3 Reasons Why the Atheistic Worldview is Bankrupt

May 22, 2017 | Apologetics, Article

Everyone has a worldview. Whether it be a Christian Worldview, Atheistic Worldview, Materialistic Naturalistic Worldview, etc., we all have a lens (view) through which we interpret the world.

Often, when we find ourselves in discussions with those who fundamentally disagree with us, we participate in a grand mischaracterization of what the other party believes.

Let’s look a brief example:

Suppose you are in a conversation with an individual over the issue of abortion. We often look at either side of that argument and call its proponent a “pro-choicer” and its opponent a “pro-lifer.” I suppose that, with respect to the argument, those terms would be accurate.

However, a closer examination would probably reveal a much deeper belief system, i.e., Worldview, which is actually responsible for informing the individual about what to believe concerning the topic (in this case, abortion).

Simply put, Worldviews matter.

When we “do” apologetics, we have a tendency to commit a crucial error. Let me explain:

Most apologists, by nature, love the notion of “evidence” concerning the Christian faith. I, for one, am left astounded and in awe of the overwhelming evidence for a literal, 6-day creation as taught in the Bible. Some of my brethren take a much different stance on this issue, but that is irrelevant to this point.

The problem is that in an attempt to tell the unbeliever (I am using this term here to account for all who would reject the God of the Bible, atheists, agnostics, Muslims, etc.), we often find that we are reducing ourselves to the epistemological level of that person. Meaning, we do not apply the standard that the Bible gives to even understand the nature of evidence before appealing to that evidence.

The “English” version of what I just said is this: Unbelievers, by nature, don’t believe in God. But, they borrow from the Christian worldview by using logic, science, and morality to make claims against God.

It does no good to provide an unbeliever with evidence who has already philosophically ruled out the existence of God.

The rest of this piece will be dedicated to unpacking that, but first, let me take a moment to give some background.



The argument presented here is in my opinion–and the opinion of many others–the absolute best argument for the existence of God.

Some of you reading this might be completely new to the notion of philosophical and scientific arguments for God, so let me give you a brief list (in an informal fashion) of the most common:

  1. The Cosmological Argument. This argument maintains that the universe, and therefore, time space and matter, had a cause. Something cannot come from nothing, therefore, God created (caused) the universe.
  2. The Teleological Argument. This argument maintains that the earth, our bodies, the universe, etc. are designed with such precision that the likelihood of the design not having a designer is almost nonexistent.
  3. The Ontological Argument. This one is more complex, but the point is that because we “are”, that is to say, we exist as conscious beings, that we must have originated from a higher source of “consciousness,” i.e., God.
  4. The Moral Argument. The Moral Argument maintains that because human beings, in their heart of hearts, affirm and live by a standard of objective morality (i.e., a moral law), there must be a moral law Giver (i.e., God).

Each of these arguments is, for the Christian, extremely powerful! Most of the proponents of this form of argumentation (arguably known as evidential or classical apologists) argue from the philosophical notion of “inference to the best explanation.” What evidential apologist William Lane Craig would call, reasonable faith.

This simply means that by observing the world around us, we can come to a knowledge of a Creator God without even needing a Bible because He would be the best explanation of the scientific facts at hand. To confirm the Christian God, one must go one step further and present the historical case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who Himself affirmed (and indeed claimed to be) the God that would be arrived to at the conclusion of the first half of the argument.

These arguments are solid and, in my opinion, do affirm that we have a faith much more reasonable than any atheist would have you to believe. After all, they tend to believe that you and I used to be a rock a few million years ago. I would argue that to come up with almost ANY other explanation could indeed be reasonable in light of the interpretation held by materialistic naturalism.

But I believe there is an even BETTER case.

As alluded to earlier, this is called the T.A.G. argument, also known as, the Transcendental Argument for God. However, there is a key difference with this argument. T.A.G. does not aim to reason its way to God by looking at evidence and coming to reasonable conclusions about the evidence. Rather, it exposes the unbelievers’ presuppositions for what they are and helps to show that they actually have no basis for holding to an atheistic Worldview.

The formal argument can be summed up in three steps.

  1. The Christian God is a necessary precondition for logic, science, and morality.
  2. People have logical and moral intuitions and can perform scientific measurements.
  3. Therefore, the Christian God exists.

A new word was introduced here, and we must understand what it means. Preconditions are exactly what they sound like: conditions necessary to functionality.

