I’m still waiting to hear an atheist say something impressive

2 May

Hello, and welcome to my first proper blog post on Cookie Supermarket!

I frequently have discussions about faith with atheist friends, usually on Facebook. Many of them are passionate in their claim that there is no such thing as God, or indeed any god. A lot of them appear to put great faith in the pronouncements of prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, et al.

After a couple of years of going around in circles, patterns are emerging. And they don’t bode well for atheism.

    1. Atheism is not rational, analytical, logical and scientific, as its proponents claim. I have never heard so much circular logic as when atheism is boiled down to its essentials. “There is no God because there is no God,” or indeed, “Miracles cannot happen because miracles cannot happen,”  is a fair summation of the logic applied. Much of the logic is founded on a vested interest: there is said to be no God because the atheist cannot or will not bring themselves to believe in God. As one has said, “An atheist cannot find God for the same reason that a thief cannot find a policeman.”
    2. The “high priests” of atheism make arguments based on mockery and disbelief rather than careful consideration of the facts. Consider this gem by Christopher Hitchens – hailed by atheists as a “destruction of biblical miracle claims” – in which he argues that it is possible to consider something a miracle if you are ignorant of the facts, i.e. you see your friend, whom you thought had been executed yesterday, walking around in town and assume he has been raised from the dead. Clearly that is not a miracle if the friend did not die. Christians and atheists can agree on that. Hitchens gets his laugh from the audience, but completely neglects to consider what happens if your friend who was executed (he is, of course, making a jokey reference to Jesus Christ) actually did die and was then seen walking around a few days later. In short, his argument is based upon the a priori conclusion that resurrection is impossible. The actual facts of the Resurrection are not even considered. Hitchens’ argument would not stand up in a court of law.
    3. Scandalous use of red herrings. Hitchens goes on to say that many people were raised from the dead in Jesus’ day, and that this disproves Jesus’ divinity as any of these other people who were raised from the dead could make the same claim. Again, Hitchens fails to consider the facts. Of all those raised from the dead, Jesus alone spoke of being the Messiah, God, and the Son of God. He alone was the fulfilment of centuries of Old Testament prophecy. And of Him alone was it said that “[God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31) Hitchens’ reference to the “others” who were raised from the dead is a red herring: it proves (or indeed disproves) nothing, because once again the atheist has not done justice to the facts.

Obviously there is more one could say on so great a subject. Atheists put a huge amount of faith in physics explaining ever more distant acts of cosmic upheaval as proof that God was not involved in creation – yet this only delays the invevitable question of where the original matter, energy or space-time fabric came from which permitted that upheaval to take place. The principle that nothing can come from nothing is basic science, yet it seems to be conveniently ignored by atheists.

There is also the issue that many militant atheists, including Hitchens and Dawkins, apparently cannot see anything good in faith or religion. They give no consideration to the lives changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ: that faith in Him has turned millions from despair, drugs and crime, or indeed that countless acts of selflessness and charity are done by Christians precisely because their faith has inspired them to love, to give, to put themselves through discomfort and deprivation in order to serve those less fortunate. The argument that our law and much of western civilisation (art, music, architecture, various freedoms, etc.) owe their very existence to biblical concepts cuts no ice with the atheist. All this could exist without theistic belief – or so they claim. Never mind that these good things, which we take for granted, were pioneered by men and women whose faith was a passionate fire that blazed within them so that they prevailed against the spirit of the day until history itself was set alight.

In short, atheism is an attitude of mind. It rejects a study of the facts in favour of convenient beliefs; it draws false conclusions based on shaky premises; it places faith in its mockery of concepts rather than real analysis. It sees no good in a faith which in reality inspires virtues which no godless belief system can hope to imitate. Atheism is not a belief in something, but a belief in nothing – one which by its very nature is vandalistic, destructive and impoverished.

You can be an atheist if you wish, but don’t kid yourself about rationality. And for pity’s sake, make up your own mind, rather than being taken in by someone else’s mockery.

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3 Responses to “I’m still waiting to hear an atheist say something impressive”

  1. NotAScientist May 2, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    “is a fair summation of the logic applied. ”

    I’ve never heard any atheist say such things. Of course, that’s only anecdotal evidence. But I imainge I might know more atheists than you do, being one myself. I could, of course, be wrong.

    I don’t believe in a god or miracles because of the lack of evidence supporting those claims. It’s that simple. And not at all circular.

    “In short, his argument is based upon the a priori conclusion that resurrection is impossible. ”

    I think part of his point is that you should investigate. If your friend claims to have risen from the dead, you look for the evidence.

    “Never mind that these good things, which we take for granted, were pioneered by men and women whose faith was a passionate fire that blazed within them so that they prevailed against the spirit of the day until history itself was set alight.”

    You’re right.

    And those people were pagans, long before Christianity or Judaism ever existed. Helping people is a human trait, not a religious one.

    “It rejects a study of the facts in favour of convenient beliefs”

    Says someone who believes miracles happen without good evidence.

  2. cookiejezz May 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    Thank you for your response.

    – There is plenty of evidence for the existence of God, including the ordered, stable and beautiful universe in which we live, which the Bible says speaks of his divine nature.

    – There is plenty of evidence for miracles. Not only is the Bible a reliable historical document, with the gospels well attested, but miracles such as healings take place today. I have met plenty of people who have been healed and see healings take place through my own prayers, as well as knowing the presence of God in my life daily. So this is not a blind belief at all. I don’t need to believe in religious fairies to make my life better. I believe in Jesus because His claims stand up.

    – Jesus’ resurrection has been exhaustively investigated. The easiest way to disprove Christianity, either in the 1st century or today, would be to produce Jesus’ body. Nobody can, least of all the Roman and Jewish authorities who had the most to lose from the spread of Jesus’ followers. See Josh McDowell – “A Skeptic’s Quest”.
    http://www.greatcom.org/resources/toughquestions/skepticsquest.pdf

    God bless you today!
    Jeremy

    • NotAScientist May 2, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

      Sorry…but anecdotes are not good enough evidence for supernatural claims.

      If they were, you’d believe in alien abductees. And I don’t.

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