Posted by: Randall Niles | September 19, 2011

Atheism vs. Theism

I’ve been doing the “Atheism vs. Theism” thing for nearly a decade. I’ve presented the arguments and evidence at churches, schools, and camps, and I’ve engaged “the debate” in various online formats.

Remarkably, the same issues repeat themselves over and over again. Although certain “double PhD’s” would like you to think otherwise, the core controversies aren’t really “rocket science” at all. In a nutshell, “New Atheism” vs. Christian Theism boils down to the following:

The Atheist’s Response to the Theist:

(i)            God doesn’t exist because science explains the cosmos without him.

(ii)           Even if a finely-tuned cosmos and/or complex life suggest a first cause/designer, there’s too much pain and suffering in the world to believe in the Judeo-Christian God.

(iii)          The Judeo-Christian Bible is myth and legend.

(iv)         A moral life doesn’t require God, anyway.


The Theist’s Response to the Atheist:

(i)            Science affirms that the finely-tuned cosmos was created out of nothing.

(ii)           Life’s order, design, and complexity require an Intelligent Designer, and our response to pain and suffering is relative to our knowledge of right and wrong/good and evil in a fallen world.

(iii)          The Bible is trustworthy based on history, science, archaeology, manuscripts, and prophecy.

(iv)         True morality requires a transcendent standard — God.


That’s it – While the barbs, buzzwords, and bravado change from time to time, this is the essence of the Atheism vs. Theism dispute. Although Christian apologetics and worldview discussions appear vast and intimidating to many of us, these are the four foundational arguments to understand, explore, and defend. Once you feel comfortable with these basics, there’s not much that will surprise you. Clothe yourself in humility, have fun, and engage the discussion.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools… (Romans 1:20-22)


Keep Thinking,

Randall Niles



  1. I think your ‘atheists response to the theist’ is off. Might want to talk to an actual atheist and listen or read what they say, as opposed to putting your own spin on it.

  2. Hi Randall. I would only change one line:

    You wrote: (i) Science affirms that the finely-tuned cosmos was created out of nothing.

    I suggest: (i) Science affirms that the finely-tuned cosmos appeared out of nothing.

    Your teammate,

    Jim Stair

  3. Actually, I don’t think it is “science” that affirms that, it is philosophical naturalism that affirms that.

    You do “EPIC” work !!!!

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