It’s been a while since I posted so I will catch you up on one of my activities.
Of late I have been in discussions with a few atheists. In the last few days I had an atheist fellow respond to an answer I wrote on Quora after going back and forth in replies for a while I decided it wasn’t worth continuing because the man was obviously bitter and angry at religion and made some rather invective comments and wouldn’t directly respond to the content of our discussion. I could have linked that discussion here but I thought the better of it as I don’t want to name the man or draw attention to him.
I am finding the more that I dialogue with atheists that there is a distinctive pattern emerging in how they arrived at their nonbelief. This is a general observation it does not apply to all atheists and it may not apply to the majority, it only applies to those I have had discussions (informal debates and arguments) with.
Generally, their initial comments are that Christians are stupid ignorant people who reject science. I can’t speak for anyone else but I certainly don’t reject science or the scientific method I do however have some serious reservations and objections with scientism.
Scientism is an ideology that promotes science as the purportedly objective means by which society should determine normative and epistemological values. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism Scientism can be useful however its roots invariably promote more extreme views of logical positivism. Here is an example of scientism as expressed by The American Association for the Advancement of Science that in its conclusion states that scientism is not science is not science because it cannot be falsified or verified it a philosophy. https://www.aaas.org/programs/dialogue-science-ethics-and-religion/what-scientism But as usual I digress so back to atheism. I don’t need to define atheism; nearly everyone on earth knows what that it is.
This fellow I was in discussion with invariably would not directly engage my replies. I pointed out to him the above information but he continued to accuse me of using strawman arguments, in other words, I making fallacious claims and the burden of proof was on me not him… Oddly enough I kept providing him with evidence or proof but he continually ignored that and kept attacking me obstinately claiming he didn’t need to defend his statements.
Most of what I said to him was factual. These include
- We all use science every day without realising it from designing rockets through to boiling eggs
- Many scientists, doctors physicists and even Astronauts with PhD’s have one form of belief in God or a higher power because they see the Universe as being far too complex for it to have just happened. The following link is an attempt to discredit Intelligent design or a mind behind the Universe it never refers to Christian’s with PhD’s such as Professor John Lennox who has responded to Hawking’s claims https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrWM-SH2lGs In respect of Hawking he withdrew his claim before he died It has now been over twenty years since Hawking and Penrose admitted that there was no singularity. Their calculation, while not wrong as far as it went, had not taken into account quantum mechanics. ibid.
- I wasn’t trying to prove the existence of God in my answer on Quora https://www.quora.com/As-an-atheist-what-do-you-think-people-who-try-to-convert-you-misunderstand-about-your-reluctance-to-convert/answer/Chris-Symonds-3?__nsrc__=4&__snid3__=4016299503&comment_id=87720481&comment_type=2
- On a number of occasions, I was actually agreeing with this fellow but those agreements fell on deaf ears I could even empathise with some of his reasons for unbelief these included lack of empirical evidence ie; you can’t put God under a microscope and Study Him, We have no way of discovering God using the scientific method. However, in saying this science is a progressive work. It is an ongoing work of discovery and inquiry. If we could go back 500-1000 years in a time machine without any evidence of today’s scientific discoveries and tell them Oxygen or air was a gaseous substance or that there was such a thing as electricity and flying machines they would burn us at the stake for witchcraft or heresy.
- The bible is full of thou shalt’s and thou shalt not’s; not moral principles. Yes, the commandments are pretty unbending but within them are guides for moral behaviour. Don’t murder don’t lie, don’t commit adultery don’t covet, don’t think of yourself more highly than you should
- Finally, his objection to Christians and others proselytising to which I replied that if there is a God if there is an afterlife with has peace and joy among other things; why wouldn’t I want to share that message with the world and warn others of the consequences of sin? If I, being a moral person, like any reasonable atheist who cares about others saw another person about to put their hand in boiling oil didn’t warn them what kind of person would I be? That had nothing to do with religion at that point it was simply to show that he and I had a lot in common; we shared many of the same moral and or ethical attributes. The only argument we might have is whether or not morality is subjective or objective.
That list could have gone on for a lot longer but even this was dismissed. He was not even being reasonable on any of these points. The irony here is that as Christians, according to many atheists we are meant to be the ignorant close-minded ones. Can anyone explain the cognitive dissonance on their part in this or where I was using strawman arguments?
So after some back and forth with the atheist, I came to the conclusion this man was bitter and angry at religion. I never got to the reason why but I suspect as with many I have had this type of discussion with that there were other reasons why this man no longer believes.
Commonly I have found that it is due to an unanswered prayer of a dying loved one. Or they were excommunicated from fellowship for serious sin or they morally objected to a God that told Israel to wipe out whole nations; men women and children without ever looking into the circumstances as to why God told them to do so.
Of late, Atheists have gone on the moral warpath saying God, if he exists, is a moral monster for allowing sickness death and war. Well, Before the fall of Adam we lived in such a utopia; but then we went and messed it up by disobeying one simple command… Don’t eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil! That tree had no special powers or mystical abilities, it was simply about obedience. What atheists want is that paradise, but because they can’t have it now, then there can’t be a God.
In their minds, people are pretty good sorts, so, if we were in such a paradise we wouldn’t mess it up! Yeah, we did! We would and we already did; that is not God’s fault that is ours.