I’m Not the Only One Who Noticed

Something that was posted yesterday reminded me of something else:

You often meet them for the first time at secondary school. The typical teenage atheist is more likely a boy than a girl, stronger on science than the arts, and at the high-ish end of the academic spectrum. He tells you that he has studied the nature of matter, the universe etc, and can prove that God does not exist.

Already, you are plunged into the thick of the problem, which is one of category. The teenage thinker treats the existence of God as a scientific matter, but it isn’t. Science can certainly disprove some claims that believers make about their God – or, to be more exact, it can prove that these claims are incompatible with science – but it can have nothing to say about something that lies outside its realm.

and

Some atheists – Dawkins, Sigmund Freud, AJ Ayer – resemble, in essence, that clever young schoolboy. They believe they have brilliantly proved religion to be a load of hogwash.

Of course, we can expect New Atheists to complain they never claimed to prove that God does not exist. Instead, they champion Sophisticated Atheism – there is no evidence for God, thus no rational basis for believing in God.

But Sophisticated Atheism looks more like a clever public relations strategy than a matter of principle. Doubt me? Well, then refresh your memories:

A Case Study of Doxastic Closure
Atheists Who Believe Atheism is Knowledge

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22 Responses to I’m Not the Only One Who Noticed

  1. Crude says:

    stronger on science than the arts, and at the high-ish end of the academic spectrum.

    I suspect that, if this had been the case once upon a time, it is less the case now.

  2. carmelitaspats666 says:

    Which God? If it’s a Trinitarian-incarnational-atoning-resurrecting-ascending-soon-to-be-returning-God who sacrificed himself to himself in a narrative involving the disturbing and grotesque, livestock, open-mouthed, insemination of a “virgin”, then no. If it’s a galactic tyrant named Xenu who ruled dozens of planets, including the Earth, which was called Teegeeack, then yes. The planets were overpopulated so Xenu captured billions of people, froze them, and transported them by spacecraft to be dumped in volcanoes on Teegeeack. Nuclear bombs were set off in the volcanoes and the disembodied souls of the victims were liberated from their bodies. Now those souls, or thetans, attach themselves to living people and inflict psychic suffering on them.

    But then again, maybe Jesus was an alien who visited Earth some 2000 years ago and through advanced technology convinced people that he had risen from the dead. He was eventually whisked away on his spaceship, the “New Jerusalem” in which he will eventually return sometime in the future.

    The “New Jerusalem” is quite large and can hold hundred of thousands of people who will then be “raptured” onto it in order to serve and worship their alien masters. Christianity is therefore nothing more than a centuries long breeding program in order to ensure that only the meekest slaves make it aboard. These slaves will never rebel or cause mischief aboard the craft because they’ve proven that they are truly capable of believing that their slavery is simply heavenly. New Atheists are liars. The supernatural and the imaginary are wonderful and look very much alike.

  3. GeoffSmith says:

    Unbelievable, a whole gnu troll rant without mention of the fsm.

  4. Kevin says:

    None of that makes atheism any more logical.

  5. Mrać Triglov says:

    I have a friend who does magic. He is an American and will be performing soon at the Magic castle in Californiia. He is performing a new trick. It is like an old trick, pulling a rabbit from a Hat. Now I know it is just a trick, (even thogh I never ask how it is done). But, let me say if one time, he came to me and said ‘Marc’ (he cannot say it right) ‘THIS time, I am REALLY going to pull a rabbit from the air! Then pull it from my Hat? WATCH! And then a rabbit appears. Do I think that after 1000 times of it being a trick that he really makes magic THIS time? No. Why? Because i don’t believe magic is exists.

    So when 1000 gods came before, all of them made by humans and now this ONE time a human says ‘this time it IS magic!” why should I not say ‘it is just another trick?’.

    We have very little religion in Slovenia, maybe half my friends are having a God (we have all 3 religions here). We almost never talk about religion and my family has never been to church, not even my Grandfather. so I wonder what you think?

  6. Kevin says:

    The existence of multiple religions and deities throughout human history and virtually every culture only proves that humans seem to have a natural inclination to believe in gods, which is of course fully compatible with theism but has a bit of difficulty being explained through philosophical naturalism. And while the existence of multiple religions would, on cursory inspection, lower the likelihood of any particular religion/deity being true, it does not make it more likely that none of them are true.

    In other words, the existence of multiple deities in human culture does not make atheism logical.

