The Atheist And His Car
An Atheist comes back to his car after a day of hard work. He goes out of the train station and confidently walks towards his vehicle. Instead of which, he founds an empty space.
You would think the Atheist would simply consider that the molecules composing the car have casually rearranged themselves, in a random manner, and the car has returned into nothingness out of a fully uncaused, spontaneously happening re-arrangement of matter exactly in the same way as the universe (of this the Atheist is fully persuaded) formed itself in a casual, random arrangement.
Interestingly, the Atheist is (cough…) highly unlikely to think in that way. He is all “random arrangement of matter that was already there somehow” when you talk to him about how the World was created, but he completely abandons his theories when he lives his daily life.
Upon not finding the car, the Atheist will think that there must be a reason – a real reason, a cause that created the effect, not a “random rearrangement of matter” – for the car not to be where he left it. He will reason that with all probability, someone has caused the car to be removed; and that if something else had happened – say: a natural force, like a hurricane – then this force would logically not have applied selectively to his own car, but would have operated according to universally recognised laws, which for example state both that there should be devastation all around him, and that hurricanes have not changed their ways on that particular day.
The Atheist is, in this, thinking logically. He knows that if there is an effect there is a cause, and that the laws of physics are the same everywhere. He knows that cars do not vanish in thin air, because he knows that the forces that keep his car from vanishing in a random matter are at work all the time. He also knows, incidentally, that that very car did not casually appear on the planet one day out of nothing; firstly because he knows that nothing comes out of nothing, and secondly because he knows that only a proper cause (the production process) can cause the desired effect (the car).
The atheist knows that there is a cause for that empty space; he knows with absolute certainty that the car is there because someone – say: the police, the parking administrators, or a thief – took it away. He knows that he lives in a world of cause and effect, and of eternal, immutable, inescapable laws of physics. If no natural force or human action had caused the car to be removed the car would still be there, because the car could not create out of nothing the energy necessary to move, or an autonomous will to remove itself in the first place.
Not only this: the atheist would mock and ridicule you for seriously saying to him that perhaps the car just developed a will (which I would, if I could keep a straight face without bursting in uncontrollable laughter). If an entire universe simply happened without anyone wanting or causing it, simply at random, – with all its extremely complicated laws, and its unimaginable immensity – why would such an infinitely smaller and less complex thing, like a Volkswagen Golf, not simply happen to develop its own will, create its own petrol, and decide to get its kicks on Route 66?
The idea is so stupid, that the Atheist would reject it outright. He would not believe that a thinking man can be so moronic as to think in this way.
Which reflects, very accurately, my own thinking whenever I hear an Atheist producing himself in an explanation of why the world with its astonishing vastness and complexity, and the matter composing it in the first place, exist at all.