May 9th, 2011
As you know, the Institute receives its fair share of email. Often it’s questions about the Institute, our educational programs or feedback on an article. Every so often, however, we receive a question about theology. Here, for example, is one we received recently:
I was hit with this one while talking about the historical and archaeological evidence for the Bible. The atheist said … “There are tons of evidence for THOR, but you chose not to believe in him … you’re just being a picker and a chooser with whom you worship.”
What do you say to that? Why is the historical THOR ~ thunder god a myth and ours isn’t. Just curious what you thought.
In response, yours truly, webmaster for the Institute is offering a reply:
This is actually a rather common fill-in-the-blank question. You could just as easily insert other mythical characters like: Oden, Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It originates from a giant chum bucket of atheist talking points circulating on the internet. All of these types of questions have the same response.
First of all, everyone chooses whom to worship; Whether it is yourself, a deity or the universe, the need to worship is human nature. Second, if we claim that a deity (or deities, impersonal forces, etc) exist, evidence of their existence should be available to support that claim. Without any real evidence, our claim is very weak and our faith most likely misplaced. Since, without faith from God, people naturally choose a deity based on whatever purely selfish criteria they wish, the evidence portion of their faith can often left behind in favor or personal preference or pragmatism.
Let’s face it, everyone is a “picker and chooser” of whom to worship; After all, we could just as easily choose to worship Satan, the earth or ourselves. For Christians, we believe that it is God who gives faith. Each believer is chosen by God to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. All others, atheists included, then either choose the god that makes the most practical sense or one that fits into the mold of their personal desires.
For example, in Muslim countries, people choose to be “culturally” Muslim to avoid persecution. In India, many choose Hinduism to assuage their innate guilt for ignoring the countless poor while giving their lives some meaning. In Europe, guilt over blatant hedonism has lead to a surge of Atheism; The government takes the place of God (deciding right and wrong) while the converts get to do whatever they please, guilt free; Like a gay pride parade, these hedonistic atheists revel in their shame like a pig wallows in its own muddy filth.
So then, why would anyone not a Christian find worshiping Jesus more valid than worshiping Thor? For the practical purpose of removing stumbling blocks to the faith, the answer must come down to evidence. If someone makes a positive claim (e.g. God exists), we should expect to see some evidence that it’s true. It would be foolish for us to claim that God exists without providing reasons why.
However, we can’t absolutely prove or disprove anything existing purely in the supernatural realm. We can only have confidence based on the probability of something being true. For example, if you used the evidence available, would you say there’s a higher probability of there being no supernatural realm (atheist position) or that one exists (everyone else’s position). You would need to take into account: near death experiences, death and revival experiences (memories of real events while dead), miracles (resurrection of Jesus), visions of the future seen in dreams, the powers of darkness (as seen in the occult) and your own experiences with God (which are not to be discounted). As you can see, we have a strong line of evidence for the existence of a supernatural realm.
In the same way, stating that there “are tons of evidence for Thor” is certainly not the same as presenting that evidence. It also doesn’t bring the probability of his existence up to the level that we have for the God of the Bible. For the Bible, we can visit the places it references, see the results of the miracles, test the validity of the prophesies and examine philosophy to see if this God really exists.
Let’s be honest. You can’t say the same for Thor. The .0005% chance that Thor and the pantheon of Norse gods exists (based on available evidence) is not equivalent to the 99% chance that the God of the Bible does. That’s comparing apples with oranges; Only someone who is clueless about the available evidence would make such a baseless claim.
Did Thor rise from the dead or part the Red Sea? Did Thor cause a virgin to conceive or raise Lazarus after rotting in the tomb? Did Thor deliver prophesy concerning specific events and people hundreds of years in advance? The clear answer is no. Christians are ready to defend the God of the Bible with real evidence.
On the other hand, the atheists are rarely ready to defend their position. Stating that “God exists” is a religious statement. Equally religious is the statement, “God does not exist”. Both state a theory about the supernatural realm that people “believe” to be true. Don’t let an atheist fool you into believing that they don’t have to defend their position.
“Feeling” that the supernatural realm is all nonsense or “believing” that there’s no evidence for it certainly does not make it true; The Mormon has “feelings” and “beliefs” as well about a 19th century book of fiction. It is up to atheists to show that “matter is all there is”. Watch them start appealing to made-up, imaginary things (multiverses, inflation theory, etc) … and they call Christians deluded.
In short, the evidence for the God of the Bible is much greater than the evidence against Him. The same can not be said of Thor.