  7. Sizzle-d says:

    Isn’t it pure stupidity to come to an OBVIOUSLY Christian blog and ask “which God?”?
    Are you that stupid?

  8. Kevin says:

    It’s not stupidity. Many atheists seem to honestly believe that the existence of Zeus in Greek lore proves that matter and energy have existed forever in a great wondrous multiverse that has spun out an infinity of universes in a fabulously eternal and infinite manner. Or that it just poofed into existence from absolutely nothing. But God? What a dumb idea for which there is no evidence.

  9. Sizzle-d says:

    @carm: Sorry for the last question, you ARE that stupid.

    But I should have known that, seeing as your post portrays the view of a really sad individual.

    Ah … I forgot hatred can do that to people.

  10. Sizzle-d says:

    @Kevin: It’s just like Dawkins saying it’s “statistically improbable” for a prince to turn into a frog BUT for some reason, he completely ignores the fact the the vice versa of that is exactly what evolution is.

  11. Mrać Triglov says:

    I speak very good English but I donot understand everything you said. I know about Jesus and Mohammed from, my friends and school. Many (poor from the mountains people) think religion is a waste of time. But they must work every hour of the day so I think ‘are they also lazy to think about a God, or are they knowing something?. They have maybe many generations that never have a God. What do they know! I looked at atheist websites, but Noone says anything about what their Grandfater Granfater’s said.

  12. Sizzle-d says:

    @Triglov, are you sure you meant to say “I speak very good English”?

    If yes, then :o :o :o.

  13. Kevin says:

    Mrac (would love to know how to pronounce that), basically what I meant was that your comparison to a magician could possibly work when talking about miracles or unexplained phenomena in nature, but it is not really a valid comparison when discussing the likelihood of God.

  14. Billy Squibs says:

    “I know about Jesus and Mohammed from, my friends and school.”

    And therein may lie your problem. Why don’t you investigate the truth claim of the great religions for yourself? Investigate the strongest argument for and against these religions and also naturalism.

    The book Simply Jesus by Tom Wright is an excellent place to start. Alternatively check out many of the fine discussions on Unbelievable? (http://www.premier.org.uk/unbelievable) or veritas.org Since you compared the Christian God with a magic trick (I think this is terrible a category error) then perhaps you can check out this discussion – http://veritas.org/talks/christianity-and-tooth-fairy/?view=presenters&speaker_id=2397&ccm_paging_p=2). It’s a very cordial debate between John Lennox and his atheist interlocutor. Finally, and perhaps most importantly in terms of Christianity, have a read of the Gospels.

  15. Mrać Triglov says:

    No. I think most of the people who have a God do not think on miracles here. I am not trying to say a God is of magic. I am wanting to know why a God is right. You see? My Mother says a person should pray. I donot see why? People who pray, that I know are not rich or very happy.
    I want to move to America but I think people will not like me if I donot go to a church. My American friend says ‘no one cares’, But I am not sure. You are American so what do you think?

  16. Kevin says:

    Hard to briefly explain why I believe in God. Far as America goes, pretty sure no one cares even where I live, and there are several pages of churches in the phone book haha.

  17. Karl Grant says:

    Mrac,

    I donot see why? People who pray, that I know are not rich or very happy.

    That is pretty stupid reason to reject prayer or belief God in general. It is kind of like me rejecting atheism because half the people I know personally who are atheists haven’t moved out of their parent’s basement or gotten a job. Or rejecting belief in evolution because it hasn’t given me super-powers like the X-Men. What matters is if the position or belief is correct; not what it gets you. Take for example Ignaz Semmelweis; an early pioneer of antiseptics who argued doctors should have to wash their hands and tools before and after working on a patient. This went against established scientific and medical opinions of the time (1840-50s) and it cost him job and they eventually put him in a mental asylum for his ideas; where he died after the guards beat him. Now obviously advocating that doctors should wash their hands and tools didn’t make him rich or happy, so was it the right thing to do?

  18. Mrać Triglov says:

    Thank you Karl and Kevin :) I will try a better question next time since someone says it is stupid.

  19. TFBW says:

    @Karl Grant:

    That is pretty stupid reason to reject prayer or belief God in general.

    Your analogies are good, so I’m sure you can rebut without resort to borderline ad hominem like that. On the other hand, you are assuming that Mrać is interested in truth for truth’s sake, which may not be a sound assumption given the evidence of pragmatism — seeking things that bring riches or happiness.

