In the time leading to the November elections and for months thereafter we will be subjected to a barrage of promises from politicians–promises, many of which will almost certainly not be kept. At the same time, atheists, who deny there is any purpose or meaning to life (but then what is the point of elections, an education, or any other endeavor?) are riding the crest of a new wave of open rebellion against God that seems to be gathering popular momentum.
Democrats in particular are promising change. Everything is going to get better under their leadership. This has ever been the promise of new administrations, even of dictatorships. Sometimes it seems to look good for a while until the usual human imperfections take over.
Such was the case with the French Revolution. It began with excitement and high hopes for a new beginning for a financially and morally bankrupt France. It was to have ushered in a golden age of economic, political, and social reform with liberty for all. That noble goal disintegrated into a Reign of Terror scarcely equaled in modern history.
Nearly all of the political dreamers, who in their idealism had helped to foment the Revolution and had sought to purify it as they saw it veering off course and spinning out of control, perished as its tragic victims at the hands of fellow revolutionaries. Not the least of these victims was Madame Roland, a member with her husband of the more moderate Girondist faction of the revolutionary movement. The two had presided in
their Paris home over a salon of socially prominent intellectuals.
As the Revolution gained momentum and became more radical, the Girondists fell out of favor. In the frenzy of idealistic fervor, Madame Roland was arrested (her husband succeeded in escaping). While confined in a prison for several months, she was offered many secret plans for her escape but refused them all. Her fate was sealed when the Girondist leaders, after a seven-day trial, were found guilty of counterrevolutionary activities and were executed on October 31, 1793.
Madame Roland’s trial before the Revolutionary Tribunal followed on November 8.
Pronounced guilty of "conspiracy against the unity and indivisibility of the Republic, and the liberty and safety of the French people," and allowed no word in her own defense, her execution was set for that very afternoon.
Carried by cart to the foot of the guillotine in the Place de la Revolution, she mounted, with head held high, the stairs to the platform. Before placing her head on the block, Madame Roland bowed to the sculptor David’s famous statue of Liberty nearby. "Oh, Liberty!" she exclaimed. "What crimes are committed in thy name!" These were her last words to a France gone mad.
Hearing of her death, her fugitive husband set out for Paris on foot to make one last appeal for the Revolution’s leaders to live up to its popular slogan, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity." At last, too weak to continue the journey, Jean Roland took his own life in a lonely field.
The Enlightenment of the Eighteenth Century had prepared the way for the French Revolution and largely shaped its policies and ideals. Maximilien Robespierre came to power shortly after the Revolution began. He led in curbing the power of the Roman Catholic Church, reducing its property holdings and wealth, imposing limitations on the clergy, and turning France into a largely atheistic country. The Revolution brought atheism out of the salons of the wealthy and into the streets of Paris. As with the Communist Revolution later, the denial of God became a major driving force. French society remains largely atheistic to this day, though the vast majority still call themselves Catholics.
The fact that many of the popes were among the most evil monsters in history has never seemed to faze more than a small minority of Roman Catholics. My files are filled with accounts of pedophilia and other evils practiced by Rome’s clergy long before these crimes finally gained public attention. Nor have Roman Catholic leaders been alone in their hypocritical denial with their lives of what they professed with their lips. Protestantleaders have been guilty as well, from Jim and Tammy Bakker (who once reigned over a vast "Christian" domain from their PTL television studios) to Ted Haggard (discredited pastor of a 12,000-member church in Colorado Springs and head of the 30,000-member National Association of Evangelicals)–and many more like them.
Such reprobates have given Christ and Christianity a bad name, but unfairly so. They should not be looked upon as representing Him because, like the Crusaders, their deeds violated the teachings of Christ and mocked the perfect, sinless example He demonstrated with His life. Nor are recent examples of trusted religious leaders professing one thing and living another anything new. Christ rebuked the Jews of His own day by quoting one of their prophets:
Atheists repeatedly insist that no one needs God to act morally. We do not deny that an atheist can act in a moral manner. It is asserted that moral actions are the result of natural selection–that they arose because of their survival benefit and have nothing to do with actual right and wrong or with a nonexistent "god." But moral acts, if they are the product of evolution, have no moral basis. The atheist, though he claims to be as moral in his actions as a Christian, is acting out of selfishness or for momentary expediency, not for morality’s sake. This is a far cry from the selfless love the Bible ascribes to God and requires from those who claim to be His followers. Nobel laureate Sir John Eccles said:
Atheists are so confused about morals that they are backing human rights for apes. And why shouldn’t they? Richard Dawkins, in his crusade against God, could not say it more clearly:
Does a chimp, lizard, or fungus know anything of morals? Isn’t that deficiency a sufficient basis for elevating humans above a fungus? This is an incredible statement to be made by any rational person, but Dawkins is dead serious! As a leading atheist and evolutionist, how could he be consistent and say anything else? How is it possible that the scientific world, as well as the public at large, actually believe this nonsense and honor this man as a scientist and scholar? How has this insanity become science? Give atheism full credit!
According to Dawkins, the history of mankind is nothing more than the history of a colony of chimpanzees–or garden slugs, for that matter! What of art, music, science, libraries, universities, museums? All are meaningless in evolution!
