Modern Day Atheism is Theology

The core “argument” of modern day atheism is the Demand For Evidence. As we all know, the modern atheist insists “there is no evidence for God” and then dares you to show he is wrong by providing the evidence. From a superficial perspective, it seems a legitimate approach, but as we have also seen, a deeper probing uncovers the fact that the Demand For Evidence is built on the assumption that the logic of the God of the Gaps argument is valid. Given that modern atheists deny the logic of God of the Gaps reasoning is valid in other contexts, they end up contradicting themselves and expose the self-defeating nature of modern day atheism. Put simply, modern day atheism can be defeated with three simple questions.

But there is another dimension to god of the gaps atheism. When the atheist argues, “there is no evidence for God,” it translates as “there is no gap that science cannot ever possibly hope to explain.” Atheism thus becomes a position of “No gap, therefore no God.” But how? How does one draw the conclusion of God’s nonexistence from the nonexistence of gaps? I can see only one way – to postulate that the existence of God would entail the existence of gaps. In other words, the atheist assumes that if God existed, there would be all sorts of gaps. Since there are no gaps, there is no God.

Okay, let’s be adults here and recognize something basic: the belief that God’s existence would entail the existence of gaps is itself a theological belief. It is theology that would have us predict the existence of gaps from the existence of God. It is a perspective of God and what He would do.

Modern atheism is an opinion that is built on theology and thus happens to be nothing more than one particular theological outlook. Thus, when atheists scoff at the value of theology, they are scoffing at their own worldview. Modern day atheism is theology.

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9 Responses to Modern Day Atheism is Theology

  1. The Isaiah 53:5 Project says:

    Great post. I read the article at the link and the comments where it is obvious these questions are hard to answer.

  2. Dhay says:

    Yes, I had noticed the dichotomy that when you argue there is a God that’s Theology, whereas when they argue there isn’t a God that’s apparently Science, instead.

  3. Allallt says:

    I like the article, but I find it hard to accept the basic premise that atheism essentially or necessarily can be reduced to “There are no gaps”.
    I get that making a claim about how God would behave (i.e. leaves gaps) is a theological claim, I don’t think such a claim is essential to atheism. Atheists aren’t necessarily making a theological claim. I tend to make an epistemic one:one cannot claim to know something one doesn’t have evidence for. I then tend to evaluate evidence I am presented. There isn’t a theological claim in that. (I will engage in theological discussions about parts of the Bible, but that’s a different genre of conversation.)

  4. Dhay says:

    whiskeybucks > And then there’s this.

    Which linked article accuses (some) cutting edge scientists of supporting supersymmetry, string theory and multiverses because these ideas are — my paraphrase follows — elegant, beautiful, simple and so compelling. But it stresses that these theories are held on to by their proponents despite a lack of sufficient evidence.

    The article casts an amusing light upon Jerry Coyne’s mantra that faith is belief without sufficient evidence. Looks like he needs to discard either supersymmetry, string theory and multiverses, or else discard his mantra.

    These cutting edge theories fill theoretical gaps — gaps in our understanding — quite nicely, which is presumably why they are held so tenaciously;

    The problem with these cutting edge theories is not the theories, which fill theoretical gaps — gaps in our understanding — quite nicely, presumably that’s why they are held so tenaciously; the problem is with the lack of actual evidence for them: the article itself discusses the evidential problems of supersymmetry; and it is well known that whereas string theory predicts an astronomical figure of possible universes, it hasn’t been pinned down to apply to this one; and the number of multiverses observed so far is … zero.

    That is, each of these filled gaps in our theoretical understanding is backed by a major gap in evidence.

    The article contradicts something ‘nate’ wrote back in March: “Either you practice scientific reasoning or you dont. You dont get to pick and choose with science. You don’t get to throw things into your understanding of science because they make you feel good.”

    Evidently you do get to pick and choose with science, at least in some of its its ‘sexier’ aspects. You do get to throw things into your understanding of science because they make you feel good.

  5. Dhay says:

    One practitioner of ‘throwing things into your understanding of science because they make you feel good’ was the late Victor Stenger, who evidently allowed his anti-theistic distaste for the idea that the universe might have been fine-tuned “for us”, and who, despite never having written a peer-reviewed paper on how fine-tuned the universe is or isn’t, wrote a popular book, The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe is Not Designed for Us, explaining his arguments and calculations the universe definitely must be coarse-tuned.

    The book was reviewed by Luke Barnes, who pulled Stenger’s arguments and calculations apart, utterly, in two peer-reviewed papers (pdf’s). You might like to look at the longer, snarkier paper …

    .. or prefer the shorter, snappier version:

    Looks very like Stenger threw things into his misunderstanding of fine-tuning science because that way he could get the result he wanted, and feel good.

  6. TFBW says:

    Allallt said:

    I tend to make an epistemic one:one cannot claim to know something one doesn’t have evidence for. I then tend to evaluate evidence I am presented. There isn’t a theological claim in that.

    I can see a theological element in it. In order to evaluate evidence as being either for or against the existence of God, you would need to have a concrete idea of the difference between a world with God, and a world without God. In that way, you could say that the actual evidence comports better with one alternative or the other. That distinction between the possible worlds would be a theological claim, since it pertains to the effect that God has on reality by merit of his existence.

    Seems straightforward to me. Do you disagree?

  7. Allallt says:

    TFBW – I tend to ask the theist to offer a definition of God, so they present the difference between a world with and without God. The conversation doesn’t always get of the ground.

  8. TFBW says:

    If you have no definition for God, then you have no way to recognise the evidential significance of anything relating to God. The description of your “epistemic” approach has omitted some important prerequisites: you can’t evaluate evidence until you have a working theology, even if it’s someone else’s theology adopted for the sake of argument. As such, my point (and the point of this post) stands: evidence for God is fundamentally dependent on theology.

    To make myself clear, in your default state (professing no theology), you do not lack evidence, but rather the ability to recognise it. You could be drowning in an ocean of positive evidence, and you’d never know.

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