What About Alternatives to Christianity – Agnosticism, Atheism, & Humanism?
Many individuals who have rejected the Christian claim have embraced other views of life. Most state that there is no God as the Bible teaches, and if there is, then He is unknowable. The claims of these alternatives will not hold up under investigation.
An agnostic usually is someone who does not know whether God exists. The agnostic has not made up his mind on God. He is a doubter. Some agnostics are more aggressive than others in searching for God, and this we applaud.
The Bible promises, if anyone desires to know the truth about God, they shall. “If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself” (John 7:17, NASB).
Unfortunately, most agnostics do not make a real effort to know if there is a God. They do not consider the question all that crucial. Yet it is crucial. The very fact that an agnostic cannot be sure whether there is a God makes it logical that he should consider the claims of Christianity. Therefore, agnosticism is not grounds for rejecting Christianity; rather it is grounds for examining Christianity.
Atheists affirm there is no God. Yet they cannot hold this position dogmatically. For us to be able to make this type of statement with authority, we would have to know the universe in its entirety and to possess all knowledge. If anyone had these credentials, then by definition he would be God.
Thus we see that, unless the atheist is all-knowing, he cannot make a dogmatic statement on God’s existence. Therefore, he can only state that he is uncertain whether or not there is a God, and this view is agnosticism. This we have already investigated earlier and found wanting. The atheist’s claim that God does not exist crumbles under examination.
The humanist believes that man will be able to solve all his own problems. This creed that “man is the measure of all things” offers no concrete solution to those looking for a way out. Today, in our world, humanism is quite popular.
Humanism fails on two counts. First, man operating by himself cannot set up true standards of justice or values in the world without God. If one man decides his human view of values is correct, while another man decides differently, who will decide between them?
Who would decide between the Nazis and the Jewish race in World War II? Each had a set of values, but who was right? The majority? The nicest? The meanest?
Without a higher standard of authority to go to, which is God, all of life is based on the values of the majority or a dictator in power. They have no sure truth to turn to; it is all a matter of opinion.
Secondly, humanism believes man is “getting better and better every day in every way.” However, with two world wars in this century and the world on the brink of nuclear holocaust, the demise of optimistic humanism is a foregone conclusion.
Thus humanism offers not hope but despair. Humanism does not solve problems; it creates them. If humanism is honestly examined, it leads man not to look to man, but beyond himself, for the answers.
These alternative views, when soundly probed, are found not to undermine Christianity but rather to reinforce it. This is because philosophical systems and other religions, in their search for truth and meaning to life, fall short in their quest. Without the Bible as a solid foundation, there is no way to determine whether or not we have the truth. It alone offers man truth and hope.
ADDITIONAL REFERENCE SOURCES
Carnell, E. J. An Introduction to Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1950.
McDowell, Josh and Don Stewart. Understanding Secular Religions. San Bernardino, Calif.: Here’s Life Pubs., 1983.
Schaeffer, Francis. He Is There and He Is Not Silent. Wheaton,Ill.: Tyndale House, 1972.
Sproul, R. C. If There Is a God, Why Are There Atheists? Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1974.