Have you ever tried to share your faith with someone, and they told you they don’t even believe in God? How did you respond?
New Atheism has become more popular since the early 2000’s with the rise of four prominent atheists: Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. Two of these men have since passed away but have quickly been replaced in influence by agnostic scholar, Bart Ehrman, and a wave of antagonistic TikTok influencers.
What’s unique about the last five years or so is the explosion of these atheistic ideas on social media? Christianity has gone out of style, and it’s become fashionable to “deconstruct” from “toxic” Christian doctrines. These deconstruction stories, which began at the college level are now widespread even among middle schools.
While I can’t provide you with all the answers to this growing movement in one article, my hope is to provide you with some basic tools to help you face this expanding challenge. When someone tells you, “There’s no evidence God even exists,” or “Christianity is just a bunch of fairy tales,” you need to have something to say.
That’s why today, I’m going to share with you three very easy methods to show your unbelieving friends or classmates that God exists — using just common-sense logic and historical facts. If you want to go deeper, feel free to check out BaselineChristianity.com for more information like this. You ready?
Method 1: Showing God Through the Beginning of the Universe
Here’s how this first method goes:
(1) Everything with a beginning has a cause.
(2) The universe had a beginning.
(3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.
The million-dollar term for this little three-part statement is “The Cosmological Argument” for God. Pretty neat, huh? A more cheeky way to say this is “even a big bang needs a big banger.” No matter what, this universe needs something to have caused it. That something is God.
“Wait, wait, wait! How do we know it was God?”
Good question. It’s simple really. All we need to do is ask ourselves, “what is the universe?” Scientists will tell you that it’s the total combination of all of time, space, and matter. That’s a lot of stuff!
But think about that for a second… if something caused all of time, space, and matter, guess what that cause can’t be made of? You guessed it: time, space, and matter!
This is a pretty big deal. What this means is that through using simple logic, we see that whatever caused the universe exists outside of time, isn’t physical, is powerful and smart enough to create the whole universe and had the ability to do it without something else causing it to (something only living beings can do).
Can you think of anything other than God that fits that description?
Method 2: Showing God Through Right & Wrong
One of the biggest reasons people deconstruct from Christianity is that they believe certain Christian doctrines are “toxic”. For example, I’ve heard God called a “Vindictive Bully” and a “Divine Child Abuser” many times. Doctrines like “original sin”, “substitutionary atonement”, and “eternal hell” are considered bigoted and abusive. In other words, all these things are viewed as morally wrong.
You know what’s interesting about these objections? They actually prove God exists!
1. If moral wrongs exist, a qualifying standard of right and wrong must exist.
2. Moral wrongs exist.
3. Therefore, a qualifying standard of right and wrong exists.
How does something qualify as the standard for right and wrong? In my book, Does God Really Exist? I explain how and why only God fits the bill:
“The truth of the matter is to be a valid standard for objective morality, something needs to be three things: transcendent, authoritative, and personal.
Why ‘transcendent’? For something to be transcendent means that it exists across all of time. Since morality needs to be objective across all time to make sense of what we see around us, the source and standard for that morality also needs to be objective across all time. If this standard were to stop existing, it wouldn’t apply anymore. That, of course, rules out human beings or even groups of human beings since none of us are transcendent across time.
Why ‘authoritative’? For something to be authoritative means it has the legitimate right to tell us what to do. The source and standard for morality must have real authority over all humanity for morality to be binding. Otherwise, morality is just a suggestion, and there’s nothing wrong with us disregarding it. This rules out everything in our cosmos since there is nothing in all of the known universe that has legitimate authority over every living thing.
Why ‘personal’? For something to be personal means it has the attributes of personhood, or to put it another way—it’s a living being. The source and standard for morality must be a living entity to require our moral obligation. Otherwise, we are no more obligated to be moral than if a keyboard or chair were the one telling us to behave morally. The truth is, we can’t be morally obligated to inanimate objects, only people.
What happens when you put all three of these criteria together? You come out with an eternal, authoritative person who exists outside of the known universe and is the standard for objective morality. This, of course, is just another way of saying ‘God’” (Blake, 26-27).
As you can see, this is a fairly simple argument for the existence of God, embedded in the very objections most posed against Christianity. The truth of the matter is, rather than disprove God’s existence, the presence of right and wrong requires God to exist.
