There are many complaints and objections that unbelievers propose as legitimate arguments to a belief in God. A common argument is the inconsistency or hypocrisy of Christians. While this is sadly true of many that claim Christianity, the claim self-destructs because those that use hypocrisy are actually admitting a deity that is concerned about morality and consistency.
First, those that use inconsistent examples of God as proof that He does not exist are affirming there is a consistent standard that has been violated. The atheist in calling out hypocrisy is adhering to a moral and logical system outside of himself. This idea is glaringly inconsistent on the part of the atheist as morality must come from a higher source. In order for an atheist to claim deviation from a standard, he must be admitting there is a standard to begin with. Atheist’s must borrow from a religious world view in order to have an argument in the first place. As Ken Ham states, “You cannot borrow lumber from my worldview, to build yours.” (1)
Second, those that use inconsistent examples are actually affirming the truth of the Bible. The atheist is agreeing with God, as God is against this sin and will judge the empty hypocrite (Mat 24:51). Most atheists would not care to hear that they are taking God’s side, but the fact is God is vehemently against hypocrisy even to the point of dispelling His chosen nation, Israel, because of their failure to acknowledge their sin (Mal 3:8). (2) Religious hypocrites even crucified God’s Son after Jesus made more than 20 references to the religious leader’s hypocrisy. Furthermore, God shows that hypocrisy is a sign of an unbeliever (Mat 7:14-16). God is very much concerned about the consistency of His people that large portions of Scripture and even books such as I John were written in order to teach people how to live a consistent godly life. In reality the atheist is ultimately arguing that believers follow the Bible.
Third, those that use inconsistent examples are still required to decide for themselves (Heb 9:27). The atheist cannot use other bad examples to exempt himself. In doing so, the atheist is setting himself up as the relative judge of concrete truth. If believing and following God where a matter of mere preference (i.e. does one like pepperoni or sausage pizza) the consequences would be negligible; however, the issue of believing God is not a matter of preference to be judged. Truly the atheist has set himself up as God (Rom 1:18-21) and become the determiner of truth. Sadly there are many hypocritical Christians, yet that fact does not remove the individual response of the atheist to truth. “Biblical theology sees man as a responsible personal agent.” (3) Every individual is responsible to accept truth, regardless if those that claim truth are inconsistent.
In conclusion, imperfect examples do not prove that there is not a designer, especially when the examples are living in willful disobedience of an express command. This would be similar to driving a new car out of the lot without putting oil in the car, and then using the seized up engine to prove there is no manufacturer because the car is not working. If the guidelines are not followed, the broken car is actually a testament to the manufacturer’s wisdom and the owner operator’s foolishness (Psalm 53:1).
1 Ham Ken, Demolishing Strongholds
2. Constable Thomas, Study Notes Micah, pg 33
3. Davis John, Evangelical Ethics, 280