Conservative evangelical author Eric Metaxas doesn’t hold back when the question of atheism arises.
“In looking at some fairly new evidence, the existence of God is for those with the slightest, open mind, it has to be beyond question,” Mr. Metaxas said in an interview. “Anyone can be an agnostic, but to say, ‘I know that there’s no God,’ in the end becomes preposterous.”
In “Is Atheism Dead?” — a book released this week by D.C.-based Regnery Publishing — the New York-based author cites five scientific discoveries to support his claim of untenable atheism.
He says the big bang theory is a “paradigm-smashing concept to end all paradigm-smashing concepts” because it demonstrates that the universe had a beginning. He adds that evidence for “fine-tuning” in the universe — by which things could not have emerged by chance, but rather came by design — is another turning point.
Mr. Metaxas also writes that the work of nanoscientist James Tour demonstrates that “the idea of life emerging from non-life,” called abiogenesis, “seems so far beyond the realm of possibility that we need to go back to our drawing boards.”
In addition, the author says that archaeological discoveries in the Middle East “make it impossible for any serious person to continue to regard the Bible as a collection of folktales,” which many atheists assert.
The final pillar of his argument is that not many atheists “were able to live out their philosophy in a way that was inspiring or logical,” reserving particular opprobrium for “new atheists” such as neuroscientist Sam Harris, philosopher Daniel Dennett and the late socialist journalist Christopher Hitchens.
Moreover, he writes that the experience of officially atheist states such as the former Soviet Union, China and North Korea, leads to the conclusion that “that state-sponsored — and enforced — atheism must rank as the wickedest form of oppression in human history.”
Of the “new atheists,” Mr. Metaxas told The Washington Times, “they are very guilty of misleading people into this so-called atheism when they themselves, they never made the case.”
“All they did was tear down religion, again in such a sloppy way that if you’re not careful, well, of course, you’d agree with them,” he added. “You know, who’s not against pure irrationality and killing people in the name of God?”
But setting up such a notion confuses the issue, Mr. Metaxas said. Most people of faith oppose irrationality and killing in God’s name, he said, and so the “new atheists” merely “set up this ridiculous idea that faith and reason are, are at odds.”
The opposite is true, he declared.
“It turns out that it is atheism that is incompatible with science, not faith,” Mr. Metaxas said. “Science, as we know it, modern science and the scientific revolution came directly out of Christian faith. That is not contestable. It is a historical fact.”
Noting the orthodox Christian faith of scientific pioneers such as Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell, he added: “Practically every serious scientist from the beginning of the scientific revolution until fairly recently was a very serious Christian. So the idea that Christianity could be at odds with science is just completely crazy.”
Not everyone is anxious to stroll along the faith path with Mr. Metaxas, however.
In an email, Nick Fish, president of American Atheists, doubted the author’s arguments.
“Given that the number of atheists and nonreligious people in the United States continues to rise at a record pace, largely driven by the bigotry and conspiracy-mongering of people like Eric Metaxas, American Atheists thanks him for making it clear to all Americans just how morally bankrupt the Christian nationalist ideology he spouts truly is,” Mr. Fish said.