Often those who identify themselves as atheists will assert that their beliefs are based on science, as opposed to faith. However, atheists have points of faith in their belief system, just as theists do.
Most of us would agree that if certain events had not happened (causes), we might not be here (effects). For example, because your parents decided to have children (cause), you exist (effect). If you trace cause and effect backwards through the expansion of the universe you come to the single point in time that is popularly referred to as “the big bang”.
The question you are left with is, “What caused the big bang?”
From a scientific perspective there is no known answer. We have no clue why the universe started. We do not know what happened before the universe. We also do not know where (in what space) our universe exists. Why is there something and not nothing?
Atheists have theories to answer these questions. One popular theory is that our universe is one of many universes expanding and detracting. (known as a ‘multi-verse’) That’s great. Except now there’s a bigger problem. Where do these many universes exist? What caused ALL of them?
It is at this point that atheists stop relying on science and start having faith in science. They have faith that there is a scientific answer to the questions raised above. But those answers are always enslaved to the law of cause and effect. For every effect, there was a cause. For every cause, there will be an effect. And on it goes. Whether you go backwards in time or forwards through time, the law holds true.
This is where Christians differ in opinion on origins. Our faith is in an uncaused first cause. God exists outside of our universe and it’s laws. God is not enslaved to the law of cause and effect because He created that law. He is beyond the scientific laws and rules that confine atheists to purely scientific answers for many of the “big questions” in life.
It’s interesting that when Moses asks God what His name is in Exodus 3, God’s response is, “I AM who I AM.” This can be roughly translated from Hebrew as meaning “BE”. God says his name is “BE”. Always was, always is, always will be. The uncaused first cause. Later in the New Testament, Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Always was, always is, always will be. The uncaused first cause.
The difference between Christians and Atheists is this: Christians place their faith in God (the uncaused first cause) to explain our beginnings whereas Atheists place their faith in a forever unknowable scientific explanation for the universe’s origins.
So which belief system takes more faith?
Sometimes I think about it like this:
Am I a random meaningless chance, or an intentionally created idea brought into being by the uncaused first cause?
I know where my faith is placed. What about you?
The logic outlined above is based on the Kalem Cosmological Argument. The Kalem Cosmological Argument was named by Jewish and Muslim scholars who popularized it in the 11th century. It is an argument for the existence of God by studying the law of cause and effect. More recently, Christian scholars such as Dr. William Lane Craig have modernized it to withstand greater philosophical scrutiny.