The Foolishness of Atheism: My Thoughts

Depite what a few less than reasonable “fans” of this blog may think, I am always up for hearing the other side of the story and weighing opinions and evidence that disagree with what I believe about Christianity.

That said, please join me in welcoming my friend in hyperspace and the blog’s resident atheist contributor back from his hiatus.

Have a good weekend everyone. God bless.

James

The floor, as they say, is all yours GC…

I recently read a blog post on this very blog that had my jaw hanging to the floor. In my opinion, it was inflammatory, and did nothing to progress the conversation between atheists and theists.

In fact, not only did it do nothing to progress the conversation, but it completely misrepresented what atheism is.

Luckily, James has given me the opportunity to respond to that article with this post. So thank you to James for allowing me to post this rebuttal on his blog, and you are always welcome to do the same on my blog in the future.

You can find the original article I’m writing about here by following the link. Also, whether you’re a theist or an atheist, please feel free to leave your thoughts below.

Let’s get started.

Atheists are fond of claiming that their way of thinking is logical, reasonable, and intellectual. They maintain that they are open-minded and refer to themselves as free thinkers. Unlike Christians, who are allegedly delusional, irrational, blind, and absurd, atheists consider themselves utterly rational, sensible people who follow the evidence wherever it leads.

I hear you.

Look, not every Christian is illogical and irrational and the same can be said of atheists. I’ve had my fair share of arguments with atheists on all sorts of social issues and I assure you that irrationality isn’t something that belongs specifically to the theist.

Yet atheism says that everything came from nothing. Atheism says that an explosion caused exquisite order. It says that random chances produced precision and that life popped into existence in nature from non-life.

Sometimes I despair that the point will never be made, but I’ll try to explain it once again – atheism says NOTHING about how life began. It says nothing about the human eye. It says nothing about evolution. It says nothing about morals.

Atheism is simply the lack of belief in God(s). That’s it. That’s all it is.

Now you can ask an atheist what they believe on all of those subjects.

For example, an atheist may believe in the theory of evolution because of the scientific evidence, but that has nothing to do with atheism and everything to do with science and what that atheist believes on that subject.

You see what I’m saying?

When theists falsely frame atheism, it does absolutely nothing to progress the conversation.

Nothing.

Theists get pissed off if I tell them what they believe. If I tell one non-Catholic that they eat a wafer at communion, they would rightfully tell me they do not. If I continue to misrepresent that position, then I’m being disingenuous.

In order to have a meaningful discussion about religion or the lack thereof, we need to stop misrepresenting the stance of the other side. It does nobody any favors and only stokes anger and resentment.

When atheism is stripped of pompous proclamations and arrogant allegations, its naked soul is seen for what it really is: weak, illogical, unscientific, and worthless.

Again, atheism says nothing about science. It’s worth is different for each individual, just as it is to Christians.

For some, atheism is to be ignored. They don’t want to talk about religion. They frankly don’t give a damn about religion. They just lack belief in God(s) and go about their day.

For others, religion interests them. For others, religion angers them. For others, they agree with religion but simply don’t believe in a God(s).

There are all kinds of atheists, just like there are all sorts of Christians.

So instead of making blanket statements, please just ask the atheist in question what they do believe in and why.

The answer might surprise you. And that’s where real dialogue begins.

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Categories: Atheism, Christianity, Contributors

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42 replies

  1. I’d like to reblog this. May I?

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  2. If I claim on wordpress that “evangelicals believe X” there will always be plenty of evangelicals in the world who don’t believe X. But my claim was made in a specific context, that of a wordpress blog with a certain kind of reader who is either the sort of evangelical I’m talking about or who encounters the kind of evangelical I’m talking about.
    So while you (guest poster) are correct that not all atheists think a certain way, we infer from the context that the original author wasn’t talking about all sorts of atheists but about a certain recognizable type you run across on the internet.

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    • Context doesn’t allow someone to smear an entire section of the population. People should take care with their words, and if that’s what someone means, then that’s what they should have said.

      You can easily say it by saying something like ‘in my experience’ or ‘some atheists believe’ and so on.

      What sort of atheist or evangelical I run across is anecdotal. It doesn’t mean that’s how they all think and in atheism, that’s very, very true since I explained also about how atheism addresses no other belief.

      Thanks for your comment and for reading the post!

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  3. Thanks again James for allowing me to post this rebuttal piece. I hope you and your readers have a fantastic weekend!

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  4. I think GC made a pertinent summary. I think one point GC and I agree on, although he didn’t say it in so many words, is that one can’t look at an atheist perspective from a Christian pov.

    Atheism does not dominate life. It’s almost like, do people drink, smoke, have sex before/outside of marriage, eat meat etc. It is a very tony part of life. Actually mostly, it is irrelevant. Because to the average atheist, there isn’t much point pontificating on the non-existant. Atheism isn’t a rule book for life. It just is, but there are more important things. That’s the big difference. To Christians, or at least some, religion is everything. Atheism is not the same.

