I have spent some time this week responding to a self-proclaimed atheist who began making comments on one of my online sites. His accusations towards me centered around my incompetence, even calling me an intellectual vandal. Later in the discussion, an "intellectual vandal" was basically described as a person who takes from the facts the information they need to make a presentation that they want. I agreed that I was not an academic nor educated at a level I can boast about. (I very often experience inner shame at my lack of knowledge in many fields of study.)
I admitted I did not understand quantum physics, Einsteins' theory of Relativity or how science arrives at Planck time. The challenge atheists often throw towards me is that I should not comment or defend the existence of God until I have a full grasp of these concepts. At the same time these critics give the impression that atheists not only think on the level of Einstein and Hawking, but have also wrestled to the mat difficult concepts like evil, human self-awareness, and time.
After several exchanges our online conversation began to become civil and the atheist asked me if I agreed that it seems that atheists are more academically developed than theists. I thought that was a very good question and one that could serve my purposes very well. In response to how the atheist framed the question I would have to answer, "Yes, atheists are more academically developed than theists." I have to say this because of my experience and my own level of knowledge. Typically, if an atheist is an atheist they know and understand the basic term "atheist." But, over the last many years when I teach believing Christians I have to explain the term "theist" to them. Although most Christians know what an atheist is, they do not know what a "theist" is. And, they would not describe themselves as one. The one thing Christians do know is who God is. And, this leads me to my next point.
One of the reasons an atheist may be more academically developed than a theist is that an atheist is trying to disprove what a Christian has already accepted - the existence of God. A Christian engaging in a debate about the existence of God would be like gathering evidence and engaging in a debate about the existence of the earth or the physical universe. Who wants to prove the obvious?
Atheists need to use science to prove God does not exist. They spend hours, even careers, pouring through information to build their case against the existence of God. The problem with this effort is that it really can not be done. Why? If science and material evidence can not be used to prove God does exist, then it must also be true that science and material evidence can not be used to prove God does not exist. What are they looking for? No foot prints of a nonexistent being? Are they hoping to find no corpse of a nonexistent god who has not been murdered? Any material evidence they find only proves more and more the likelihood of a being who did leave his footprints in creation and the reality of a God who is not dead but living.
Atheists attempt to use science to prove that God does not exist. Because of this atheists seek knowledge and information about higher, abstract theories and merely speculate with the pieces of evidence that God has provided. This is contrary to Christians. Christians not only know God exists, they also know God. Christians know God and seek knowledge and information about him. The Christian has a relation with the living God and is focused on developing that relationship, not focused simply on proving the existence of a being known as God. Knowing God - this is the labor of a theist. An atheist labors to prove there is no God. A theist labors to know the God that exists. This labor of the theist must, of course, involve seeking information about all the works of God including all his creation - the physical universe, man, philosophy, etc. The difference then is the atheist studies to prove the non existence of God, while the Christian studies to seek the God they already know.
It is no wonder then the atheists mock my pursuit and the One I am pursuing. Trying to keep up with the latest theory can become a distraction. If you are undecided then maybe you need to continue. If you are trying to "answer a fool according to his folly" then maybe you need to delve into the abyss of science. Nothing wrong with that. I decided about 10 years ago that the issue of evolution is settled for me. How much more the question of Gods' existence? I am now pursing knowledge of God and experiencing a life changing relationship with God - the Eternal One. I am not questioning his existence.