Thursday, February 09, 2006

More clarification for Clayton

Clayton said: I apologize if I ascribed to you the wrong view, but I don't think it was the mistake of ascribing the view you were arguing against to you. You were arguing against those who thought there were no atheists and I took exception to the claim that owing to human irrationality, there are. I'm still uncertain as to whether you do think that all atheism is due to the irrational suppression of truth OR whether the possibility of such a thing would be enough to seriously undermine the idea that no one in the world is an atheist. If I go by what I know with respect to the reasons why someone might be an atheist or a theist, I would have to say that I know of no proof that atheism is irrational or that all atheists are suppressing the truth. I can imagine having different life experiences from the experiences I in fact had, and had those experiences been different, I can easily see myself being an atheist. I see all sorts of intellectual dishonesty and ideological thinking in atheists, but that is not sufficient to defend the kinds of blanket assertions that presuppositionalists want to make.

Defenders of the opposing view appeal to biblical revelation to argue that all atheists are suppressing the truth. If I could be persauded that God had revealed that claim unequivocably, then I would, as a matter of faith, accept their view. But my theory of biblical inerrancy is not strong enough to warrant that kind
of inference, and I think there are alternative ways of interpreting the relevant passages. (I'm closer to C. S. Lewis than Francis Schaeffer on biblical inspiration).

Now mind you, I am a theist and a Christian, and I think there are good reasons for being both of these, and I have defended them in print. But when I reflect and ask "Could there be rational people who disagree with me about God," going by my present understanding, the answer has to be "yes."


Clayton said...

Well, that clarifies that considerably. Thanks, Victor. The original line of the post did make it seem like you were saying that to be an atheist, one would have to be irrational but now that I know this isn't what you were saying, I can say with more confidence that all the posts I've read here I've liked.



Victor Reppert said...

Clayton: When I said "for the sake of argument," I meant just that.