My son told me he’s an atheist (part 1)

atheist-symbol“Mom, I don’t believe in God anymore.”

I don’t know for sure what my oldest son’s words were back in 2007. But I remember the feeling. As a Christian parent, it was a devastating thing to hear.

My oldest son was 21 when I learned he was no longer a believer. He was so confident about his new worldview that he got a tattoo similar to what you see here — a common symbol within atheism.

despairHis mother and I were heart broken. We raised him and his four younger siblings in the Christian faith. I told my son that logic and reason were important, but the Bible held ultimate truth. I wasn’t suggesting that he shut off his brain, of course. After all, Isaiah 1:18 says, “come now, let us reason together”.

His lost faith was hard to bare, but I placed hope in the thought that he was young and that there was still a chance for him to change his mind.

I was vaguely familiar with atheist perspectives. YouTube videos that were critical of the Bible were plentiful as were online comments from atheists. My early impressions were that atheists are often very angry people! Because of my son’s change of heart, I decided to dig deeper because I hoped that I would be able to find the large gaping holes in the atheist argument and win my son’s faith back. I was confident that I could.

When I thought about my son, I had some general conclusions about atheists. This included:

  • They must hate God because of something bad that happened in their life.
  • They want to believe there’s no God because they don’t want to face Him at judgment. Or put another way:
  • They want to pretend God doesn’t exist so they can enjoy their sin.

My son was a big fan of science and he would share things with me like, “I’m an atheist because the burden of proof lies on religion. If you make an extraordinary claim or propose the existence of something, you must follow the scientific method in your defense of its existence. Otherwise, I have no reason to listen.

albert-einsteinI was also told by my son that many smart people, like Albert Einstein, did not believe in the God of the Bible. Oddly when I went to confirm, I often found that Christians were claiming that Einstein was on the religious side by cherry-picking quotes that sounded good. But after digging for the truth, it was clear:  Einstein did not believe in a personal God.

In a letter to Beatrice Frohlich, in December 1952, Einstein stated, “The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naïve.” Eric Gutkind sent a copy of his book “Choose Life: The Biblical Call To Revolt” to Einstein. Einstein then sent Gutkind a letter in response and said, “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text.

the-god-delusion-bookgod-is-not-great-bookAlso to my dismay, I learned that my son had read several provocative books, which included Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great. After discovering these books, I lightly skimmed them both to become familiar with at least a small portion of their writings. But I purposefully did not read either book in full.

Learning about my son’s lost faith was very hard. If I was going to reach him, I needed to conduct a great deal of research, which included content I had purposefully chosen to ignore in the past. But I moved forward because his soul was on the line.

A man named J. Reuben Clark once said, “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed”. Someone else once said that, “The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.”

I was determined to shine a light on the truth and expose the lies that deceived my son. What follows is the journey I took to win my son’s lost faith back.

>>>> Click here to continue my story (this is part 1 of 7) <<<<

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “My son told me he’s an atheist (part 1)

  1. Einstein did not believe in a personal God, but he certainly believed in the existence of God and thought rather lowly of atheism. Because atheists misrepresented the words of Einstein in his very lifetime to make him look like an atheist, he himself had to explain his view on God;

    “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”

    There we are. The view of atheism is a result of human weakness and is directly contradicted by our understanding that the universe began to exist, the complexity of life, etc.

    Like

    • Definitions are important. What a person means by the word “god” can vary in dramatic ways. Einstein did not believe in the Christian definition (or understanding) of God. Nor did Spinoza. To both men, the word god was synonymous with nature. Also, Einstein called himself agnostic and did not believe in an afterlife. Of course, what Einstein believed in this regard isn’t too important (he is long gone), but I think it important to be clear on the matter.

      Like

      • It looks like you’re putting words in my mouth.

        “Definitions are important. What a person means by the word “god” can vary in dramatic ways. Einstein did not believe in the Christian definition (or understanding) of God. Nor did Spinoza.”

        Never did I claim Einstein to be a Christian, nor did I even put this claim on Spinoza either. The point is that both believed in God. Not a personal God, but God for sure.

        ” To both men, the word god was synonymous with nature.”

        Not really, they were pantheists if I’m not mistaken. As in they thought the universe *was* God. I know a pantheist, personally.

        Like

        • SC, you write some really odd things. To say, “not a personal God, but God for sure” is rather nonsensical. If someone’s definition of god is a non-personal force, that’s not the god of the Bible. At all. That’s not “God for sure”. And whether either or both were pantheists doesn’t mean much. They clearly didn’t believe in the god of the Bible.

          Like

        • “SC, you write some really odd things. To say, “not a personal God, but God for sure” is rather nonsensical. If someone’s definition of god is a non-personal force, that’s not the god of the Bible.”

          Complete red-herring. I never said Einstein was a Christian — Einstein certainly wasn’t a Christian. He however, clearly affirmed his belief in God whilst rejected belief in a personal God.

          “And whether either or both were pantheists doesn’t mean much. They clearly didn’t believe in the god of the Bible.”

          Again, this insight would only be valuable if;

          1) I wasn’t already aware of it
          2) I claimed that they were believers in the God of the Bible

          Like

        • To say that Einstein “clearly affirmed his belief in God” misrepresents the truth. He was agnostic and stated is thus: “My position concerning God is that of an agnostic.”

          He went on to say (in clear reference to the God that most people in the US would have in mind, that): “I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.”

          Like

        • “To say that Einstein “clearly affirmed his belief in God” misrepresents the truth. He was agnostic and stated is thus: “My position concerning God is that of an agnostic.””

          Einstein didn’t hold the same position for his entire life. Secondly, I once called myself an agnostic despite believing in God. Thirdly, Einstein has stated that he believes in God. Here are some quotes;

          “Behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force is my religion. To that extent, I am in point of fact, religious.”

          “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man.”

          “My religiosity consists of a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit, …That superior reasoning power forms my idea of God.”

          But perhaps the most telling quote is this;

          “There is harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognise, yet there are people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me to support such views.”

          Like

        • Do you dated evidence for Einstein changing his position to one of belief in a personal god or in support of the god of the Bible? That would be the only compelling item here. I have no argument with someone who believes in a non-personal force as a definition for god.

          There’s no evidence for Einstein ever changing from that perspective, and both the original quote in my blog post as well as my earlier quote in the comment above are from the later years in Einstein’s life.

          Like

        • “Do you dated evidence for Einstein changing his position to one of belief in a personal god or in support of the god of the Bible?”

          Huh? I’m just remarking that Einstein believed in God, that’s really all. This isn’t some peanut gallery of me saying that Einstein was a fundamentalist evangelical Christian who graduated out of Moody Bible Institute.

          As demonstrated in my previous comments, Einstein believed in God.

          Like

        • And my continued point will be: it’s disingenuous to state that Einstein “believed in God” without adding either his definition of god or the background of his use for the word. His use of the word “God” isn’t even remotely similar to the common man’s interpretation.

          Like

    • And Einstein’s opinion on god or not-god matters because…?
      Last time I looked, argument from authority was one of the cardinal sins of argument. It’s a logical fallacy.

      Like

      • Looks like you’re guilty of the Strawman Fallacy. The reason why I mentioned Einstein’s belief in God is not because I was citing an authority, but because the OP said Einstein was an atheist (false). So, I refuted it.

        Like

        • If you read my blog post again, I said that Einstein did not believe in the God of the Bible. He didn’t believe in a personal god. I didn’t say he was an atheist.

          Like

        • No, my post wasn’t changed and the underlining of “personal” has been there since I first published it several years ago.

          Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s