Every year around this time I start thinking about football. Although I never played football (I ran cross-country), since I grew up in Nebraska, football has always been my favorite sport to watch (I am also a huge NBA and MMA fan). This time of the year also means Fantasy Football and I begin to question who I am going to draft this season.
One of the best players I have had on my team in the past is a beast of a running back named, Arian Foster. I always enjoy watching this young man run the football. I have never known much about the man, Arian Foster, as a person, but I sure know he eats up yards the way Pac-Man eats up ghost monsters!
That changed after reading a recent article from ESPN. I learned a lot about this outstanding running back off the field as a person; specifically, that Arian Foster is an outspoken and seemingly open-minded atheist! In this article, I will interact with Foster’s words and reasoning that led to his skepticism.
Foster said: “Everybody always says the same thing: You have to have faith… Faith isn’t enough for me.”
Foster does not seem to understand what faith is, and that he is exhibiting vast amounts of it himself! Unless one has absolute certainty that a particular proposition is true, then they have to exercise a certain amount of faith (trust) to affirm the position as true. Whether one possesses 51 percent certainty or 99 percent certainty that something is true, they are justified in having faith that what they know with high degrees of certainty is probably true.
There are many logic-based arguments that deductively prove God exists. It does not seem as if Foster is aware of these arguments. If he were aware of the evidence for God’s existence, then Foster would see that Christians (at least some Christians) do not have a “blind faith,” but rather, a faith based on warrant and evidence. That is to say, some Christians have a “reasonable faith.”
As Frank Turek has proclaimed, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist!” Atheism is not based on evidence, but rather, it’s built on assumptions and presuppositions. I like to point out that any argument based on a presupposition is no argument at all. It follows, therefore, that atheists have “blind faith.” I agree with Turek, I could not have that kind of faith!
Now, Foster contends that his father, Carl, is an intelligent “freethinker.” Someone who knows the Bible front and back and “pushed him to ask questions and challenge convention.”
I am always intrigued when I hear atheists refer to themselves as “free thinkers.” In fact, I recently wrote an article entitled, “Freethinking Atheists are Oxymorons,” because atheists are typically naturalists who deny free will. I encourage everyone to read my article where I develop the case, but the bottom line is this: If free will does not exist, free thinking does not exist.
Foster claims that he “read the Bible and the Quran in search of evidence that would override his skepticism.”
If I could talk to Arian Foster, I would tell him that he is looking for evidence in the wrong places. The question is this: is the Bible true? I would suggest knowing what the Bible says (and more importantly what it means), and then examine the data external to the Bible to see if it stands up to scrutiny. If the external data supports what the Bible teaches, then evidence exists that the Bible is reliable. I would suggest studying the latest cosmological data suggesting that verses like Genesis 1:1 and Colossians 1:16 are true. I would investigate metaphysical arguments that demonstrate the validity of Bible passages such as Genesis 1:26-27 and 2 Corinthians 5:8. Most importantly, I would study the historical data that proves (with high degrees of historical certainty) that Jesus rose from the dead!
The ESPN article said the “concept of an omnipotent being nagged at [Foster].” He thought, “Why would a loving God create evil? Why would he allow eternal damnation?”
It never fails to amaze me how the problem of evil, hell, and the idea of a maximally great being are appealed to in attempts to discount God, when these concepts actually support (if not prove) the existence of God.
First, if evil exists, it logically follows that God exists.
1- If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2- Evil exists.
3- Therefore, objective moral values and duties do exist (some things are evil).
4- Therefore, God exists.
Second, the concept of a maximally great being (including omnipotence) is actually proof for God’s existence! Here is the Ontological Argument:
1- It is possible that a maximally great being exists (in a possible world).
2- It is greater to have the property of necessary existence than contingent existence.
3- If a maximally great being exists in a possible world, He therefore, exists necessarily in that possible world.
4- Whatever can be demonstrated to exist necessarily in one possible world must exist necessarily in all possible worlds including the actual world (i.e. logical and mathematical laws, shape definitions, etc).
5- Therefore, the maximally great being (God) exists in the actual world.
6- Therefore, God exists.
Third, one does not even need to reference the Bible to conclude that hell is a logical plausibility. Using logic alone I have argued that eternal damnation makes perfect sense. Read my article entitled, “True Love, Free Will, & the Logic of Hell.”
One thing that really left me shaking my head was reading what Arian’s dad, Carl Foster, said after Arian finally came out of the closet as an atheist. The article reports: “Finally, toward the end of his junior year, Arian summoned the courage to tell his father he did not believe — only to see his father nod knowingly and say, ‘Go find your truth.’”
“It was a proud day,” Carl says. “We raised our kids to be free thinkers. We wanted them to be their own people.”
As I mentioned above, although it’s impossible to really be a “freethinker” if atheistic naturalism is true, if one were determined to think one can “find their own truth,” they would simply be determined to be wrong.
Is it possible to find “your own truth?” Is it logically coherent to claim, “atheism is true for me,” but then turn around and state, “Islam can be true for someone else?” It is important to understand what truth is. A statement that is true corresponds to reality. This raises a question: what is reality? I am glad you asked! Reality is “the way things are!” Reality is therefore not based on human opinions or the majority vote. True statements correspond to the way things are (reality).
Based on the logical law of the excluded middle, statements are either true or false. Therefore, statements such as, “God exists,” or “Jesus rose from the dead,” possess a truth-value. That is to say, God either exists, or He does not! Christianity is true, or it is false.
Foster says, “There’s a lot of ignorance about nonbelief. I don’t mean a negative connotation of ignorance. I just mean a lack of understanding, a lack of knowledge, lack of exposure to people like me.”
That might be true regarding the majority of churchgoers in America today, but there is also a growing number of Christ-followers who know full well that atheism is logically bankrupt. Moreover, these intellectual Christians can explain exactly why atheism is incoherent. If anything, the football cleat is on the other foot as it is the majority of atheists in the world today who have a lack of understanding and who do not possess knowledge of all of the logical, scientific, historical, and metaphysical arguments that demonstrate that it is quite rational to put one’s faith in Christian theism. If there is a “lack of exposure” to any group of people today, rational Christians are the ones usually being ignored!
Next week I will offer more thoughts regarding the ESPN article and Arian Foster’s atheism. Not only will I continue to expose more of his errors in reasoning, I will also examine some of Foster’s logically coherent claims.
Stay tuned & stay reasonable (Phil 4:5 ESV),