Method 3: Showing God Through Jesus’ Historical Resurrection
It’s really interesting how so many jabs are taken at the history of early Christianity in deconstructionist circles. According to these individuals, the early Church was characterized by chaos with different warring factions competing for control of the Church until eventually one faction stamped out all the rest, made Jesus God, wrote their ideas in the Bible, and labeled everyone who disagreed as heretics. The reality is that characterization is far from the truth (see my booklet Can We Trust the New Testament for more info).
But even if these wild claims were true and the Bible’s been terribly corrupted, there’s still some basic historical facts the vast majority of historians and relevant scholars (including atheists) agree upon—and these facts prove God’s existence. Here they are:
FACT 1: A Jewish Rabbi named Jesus of Nazareth was killed by crucifixion in the first century by Roman executioners.
FACT 2: Jesus’ followers had real experiences after Jesus’ death that they believed were appearances of Jesus, risen from the dead.
FACT 3: Jesus’ followers’ lives were transformed as a result of this belief—even to the point of being willing to die for their belief in His resurrection.
FACT 4: James and Paul – both enemies of Jesus’ message – came to believe in Jesus’ resurrection and became Christians as a result. Both claimed the reason was that Jesus spoke to them after His death.
FACT 5: Jesus was buried in a tomb in Jerusalem which was found empty shortly after His death.
All five of these facts are agreed upon by the vast majority (over 75% of historians), and the first four are agreed upon by over 95% of relevant scholars!
You know what’s so interesting about these five facts? No other theory besides “God exists and raised Jesus from the dead” explains these bedrock historical truths.
The “Disciples Lied and Stole Jesus’ Body” theory doesn’t work because of facts 2, 3, and 4.
The “Jesus Didn’t Really Die” theory doesn’t work because of facts 1 and 4.
The “Disciples Were Hallucinating” theory doesn’t work because of facts 4 and 5.
The “Records Were Corrupted” theory doesn’t work because all of these facts are agreed bedrock, historical certainty.
I could go on and on with discredited theory after theory, but the point is, that just putting together all the historical facts everyone agrees on, leads us to conclude not only that God exists but that Christianity itself is true.
Invisible Qualities Clearly Seen
How wonderful it is that God has made His existence clearly known for any who are willing to think honestly about it.How wonderful it is that God has made His existence clearly known for any who are willing to think honestly about it. Click To Tweet
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20
So, the next time someone tells you “There’s no evidence for God’s existence”, ask them if they’ve heard about these three reasons why we know He does.
If anyone (Christian or Skeptic) has any questions, I’m happy to respond here. 🙂
Excellent article! I feel like a lot of Christians would love to reach out to their non-believing neighbors, friends, or co-workers, but don’t know how to defend their faith. Thank you for sharing this!
You’re absolutely right! I think that’s one of the biggest reasons why Christians don’t share their faith: they’re afraid of not knowing what to say when people ask them questions.
I once heard a story of a pastor who had a husband and wife over for dinner. The pastor and the man’s wife talked for awhile but the husband barely spoke a word… that is, until the subject came to boats. THEN the he talked a TON. He wasn’t afraid of the pastor disagreeing with him or anything. Why? Because he knew the subject well. Because of that, it came naturally to him,
In the same way, the biggest way to get more comfortable with evangelism is to know your stuff: both why Christianity is true and how to communicate the gospel.
I am glad I stumbled on this article. I am sometimes amazed by the masses against Christianity. I haven’t come across an atheist but where I live there are a lot of Muslims, and this troubles me. My question is how do we handle other religions that don’t believe in Christ? Should we preach to them? I stumbled on a book by a popular atheist and he said we Christians speak against other religion, saying Jesus is the only way, painting Christians like some proud, vain people. This troubles me because I don’t want to pictured as proud and vain, but I want to preach the gospel. How do we handle other religions? And should we preach to them?
Hello Favour! Great questions!
I would say a couple of things:
1. When it comes to how we say things, different cultures respond differently to different methods. A more logical, analytical approach may work better in more Western nations and a more captivating storytelling approach may work better in a more Eastern context. One isn’t necessarily better than the other; its just different ways of communicating.
2. I would highly recommend you read “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” by Nabeel Qureshi. He was a committed Muslim who converted to Christianity. It’s an excellently-written book that shares so much wisdom. It also reads as interestingly as a fiction book, which is a plus. A great place to listen to the audio-version is Scribd.com. You have to pay a monthly subscription, but it’s totally worth it for all the cool audiobooks. Or, you could get it on Amazon and read the paper version. One note of caution though: if you live in a fundamentalist Muslim country, they may have banned the book, because it speaks negatively (though respectfully) about Muhammed. Just keep that in mind.
