How Can We Know Anything? Understanding Our Unity Of Perception

Color WheelIn the last chapter of his book, Why There Is No God, author Armin Navabi takes on the phenomenon of extreme skepticism. This is an argument, which states that it is impossible to really know something, or for our perceptions to align with reality, if there is such a thing as reality. Navabi explains, “If we cannot truly know anything, then anything could be true.”

Navabi does not argue in favor of extreme skepticism, he actually argues against it as a proof for God. This is a bit puzzling because it is not the evangelical community, which makes this argument. Any Christian with a decent understanding of the Bible should know this. But let’s take a look at a couple of claims that Navabi shares and see why extreme skepticism in an extremely dumb way of looking at the universe. Navabi uses color as an illustrative tool.  Continue reading

Listen To Smart People, They Know Everything

If a renown smart person ridicules your faith in God, does his intelligence make him right? According to Armin Navabi, author of Why There Is No God, smart people don’t always get things right when it comes to religion. On this, we can heartily agree.

Smart people can be wrong. Yet, we use smart people and celebrities to push our products or views all the time. Just because Stephen Hawkings is considered the greatest mind of our day, does that make him right about spiritual things? Just because Neil deGrasse Tyson is smart and has a popular TV show, should we trust what he says about religion? Just because Albert Einstein was the most brilliant man of the 20th century, does that mean his opinions about spiritual things hold heavy water?

Using celebrity endorsements and smart people to advance our views is a popular tactic in getting consideration for whatever agenda we may have. People listen to such celebrities. But that doesn’t make them experts or correct in their views. Truth is something to be discovered and revealed. It doesn’t come packaged in a celebrity endorsement. Navabi himself, falls into this trap. After arguing that smart people aren’t always the one to be listened to, he goes on to say, “Atheism is much more common among scientists as among non-scientists.”  Continue reading

Fear-Based Faith Is A Good Thing

In his book, Why There Is No God, atheist author, Armin Navabi argues that fear is not a proper motivation to believe in a religion—especially as one nears death. Navabi states, “The idea that fear could drive you toward the belief in God only goes to suggest that religious claims are commonly fear-based and not rooted in actual logic or evidence.”

Fear is a legitimate motivation for religious belief. To say that the use of fear means a faith is not rooted in actual logic or evidence is forgetting that fear motivates us in many areas of life—and we are the better for it.

Some people decide not to commit crimes for fear of punishment. Parents routinely use fear as a tool to help keep their children safe: look both ways when crossing the street, don’t touch a hot stove, don’t talk to strangers, don’t play with knives. Fear is commonly used for our benefit. Are parents irrational for using fear as a parenting tool? Continue reading

Has Atheism Killed More People Than Religion?

In his book, Why There Is No God, author Armin Navabi attempts to use semantics to claim that atheism has not influenced atrocities committed by secular tyrants.

“History if filled,” he says, “with examples of the religious who beliefs were directly responsible for murder and violence.” This is a true statement. Many religious people have committed horrible acts that were influenced by what they believed. However, this does not mean that their beliefs were correct, or that their beliefs were accurate representations of their faith, such as Christianity.

There is no command in the Bible that orders the death of people simply for not believing in Jesus Christ. In fact, violence as a form of religious coercion is forbidden in scripture. Navabi cannot demonstrate how biblical commands directly lead to murder. But it can be demonstrated that there are commands in the Quran to commit murder based solely on what a person believes. But Navabi forgets to make this distinction. “The violence within Christianity or Islam can often be traced back to the teachings of those religions because it is embedded in the ideology of the religions themselves.” This is flat out wrong, and frankly, a lie. Navabi cannot show a single passage of Christian scripture that does this for the simple reason that it does not exist. Christianity has no embedded violent doctrines. Continue reading

Does Dying For Your Faith Prove God Exists?

In chapter 16 of his book, Why There Is No God, author Armin Navabi refutes the ideas of martyrdom and dying for one’s religion as a proof of God’s existence. He notes that people of all faiths have died for their religions. Those deaths don’t prove that God is real. If the Hindu dies for his faith, does that mean what he believed was as real as Christianity?

