Is this the world’s most honest atheist?

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The Atlantic published a startlingly honest article by atheist, Crispin Sartwell. As you can see even from it’s title, Not believing in God isn’t always based on reasoned arguments—and that’s okay.  In it Sartwell admits:

• The atheistic worldview “is similar to the worldview of religion—neither can be shown to be true or false by science, or indeed by any rational technique. Whether theistic or atheistic, they are all matters of faith, stances taken up by tiny creatures in an infinitely rich environment.”

• His view of the universe as a natural, material system is based on his interpretation of his experience not on a rational argument.

• “I have taken a leap of atheist faith.”

• Atheism can be as much a product of family, social, and institutional context as religious faith.

• “The idea that the atheist comes to her view of the world through rationality and argumentation, while the believer relies on arbitrary emotional commitments, is false.”

• Just as religious people have often offloaded the burden of their choices on church dogma, so some atheists are equally willing to offload their beliefs on “reason” or “science” without acknowledging that they are making a bold intellectual commitment about the nature of the universe, and making it with utterly insufficient data.

• Science rests on emotional commitment (that there is a truth), a passionate affirmation of desire, in which our social system backs us up.

What a refreshing blast of humble and honest air! 

From Head Heart Hand

Image is from The Atlantic

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Categories: Christianity

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6 replies

  1. That is refreshing!

    It’s somewhat funny to me, I’m a Christian, but God has really had to bypass my reason, slip in under my intelligence, to build my faith. I can be my own worst enemy, I can reason away His blessings. Because I can see that in myself, I also recognize it in many non believers and I have some empathy there. We often cling fiercely to what we believe is reason, logic, never realizing that our capacity for reason and human logic is somewhat limited and full of biases. My dad used to say, “you do not know what you think you know.” There’s a certain kind of humility that can come as we get older, as our experiences begin to show us that God exists outside of our will and our perceptions.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great comment IB.

      While God is not unreasonable, He does tend to frustrate the wise people of the world who rely on what they believe is knowledge.

      Although reasoning God away may seem like a good idea, it will lead to endless frustration because, in the end, we don’t have an excuse to deny .

      Many of the Non-Believers I speak to are trying to prop up their own disbelief rather than to talk sense into me, so to speak. Their frustration manifests itself in the form of hate and insults.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      James

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Fascinating find brother!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. While I appreciate that the “atheist” (who really seems to be agnostic…) points out some of the deficiencies in the views of the militant atheists, I think that there are some inconsistencies and assumptions in her own views. She simply asserts that both religion and science are taken on the basis of blind faith. What backing could she give for this? I’m certainly someone who was pursuaded by evidence. Jesus’s disciples also required the evidence of seeing Jesus risen from the dead in order to undergo the radical changes that they did. In fact the scriptures are full of “proofs” for the faith, with Jesus appealing to Old Testament prophecy, his miracles, and his own prophesies as reasons people should believe in him. Even the apostles creed, the portion of scripture thought to be the earliest oral tradition common among Christians (1 Corinthians 15:3-8), is an appeal to eyewitness testimony as a basis for belief in the gospel. From its earliest origins, Christianity has been a worldview concerned with truth, and therefore concerned that its claims cohere with reality. It is for this reason that Peter admonished the early Christians to be ready to provide a reason for their faith (1 Peter 3:15), because he assumed that they would need reasons. Evidence and reason are not “post-hoc” with respect to belief in Jesus, but instead have been “pre-hoc” from our beginning. Suffice it to say that I do not think that Christianity is parallel to atheistic naturalism in this respect.

    It seems to me that the author of this article wants there to be this parallel in order to justify her position as no less intellectually justified as theism. At the end of the day, she doesn’t want to believe in God due to the suffering that she has experienced. My heart goes out to her, as I have suffered as well. She seems to think that if there is a God then he would have prevented her suffering, and therefore he cannot exist because he did not. Perhaps her pain seems so random and pointless that she can’t imagine it is a part of a larger overall design.

    This is the tragedy of her position, however. She hasn’t gotten rid of her suffering. The only thing that her position has done is to remove any hope that there is any point or meaning in it all. On atheism, her pain really is meaningless and the universe really is indifferent to her suffering. Only if God exists is there any hope that he has an overall plan, even if we don’t see it now.

    I’ve heard suffering compared to a tapestry. Each of our lives is an individual string woven into the tapestry, but only if you can get out of the piece and see its overall design can you understand why this or that string must weave in or out as it does. If we get rid of God we don’t suddenly invest our strings with meaning, purpose, or direction of our own. If we get rid of God then all we’ve got left is a pile of random strings.

    Like

    • You make some good points here Matt. I especially like the example of the tapestry.

      I also agree with you that atheism is justified in the story by making it equal to Christianity in how absurdly the author thinks both are.

      Still, making atheism seem as equally absurd as Christianity is much different than making it seem much, as most atheists do, much better.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      God bless,

      James

      Like

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