RELIGION

How Theists And Atheists Reason Differently About God

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

Theists And Atheists24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn…” – Matthew 13:24-30 New King James Version (NKJV)

Allowing thoughts or ideas to flourish and contend do not only have roots in historical Christian traditions, but is also part of the principles of a free democratic society.

Now, the “God debate” has been with us since time immemorial as both theists and atheists argue their views and understandings about God and how the world works from different perspectives.

In an interesting article on the popular website, reasons.org, writer and well- known theologian Kenneth R. Samples shares his perspective on what theists and atheists brings to the debate. He writes thus:

Theists and atheists do reason differently about God and the world. A common skeptical objection to the enterprise of Christian apologetics is that believers engage in a god-of-the-gaps form of reasoning.

This charge means that the Christian theist typically attributes gaps in (especially) scientific knowledge to something God has done. For example, when science can’t explain how the universe came into being or how life originated on Earth, the Christian apologist is quick to point to God as the cause or explanation.

Thus the skeptic’s accusation is that Christians do nothing more than give their ignorance a name—“God.” No real and adequate explanation, says the skeptic, is provided by simply appealing to God as a cause or source.

The atheistic naturalist (a person who believes that the physical cosmos is the ultimate reality) assumes that, given enough time, scientific exploration will discover a naturalistic explanation for whatever is now inexplicable….Ironically it might be called “naturalism-of-the-gaps” reasoning….

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