Testing the Waters

When an atheist demands a theist provide evidence for God’s existence, one of two dynamics is in play.

First, the atheist could be someone who sincerely believes that all claims must be supported by evidence.  As such, this person is standing on principle and their demand simply follows from this principle.

Second, the atheist could be an apologist or activist who is trying to posture in way where they occupy a position of judgment and authority.  As such, this person is engaged in a tactic designed to serve the ends of his/her agenda.  What they are trying to do is set up some sort of kangaroo court proceedings to serve their own personal needs or the needs of the Gnu atheist movement.

So how can you, as a theist, tell what you are dealing with?  For what reasonable person would want to waste time and energy subjecting themselves to some needless kangaroo court-like exchanges?

There are two simple questions that can be asked before any attempt to satisfy some atheist’s demands.

 

1.  Ask the atheist to provide the evidence that they can consider the question/demand in an open-minded and fair-minded manner.  This is a most reasonable request.  If you are to take the demand as a sincere expression of curiosity and principle, you don’t want to find yourself being misled into some maze-like kangaroo court.  Now, if the atheist is someone who sincerely believes that all claims must be supported by evidence, they will be happy and eager to supply evidence of their open- and fair-minded approach.  That follows from them standing on their principles.

If, on the other hand, the demand is a disingenuous trick designed to bait you into some kangagnu court, the atheist will a) ignore the request; b) be insulted by the request; or c) come up with some excuse or rationalization for not having to satisfy this request.

2.  Ask the atheist what they would count as evidence for God’s existence.  If the atheist is trying to posture in way where they occupy a position of judgment and authority, they will refuse to make any attempt to answer the question.  If the atheist wants to posture as some Judge in the Kangagnu Court, he/she will be invested in hiding the goalposts.  By hiding the goalposts, the atheist can ensure the court is rigged to always reach the judgment the atheist seeks.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in atheism, evidence. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Testing the Waters

  1. Here is a fair minded question: where/what is your evidence that gods can exist? Remember, to prove your god exists you must do so while nullifying all evidence for other gods without nullifying evidence for your god. Please do start at the beginning for evidence of why we should think that gods can exist in the first place.

    Your entire post is about obfuscating the argument, not in providing proof or evidence. Do you have any? I’m listening.

    I’m asking you open and honest questions in the hope that you have some kind of evidence that has not already been refuted thousands of times before.

    What have you got? Is it new? Is it credible?

  2. Alan Fox says:

    Now, if the atheist is someone who sincerely believes that all claims must be supported by evidence, they will be happy and eager to supply evidence of their open- and fair-minded approach.

    Absolutely!

    Ask the atheist what they would count as evidence for God’s existence.

    Absolutely anything except hearsay.

    I base this on the following. What people report is often conflicting and unreliable and sometimes make things up. For example, almost all past and present human cultures have adopted belief systems that vary considerably in content, one from another, they are mutually exclusive.

    So what people say and what people report other people as saying is not reliable evidence.

    All other evidence trhat exists would be of interest..

  3. Alan Fox says:

    Oops insert missing “they” and “that for “trhat”.

  4. Heuristics says:

    is myatheistlife a parody? Its getting hard to tell. The self defeating tone is pretty spot on though.

  5. Techne says:

    This is one way of approaching it.

    Another way is to ask the atheist to please provide a definition of God.

    I often run into atheists asking for evidence for the existence of God who don’t even have a definition, never mind a coherent and consistent definition.

    Those who at least try tend to give some some strange definition or view of God which no classical theist really accepts. I.e. their objection of “no evidence” turns out to be a straw man.

    Of course, if the atheist accepts the standard classical view of God then the “evidence objection” becomes sterile and irrational.

    It amounts to saying something like “I accept that the definition of the X, whereby if X exists one would expect to see boiling water. I see boiling water but I don’t believe in X because there is no evidence for X”. Or to put it differently, “I accept the standard view of God whereby if God exists then nothing can come into being or continue to happen without God creating it and sustaining it in existence. There are things that exist including me, however, I don’t believe in God because there is no evidence for God”.

  6. Alan Fox says:

    Another way is to ask the atheist to please provide a definition of God.

    I often run into atheists asking for evidence for the existence of God who don’t even have a definition, never mind a coherent and consistent definition.

    You ask an atheist to provide a definition of God and;you are surprised/disappointed when they can’t give you one! Good grief! Part of being an atheist is not getting the concept. We don’t think gods exist, we think people made up the myriad religious dogmas that have popped up over time. I think Joseph Smith made stuff up. I think Mohammed made stuff up. How on Earth do you think an atheist can define a concept he thinks is a product of human imagination. Will that do? Gods are the products of human imagination!

  7. Alt Numlock says:

    “Gods are the product of human imagination”

    Well, if that is your definition of God, then it is tautologically true that such a God doesn’t exist. Of course. But so what?

    If an atheist cannot even state the definition of what his theist opponents accept and he rejects, then how can he claim that his position is based on reason?

  8. Alan Fox says:

    If an atheist cannot even state the definition of what his theist opponents accept and he rejects, then how can he claim that his position is based on reason?

    I made no claim based on reason. I don’t think anyone can arrive at establishing any fact about the world we live by reason alone.

    You seem not to realise I am not a mind reader. How am I to know what a particular believer in gods has as a belief unless he or she tells me. On the other hand, I am trying to be as clear as I can. I don’t get the whole concept. Additionally I feel no emotional void that might draw me to some irrational beliefs. I suspect people vary in their need for such beliefs. If it works for you, then fine. I don’t consider theists opponents. Rather they are people who have equal rights to free thought and expression. Equal not superior.

  9. Techne says:

    Alan, when a person claims there is no evidence or asks for evidence for the existence of God and also does not even have a definition of God, then that person is not thinking straight i.e. the person is illogical and irrational. This is not hard to understand.

    I don’t know why you generalize when you claim “Part of being an atheist is not getting the concept”. This is unnecessary and I presume quite insulting to many atheists. Many atheists have an understanding of classical theism.

    Re imagination. By saying God is the product of imagination you are essentially claiming God is imaginary and I presume you would like to imply that this means God is not real. This is of course not how classical theists view God so you are essentially tearing down a straw man if you claim there is no evidence for the existence of God. Interestingly, your claim that God is imaginary can also be claimed to be made up and imaginary. Could you perhaps make an argument for the view that any of your thoughts are not made up, or even NOT imaginary. I suspect you are confusing imagination and intellectual abstraction as one and the same or you can’t see the difference.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s