How Atheists Prove the Existence of God
By Kevin Probst
It was Augustine who said, “You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts cannot find rest until they rest in you.” The Psalmist expressed his longing for God by singing this song, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my heart longs for you, O God.”
C.S. Lewis pondered the question: Why would there be a desire, a seeking, for something beyond the earthly, if there weren’t something beyond the earthly to desire and to seek? Augustine struggled with the same yearning,
“I searched, I read, I wanted.”
“You came, You touched me, You spoke.”
There does seem to be an empty space, a vacuum in the heart of every human. We try desperately to fill that space with things and people but those pieces never seem to fit the puzzle. Some people enter deep depression because of the despair due to the emptiness in their soul. Some even choose to end their lives rather than live with the pain.
Those who believe in God say that he and he alone is the piece that brings completion to the soul. All people need God. The theist admits it, the atheist demonstrates it. What we really need must surely exist, therefore, God exists.
It is important not to confuse what we want with what we need. Everyone wants to find the treasure at the end of the rainbow. It doesn't mean its there. Theists don't believe that we get everything we need. If so, no one would die of hunger or from lack of medicine.
C.S. Lewis once said, "A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water." The heart has a longing for God. If you really need something that something can be found. We wouldn't have an insatiable need for God in our lives if no God existed.
Of all places to find this great hunger and need for God it is most evident in the lives and demonstrated in the words of those who deny the existence of God:
John Paul Sarte - "I need God…I reached out for religion, I longed for it, it was the remedy. Had it been denied me, I would have invented it myself."
Listen to the longing for a solution to the emptiness in Nietzsche's heart: "I hold up before myself the images of Dante and Spinoza (believers), who were better at accepting the lot of solitude….My life now consists in the wish that it might be otherwise…And that somebody might make my 'truths' appear incredible to me…" Was Nietzsche plagued by doubts in his own beliefs?
Listen to Nietzsche again through Zarathustra, the main character in his novel, Thus Spake Zarathustra: "And the last flame of my heart Up it gloweth unto thee! Oh, come back, Mine unknown God, my pain! My last happiness!..." Nietzsche was certainly one of the greatest atheists who ever lived yet he seems to be desperately crying out for God to fill the emptiness.
David Hume was among the greatest of all skeptics yet he seemed to have no tolerance for skepticism. He was forced to get away from his own skepticism in order to retain his own sanity. "Most fortunately it happens, that since reason is incapable of dispelling these colds, nature herself suffices to that purpose, and cures me of this philosophical melancholy and delirium. I din, I play a game of backgammon, I converse, and am merry with my friends; and when after three or four hour's amusement, I would return to these speculations, they appear so cold and strained and ridiculous, that I cannot find in my heart to enter into them any farther." Hume's Treatise on Human Nature.
Albert Camus, the French philosopher who wrote The Fall. "…who is alone without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful..." Camus made a strange declaration for an avowed atheist. He said, "Despite the fact that there is no God, the church must be built." Why would the church be necessary? I think he wanted the morals and ethics that might be taught in the church but without the God from which those morals originated.
Walter Kauffman, German American Philosopher, "Religion is rooted in man's aspirations to transcend himself…Whether he worships idols or strives to perfect himself, man is the god-intoxicated ape." Kauffman believed men have yearning hearts with an enduring hunger for God. He claimed that what men need is not available, it doesn't exist.
Will Durant, an American writer, historian and philosopher was interviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times. Durant agreed that the morality of man would disintegrate without religion. "I survive morally because I was taught the moral code along with religion, while I have discarded the religion, which was Roman Catholicism. You and I are living on a shadow…because we are operating on the Christian ethical code which was given us, unfused with Christian faith…but what will happen with our children…? We are not giving them an ethics warmed up with Christian faith. They are living on the shadow of a shadow."
There is a need in everyone's heart for God. It is revealing to recognize the hunger in the words of these atheists but it is also saddening to know that the greatest of minds can resist the truth of God's existence. Jesus felt the sadness too: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." (Matthew 23:37)
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.