The Atheist Conundrum …

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Ask any Atheist and they will tell you. They do not have a belief about God, they have a lack of belief in any god. You perhaps may have been confused by their endless comments stating how belief in God is ignorant superstition, and mocking anyone “dumb” enough to have a belief. Are they splitting hairs? Not at all, there is a specific strategy behind their awkward and contrived definition of their view.

You see Atheists know that their position cannot be proven. Now they would like for you to believe that it is gospel truth, but the fact is that the existence of God is something that must either be believed or not believed. It is a matter or perception to a degree. It however cannot be proven or disproven by science. Now this places the Atheist in a tight spot. This is because they have been crying foul to the top of their lungs because Theist dare to believe in God; “prove it” they shout. But here we discover that their belief about God cannot be proven either. This essentially means that all the insults and maligning they have levied at Theists applies to their belief as well. After all, if you demand that Theists prove to your satisfaction that God exists, then should you not in turn be expected to demonstrate why you believe He does not? 

However the Atheist has found a very simple solution to this problem; they simply refuse to acknowledge that they have a belief. By doing this they can sit back and take shots at everyone else, while never being in danger of having their own assumptions challenged. All is bliss in the Atheist world – with memes and cliches for all.

But don’t they have a view? Have they not taken a position? Perhaps we should not think about this too much. After all, as I was recently told by an Atheist, religion is the result of human beings “thinking too much.” I do admit that this is a weakness of Theists, thinking that is, but how can Atheists really claim to not have a position on the existence of God? Seems utterly contrived and delusional honestly. Now Atheists do have a cliche for that. “Atheism is a belief like not collecting stamps is a hobby.” And that sounds good until you think about it a little; perhaps that is the secret to Atheism – not thinking. Collecting stamps is not a concept, it is an action. A hobby is not a belief, it is a category of action. The opposite of collecting stamps might perhaps be throwing them away; which could be a hobby I suppose. But the belief in God is not an action, it is a concept. Further Atheism is not a passive “no comment” on the existence of God, it is an affirmative position that no God exists.Otherwise how could there be militant Atheists? Are they militantly unsure? Confused?

Which leads me to my next consideration, why is it more palatable to the Atheist to be viewed as confused and contrived rather than own their belief? This is because Atheism is more about feeling more intelligent than everyone else than about arriving at truth. Atheists are like the back-seat drivers of philosophy and religion. They can point out everything everyone else is doing wrong, but they have no real solutions. The Atheist cannot admit that they have beliefs, because then they would have to join the rest of we finite human beings groping our way through the reality of existence in this universe. They would have to admit that they simply do not know – and that leaves too much room for unsavory possibilities. So yeah lets stick with Atheism – the unbelief that there might be a God, but who knows … 

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Athesim – Fundamental Christianity’s Alter Ego

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Every super hero has an arch nemesis. Superman has Lex Luther, Batman had the Joker. After All what good is it to have all of those super crime fighting skills and not have a criminal worthy of said power. In many ways, in these stories, the hero almost needs the villain in order to have a purpose. This reminds me of the unique infatuation that Atheists have with Fundamental Christianity. It would seem that they define themselves in contrast to that one view in the same way that a shadow is defined by a place where there is no light.

Of course when we look at Atheism and Fundamental Christianity, they are certainly on opposite extremes of the spectrum. On matters of whether God exists, the infallibility of Scripture, origin and diversity of life, age of the Earth and the nature of existence, they are at opposite poles. What is at the same time very interesting is what they actually agree about. While they are vehemently opposed to the reality of God, the Atheist believes that there is essentially only one valid interpretation of scripture. In the words of the most interesting man in the world “I don’t often have Christian view, but when I do they are fundamental.”

When confronted with other interpretations of Christianity, the Atheist becomes a flaming Fundamentalist – insisting that their understanding of Christian scripture is the only valid understanding. Very often in exchanges I will be hit with the ole Atheist play:

“har har har show me proof that the world is only 6,000 years old!”  they demand.

“I do not believe it is that young, I am not a Young Earth Creationist” I reply.

“What! You deny the Bible??!!”

