Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Is atheism the lack of a belief in God?

Someone should explain this to some atheists.


Kevin said...

I'd have more sympathy for their denials of being dishonest about that if they spent equal amounts of time scrutinizing and arguing against belief in a multiverse, belief in aliens, belief in ghosts, and atheists who pretend to know what they don't know by claiming to know there is no god.

But they don't, so the most likely explanation is they believe there is no god, but hide behind a form of open-minded skepticism so as to appear intellectually honest.

John B. Moore said...

In most cases, you can clear up this issue simply by asking the atheist.

1) Christians say atheists are trying to posture as disinterested observers.
Well, you can simply ask them and see. You can say, "Do you think God exists or not?" You can say, "What do you think is the likelihood that God exists?" I doubt if an atheist would lie to you on these questions.

2) Christians say atheists want to avoid the burden of proof.
The burden of proof rests on the person hoping to persuade. So you can simply ask an atheist, "Do you want me to become an atheist?" If he says yes, then he has the burden of proof. Otherwise not.

3) Christians say atheists don't want to admit they hold any positive beliefs.
There's a difference between a Christian's committed belief and the atheist's strong likelihood. This difference goes to the very heart of the issue, because committed belief is what religion is all about, and willingness to consider alternatives is what atheism is all about.

4) Christians say atheists want to avoid having to defend their beliefs.
Atheists defend all sorts of beliefs all the time. Pick any issue and ask the atheist about it. Just remember that the atheist is defending the belief not as a committed zealot, but in a more tentative way for the sake of debate.

5) Christians say atheists are committed believers in their atheist ideas, unwilling to consider alternative ideas. Thus, their atheism is just like a religion.
Again, all you have to do is ask them: "What could ever persuade you that God exists?" If the atheist says "nothing could," then you can consider them a committed believer who is closed minded and unwilling to consider alternative ideas. On the other hand, if the atheist says "Give me your best argument," then this point is refuted.

6) Christians point out that many atheists use emotionally charged language and seem like zealots.
So what? Don't let them get under your skin.