Warren Christian Apologetics Center
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Articles -God

Articles concerning the existence of God.

Of Atheism

I had rather believe all the fables in the legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind; and, therefore, God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because [H]is ordinary works convince it. It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion (emp. added); for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity: nay, even that school of Leucippus, and Democritus, and Epicurus, for it is a thousand times more credible that four mutable elements, and one immutable fifth essence, duly and eternally placed, need no God, than that an army of infinite small portions, or seeds unplaced, should have produced this order and beauty without a divine marshal. The Scripture saith, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God;" it is not said, "The fool hath thought in his heart;" so as he rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of it; for none deny there is a God, but those for whom it maketh that there were no God. It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man (emp. added), than by this, that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted in it within themselves, and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others; nay more, you shall have atheists strive to get disciples, as it fareth with other sects; and, which is most of all, you shall have of them that will suffer for atheism, and not recant; whereas, if they did truly think that there were no such thing as God, why should they trouble themselves? (emp. added) Epicurus is charged, that he did but dissemble for his credit's sake, when he affirmed there were blessed natures, but such as enjoyed themselves without having respect of the government of the world; wherein they say he did temporize, though in secret he thought there was no God: but certainly he is traduced, for his words are noble and divine: "It is not profane to deny the existence of the Deities of the vulgar: but to apply to the Divinities the received notions of the vulgar is profane." Plato could have said no more; and although he had the confidence to deny the administration, he had not the power to deny the nature. The Indians of the west have names for their particular gods, though they have no name for God: as if the heathens should have had the names Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, etc., but not the word Deus, which shows that even those barbarous people have the notion, though they have not the latitude and extent of it; so that against atheists the very savages take part with the very subtlest philosophers. The contemplative atheist is rare; a Diagoras, a Bion, a Lucian perhaps, and some others; and yet they seem to be more than they are; for that all that impugn a received religion, or superstition, are, by the adverse part, branded with the name of atheists; but the great atheist indeed are hypocrites, which are ever handling holy things but without feeling; so as they must needs be cauterized in the end. The causes of atheism are, divisions in religion, if they be many; for any one main division addeth zeal to both sides, but many divisions introduce atheism: another is, scandel of preists, when it is come to that which St. Bernard said, "It is not for us now to say, 'Like preist like people,' for the people are not even so bad as the priest:"  a third is, custom of profane scoffing in holy matters, which doth by little and little deface the reverence of religion; and lastly, learned times, specially with peace and prosperity; for troubles and adversities do more bow men's minds to religion. They that deny God destroy a man's nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. It destroys likewise magnanimity, and the raising of human nature; for take an example of a dog, and mark what a generosity and courage he will put on when he finds himself maintained by a man, who to him is instead of a God, "A superior nature," which courage is manifestly such as that creature, without that confidence of a better nature than his own, could never attain. So man, when he resteth and assureth himself upon divine protection and favor, gathereth a force and faith, which human nature is itself could not obtain; therefore, as atheism is in all respects hateful, so in this, that it depriveth human nature of the means to exalt itself above human fraility. As it is in particular persons, so it is in natures; never was there such a state of magnanimity as Rome. Of this state, hear what Cicero saith: "We may admire ourselves, conscript fathers, as much as we please; still, neither by numbers did we vanquish the Spaniards, nor by bodily strength the Gauls, nor by cunning the Carthaginians, nor through the arts the Greeks, nor, in fine, by the inborn and native good sense of this our nation, and this our race and soil, the Italians and Latins themselves; but through our devotion and our religious feeling, and this, the sole true wisdom, the having perceived that all things are regulated and governed by the providence of the immortal Gods, have we subdued all races and nations."

Essays: Francis Bacon (pp. 80-84)

Francis S. Bacon
(1561-1626)

 

Francis Bacon is credited with having been the inventor of the scientific method, that combination of induction and deduction, of hypothesis and proof (empirical proof). He believed in God. He believed in Christ. He believed the Bible, and he believed in Creation. He said that God had given us two books. He has given us the book of nature to understand the world, and the book of the Scriptures--and we are to read both of them.