From that point they will begin to diligently instruct me on how to most correctly read the Bible. The irony! What strikes me most is that they seem totally unprepared to respond to anyone who is not a Fundamental Christian. Their typical tactic is to try to force you into a viewpoint they are more comfortable arguing with. Further they seem to be totally unaware that there are other religions outside of Christianity. It seems that in their mind there is only two options, Fundamental Christianity or Atheism.

My point here is not to poke at Fundamental Christians, but rather to point out the fact that Atheism is a reaction to a particular religious view. To some degree it is a view that has emerged from Christianity. I find it intriguing that all the while the Atheist protests Christianity, their identity is inextricably bound up in that world view. Atheist will shout and protest that their view is a “lack of belief in any God.” However the fact that they describe their view, if you can call such a contrived statement a description, in Christian terms tells the tale.

What if Christianity is an error? What if Jesus, the New Testament, Christianity and all of its expressions are totally in error? I am not saying they are, but what if they were? It’s like a game of tug of war and we let go of the rope, the other team falls on their backside. What about every other religious expression? Are Atheists really prepared to say that all other view beside theirs are false? (Actually no they are not, they do not like taking a position because they enjoy dodging with the “burden of proof” tactic. Of course everyone but them seems to be aware that they have taken a position.)

I have been in search for some time for the intellectual Atheist. The person who after looking at the universe, life, rationality and the human condition has determined that the most probable conclusion is that it has no meaning. I would like to dialogue with that individual; pic their brain. I have yet to meet that Atheist though. The Atheist I meet is one who has been disillusioned with his childhood religion, and because he came to see some aspects of that religion that he could no longer embrace, he abandoned it all for the extreme opposite of that view. There is also the Atheist who went through some tragedy and feels that if there was a God, that this God would not have allowed them to experience that. (This Atheist does not believe in God as a sort of punishment for God it would seem.) But what I want to see is the rational, intellectually mature Atheist. If you find them please let me know. Until then I suppose I will have to watch the love/hate relationship of Atheists for Christian Fundamentalists …

Why Atheists Get Smashed In Debates …

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In a recent article published in the Huffington Post entitled How To Debate A Christian Apologist, victor Stenger expounds on the reasons that Atheists do poorly in debates with Christian Apologists and then attempts to instruct his readers on how to handle those rascally guys. As an introduction of sorts Stenger warns his reader that they should beware of the Christian Apologist(CA) because they are usually smooth and well prepared (one gasps at the thought of it) and that a “lay person” should not debate one of these masters of the trickeration of logic and reason. But of course, Stenger assures us, the fact that most Atheists get slapped around has nothing to do with attempting to defend a self defeating position, it is all about the craftiness of the CA.

Stenger goes on to assure us that in some mystical debate from times unremembered, all of the the Theists positions were refuted. There is no need to check that, just accept it by faith. Also by refuted he means that Atheists chose not to agree with them and refused to give any rationale for doing so other than that they are Atheists and thats how they roll.

Stenger cites the first difficulty for the Atheist is that they do not make a living promoting Atheism. (You should try to forget about the books written by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and the like.) On the other hand Theists have the unfair advantage of having Apologist who have actually spent their lives studying these ideas. Of course we might ask ourselves why an Atheist feels that they are in a position to refute an argument that they are clearly not qualified to debate, but I would not put too much thought into that.

Stenger then goes on to offer what he feels is the solution to the problem, but unfortunately continues to offer the same failed arguments, special pleading and strawmen that Atheists typically regurgitate; which leads me to my point. If Atheists hope to stand “toe to toe” with Theists and other philosophical view points, then they need to spend the time needed to develop their own world view. But herein lies the problem, Atheist cannot even admit that they have a world view. They would prefer pretending that they have made no assumptions about the nature of the universe. They like to believe that the world owes them an answer and that they have no reason to defend anything that they present.

The issue for them is that if they admit to having made assumptions, taken a position or developed a philosophy, then they cannot hide behind their typical “burden of proof” dodging and will have to step into the arena of philosophy. And as Stenger points out, this is an area where they are clearly behind the curve. So at the end of the day perhaps it would be better for them to stick to their present game plan, after all being schooled by a Theistic Apologist is much better than the alternative … dealing with the reality of their untenable position.