Recently I was criticized by an atheist who suggested my belief in God was irrational. He marveled that I could possibly believe in this “invisible, make-believe being” in the sky who orchestrated events on earth. Of course an easy rebuttal to this would be to ask the atheist if he believes in the existence of the wind. He might answer that we can observe the wind with our eyes as we watch the trees sway in the breeze; or on an even grander scale when we witness natural disasters such as tornadoes or hurricanes. Yet none of these things are actual wind. Rather, these things are the EFFECTS of the wind. The wind itself is invisible, yet how irrational would one have to be to deny it's existence?
The same is true of God. The evidence for God is compelling and persuasive; and the Bible says that God has made his presence known, even to the unbeliever. Furthermore he's made his presence so obvious that they are described in the Bible as being “without excuse.” “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20 NASB)
The creation itself screams of a Creator; and scripture tells us who this Creator is. As a Christian, it is hard to fathom how someone can look at the beauty of a tree, or the intricate design of the human body and not see the hand of God. Consider the earth, how it perfectly rotates at a constant speed for thousands of years. Never speeding up and never slowing down. How our planet sits suspended in space in the very same place in perfect relationship to the sun which gives us energy. If we drift closer to the sun we burn up. If we drift further away we freeze to death; and so we remain where we are. Is this the result of a cosmic accident? Is this the result of nothing more than chemical and biological processes being played out? To believe there is no cause and reason behind such intricate design is far more irrational than my belief in a God who I cannot see. Because, while I cannot see Him yet, “his eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen.” I can't see a hurricane, but I can witness it's utterly devastating effects; and the invisible God's impact on the universe that he created is far more powerful than any mere earthly storm.
Some atheists argue that to ask the question of who created the world is to make an unnecessary assumption. They argue that the universe does not require a cause and that Christians are simply forcing the question of creation, when the question itself doesn't need to be asked. Philosophers call this “begging the question.” Which is to say that we have God as our cause, even though he is not needed; so we invent a question whereby we can insert God as the answer. But when it comes to creation, the atheist does himself no favors by avoiding the question of causality. Suppress the question all you wish, there still resides in each of us this nagging and relentless consideration of how we got here. And why we are here. The atheist (indeed all forms of unbelievers) may tell you that they are too rational to entertain thoughts of a supreme being. But in moments of quiet when they have time to think and consider; if they are honest, they wonder. They wonder if they're right and many of them no doubt struggle with the “what ifs” of their present conclusions.
Is it irrational to believe in God? Not nearly as irrational as it is to refuse to believe. For to do this, one must not only deny what is evident through creation; one must also deny what they know deep down in their heart of hearts. “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:21 NASB)
It is fascinating to consider that the Bible tells us “they knew God.” Of course they didn't know him in a saving way; but they knew him in terms of his existence. The Apostle Paul said, “he is not far from every one of us.” (Acts 17:27) If man is really nothing more than the result of chemical or biological reactions; then order makes no sense. Yet we see incredible order in the universe. If the atheistic position is true, then why would we expect to see the freezing point be 32 degrees yesterday, today, and tomorrow? Why would it not be 80 degrees tomorrow? Then 115 degrees the next day? How do we account for such constancy in a world of random chance? The constancy is the result of a God of order who has created a world that is a reflection in some way of him. And to deny this is irrational.
In fact, it is irrational for the atheist to even claim rationality at all in a world that claims no God. What right would an atheist have to use constant, invariable laws to explain anything? In order to use laws of logic, for example, the atheist must borrow from the Christian worldview where things like logic make sense. An atheistic, “accidental” mindset cannot account for laws of logic, laws of science, or laws of anything. Random chance is there mantra; and if random chance is absolute truth, then nothing makes sense. We have no reason for 2 plus 2 to equal 4 tomorrow; as it does today. As I recently stated in a sermon, the reason 2 plus 2 equals 4 is because God says it does. It's God's imposing his order on the world he created that causes all truth to exist, including those branches which many consider nonspiritual (like mathematics).
So you can say whatever you wish and claim whatever you wish; but do not forget that this world you live in is God's world. You can deny the truth of God's word and even deny the very existence of God himself; but your very use of reason, logic, and rationality is a testimony in and of itself to his existence because nothing makes sense apart from God. This is why it's been said many times over that for the atheist to argue against the existence of God he must borrow from the Christian worldview to do it. The reasoning faculties that the unbeliever uses against God is ironically a faculty that was given to them by God. The strength they use to argue against God is strength that he himself provides; just as the very breath they breathe and use to curse him; is air they would not have if he didn't give it. There is a grace that God shows, even to the most ardent of unbelievers, that is common to all. As Paul also quotes in Acts 17:28 “in him we live and move and have our being.” And that wasn't all Paul had to say to the Greek philosophers of his day on Mars Hill. He also warned them of impending judgment and spoke of a salvation that can only come through Jesus Christ. “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31 NASB)
Perhaps the unbeliever would be wise to consider these things? Consider whether or not there might be something to this God that you've spent years rejecting. Consider whether or not the Biblical claims of Christianity are indeed true. Consider whether or not those nagging questions that you have don't indeed have persuasive and factual answers. Consider how your very use of reason testifies that God exists and that he has spoken. And consider whether or not you should indeed believe and submit to the Lordship of Christ. Consider the rationality of your intellectual and spiritual position. And consider whether or not there may be some irrationality in your so-called rationality.