There is one group of people whose deaths actually do make a case for the testimony of the Bible. Their deaths are a type of proof for God’s existence. Who were these people? The apostles of Jesus Christ.  Continue reading

Without God, Life Is Meaningless

In his book, Why There Is No God,  author Armin Navabi argues that life has no meaning. “Life is, objectively, meaningless,” he says. “Given the size and scope of the universe and our tiny role within it; it’s absurd to think that we might have any sort of cosmically vital role.”

Other than being depressing, Navabi’s argument is true if there is no God. People can find meaning for their lives outside of religious experience and affiliation. This happens all the time. The real question is one of God’s impact on meaning. If there is a God and he has a purpose in creation, then our greatest meaning of life must originate with him. But Navabi argues that this is snake oil.

“There is no evidence that any of that is true. Religion, in effect, is creating an imaginary problem simply so that it can sell an imaginary solution.” But meaning, and sinfulness, and condemnation are not imaginary problems.  Continue reading

Do The Laws Of Logic Prove God Exists?

In his book, Why There Is No God, author Armin Navabi attempts to refute the Transcendental Argument For God. This argument essentially says that the laws of logic prove that God exists. The argument goes like this:

  1. Logical absolutes exist
  2. These laws of logic are conceptual in nature, not physical. They do not exist anywhere in the physical world
  3. Because these absolutes are conceptual, they must have been conceived in a mind
  4. However, these laws are perfect and absolute. Human minds are not perfect or absolute
  5. Logical absolutes are true everywhere and are not dependent on human minds
  6. Therefore, these laws of logic must exist in a perfect, absolute, transcendental mind
  7. That mind is called God

Continue reading

God Is Love; God Is Energy?

In chapter 13 of his book, Why There Is No God, author Armin Navabi takes on the claim that, “God is love; God is energy.” Much of this chapter is focused on the meaning of words and rebutting the argument that “God is energy.” To be honest, in my 32 years of walking as a Christian, I’ve never heard the argument that, “God is energy,” used as a proof for God’s existence. It seems rather silly to me and I don’t really understand why Navabi pays so much attention to it, except perhaps to make certain people look silly for positing such a silly argument. However, it’s a bit different when we say, as the Bible does, that, “God is love.”

In the beginning of the chapter, Navabi notes, “If you claim that God exists but cannot say exactly what God is, your claim is ultimately meaningless.” I agree with him on this point, as I argued in my response to his chapter that God cannot be comprehended. God can be understood and there are many ways that we can explain and explore his character since he has given us many of his same character traits so that we can have a basis for interacting with him.  Continue reading

Do Good Deeds Prove God Exists?

helpinghandIn Armin Navabi’s book, Why There Is No God, the author attempts to explain away the notion that God sometimes helps people. He does this in two ways. First, by demonstrating that living in community and helping one another is not limited to the religious community. Second, he rabbit trails to notions of religious people causing harm and prayer causing harm. I won’t deal with these last two as they are not germane to his original protest.

Navabi argues that “There is no evidence that God helps people.” His remarks center around how people help others within their own faith communities. The implication is that God is not the one helping, rather it is simply your fellow man. But Navabi’s argument fails to recognize the testimony of biblical figures who received help from God working providentially.  Continue reading

Where Did Everything Come From?

Author Armin Navabi, in his book, Why There Is No God, tries to cleverly use a rebuttal against the cosmological argument that infers that all things have a cause and the first cause of all things is God.

To sum up the cosmological argument, all things have a cause and nothing exists or happens that does not have a cause. We call this cause and effect. At some point in the past there was a first effect, which had a first cause. If the first effect is the creation of the universe, then that first cause must be outside that universe and itself be uncaused.

Navabi argues against this by saying, “This might seem like a reasonable argument, but it falls victim to the same problem as the hypothetical God behind the argument from design, as discussed in Chapter 1: if everything has a cause or a creator, then who created God? And who, then, created the entity that created God? Rather than solving the problem of infinite causality, the cosmological argument simply recreates the problem using different terms. God is used as an answer, but in reality, the issue of God simply raises new questions. You cannot solve a mystery by using a bigger mystery as the answer.”

Navabi’s challenge falls flat, however, in that all he is doing is reversing the original argument by asking, why does the first cause have to be God? This is not an argument that God does not exist. It is simply an argument that God was not the first cause. Continue reading