3. To answer your question directly, I would say it’s not proud or vain to follow the evidence where it leads. We are Christians because we think it’s true, in the same way we eat vegetables because we think they’re healthy. That’s not arrogance; that’s common sense. We don’t think we’re better than others who are in other religions; we just think they’re wrong. If they think that’s arrogant of us, then ironically, they think we’re wrong to be arrogant, and their complaint actually falls back on them, too!
4. Regarding how to handle other religions, I find the best thing to do is to listen to them, hear their stories, truly befriend them, and build real trust. Once they know how much you care about them as a friend, they’re more likely to listen to what you have to say.
Wow! I loved the simple logic syllogisms, and I’ve never thought about how time, space, and matter must have been created by Someone who is not affected by any of those things. I also like the part about objective morality. Great article!
It’s suspiciously coincidental that the very first verse in all the Bible says: “In the beginning [time] God created the heavens [space] and the earth [matter].” God is the cause of all three of these things that we need so desperately to live as we do.
And yes! The moral argument is super helpful because every time someone objects to Christianity, they affirm the second premise of our case. Very helpful!
So cool and super handy!
My thoughts exactly! When I first learned that these arguments could be made so concisely, it really encouraged me in my ability to share Christ with others. I actually got to use these last week! Really thankful for God’s grace to make his presence so clear!
If someone asked “If God created the universe, then who created God?”, what do I say?
Hello Yasmine! Excellent question!
I suggest you start with what both Atheists and Christians see around us: the universe. Rather than just say “well God doesn’t need a cause”, there’s a more convincing way we can go about this. After all saying that just feels like cheating. Here’s how a conversation might go…
— START CONVERSATION —
Atheist: “If God created the universe, then who created God?”
Christian: “Tell you what, let’s take God off the table for a moment and just look at the universe. Just using logic, let’s figure out what the cause of the universe needs to be like. Cool?”
Atheist: “All right.”
Christian: “We know from common experience that everything that begins to exist has a cause for it, right? After all, you’re not worried a herd of goats just popped into existence in your living room and are right now eating your furniture! For something to START happening, there has to be a cause for it.”
Atheist: “Sure. But that includes God, right?”
Christian: “Well, we haven’t gotten there yet. But we will in a minute. But we can at least agree with this principle. Everything that begins to exist has a cause”.
Christian: “Alright. So, let’s go on to the next point: the universe began to exist. Can we agree on that?”
Atheist: “I don’t know, can we? Couldn’t the universe have existed forever?”
Christian: “Actually, no. An eternal universe doesn’t work, either logically or scientifically. Think of it like this: if you started counting now, could you ever count to infinity? Of course not. Likewise, if you were to try to start counting an infinity of time ago, could you ever actually start counting? There would always be further back you’d have to go before you could start counting! That’s why philosophers agree, the universe couldn’t have existed forever.
Atheist: “Yeah, but what about science? Doesn’t science say the universe could have existed forever?”
Christian: “Actually no. Science tells us the opposite. Recently, three big-time scientists: Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin came out with the “Borde–Guth–Vilenkin theorem” (BGV for short) that makes it clear that any universe like ours must have a beginning, scientifically. This would even apply to a multiverse if one happens to exist. One of these scientists even said: ‘It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning’ (Vilenkin, 30-31). That’s a pretty definitive statement!”
Atheist: “Okay, so the universe has a beginning. How do we know that what caused it had to be God?”
Christian: “Well, we need to ask ourselves: what is the universe? All of time, space, and matter, right?”
Atheist: “Yeah, unless you think there’s a multiverse out there.”
Christian: “Sure. Then, switch out the word ‘universe’ for ‘multiverse’. Same question.”
Atheist: “Yeah. Then, yes, the universe is all of time, space, and matter”
Christian: “Okay. Then, that must mean that this ‘thing’ that caused the universe can’t be made of space or matter, right?”
Christian: “And it also can’t have a beginning.”
Atheist: “Huh… why is that?”
Christian: “Because the universe is all of time too. And without time, there’s no way something can have a beginning.”
Atheist: “I can’t imagine something existing outside of time. It would be like… frozen or something.”
Christian: “Unchanging actually. But pretty much. Nothing would change and this thing would simply exist with no changes going forward or backwards. In fact, without time, there would be no forwards or backwards.”