This is no mystery. We know that in order to understand that 2+2=4, there are laws of logic and mathematics that must exist and remain consistent. We know that in order to “do science,” that is, to test that things which happen in the future will happen as they do in the past, we must have universal, constant laws such as the law of gravity. We also know that it is wrong to torture babies for fun and murder a McDonald’s employee because they messed up our hamburger, and in order to know that we must have a moral code by which to adhere.

These “constructs” encompass the Preconditions for Intelligibility. That is to say that without the laws of logic, science, and morality, we could not live in the universe we do. The T.A.G. argument aims to expose to the unbeliever that their worldview cannot account for these preconditions, but our worldview can. Therefore, the very next words out of the unbeliever’s mouth will only be coherent and understood because the God who created them ordered the world in such a way that it would be possible.

No mind games, no tricks–just Truth. A question that an unbeliever cannot answer because they have no answer.

To quote Dr. Greg Bahnsen, perhaps one of the leading proponents of this argument before his death in 1994, “The proof that God exists is that if He didn’t, you couldn’t prove anything.”

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the premises behind the T.A.G.–the three reasons why the atheistic Worldview is bankrupt:

Logic Would be Impossible


Knowledge, itself, is a gift from God. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.” In order to understand this verse, we must understand what the Bible means by the word, “fool.”

It is not engaging in nor endorsing cheap name-calling; rather, it is describing a person who is living according to a standard which they do not claim to believe in. This is contrasted with the biblical term “hypocrite,” which describes someone who is not living according to a standard they do claim to believe in.

We are created in the image of God (the Imago Dei), and therefore we would expect to have a rational standard to appeal to when making judgments about the world.

To be specific and brief, let’s look at the Law of Non-Contradiction. This common law of logic says that something cannot both be and not be at the same time and in the same place. Or, that something cannot both be true and not be true at the same time under the same conditions. In other words, my hair cannot be both brown and not brown at this present moment. That is logically impossible.

We all know this, and yet, the unbeliever cannot explain why. They know it’s true, but on their Worldview, it has no basis for being true.

The majority of the unbelieving world appeals to Darwinian evolution as its explanation for the origin of life. What about evolution makes human beings logical and rational? If we are simply the “current result” of a bunch of chemical reactions that have taken place over the course of billions of years, there is no logical reason that we can logically reason!

It just doesn’t make sense.

Interestingly enough, this is one case where it is definitely not satisfactory for the atheist to reply with “well, we don’t know right now and we don’t have to know, but we will eventually figure it out.” That sounds a whole lot like to faith to me. So, unless the atheist is willing to concede that they appeal to faith in order to make sense of their worldview, they must concede that they simply cannot make sense of it.

In either case, Christianity is the only Worldview that makes sense. We expect to be logical and rational beings because we are created in the image of an all-knowing, all-powerful God. Not only that, but He has revealed Himself to us through His Word, and told us exactly the kind of conditions we should expect in His world.

Lo and behold, everything that we observe and know to be true about the world is confirmed by the Scriptures.

There Would be No Uniformity in Nature


“Science” just LOVES to be at odds with the Bible. In pop culture and in our Universities, atheistic philosophy is teaching our young people that science and the Bible are 100% contradictory.

Classical apologists will tell you that they are not contradictory, but in a shocking twist–I concede that they are.

Before you stop reading, let me explain: Science itself is, of course, coherent with the Bible! If it were not, it would sure be hard to take God at His Word. However, the notion that science is even possible in a world where the Bible does not exist is, in fact, contradictory.

Let me repeat so you hear me loud and clear: A world with no Bible IS a world with no science.

Science depends on there being uniformity in nature. In other words, science uses “experiments” that can be repeated over and over again in order to confirm or deny the expected results of a hypothesis. But science is only possible if we have a good reason to expect that things tomorrow will be the same as they were yesterday!

A facetious (yet powerful) illustration I like to use is the notion that a lion will not be waiting for you in your living room when you wake up to fix your morning coffee. Things do not randomly and sporadically appear in our universe. Our universe is governed by laws that all scientists recognize and have to use when conducting experiments, the problem is that a naturalistic worldview cannot account for or make sense of the existence of those laws.

In contrast, the Christian Worldview can.

Hebrews 1:3 teaches that God is “upholding all things by the Word of His power.” God’s creative action might have ceased on Day 6 of Creation week, but since that time, He has been upholding the world! The laws of logic and indeed the laws of science are only there because God is maintaining them!

