Last week I introduced the concept that even the staunchest faith denier believes in things that are beyond their senses. Immaterial Opposites is one. Here’s dialogue to illustrate.
Atheist Inquirer: I only believe in what I can see. My five senses tell me all I need to and can know. There is no supernatural; only the material world exists. Faith in something you can’t see is foolish.
Me: So, you only believe in things in the world you can see, hear, feel, smell, or taste? Do you believe in darkness?
AI: Of course.
Me: There is no such thing as darkness. Darkness is the absence of light, but it does not exist by itself. How about the wind? Do you believe in the wind?
AI: Of course.
Me: The wind itself can’t isn’t seen; only its effects. Do you believe in cold? Cold is the absence of heat and is defined by heat. We measure temperature as heat; there is no scale to measure cold, just heat or lack of it.
AI: Many possible responses.
Me: How about good and evil? Neither one can be measured or sensed, but we know it when we see it. How do we know? Is there a human conscience?
AI: Many possible responses. (At some point in this dialogue he/she is going to ask, “Where are you going with this?” or “You are frustrating me.” So now put the pieces together.)
Me: So you do believe in many things you can’t sense. Darkness and cold are descriptions of opposites of things we can measure. We observe the effect of wind, and can measure it, but don’t see it. Evil is the absence of good, but what’s the source of good? Is morality written inside of us?
Me: A person is a professional thief. He earns his wealth by stealing from others. Now you take his wallet. How does he react? ‘Hey, what’s wrong with you? You took my wallet! That’s not right.’ What? You steal for a living, but if I steal from you it’s wrong? Why are my stealing wrong and yours okay? Yes, morality has absolute standards.
Your children do something wrong so, you confront them. They immediately look guilty but fabricate excuses or lie to escape consequences. The Family Circus cartoon depicts this behavior with the semi-invisible character “Not Me.” If you deal with children, you know all about “Not Me.”
If you accept the concept of evil, you also accept justice. Bad behavior deserves punishment. Is your behavior just the response of chemistry and electricity in your brain? What is the source of those moral ideas? The Bible teaches that every person has a built-in conscience that knows right from wrong and will bring guilt when violated. Good and evil is another immaterial concept you know and accept. Even the staunchest materialist has to accept many intangible things that can be defined but not sensed or measured. Immaterial Opposites is the first of the three flaws in materialism’s beliefs. Next week, Historical Narratives.
Charlie is the author of “Always Be Ready to Give an Answer! A Former Atheist’s Personal Christian Evangelism Plan.” which develops an evangelism strategy that gets to the Gospel every time you witness. His second book ANSWERS For “The Hope That Is In You.” contains answers to more than 100 questions skeptics use to try to stump Christians. The third book, “Without 3 Miracles Darwin’s DEAD!” is currently in the final editing process and will be published later this year. http://yourchristiananswers.com
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Contact Charlie at Charlie@sixdaycreation.com or 336-337-4975 (call or text).