will always be a consequence.
Much of our society has wholeheartedly rejected the idea of individual responsibility. If things do not go our way, we blame our parents, our boss, the government, religion – but never ourselves. This is a natural consequence resulting from the “I’m OK, you’re OK” movement a few decades ago. It’s but a brief journey from saying that situational ethics is preferable to saying that anything that goes wrong in our lives is the fault of someone else. The point is that saying that our actions have consequences is not very popular in our society, and many people simply choose to “wish” this away (just as they try to “wish” away God.)
The substantial majority of the articles I have written for this website have dealt with the topic of apologetics and atheism. If I could reduce the theses of these articles into a single statement, it would be, “People reject the notion of God because they choose to do so.” In particular, this has been the subject of the last two articles. I will not repeat the content of those here but refer the reader to both for details and clarification. The title of all three of these articles have been “Willful Blindness” because that aptly describes the atheists’ viewpoint.
I was recently engaged in a three-way discussion dealing with apologetics involving another Christian and an atheist. The atheist kept repeating “there is no proof of God;” “If there is a God, then He has not (or could not) provided evidence of His existence;” and “he [personally] could see no evidence for God.” Over and over the evidence he claimed is missing was presented to him by means of the Cosmological Argument, the Teleological Argument, the impossibility of spontaneous generation, Newton’s Laws of Thermodynamics and more. Each time he claimed there is no evidence. When evidence was provided, he would say “I just don’t see it that way” and again claim no evidence exists. In other words, he chose to ignore the evidence and remain “willfully blind” to God.
What are the consequences of this choice? We understand that the ultimate consequence for the individual is condemnation and an eternal separation from God. But let’s think on the scale of society. What are the effects of large numbers of people turning to agnosticism and atheism?
Of course, those who count themselves among that number try to maintain that the world would be a better place without a belief in God. They point to the unlimited potential of mankind and the freedom that goes along with casting off religion – but is that really the truth? Mathematician Dr. David Orrell, in his best-selling book, “The Future of Everything: The Science of Prediction” describes the extreme difficulty in forecasting the weather. He wrote:
“An estimation of the temperature that is off by just a fraction of a degree-Celsius leads to a cascade of errors later, making predictions that look out beyond a few days, but less than a few weeks, particularly challenging.”
One way to illustrate this is by remembering a children’s cartoon in which a single snowflake landed on a mountain and started to roll, picked up more and more snow, until finally becoming an avalanche. In Dr. Orrell’s book, a very small error begins to “cascade” until ultimately it clouds (no pun intended) the ability of meteorologists to predict the weather.
What does this have to do with atheism? A person must ask the question, “What worldview or philosophical thinking caused the early leaders of our nation to choose what was and was not moral?” Why is it considered immoral to murder, to steal, to lie, to rape? The animal world sees examples of “murder” each day. A dog or cat does not see it as wrong to take food from another. Evolution does not give a reasonable answer to this. Evolutionists will say that our brains evolved to understand morality. However, evolution also teaches all species developed through a process of “survival of the fittest” – but survival is not benefited by morality, so why would it have evolved?
It is obvious that our laws, customs, and constraints regarding morality originated from the Judeo-Christian teachings found in the Bible. For a person to claim there is no God (which is the first little snowflake), it is an easy trip downhill to then disavow morality.
We are there already as a society. People seem to go about trying to establish their own rules, make up their own truth, and justify both by making ridiculous statements like, “There is no such thing as absolute truth.” Afterward, the cascade of errors grows even larger because by taking away God and morality, man becomes worthless. It is perhaps the greatest irony ever that humanism, which claims to exalt, promote, and celebrate the worth of mankind, ultimately leads to the conclusion that man is no more special than an insect. From there genocide, euthanasia, and abortion can all be justified.
We’ve taken God out of schools and replaced Him with evolution, feminism, the LGBT movement, and situational ethics. Our entertainment is profane, our political and cultural leaders seem to have no shame, and those who hold up the name of God are subject to ridicule. As a result, our society witnesses mass murders, teenage suicide, domestic violence, drug abuse, and sexual crimes at the highest levels ever. This is the real consequence of atheism – a degraded society, splintered families, and a complete devaluation of human life.
The town of Liberal, MO, was founded in 1880 by George Walser, a wealthy attorney, who purchased the land to build a town exclusively for those with world views like his own — people who at the time were commonly called “freethinkers” or “liberals.” The town of Liberal, he advertised, “shall have neither God, Hell, Church, nor Saloon.” It would be an atheist oasis in Bible country. Just five years later Clark Braden, in an article for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, wrote:
“The boast about the sobriety of the town is false … More drunken infidels can be seen in a year in Liberal than drunken Christians among one hundred times as many church members during the same time. Swearing is the common form of speech in Liberal, and nearly every inhabitant, old and young, swears habitually. Girls and boys swear on the streets, playground, and at home … Lack of reverence for parents and of obedience to them is the rule. There are more grass widows, grass widowers and people living together, who have former companions living, than in any other town of ten times the population … A good portion of the few books that are read are of the class that decency keeps under lock and key … Since Liberal was started there has not been an average of one birth per year of infidel parents. Feticide is universal … In no town is slander more prevalent, or the charges more vile. If one were to accept what the inhabitants say of each other, he would conclude that there is a hell, including all Liberal, and that its inhabitants are the devils.”
Some of the residents of Liberal tried taking Mr. Braden to court on three separate occasions for libel. The charges were thrown out of court the first two times. The third time, the instigator of the complaint, the hotel owner in Liberal, withdrew the charges when he figured out that the fact his hotel was actually a house of prostitution would become public knowledge.
The Town of Liberal still exists but only because after a few years Christians began to move in, making it a fit place for families to live.
It is apparent that even committed atheists found living in Liberal in the early days intolerable. A fitting epitaph was written by Bessie Thompson in 1895:
“An infidel surrounded by Christians may spout his infidelity and be able to endure it, but a whole town of atheists is too horrible to contemplate. It is one thing to espouse a desire to live in a place where there is no God, but it is an entirely different thing for such a place actually to exist. For it to become a reality is more than the atheist can handle.”