Many scientists have not even given this a second thought. No one questions what makes science possible, yet the very thing that makes it possible is the very thing that bankrupts the interpretation of many of its discoveries! There is plenty of scientific evidence for God, but you will not see it while you are holding down the Truth (Romans 1:18).

No one is asking the unbelieving scientists nor the Christian to explain how these things are possible. But, we must have an understanding of why we can expect to see consistency between the past and the future. The atheistic answer? “No clue. We will find out someday” (faith). The Christian answer? “God, as revealed to us by His Word over the last 6000 years” (empirically verifiable fact).

Objective Morality Would not Exist


Lastly, we must turn ourselves to what is, ultimately, the Moral Argument mentioned earlier. This argument is used by many classical and evidential apologists but is actually rooted in the Transcendental Argument (used primarily by presuppositional apologists).

Romans 2:15 teaches that God has written on our hearts a “moral law” if you will that dictates right and wrong. Notice that this law is reserved only for human beings. In other words, no one puts a dog on trial for eating the family’s pet bird. Also, Venus Flytraps are not cut down when they eat a cricket for breakfast, thereby killing it.

This world has become so rooted in relativistic (“true for you but not for me”) philosophy that you often must use truly absurd and gruesome examples to even make the point.

As much as a person might not want to admit (or resist admitting it lest you be proven correct), it is OBJECTIVELY, absolutely, most definitely wrong to torture babies for fun. It is also wrong (in EVERY sense of the term) to eradicate millions of Jews because you believe they are inferior to your race.

The problem is that the atheist must necessarily admit that what Hitler did and what those who torture babies for fun do is simply a matter of preference. On their worldview, there is no “evil” in the world which to complain about or defend against. The obvious implication here is that whether or not you admit that to be true, those things are wrong and there is evil in the world!

While the atheist cannot account for that, we Christians can.

The Bible tells us what is considered right and wrong, and with the exception of when some special purpose was being accomplished in the life of God’s people, most of the moral code we find explicitly stated in the Bible is adhered to almost universally today.

The thing is, atheists and unbelievers are not consulting God’s Word to find out if what they are doing is right or wrong; in their heart of hearts, they simply know. Their conscience bears witness, which is exactly what we find stated in the Bible.

Many unbelievers do indeed admit that there is evil in the world (in fact they use evil and suffering as one of their main “proofs” against God), but they are presupposing the existence of God by their even asking the question!

This poses a major issue. The cumulative case seems to suggest that without appealing to the laws and standards put in place by God, the unbeliever cannot make a case against God.

Conclusion and Call to Repentance


If you are an atheist or unbeliever reading this, I hope you have taken an objective look at what you have just read and are beginning to see where you have gone wrong.

I write this not because I want to win an argument, or because I think I’m better than you, or because I stand to profit or benefit in some way from your seeing the Truth of the gospel.

It’s simple: In accordance with God’s command to do so, I love you.

Many of you are thinking, “but you haven’t shown me any evidence!” I love evidence. I write this blog partly because of how much I love the evidence for God, but you’ll never truly see it until you are looking through spiritual eyes.

When you repent before God and acknowledge the truth He has given you, and when you realize that if you don’t accept God’s free gift of sacrificing His Son on the cross to pay your sin debt you are headed for a real, terrible place called hell, you will begin to see the world so much differently.

This is not because you will now follow some man-made ritual of reading the Bible and seeing things differently in the same sense that you see them now. You won’t be able to explain it in such a shallow way. You will begin to see how everything around you magnifies and declares the glory of God, just like the Bible says it does.

Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

If you want to be saved today and begin a personal relationship with the God and Creator of the universe who breathed the breath of life into your very body, I pray that you will call or email me today. This is a serious matter, and though you are fully capable of doing this on your own, you may want to seek out me or the pastor of a local Bible-believing church to confirm what you have asked God to do for you.

Questions? Feel free to comment below and start the discussion, or click the blue button on the right (desktop only) to ask a question with a voicemail. We will do our best to answer in an upcoming post. Thanks!

Meet Steve

Meet Steve

Hi, I’m Steve, an author, speaker, and Bible teacher with a heart for exploring God’s Word and God’s world.

I’m interested in the surprising connection between creation, theology, business, and storytelling. We explore those themes and more on this blog.

Be sure to browse the site for faith-affirming articles, book reviews, and podcasts!

The Podcast

The Podcast