Atheist: “Wouldn’t that mean this ‘thing’ couldn’t do anything at all, if it’s stuck like this, with no time?”
Christian: “Well, it depends. If this thing wasn’t alive and was just an object, then you’re right; it would be stuck like this without any possibility of doing anything. But if it were alive, that’s a different story”
Christian: “Because it would have free will. A rock sitting still on a chair can’t decide to get up and move. It can only be caused to move by something else. But if there is nothing else, it’s stuck there. A person, on the other hand can decide to move on their own, even without something causing them to. So, whatever this ‘thing’ is that caused the universe has to be alive.”
Atheist: “But that’s us, people, in time. We can move because of time. This thing would be frozen.”
Christian: “Nope. Because the moment this living being decided to do something different, time would officially start. Christians believe this happened in Genesis 1:1.”
Atheist: “You still haven’t answered my question, though. If God created the universe, who created God?”
Christian: “I’ll get to that. I promise. Stay with me a bit longer. First, we need to recognize that just using logic, we see that whatever caused the universe must have caused time. If you think of time like a line on a piece of paper, this ‘thing’ drew that line. So, let me ask you if you drew a line on a piece of paper, and I asked you where on that line you were, what would you say?”
Atheist: “I’d say you’re speaking nonsense.”
Christian: “Right! That’s my point. Whatever caused time, by definition couldn’t have had a beginning. Because beginnings and endings are the results of time. An artist is not inside his painting.”
Atheist: “So… if I asked ‘who created God’ you’re saying it’s a nonsense question?”
Christian: “Right. It’s like asking “where on the number line is the mathematician or where on the canvas is the painter?”
Atheist: “That seems rather convenient for you. Why does God get to be the exception to what you said at the beginning? Didn’t you say ‘everything has to have a cause’?
Christian: “Actually, I said ‘everything that begins to exist has to have a cause’. Whatever caused time couldn’t have begun to exist since it would come before beginnings!”
Atheist: “This is hurting my head.”
Christian: “I get that. This is complex stuff. But let me finish my point: just using logic, we saw that whatever caused the universe must:
1. Not be made of space
2. Not be made of matter
3. Not have a beginning
4. Have free will, and so also be a living being
Common sense tells us that this thing also needs to be powerful and smart enough to cause the whole universe to come into existence at will, using no raw materials (since there would be none to work with). So, what do you call this thing?”
Atheist: “How do you know this thing is God, then?”
Christian: “You don’t have to call it God. You can call it whatever you want… but I will say, it’s a pretty weird form of atheism that says an eternal, super-powerful, super-intelligent living being created the universe.”
Atheist: “Whatever. That’s still not good enough for me. Besides, even if this God you got from logic exists, how do you know it’s the Christian God and not some other religions’ God?”
Christian: “That’s totally your prerogative. No amount of logic or evidence can force you to believe anything. But as for me, I’m committed to going where the evidence leads. As for your question, for that, we just need to look at history: specifically, at the reports of the resurrection of Jesus…”
— END CONVERSATION —
Notice how throughout this fake conversation (which was actually pretty similar to one I had not too long ago), the Christian didn’t say God was just the exception to the rule. He (or she) just explained that the rule logically wouldn’t apply to the cause of time and the rest of the universe; the rule wouldn’t apply to God.
Hope this helps!
Vilenkin, Alexander. “Did the Universe Have a Beginning?” In The Philosophy of Cosmology, edited by Khalil Chamcham et al., Cambridge University Press, 2017.
This definitely helps, even if it hurts my brain a little. Thanks for your response, the fake conversation is great!
Of course, Yasmine!
These things are deep in the weeds of philosophy, but they really do help a ton with these sort of meaningful questions.
Feel welcome to come back here to the comments anytime you have any questions about this sort of thing. I periodically check back in for new posts here. 🙂
Thank you so much for this article.I have often found it hard to come up with a good argument for the existence of God.This helped me a lot.
Of course, Leah! It was my pleasure. And this is just the tip of the iceberg too! There are *plenty* more like these three (I wrote a short book on ten of them, and I’m not even a scholar!) I’ve just found that these are the easiest to share with the “man on the street”.
I really think if more youth knew these from an early age, we’d have a lot fewer high schoolers leave the church when they go off to college. When people say nonsense like “Christianity is stupid” and “faith is believing what you know ain’t so” long enough, without something to respond with, we’ll actually end up believing it.