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Bible Commentary Adam Clarke

Unveiling the 'Self-Described' Atheist and Agnostic

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          There are neither atheists nor agnostics in this world but only those who refuse to bow their knees to the Creator and love their neighbors as themselves. All of mankind, excluding those who are children or mentally retarded, will be accountable for the way they lived their lives. Not one sound minded person will be able to say, 'I did not have enough evidence to believe that a Creator existed and that he demanded me to live righteously.' Yahweh rules out this argument in Romans 1:20, "For, the unseen things of him, from a world’s creation, by the things made [us], being perceived, are clearly seen, even his eternal power and divinity,—to the end they should be without excuse." Those who have heard of and had access to the Bible will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, which is the Second Death if they have refused to make Yahoshua their Lord. Those who did not have access to the Bible will be judged according to their works. Self-described atheists and agnostics only play a child's game by saying they do not believe, when they most assuredly do. We should not play their game by attempting to convince them of the existence of the Creator. Samuel Clark, who lived in the 1700, addressed this issue in his book,   

A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God
by Rev. Samuel Clarke D. D. 1704
"For, the unseen things of him, from a world’s creation, by the things made, being perceived, are clearly seen, even his eternal power and divinity,—to the end they should be without excuse;" (Rom. 1:20)

          "All those who either are or pretend to be atheists, who either disbelieve the being of God or would be thought to do so or, which is all one, who deny the principal attributes of the divine nature and suppose God to be an unintelligent being which acts merely by necessity, that is, which in any tolerable propriety of speech acts not at all, but is only acted upon all men that are atheists, I say, in this sense, must be so upon one or other of these three accounts.

Either, firstly, because, being extremely ignorant and stupid, they have never duly considered any thing at all, nor made any just use of their natural reason to discover even the plainest and most obvious truths, but have spent their time in a manner of life very little superior to that of beasts.

Or, secondly, because, being totally debauched and corrupted in their practice,  they have by a vicious and degenerate life corrupted the principles of their nature and defaced the reason of their own minds. And instead of fairly and impartially enquiring into the rules and obligations of nature and the reasons and fitness of things, they have accustomed themselves only to mock and scoff at religion and, being under the power of evil habits and the slavery of unreasonable and indulged lusts, are resolved not to harken to any reasoning which would oblige them to forsake their beloved vices.

Or, thirdly, because in the way of speculative reasoning and upon the principles of philosophy, they pretend that the arguments used against the being and attributes of God seem to them, after the strictest and fullest enquiry, to be more strong and conclusive than those by which we endeavor to prove these great truths.

These seem the only causes which can he imagined of any man disbelieving the being and attributes of God; and no Man can be supposed to be an atheist but upon one or other of these three accounts. Now to the two former of these three sorts of men, namely, to such as are wholly ignorant and stupid, or to such as through habitual debauchery have brought themselves to a custom of mocking and scoffing at all religion and will not hearken to any fair reasoning, it is not my present business to apply myself. The one of these wants to be instructed in the first principles of reason as well as religion; the other disbelieves only for a present false inter­est and because he is desirous that the thing should not be true. The one has not yet arrived at the use of his natural faculties; the other has renounced them and declares he will not be argued with as a rational creature. It is therefore the third sort of atheists only (namely, those who in the way of speculative reasoning and upon the principles of philosophy pretend that the arguments brought against the being and attributes of God do, upon the strictest examination, appear to them to be the more strong and conclusive than those by which these great truths are attempted to be proved) — these, I say, are the only atheistical persons to whom my present discourse can be supposed to be directed, or indeed who are capable of being reasoned with at all."

(Samuel Clarke then states his discourse for the next 300 pages concluding with the following, which is presented in pages 330 to 339.)

"Lastly, they who will not, the arguments and proofs before mentioned, be convinced of the true certainty of the Christian religion, be persuaded   to make it the rule guide of all their actions; would not be convinced, (so far as to influence the practice and reform their lives,) by any other evidence whatsoever; no not though one should rise on purpose from the dead to endeavor to convince them.

From what has been said upon the foregoing heads, it is abundantly evident that men are not called on to believe the Christian religion without very reasonable and sufficient proof; much less are they required to set up faith in opposition to reason; or to believe anything for that very reason, because it is incredible. On the contrary, God had given us the proofs of the truth of our religion, that the nature of the thing would bear, or that were reasonable either for God to give, or men to expect. And unless God should work upon men by such methods, as are wholly inconsistent with the design of religion and the nature of virtue and vice; which we are sure will never do; nothing could have been done more, that has already been done, to convince men of the truth of religion, and to persuade them to embrace their own happiness. And indeed no reasonable man can fail of being persuaded by the evidence we now have. For if in other cases, we assent to those things as certain and demonstrated, which,  (if our faculties of judging and reasoning do not necessarily deceive us,) do upon the most impartial view appear clearly and plainly to be true; there is the same reason why in moral and religious matters we should look upon those things likewise to be certain and demonstrated which upon the exacted and most deliberate judgment we are capable of making, do appear to us to be as clearly and certainly true, as is certain that our faculties do not necessarily and unavoidably deceive us, in all our judgments concerning the nature of God, concerning the proper happiness of man, and concerning the difference of good and evil...
...Since (I say) the case is thus; he that will rather venture all that he can possible enjoy, or suffer; he that will run the hazard of losing eternal happiness, and falling into eternal misery, rather than believe the most credible and rational thing in the world, merely because he does not see it with his eyes;

