It’s very common to hear anti-theists argue that religion is largely down to ignorance. For example people who didn’t understand how things worked, regarding the universe, our planet, and life itself would resort to supernatural explanations like God, because they were unaware of the scientific answers behind many of these questions. Answers that have now been dealt with thanks to science and modern technology. Anti-theists therefore argue that religion is no longer needed or necessary as we have the tools in our possession to answer important questions, no longer having to resort to laying the answer on some supernatural deity.
This argument is largely a straw man argument, in other words this claim is a very misrepresentative view of religion, because religion is not the result of ignorance, or not knowing the answers to tough questions. Rather, for theists who believe in God and religion, religion is the very basis that provides good, coherent, and logical answers to key questions.
Yes, it is true, modern science and technology has given us a lot of answers in terms of how the universe works, and many key questions behind life, but it was never a question of ignorance behind these questions that resulted in people believing in God. Religion provided the good answers, so for example all the mechanisms behind the universe, and the mechanisms behind the origin of life, explained by science, didn’t simply result by mere chance and coincidence for no reason. There was a purpose behind it all, a designer behind it all, a creator, that creator being God. Science merely provides answers to the mechanisms behind these things, but to the deeper underlying questions, of why? Science has no answers, and neither is it within the realm of science to answer these questions.
For an anti-theist it might be good enough to merely accept the mechanisms behind how things work, and leave it at that, that the universe and life just functions the way it does, because it just worked out in our odds and ended that way. For theists, we rather choose to believe that things worked out this way because a creator made it that way, and not because of ignorance. But because it makes perfect rational sense to believe so, and quite the contrary, the ignorant and irrational position would be to believe that everything just happened on it’s own for no reason and for no purpose, and that we just got lucky.
Most of the time anti-theists don’t actually appreciate the scientific explanations behind how things work, as much as they try to lay hold to science. Because if they did, they too would most likely end up as believers in God. If anyone studies for example the scientific studies behind the universe, and the equations and events that made it possible for life to occur, for us to be able to live, and for the sun to just be in the right spot, and for the earths rotation to be just right, they would see how silly it would be to believe that everything just ended that way by odd chance. They would rather see the scientific studies and equations, and see the handiwork of a creator, which is why things ended up the way they did.
In essence, religion provides good and the only actual conceivable answers to very important questions, answers that still remain relevant even with the advent of modern science and technology. Modern science and technology only serve to cement these answers, rather than disprove the existence of a deity.
The Quran itself points to our surroundings and the way things work as a sign of God:
“It is He who sends down water from the sky. From it you drink and from it come the shrubs among which you graze your herds. And by it He makes crops grow for you and olives and dates and grapes and fruit of every kind. Therein is certainly a sign in that for people who reflect. He has made the night and the day subservient to you, and the sun, the moon and the stars, all subject to His command. Therein are certainly signs in that for people who use their intellect. And also, the things of varying colors He has created for you in the earth. There is certainly a sign in that for people who pay heed. It is He who made the sea subservient to you so that you can eat fresh flesh from it and bring out from it ornaments to wear. And you see the ships cleaving through it so that you can seek His bounty, and so that perhaps you may show thanks. He cast firmly embedded mountains on the earth so it would not move under you, and rivers, pathways, and landmarks so that perhaps you might be guided. And they are guided by the stars. Is He Who creates like him who does not create? O will you not pay heed?”(Quran 16:10-17)
So our surroundings are the best proof for God, and it’s not because of ‘ignorance’ that we believe in him, yes we understand the mechanisms behind why it rains, behind why fish can live and survive in the sea. Nobody is denying the mechanisms behind these things, what we as theists are saying rather, is that the mechanisms are precisely there because a creator put them there, that these mechanisms didn’t simply appear out of thin air, sophisticated and all, just by themselves for no reason, and just happen to benefit us humans and allow for our continued survive by mere coincidence as well.
As we have written, it is ignorant to believe and go on living with your eyes closed pretending that all these mechanisms appeared on their own, that’s what required the real leap of faith, or rather a leap of ignorance, and very closed minded thinking, the contrary to what anti-theists like to arrogantly describe themselves as, ‘free-thinkers’.
How can anti-theists call themselves ‘free-thinkers’ when in fact they have already completely ruled out the possibility and chance of there being a super-natural all powerful deity that is behind everything? If you’re a free thinker then surely they’d be open to the possibility? Yet anti-theists rule it out, it’s not even a starting point, and so they’re not really free thinkers. What we can say about anti-theists is they’ve invented their own religion, where blasphemy does exist, in this case the blasphemy is to say that life does indeed exist in an actual reality outside the natural world, and outside our three dimensional sphere. So they have invented their own religion of naturalistic materialism, and nothing can contradict it, and there is no reality other than this. That in essence is their own testimony of faith.