Saturday, August 22, 2015

How to Defeat Modern-Day Atheism With Three Easy Questions


From Shadow to Light.


B. Prokop said...

Brilliant - absolutely brilliant! I especially love the "Bonus Question". Put the shoe on the other foot. Demand evidence that the atheist is capable of objectivity.

The gaping hole in atheist "reasoning" is that they demand physical evidence for something not part of the natural world. They seem incapable of grasping what ought to be a very simple notion - that whatever you can provide physical evidence for must inevitably be part of the physical world. But the "Creator of all things visible and invisible" can no more be part of this world than a painter can be part of his painting.

The fact that atheists fail to grasp this most basic of points is in and of itself sufficient proof that they are not genuinely interested in reason, but rather polemics. So trying to "win over" an atheist by using reason is like a drunk looking for his car keys under the lamppost when he's lost them out in the dark. They didn't get to where they are by using reason, so there's little hope of curing them of their delusion by using it. We need to get to the bottom of their motivation. Why do they so obstinately cling to such an irrational position? Find that out (it's different for each individual), and their whole unstable house of cards will come joyfully crashing down.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Aragorn said...

Evidence is too loaded a word. I always ask for compelling reasons to believe rather than evidence.

Kevin said...

Aragorn, that is a far more intelligent and respectable question to ask, which is probably why most atheists never ask it.

bbigej said...

Posts with titles like these never fail to disappoint. Even if the author is correct (which I doubt), atheism would not then be "defeated." It would only prove that some atheists (i.e, close-minded) have invalid epistemologies.

Victor Reppert said...

I think what Shadow to Light means is current popular brand of atheism, typically referred to as New (or gnu) atheism. The atheism of a Flew or Mackie doesn't go this way at all.

Ilíon said...

"The atheism of a Flew ... doesn't go this way at all."

Riiiiight! Flew, he of the "Invisible Gardner", was so sophisticated in his rejection of Christianity.

UberGenius said...

Slouching Toward Westburo Baptist

It seems that "trapping" people through formulaic questions is not optimal. By optimal I mean leading your opponent towards being both intellectually open to Christ's claims and spiritual open to the work of the HS to lead that individual to trust and act on his/her newfound knowledge.

I'm not sure that the fact they would count "God of the Gaps" as evidence is equivalent to them justifying their atheism by that method. Atheist seem to present cumulative cases just as theist do. Flew, Mackie, J.H. Sobel all make similar arguments questioning the hiddeness of God, evil and suffering, lack of the appearance of design in nature, etc. in fact many atheist I engage think that a future science will answer all questions, a position I call, "Science of the gaps." It is only through dozens of conversations on things like the hard problem of consciousness, or the self-refuting nature of claims such as, "science is the only valid form of knowledge," that I make progress at this openness I refer to above.

It seems that a calm response would suffice. "On your view, how would you ground morality?" "Given that science says that, "out of nothing nothing comes," and the Universe had a beginning, don't we need an uncaused agent that is powerful enough to create space, time, and the four laws of physics, the initial matter, and fine-tune it for life? Aren't all your cosmologies more untestable then any proposition I've made? Isn't every scientific fact less knowable than your direct knowledge of your soul? Doesn't skepticism about a creator run into the evidence that the only time we see creation (efficient causation) in our world it is through intelligent agents?

If I want to teach someone with a jr. High school education calculus, I will need to first build foundation upon foundation. How much more so with those foisting their sophomoric atheistic justifications. Of course there is Jesus' comment about letting the dead bury the dead, but that may not be helpful here, I think.

I do think there is a time to disengage someone who is not engaging the arguments at all. Clearly, Harris, Krouss, Dennett, Dawkins, Hitchens, Maher are not engaging the argument, but what about Anthony Flew? The evidence of the fine-tuning of the universe for life was compelling and tipped the balance. Again he found the multiverse, to be an absurd and unprovable counter explanation as do Penrose and Ellis (world class cosmologist).

First seek to understand then to be understood is an old Covey (Mormon) principle.