    I know many people of religion: Jews, Christians, Muslims come to mind. Apart from Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah/Sokkot/whatever else, and discussing Ramadan, we don’t discuss religion. ‘How’s work?’ ‘Have a coffee.’ And that sort of daily life.

    Maybe we should all try and concentrate on that.

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    • Hi roughseas,

      I have just one thought here. I agree with you that atheism doesn’t dominate the lives of many, if not even most, atheists.

      However, there are many who spend a significant amount of time online talking about atheism so it does at least appear that some are pretty deeply invested in a lack of belief.

      If people don’t believe why do they care?

      No need to reply, this was more rhetorical than anything.

      James

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      • I realise the rhetorical aspect of your comment, but as GC said originally, there are different types of atheists.
        1) I am the ‘it’s not important to me’ type, therefore I rarely mention religion on my blogs.
        2) Then there are the ones who believed for years, often decades, in the case of the USians, went to a theological university/seminary and took a voluntary or paid-for role in the church. Suddenly, when they decide it doesn’t hang together, there is a sense of betrayal, of having being lied to, and perhaps of years where they could maybe have done something of more value instead of converting souls for Jesus. These people aren’t even necessarily atheist, it takes a lot to go from being a full-on believer to atheism in five minutes, but they are no longer believers in some/all of Christianity.
        3) And there are the ones who see religion – all religions – as pernicious so they choose to inform themselves about it, look for flaws and argue strongly against it. I can understand that too. I just have neither the time nor the energy to invest in something I consider to be fictitious although I do accept the (negative) influence and power religion holds.
        In my case I prefer to write about animal abuse, well, I would prefer not to write about it, but as it exists, I do, workers’ rights or rather lack of them, and the continued decline of wages and standards for working class people, feminism and the perpetual discrimination against women, growing my own vegetables, walking around the beach, and life. But those to me are tangible. Wittering on about something that may or may not have happened 2000 years ago and trying to change immutable faith-based beliefs ain’t my thing. However, in the case of 2) and 3) I can see why they do expend the effort. Hell, I may totally wrong though! Merely my observations.
        Whatever, have a good weekend.

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    • I agree. It’s the other parts that make up the bulk of what makes me who I am. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I see nothing in the original post to suggest that James is just referring to “some” atheists. Instead, it’s written in a manner that suggests that ALL atheists believe X. Not a lot of subtlety here.

    James does seem to be conflating, equating or confusing atheism with certain scientific theories.

    I think it might suprised many Christian biologist to learn that it’s atheism that says that different species are descended from a common ancestor. I always that it was a scientific theory that said this, a scientific theory accepted by scientists from many different beliefs and faiths.

    In addition, I think lot of scientists would be suprised to learn what “scientific experimentation has repeatedly concluded” (according to James). I’m not so sure that experimentation has concluded what James thinks it’s concluded.

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  6. I do agree with you that inflammatory language is uncalled for. Our scriptures actually command us to answer for our faith with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

    That being said, Atheism is a worldview. Like all worldviews, there are certain inescapable entailments. If there is no God, for example, then God could not have created life. As a result, life must have began via some naturalistic process. So atheism would entail the belief that life did not begin as a supernatural creative act of God but by naturalistic process that (at least in principle) can be discovered.

    I understand the frustrated response to a frustrating person, but it is still worthwhile to consider the entailments of one’s worldview.

    I’m not singling out Atheists on this one either. Many of us (Christians) try to take refuge behind the, “God is mysterious” defense. While I would agree that God is mysterious and that we can’t know everything there is to know about God, this sort of a defense is often used by Christians who don’t want to think through the issues.

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    • Excellent coment Matt. Thank you for making it.

      However, atheism says nothing about magic. An atheist could believe in a magical means of a universe being created, although it wouldn’t one created by a god.

      I’ve met atheists who believe in ghosts and spirits etc as well.

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  7. One could say that God doesn’t believe in atheists, if we define ‘atheism’ as denying the existence of God or gods, which is also a legitimate definition, if not the most proper and strict definition. In that case, I agree that God doesn’t believe in atheists. (see Romans 1)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not a legitimate definition and your comment makes no sense.

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    • How does Romans 1 say the God “doesn’t believe in atheists?” How are you defining the word “believe?”

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      • There are no atheists according to God’s Word David. Disagreement is fine but I’m pretty sure you know exactly what Dan is saying.

        For people purposely suppress this divine truth by their unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Furthermore the Bible declares that “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Romans 1:19-25).

        And things just seem to go from bad . . . “and just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,” (Romans 1:28) to worse . . . “and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32).

        According to these verses there are no atheists. These verses plainly state that the order, harmony and coherence of the created universe points to an Intelligent Designer and all will be held accountable for this fact because our logical, common sense God made us with the logical common sense to know better.

