I debated with an atheist on a radio program on the topic of evidence for the existence of God. The radio host mentioned that I was retired from public school teaching after 41 years in the classroom. The atheist began a lecture about how people invent a god when they get old because they want to have someplace to go that allows their existence to continue. My atheist friend said, “It’s only old people who are about to die who believe in God because they can’t make any real contribution to humanity, and life is hard when you get close to death.” I countered with some accomplishments of older people.
For example, poet Maya Angelou received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at age 82. Julia Child wrote a cookbook at 87, and Frank Loyd Wright designed several of his best houses at 91. Astronaut John Glenn was a medical guinea pig going back into space at age 77 to allow doctors to study the effects of space on an older person.
After I had given several illustrations of the accomplishments of older people, my atheist friend said, “But you are obviously old, and that is why you invented God to deal with your impending death.” I responded by pointing out that our ministry has been showing evidence for the existence of God since 1968, so our work did not start in my old age.
It is true that sometimes people don’t stay up to date with new data and techniques as they get older. That is why we subscribe to nearly 100 periodicals, including atheist publications, so we can “be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). The debate over whether the qualifications of a politician or teacher can be diminished because of age depends on the individual. We may not know the answer to every question people may ask, but neither does anyone else.
As for the accomplishments of older people, age and experience frequently offer a better answer than modern philosophy. Let us deal with the evidence for the existence of God and not rely on human theories and youthful atheist philosophies.
— John N. Clayton © 2024
Reference: The Mayo Clinic Health Letter for December 2023