In a debate with the Christian Philosopher, theologian and apologist, William Lane Craig, Christopher Hitchens the famed atheist made a very interesting point. Hitchens made the statement in follow up to a point he had made. He said “you have to imagine that all of this randomness, extinction and death is the will of a being. You are free to believe that if you wish. And all of this should happen so that one very imperfect race of evolved primates should have the opportunity to become Christians or to turn up at this gym tonight. That all of that was done with us in view. It’s a curious kind of solipsism. It’s a curious kind of self centeredness. I was always brought up to believe that Christians were modest and humble and comported themselves with due humility. There’s a certain arrogance to this assumption that all of this extraordinary development was all about us. And we were the intended and desired result, and that everything else was in the discard. The tremendous wastefullness of it, the tremendous cruelty of it, the tremendous caprice of it, the tremendous tinkering and incompetence of it, never mind; at least we are here and we could be people of faith.”
First of all, let’s not pay attention to the fact that the people who insist that we are evolved primates, and make fun of believers have a lot to overcome in their acceptance of this idea. Think about it for a minute. There once was nothing, and by nothing we mean absolutely nothing…zilch…nada…naught…zero…zip…nix…diddly squat. Imagine it. Then all of a sudden, from absolute nothingness, there arose the big bang, the product of absolute zilch. Then with no mind behind anything, everything came out as the result of pure randomness; matter, all of the physical laws, all of the order, design, beauty and symbiosis that we have in the universe just simply…happened, but hold on, that’s not all.
After billions and billions of years, from this none living matter came living matter in the form of a cell with all of it’s wonder and sophistication. Still that’s not all. Through a completely arbitrary, non directed, haphazard process we got the world of living things. We got living things that have now become extinct and those that are present in our world today. Dinosaurs, lizards, frogs, cockroaches, butterflies, crickets, mullusks, protists, snakes, aligators, bats, trees, fungi, hornets, fish, birds, primates, and human beings all just happen come about. Voila! You name it; out of pure happenstance, these things just all came to be, literally from zero to hero. Like Hitchens says to theists, they say to him. “You are free to believe that if you wish.”
Atheists may think that believers have a lot to overcome to get to belief in God, but so do they, and perhaps even more. They may complain that believers do not have answers to certain questions about God, but again; the atheist does not have answers to certain questions about his beliefs either. Scientists do not have all the answers about science, so the fact that theists have some difficult questions they cannot answer is not a disqualifyer for belief. In addition, there are answers to many of the difficult questions that believers grapple with about God. If one applies to learning about God, the same diligence that is required to learn about any topic; that person can find answers.
But that’s not the main issue or takeaway from Mr. Hitchens point. The biggest takeaway from listening to him was his point about Christian solipsism and arrogance to think that all of this is about them. First of all he is wrong that Christians believe that “it is all about them.” He is wrong on that. Christians are just part of God’s bigger purpose. They do not believe that it is all about them at all. It is all about the love of God. The Christian understands that we are all wretched sinners in God’s eyes, totally undeserving of God’s mercy and grace, but God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Despite our our rebellion against God, He continues to reach out to humanity and anyone who responds to Him in honest repentance, that person God will receive. It is the the grace of God that he offers to everyone that gives us our standing as human beings in God’s eyes. There is absolutely nothing special about us except the value that God has placed on us. There is nothing that we have done or can do that merits Gods attention.
Mr. Hitchens has it all wrong. The Christian has no room for solipsism. Arrogance is the pathway to a fall. There simply is no room for it. Instead the believer looks at the universe with all of it’s complexity, beauty, and order, in addition to all that goes wrong in it, then puts trust in a God who says I love you more than you can imagine. Put your trust in me and know that My ways are not your ways, My thoughts are higher than your thoughts. The finite mind cannot understand all there is to know about the all powerful infinite God, but the God of the heavens is in control and working everything according to his purpose and will. Some things may not make sense to you, but know this, I love you with an everlasting love. It is this that gives us our value, our special place in God’s eyes, not any intrinsic value that we have, or anything that we can offer in return.