The verses from the Book of Romans, specifically 1:20-21, serve as a foundation for presuppositional apologetics. Many believers argue that these verses confirm everyone inherently knows of God's existence, and denial stems from suppressing the truth. This often allows Christians to dismiss objections to their theology. Instead of dismissing the verses, I aim to disprove this idea by exploring the verses and presenting real-world contradictions.
From the Book of Romans:
Verse 20: "Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, understood from creation, leaving people without excuse."
Verse 21: "Although they knew God, they neither glorified Him nor gave thanks; their thinking became futile, and their hearts were darkened."
Verse 20 is the crux of this discussion because of its frequent use against non-Christians, especially atheists. To debunk a verse, one must provide real-world contradictions.
The Pirahã, an isolated tribe in the Amazon rainforest, lacks not only a conceptualization of an afterlife but also a term for "god." They live in the present, unburdened by past or future. Although introduced to Christianity, notably by Daniel Everett, they remained indifferent, given that the idea of a supreme being is foreign and unimportant to them. Their peaceful nature, absent of the crimes plaguing the rest of the world, exists without fear of hell or promise of heaven. Living amidst the natural beauty of the Amazon, they contradict the notion that God's existence is apparent through His creation.
Another example is the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island, part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Their limited contact with the outside world means they're likely unaware of Christianity. Their possible pantheistic or animistic beliefs challenge the idea that God's presence is evident in His works.
Historical instances further question Romans 1:20. While Christianity and Islam spread in certain regions, they didn't gain traction in the Far East. The Native Americans only encountered monotheism when Christians arrived, often enforcing conversions. Notably, Judaism, the very religion Jesus practiced, does not recognize him as their messiah. The origin of Christianity rests on Jewish theology, which, in turn, does not accept Christian beliefs.
Furthermore, the existence of agnostics and atheists refutes the universal acknowledgment of God. Agnostics, unsure of God's existence, and atheists, who deny it, both challenge the assertion of inherent knowledge of God. The argument that non-believers are suppressing the truth is weak. Assuming one knows another's mind better than the individual themselves is both arrogant and irrational. Even if the God of the Bible exists, no being, human or divine, can claim superior knowledge of an individual's consciousness. Making such a claim based on disbelief in a particular theology is intellectually shallow and should be critically examined.