    @Mrać Triglov:

    I am wanting to know why a God is right.

    You should be asking two questions. The first is whether God exists. The other is what you should do, given the answer to the first question. Both of these are difficult questions which require careful thought, and do not lend themselves to short answers. I could elaborate (and started doing so), but it would become a short essay even if I kept it brief, and would be off topic in this context anyhow. If you’re interested in hearing a longer answer, let me know: I’ll post it somewhere else and point you to it.

  20. Mrać Triglov says:

    TF That is a hard question. I am finishing school so I can leave Slovenia quickly as we have no good jobs. I am very busi with these things and I see now questions are hard to ask and ansewr. But I will try to think about the first question when I can. Ok thank You.

  21. Murray says:

    Hello Mrać,

    I was an atheist from my adolescent years up till my early forties (I’m in my late forties now), and I used to hold a position similar to yours: that religion was a waste of time, and that life would be better spent enjoying myself and doing small things to make the world a better place. The trouble is, this approach pretty much requires you to turn off your brain and deliberately to ignore some fundamental questions, including the following:

    - How can free will coexist with a deterministic, solely material universe? If we do not have free will (as more honest materialists contend), how do we account for our subjective experience of freedom, reinforced by thousands of experiences and interactions every day?

    - How do we explain away the apparently objective and imperative nature of morality without reducing it to mere relativism or might makes right?

    - If the universe is purely material, how do we account for its existence at all? If the laws of physics caused the universe to come into being, how do we account for their existence and their amazingly precise, life-permitting parameters?

    - How do we account for the fact that the majority of the greatest, most penetrating, and productive minds in history were religious believers? We know that all the most powerful philosophical and theological questions raised by modern atheists and skeptics were likewise raised in ancient times, yet the great thinkers were not persuaded. Do we suppose that these men, who otherwise saw far beyond the limitations of their fellow men, were in this one case prisoners of their time and culture?

    There are many more such questions, but these were the questions that I eventually found impossible to ignore. When I decided to tackle them, I first attempted to use some typical atheist shortcuts:

    - I probably don’t have free will, but should act as if I do.
    - Morality doesn’t exist, but I should act as if it does.
    - No good answer. Ignore question.
    - No good answer. Ignore question.

    Most atheists that I encounter try on some variety of these explanations (though they often dress them up in more technical-sounding language). But once I seriously started thinking about these questions, I realized that the atheist answers were superficial and unconvincing, and they began to look very much like wilful blindness. That’s what I’d been doing for almost 30 years, and my subsequent interactions with the atheists have convinced me that most of them are motivated more by the will to disbelieve than by honest inquiry. I’m sure there are exceptions.

    To cut a long story short, I was baptized into the Catholic Church four years ago, and it’s now difficult for me to fathom how I could have spent so long wallowing in the shallow kiddie pool of atheism. Far from fettering me, being grounded in transcendental truth has actually liberated my intellect, so that I am much more able to distinguish error than I was. My only regret is that I took so long to wake to reality.

  22. Billy Squibs says:

    “I am wanting to know why a God is right.”

    That’s great. I’ve provided a number of resources that will allow you to begin the investigation. Go onto the Veritas forum and find anything by Ravi Zacharias. He also has a podcast called “Let my people think”. I think he does an excellent job of presenting the Gospel in an easy to understand and compelling way.

    You can also listen to what non-Christians have to say for themselves. The most recent episode of Unbelievable? featured an interesting discussion between and atheist and a Christian. It was fascinating to not how the atheist guest all but admitted that he embraced a form of nihilism but also seemed to contradict this belief throughout the show.

    “People who pray, that I know are not rich or very happy”

    I’m afraid that this is a misconception of what prayer is. The God of Christianity is not a cosmic genie and he is not obliged to make us happy or rich. Indeed, for some people following Christ means that they have troubles in this life. One only has to look at the horrible persecution that Christians in places like Syria and Nigeria suffer. Christians, however, have hope that lies in Jesus. Again, read The Gospel according to John to see for yourself.

    Evanjelium Podľa Jána 16:33Nádej pre kazdého (NPK)

    33 Toto všetko som vám povedal, aby ste si uchovali v duši pokoj. Tu na svete budete mať mnoho trápenia a ťažkostí. Ale nestrácajte odvahu. Ja som zvíťazil nad svetom.

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