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      • Ah, I think I see how the word “believe” is being used here.

        You are saying that it’s impossible that a human could exist and not believe in God. Since it’s impossible to exist and also not believe God exists, there really are no atheists. One cannot actually be an atheist. God doesn’t believe in atheists, because atheists can’t possibly exist. Yes? Wouldn’t want to be accused of rewording, so I ask.

        I’m curious about the part where God “gives them up.” What does this mean? How does God “give them up?”

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        • David,

          God gave us no excuse. The verses make it clear that, on some level anyway, all believe but some reject.

          God gave them up means He abandoned them, or He ceased to restrain them, and suffered them to act out their sentiments, and to manifest them in their life.

          Not asking you to believe, just giving you theological answers to your questions.

          James

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        • Ok, all humans believe, so atheists can’t possibly exist. And if I follow correctly, the reason that all believe is that we have our logical common sense which allows us to perceive the order, beauty, and evidences of God. Correct?

          Now, in the case of those who reject God (for example, those who say that say they are atheist, even though they can’t really be atheists), you say that God abandons them and/or ceases to restrain them. In contrast, I assume that God does not abandon or cease to restrain Christians? Do I have this right?

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          • David,

            Your first paragraph is basically correct.

            As for the second, no God does not abandon Christians.

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          • Ok, so we have no excuse because we have logical common sense. But that logical common sense depends on the anatomy and physiology of a physical and functioning brain. Some humans lack the ability to reason and use logical common sense. So, it seems that they would not know that there is a god.

            With respect to abandonment, it appears that there is a finite limit to God’s patience which can be measured in just a few Earth years.

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        • Also, I understand that one should able to figure out through observation of nature that there is an Intelligent Designer. But how does one figure out that the Intelligent Designer is Jesus?

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          • These are two different things entirely David.

            You are right in that people should be able to figure out there is an intelligent designer.

            People come to faith in Christ by hearing and responding to the Gospel.

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          • Well, if knowing that Jesus is the Intelligent Designer depends on hearing the gospel, it would appear that one could be forgiven for worshiping a different god, a god other than Jesus.

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          • No David, there is only one way to forgiveness according to Christian theology.

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          • Your claim that there is “no excuse” for denying the existence of a God is based on the observation that this knowledge is derived from examination of the natural world. Anyone and everyone can and does examine the natural world. Everyone can see the order in the world, so everyone is responsible for knowing that a God exists.

            But the knowledge that the God in question is Jesus is derived from access to the gospels, and only some have or had access to the gospels. The principle that “no excuse” might apply in cases where everyone has knowledge of or or the ability to observe something. However, in the absence of knowledge, “no excuse” does not apply.

            Therefore, you cannot hold everyone responsible for knowing that the god in question is Jesus when there are some with no knowledge of the gospels. In the absence of knowledge of the gospels, worshiping another God should be an acceptable path to forgiveness and an eternity in heaven.

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    • Dan, as long as we’re on the subject of Romans 1, given that we can see that God exists by looking at the natural world, what does looking at the natural world tell us about the nature of God? For example, what does small pox tell us about the nature of God?

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  8. Yes Sir, it is. Here are just a couple of sources:

    From a philosophy source:

    Richard Watson states in his 1831 book, A Biblical and Theological Dictionary: “Atheist, in the strict and proper sense of the word, is one who does not believe in the existence of a god, or who owns no being superior to nature.”

    Robert Flint, in his 1885 book Anti-Theistic Theories states: “Every man is an atheist who does not believe that there is a God.”

    Dictionary.com

    Atheist: noun
    1. a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

    Webster:

    a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
    b : the doctrine that there is no deity

    And in light of what we are told in Romans 1, it makes sense.

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    • They aren’t definitions. They are theological texts from 200 years ago. You don’t have to work so hard for your confirmation bias. Simply look it up in the dictionary or ask an atheist.

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      • Did you fail to notice the two dictionary definitions I provided? BTW, a definition is a definition, whether from a man or a dictionary. BTW, men write dictionaries. You say an atheist is just someone who doesn’t believe in God, not that he doesn’t exist. I merely suggest one other definition as one that has been accepted through a couple of centuries. Is that a problem for you?

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        • So you agree then, since the ‘disbelieves in a deity’ is exactly what I just said. If you’re a Gnostic atheist, you would actively not believe in a deity. I have never met one of those but I’m sure they exist – the people who flat out say that there is no god and there is no possibility that they’re wrong. Same as a Gnostic theist who would say the same about the existence of god.

          Do you see the difference?

          I hope so. That way you can have more meaningful conversations with atheists, instead of trying to tell them what they believe and don’t believe.

          And yes. Men (and women) write dictionaries. Not one person though and not just a theist 200 years ago. Books gets updated as new knowledge is found.

          Like

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