Just a quick note: A while ago I linked to a 10-minute Christopher Hitchens video, in which he set out to disprove the existence of God. What he actually did was argue why the God of Western monotheism was a tyrant, and why he (Hitchens) was glad such a God didn’t exist. One of the reasons Hitchens gave, was that if the God of the Bible were true, then He would be a worse tyrant than Kim Jong Il–at least you could die if you were stuck in North Korea.
Yet something wasn’t sitting right with me, and today I put my finger on it. It’s very odd that atheists condemn the God of the Bible for being such a tyrant, and they also ask Christians, “If your God exists, then why is He hiding?” That’s an odd sort of tyranny to be exercising, that a lot of people doubt the tyrant exists. I imagine nobody in North Korea had any doubts that there really was a government that would lock them up if they stepped out of line.
Now look, I understand the atheist position: He is saying (a) the stuff that the God of the Bible does, in that fictitious book, is crazy and tyrannical, and (b) thank goodness there is no scientific evidence that such a being actually exists.
But I can just flip it around and ask the atheist to see things from the Christian perspective. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that we are right. Then your case falls apart. You can’t accuse God of micromanaging our lives, when you also demand that He show Himself.
Let me put it this way to try to make my point clearer: There are atheists who recoil at horror at the idea that there could be some being in ultimate control of the universe. At the same time, there are atheists who recoil at horror at a being that stands idly by with the power to prevent wars and infant mortality, yet chooses not to. It would make sense if these were different groups of atheists. And yet, I think just about every modern atheist falls into both camps simultaneously. Isn’t that a bit weird?
(Note well, I am using the term atheist quite consciously. If there are people who are really just not sure, OK fair enough. In this post, I am talking about the people who are confident that there is no God, for the types of reasons above.)
What’s really ironic is when libertarian, free-market atheists hold the above positions. One way of describing their views is that they (a) think God should be intervening a lot more to punish evildoers on Earth, but (b) can’t believe that He apparently punishes people in the afterlife for not having the right belief system. So it’s not that they are “for” or “against” intervention; they rather think God should be intervening differently.
Again I ask: Suppose for the sake of argument that there really were a God, who literally knew everything. Isn’t it just possible that there are a few pertinent details escaping our notice, when we have observed one droplet of human existence in an ocean of history, and we have almost no idea of what the future holds? For people who recognize the fatal conceit and the problems of central planning in human affairs, it is funny to hear them second-guessing God and say things like, “Well geez, if humans and other organisms were actually intelligently designed, they would look like XYZ. So clearly they weren’t.”
Last point to deal with an obvious retort: The atheist libertarian can’t just flip this around and say, “Right Bob, you of all people should know the dangers of central planning, so why do you revere the ultimate central planner?” And the answer is, because He’s God. That’s a pretty good response. It’s why we have expressions like, “That’s dangerous because we’d be playing God.” If anyone is allowed to play God, it is…God. Maybe He doesn’t exist, but if He does, then, yes, it’s OK to have an omniscient, omnibenevolent being running the show. In fact it gives immense relief and comfort to know that He is.