Nor can we blame Hitler or the underlings who ran the extermination camps for simply doing what was programmed into their genes by natural selection. If our sense of what is right and wrong, ethical and moral, is in our genes, how can evil be blamed on anyone? Or how can anyone be commended for doing good? If one’s sense of right and wrong is the result of chemical reactions in the brain, why should we honor such standards?
Jonas Salk believed this pitiful nonsense and earnestly expressed its hopelessness: "We do not have to survive as a species. What is important is that we keep evolving."3 How can our evolution be important if it doesn’t matter whether or not we survive as a species? The Declaration of Independence attributes the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" not to nature but to nature’s God.
Equality is nowhere found in nature. It could never be the outcome of evolution through natural selection. Moreover, consciousness has neither physical qualities nor location anywhere in the physical world, so how could it evolve?
Stephen Jay Gould, Harvard professor of biology, wrote:
He couldn’t be more wrong! The soul that he admitted might exist is nonphysical, and its existence does not end with the death of the body. No part of the physical body thinks. The brain certainly does not initiate our thoughts. No one wonders what one’s brain might think of next.
The soul and spirit are the real person–the one who makes the choices, is conscious, and is accountable to God for every thought, word, and deed. The soul and spirit, being nonmaterial, are not subject to the laws of physics and chemistry and will therefore continue forever, either in joyful union with the Creator or in the horror of eternal separation and remorse.
Gould went on to say:
But wait–consciousness is not physical, so how could it evolve?
Sadly, the only thing that evolutionists can acknowledge when it comes to morality is that it is some kind of metaphorical representation–but of what? How do "metaphorical representations" evolve? A metaphor is supposed to be a clearer way of conveying an idea, but what idea? Evolutionists cannot admit that morals have any reality or meaning in themselves. Of course this must be their thinking, because atheists are materialists. Those who accept such doubletalk have lost the very "soul" to which Gould referred. Nor could Gould have explained what he meant by "soul." It certainly has no physical substance. When the evolutionist enters the realm of morality, he has nothing meaningful to say. He acknowledges the existence of nothing but matter. Clearly, this view leaves out most of what is dear to the human heart. What is the physical description of truth, or of ideals, or of hope, or of meaning? If everything began with a Big Bang and has simply proceeded randomly from that point, from whence would it derive meaning? Evolution cannot supply meaning to anything that it supposedly produces.
Although it may seem that the enemies of the Lord are impervious to our best arguments, we can be certain that they cannot forever escape their God-given consciences. Though it may not get their attention until they die, at that moment the truth they have ridiculed for so long will come crashing in upon them in convicting power. Then will begin the eternal horror that Jesus repeatedly warned about: "There will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:12; Matthew 13:42; Matthew 13:50; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 24:51, etc.).
Solomon declared, "The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly" (Proverbs 20:27). This is the conscience that no one can escape in the end, though it may be stifled for a time by the deceitfulness of one’s heart. David expressed what must be the desire of every person who loves the truth, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).
God’s Word promises, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1:7). Twice David warned, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 14:1; Psalm 53:1). Today’s new atheists, while winning millions, make it very clear that they hate God. What should the reaction of God’s people be?
The Psalmist declared that if Israel had only hearkened to God and walked in His ways, He would have "subdued their enemies, turned [His] hand against their adversaries," and blessed them abundantly. (Psalm 81:11-16). David wrote, "Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies" (Psalm 139:21-22). Perfect hatred?
Paul explains that evil exists in the world because God has revealed Himself to all mankind and they not only have refused to honor Him, but they have turned against the Creator that every thinking person knows exists (Romans 1:18-23)–and actually hate Him. Here is Paul’s inspired description of today’s world of Christ rejecters:
The key phrase, "haters of God," is prophetic of our day. It is particularly manifest in the new wave of aggressive atheism led by the "four horsemen" of the "New Atheists" (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris). These four are leading a new and growing movement that declares that belief in God is not only beyond credulity but wicked and must be stamped out for the good of mankind.
Our day is witnessing a new phenomenon unheard of in the past: books by atheists are selling by the millions. This includes not only those by authors openly declaring themselves to be God haters but by many who hide their atheism in intriguing fiction such as The Golden Compass, or the Harry Potter series (although J. K. Rowling professes to be a Christian), and even stories supposedly based on fact but that are full of clever lies, such as The Da Vinci Code, The Secret, etc.
What are Christians to do? Isaiah speaks of these days and what the Holy Spirit will do, in which scenario we must surely play an important part. If ever there was a day when "the enemy has come in like a flood" it is now. Isaiah foretells that when that happens, "…the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him" (Is 59:19). The word "him" can only refer to a personal being, and that must be Satan.
This is a very real battle, of which most Christians hardly seem aware. Many of the books of only 20 years ago written by creationists and other Christian apologists, although excellent at the time, are not up to refuting what the New Atheists are writing today. By God’s grace, Cosmos, Creator, and Human Destiny is being written specifically to confound God’s enemies of today. Your prayers to that end would be
much appreciated. TBC
1. Sir John Eccles, with Daniel N. Robinson, The Wonder of Being Human–Our Brain and Our Mind (New Science Library, 1985), 71.
2. Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), Foreword to the first edition.
3. "A Conversation with Jonas Salk," Psychology Today, March 1983, 56.
4. From Gould’s treatise on NOMA.