is plain that that man does not disbelieve the thing because he thinks the evidence
of it not sufficiently strong, but because it is contrary to some particular vice of his,
which makes it his interest that it should not be true;

and for that reason he might also have disbelieved it, though he had seen it himself. Men may invent what vain pretense they please, to excuse their infidelity and their wickedness; but certainly that man who can despise the authority both of reason and scripture in conjunction; who can elude the plainest evidence of matter of fact; who can be deaf to all the promises and kind admonitions of the Gospel, and to all the threatening and terrible denunciations of the wrath of God, made known in good measure by the light of nature, and confirmed by the addition of express revelation; certainly (I say) that man must have some other reason for his unbelief, than the pretended want of sufficient evidence. Did men follow the unprejudiced judgment of their own mind, and the impartial dictates of natural reason; the least possibility of obtaining eternal happiness, or the least suspicion of falling into endless misery, would immediately determine them to make it the great study and business of their lives, to obtain the one and avoid the other. If then we free men act directly contrary to this natural principle, and almost wholly neglect these things, not only when there is a fair appearance and probability of their being true, which the light of nature it self affords; but also when there is all reasonable evidence given, of their being certainly true, by express revelation in the Gospel; is it not very plain, that such men are governed, not by reason and the force of evidence, but by some other different cause of their actions?

What that cause is, is very apparent from the lives and actions of most of those persons, who pretend want of evidence to be the ground of their infidelity. Their lusts, their appetites, their affections are interested: they are lovers of vice and debauchery, and slaves to evil habits and customs; and therefore they are not willing to discern the evidence, which would compel them to disbelieve that, which yet they cannot believe with any comfort, so long as the resolve not to part with their beloved vices. Their hearts and affections are habitually fixed upon things here below; and therefore they will not attend to the force of any argument, that would raise their affections to things above. They are enslaved to the sensual pleasures and sinful enjoyments of Earth; and therefore they will not hearken to any reasonable conviction, which would persuade gratifications, for the future and more spiritual joys of Heaven. The love of this present world has blinded their eyes; and therefore they receive not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto them; neither can they know them because they are spiritually discerned.

In a Word: the true and only reason, why men love darkness rather than light; is,
because their deeds are evil!

And this reason, affords a sufficient account indeed, why men should be very unwilling to believe the doctrines of Christianity.

If they are resolved not to reform their lives, it is no wonder they care not to discern the evidence of those truths, which must needs make them very uneasy in the midst of the enjoyment of all their sinful pleasures. In this case, were the proofs of the truth of our religion much stronger than they are, or than they can be imagined or desired to be; yet still these men would be in the very same case, and perpetually want stronger and stronger evidence....They are willing fondly to imagine, that if they had lived in our Savior's time; if they had heard his preaching, and seen his miracles; if they had had the advantages of beholding those mighty works, which he wrought for the proof of this divine commission; as the Jews then had: they should not like them have rejected the counsel of God against themselves, but with all cheerfulness have believed his doctrine, and embraced his religion. They fancy, they should immediately have become disciples of Christ; and that the truths which he taught, would have had a most powerful influence upon the whole course of their lives. And if their hearts and affections were not set upon this world, more than upon the next; if they valued not the present enjoyments of sense, above the expectation of the glory that shall be revealed; most certainly they would do the same now. But if their hearts be set upon earthly things, and their passions be stronger than all the arguments of reason; if they do indeed so love the pleasures of sin now, as that they cannot persuade themselves by all the motives of religion to live like Christians; we need not question to affirm, that they might very well have been in the same case, though they had lived in our Savior's time. The Jews are a notorious and standing instance, how far prejudice, envy, pride and affection, are able to prevail over the strongest convictions. When our Savior began to preach that he was sent from God to instruct them in their duty, they required a sign of him, and they would believe him; but when he had wrought so many miracles, that even the world itself could not contain the books if they should all be written, they persisted still in their infidelity. When they saw him hanging upon the cross, and thought themselves secure of him, they said,

'Let him now come down from  the cross, and we will believe him:'

but when he arose out of the grave, wherein he had lain three days, which was a greater and more convincing miracle; they grew more hardened and obstinate in their unbelief.

Others there are who imagine, that if they could but be convinced of the truth of another world by the appearance of one sent directly from that unknown state, they would immediately become new creatures: but if God should satisfy their unreasonable demands, by sending one on purpose from the dead to convince them;

there is little room to doubt, but as they hearkened not to Moses and the prophets,
 to Christ and his apostles; so neither would they be persuaded
by one rising on purpose from the dead."

(For footnotes, read the PDF version.)

(When quoting scriptures, from the Rotherham Emphasized Bible New Testament, I will substitute the Hebrew words
Yahoshua (yeh-ho-shoo’- ah) for Jesus, Yahweh and Elohim for God and the LORD and ruah for pneuma (spirit).)

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