My kids are extremely lazy when it comes to looking for something they’ve lost. It could be a toy, or a shoe, or a cup of water, but the conversation always goes the same way.
“Daddy, I’m thirsty.”
“Where’s the cup I just gave you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, look for it.”
The child will then briefly turn their head to the left and then to the right and after doing no searching at all will loudly declare, “I can’t find it!”
“You can’t find it because you haven’t even looked!”
Atheism has a similar problem.
What do atheists claim? “God does not exist.” And how do they know that? How much searching have they done? Where have they looked? Have they looked at all?
The story is told of a Soviet cosmonaut who circled the earth, did not see God in orbit, and so declared that God did not exist. Well, why would God be orbiting the earth? What if He was hiding behind the moon, or Saturn, or lived in another dimension? (Or, even more likely, exists beyond creation!) The point is, to know there is no God, a finite amount of searching will not do. You would have to look everywhere. You would need to know all the relevant facts in the universe to be sure God was not among them. But that poses a real challenge to atheism, because we are not capable of that kind of knowledge. Here’s what Gordon Clark said about it:
“The atheist who asserts that there is no God asserts by the same words that he holds the whole universe in his mind; he asserts that no fact, past, present, future, near, or far, escapes his attention, that no power, however great, can baffle or deceive him. In rejecting God, he claims omniscience and omnipotence. In other words, an atheist is one who claims that he himself is God” (Gordon H. Clark, A Christian Philosophy of Education, 38).
In other words, to be an atheist, you would need to be omniscient. If you were omniscient, then you would be God, meaning you can’t be an atheist. And if you aren’t omniscient, then you can’t know God does not exist, which means you still can’t be an atheist. Either way, atheism is self-refuting.
The Psalmist once said, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Ps 14:1). Well, the lazy say that, too.