It’s not that atheist explanations are wrong, so much as that, qua explanations, they are in the final analysis simply impotent. At bottom, they have no basis in necessity. So, at bottom, they end up able to say no more than, “this is the way things happened; er, that’s all.” They are descriptions, rather than explanations. Not wrong; not uninformative; often utile; but, just inadequate. Atheist explanations cannot close the deal; for, they have no ultimate cash value.
This is why the juridical question is efficacious against an atheist. Just keep asking “Why?” Eventually, he will be forced to reply with an exasperated, “Because that’s just the way it is; there is no further explanation.” So saying, he cannot but reveal his unreason; which, as sapping the very foundations of his doctrine, so vitiates the whole structure thereof – and so, could he but see, ruins it utterly.
It may be objected that the theist foundation of explanation is in a way just as arbitrary and ‘brute’ as that of the atheist. The atheist says, “this is the way the world is, and that’s all there is to say about it;” meanwhile the theist says, “this is the way that God is, and that’s all there is to say about it.” How is one of these moves better than the other? Indeed, don’t they amount to the same thing, in the end, if God is among the things that exist, and thus a member of the world in the broadest sense?
From our perspective, so it certainly seems to be. We come into the world and find that it is the way it is, and that God is the way he is, and that’s all there is to it. Indeed, by the definition of “God,” there can be no explanation for God, for nothing is prior to him, that might explain him.
Nevertheless the theist explanation of things does have one key advantage over the atheist, reductionist explanation: it completes, in the sense that it terminates upon necessity. This the atheist explanation cannot ever do. The theist ends by saying, “this, or something very like this, is just the way things must be, in logic, and by definition, and so by metaphysical necessity.” The atheist explanation terminates upon radical ignorance: upon, “no idea.” Under atheism, all and any of this might not have come to pass, and whether or not it did, there could be no explanation for any bit of it: it *just happened.*
For the theist, everything happens for a reason, even if he can’t see what it is. Everything is for him therefore intelligible, at least in principle. For the atheist, on the other hand, nothing that happens bottoms out in a reason that cannot be controverted, and so nothing can be intelligible.
The theist lives in an ordered world. It is ordered ex hypothesi, whether or not he can himself discern that order. So he can confront the inevitable mess and tragedy of life with confidence, and equanimity. The atheist lives in a world impervious to the very notion of order. The atheist turn cannot therefore be rationally completed – so that atheists must live and act by means of an incessant resort to myriad unprincipled exceptions. As a motion of the reason, it is forestalled ab initio, as the antithesis thereof. Thus even when things are going swimmingly for the atheist, he cannot ever feel quite settled, but is rather always somewhat bedeviled by cognitive dissonance and the anxiety it engenders.
Pity the poor atheists! So lost are they, and adrift! We should all pray for them that they may be relieved of their sufferings.