Townhall.com has an interesting article by Frank Pastore entitled Why Atheism Fails: The Four Big Bangs where he examines four areas where atheists must exercise a great amount of faith in naturalism because evidence is lacking. Pastore, a radio host on Los Angeles Christian station KKLA, asserts that atheists have no answers about origins in four fundamental areas:
1) What is the origin of the universe? Why is there something rather than nothing? How do you get matter and energy from nothingness? How do you get a rock out of nothing?
2) What is the origin of life? How do you get life from non-life? How do you go from a rock to a tree?
3) What is the origin of mind? How does a living thing become a self-conscious being? How do you go from a tree, to an animal, to a human?
4) What is the origin of good and evil? How does an amoral being become morally aware?
Atheists respond to all these types of questions with essentially the same style answer. "We know God doesn’t exist. Therefore, since we’re here, though, it had to have happened this way. Thus, like the universe itself, life, mind, and morality all 'just popped' into existence out of nothingness."
Later he adds some thoughts on the ways that skeptics argue about such things. He notes that skeptics take the following approach:
But, above all, avoid being cornered and forced to answer the questions of origins. Throw out lots of words that people can’t understand. Talk over them. Blind them with science. Talk about the details of the leaves on the trees but don’t allow them to bring it back to "Why the forest at all?" Assert the fact/value distinction. Claim that only science deals with knowledge. Drop in some postmodern gobbledygook. Distract them with how science deals with the "what, where, how and when" and not the "who and the why." Especially avoid people who have had training in the philosophy of science – they’re dangerous because they see through us and know who we are – they don’t see the shimmering lab coats that everyone else sees. They don’t see any clothes at all.
Since the pre-Socratics, atheists have been intellectual parasites living off the host of Western Civilization. Able to construct so very little of their own that is either true, good, or beautiful, they live on the borrowed capital of their believing intellectual parents. Atheists have been asserting the same basic mechanistic worldview, and with roughly the same success, for centuries. They sell books and win converts from time to time, sure, especially among those gullible enough to buy the "just popped" thesis. Don’t be gullible.
Now, I won't go so far as to say that the skeptics don't have answers. They have answers, but are they good answers? I don't think so. Or, at least, it is clear that the answers that are proposed to these four fundamental areas are metaphysical and not scientific.
For example, start with question 1: "What is the origin of the universe?" The Big Bang? Sure, I accept that. It fits quite nicely with the idea of a creator. However, I see the Big Bang as the mechanism and not the ultimate cause of the creation of the universe. What is the skeptics' cause for the Big Bang? Well, Stephen Hawking has a theory about dimensions curling in on themselves. Others believe in some sort of cosmic pool bubbling out universes and we just happened to be in this one. I am sure there are many, many more. But what all these theories of origins for the universe have in common is that they are ultimately guesses. Granted, they are intelligent, informed guesses. These people have reason to believe what they are asserting based upon theoretical physics. But from there, they make their leap of faith -- a leap that their theories are correct. They have no way of testing their theories. They cannot use the scientific method to determine if they are right. They need to have faith.
Naturalism is a philosophical foundation through which one can come to an understanding the world as certainly as theism is a philosophical foundation through which one can come to an understanding the world. Both have their basis of knowledge. (It should be noted that Christianity provides two avenues of knowledge: science and special revelation. Christians accept the idea that science can tell us a great deal about the world since the physical world is real in Christian thought. Naturalism, however, rejects the idea of special revelation and is therefore limited to one avenue of knowledge.) Both require acceptance of things that cannot be seen. Both have a grand metaphysical story. The question will ultimately be which is the more believable.
Do skeptics believe that? Do they think that their grand metaphysical story is somehow more proven than the Christian grand metaphysical story? If they do, they are fooling themselves.