Codex Per·Fidem - On Atheism

On Atheism

Below are several posts from Texian Weblog regarding Atheism. Though the dates of the posts are not listed, the posts are listed here in chronological order.

Point the Finger |  Says Who? |  Atheism Automatically Justified? |  No Decision |  The Faith of Atheism |  The Conclusion of Atheism
The Argument from Design |  Our Idea of Heaven |  Rather Interesting |  My God is More Popular than Your God
Fallacies, Fallacies, and more Fallacies |  Tell me Again Why You’re an Atheist

Point the Finger | Top

Alister McGrath has an excellent article in Christianity Today regarding the failure of atheism to win the minds of theists. His article wasn’t entirely critical of atheism, though. Declaring, “the greatest virtue of atheism is its moral seriousness,” Mr. McGrath argues that atheism has served a useful purpose in pointing out the failures and corruptions of the Church.

The most beloved of all atheists, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, would always end her cable access program with the warning that Godism, her pet name for theism, has caused more suffering than any other idea in human history. I would think that greed should receive more blame, but she has a point. Theism has had its share of bloody wars.

But, while we point the finger at theism, let us also remember that atheism is not entirely blameless. Most of the brutal and ruthless tyrants of the 20th century were atheists. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, all were atheists. And they all had, in their minds, good reasons for eliminating theism. Theism was a threat to their power. They preferred to replace the native religions of their nations with their own.

Hitler created the godless religion of Nazism and made himself its Christ. Hitler’s speeches were like sermons, extolling the virtues of the new Nazi gospel. Nazism was complete with its own mythology, rites, clergy, fanatical devotees, even a holy text. Hitler, like other tyrants after him, saw the power he could gain if he did not have to share the people’s love with God. He would become their god, and distort their moral certainty to the point that they would do anything for him, even participate in the murder of their own countrymen.

Stalin had his own plans for replacing faith with fascism. In 1931, the Soviets destroyed Russia’s largest Christian cathedral, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The plan was to build a new, atheist cathedral dedicated to Communism. But, as evidence of Communism’s inherent flaws, the necessary funds could never be raised. Eventually, Khrushchev tired of the gaping hole left by the destruction of the cathedral and built a swimming pool in its place. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church was allowed to rebuild the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. A picture of the Soviet’s planned replacement church can be seen here.

Theism, with its belief in an authority superior to temporal powers, is a threat to modern dictators. Atheism, praised for being modern and logical, has often been used as a tool by these dictators to enact their will on the people. So, atheism’s role in man’s evil works should not be overlooked.

Says Who? – The Need for an Absolute Source | Top

As an experiment, I started a discussion thread on an online atheist forum. I began the discussion with this question: “How does atheism define morality?” I was told that morality is defined by a consensus of society in order to maintain a functioning society. So, then I asked if government should promote morality, for example, punishing those who violate society’s moral consensus. The response was no. I was told there is a difference between what is immoral and what is criminal. While society may have an idea of what is right and what is wrong, government should only be concerned with preventing someone from hurting others. So, is morality not important to a functioning society? No, it is. Is morality defined as “do whatever you want so long as you don’t hurt anybody else?” Yes, I’m told. Even if society would like to add more to it? Yes. So then, society doesn’t define morality. Our idea of morality must come from something else. But who? or what?

There is what I call a need for perfection. This need for perfection is broad. One way it can be defined is the need to improve oneself and one’s society. In short, increase what is good and eliminate what is bad. Human societies need some way to declare what is right and what is wrong. Without a moral code, society crumbles. Every human culture has developed a rule that defines morality. Even the atheist/agnostic recognizes the authority of this rule. In our culture, we call it the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That’s how we can tell right from wrong. Every other human culture has a similar rule. But just having this rule is not enough. This rule is essential to the function of society. So, people must be made to obey it, even if they disagree. But, on whose authority do we enforce this rule?

If it is by society’s authority then the violator could say society is wrong, therefore he doesn’t have to obey. Take for example, Nazi Germany. At that time, the consensus in society was that Jews were inferior, and so they were exterminated. In the antebellum South, society believed slavery was justified. Were these beliefs moral? No, of course not. Therefore, anyone who disobeyed the law in these societies could rightfully argue that society was wrong. Society’s authority is too fallible to be compelling.

The source of this rule’s authority, if it is to have any authority at all, must be absolute and beyond question. Without such an Absolute Source, morality becomes a matter of personal taste. What is right and what is wrong? And how can we compel others to do what is right?

That’s the problem that many theists like myself have with atheism/agnosticism. We have not been given an adequate answer to this question. It seems to us that the only answer is found in the theist belief in the Absolute Good. Theism declares that certain things are always right or always wrong, regardless of the situation. For example, loving your neighbor is always right, regardless of who your neighbor is. This is absolute. This truth is always true, and its validity cannot be questioned. It is, as the Framers would say, self-evident. It requires no proof and no support from society. Theism declares the source for this Truth must also be absolute.

Now the question comes, how can we know this source? A source which is absolute cannot exist solely in a universe that is finite. Therefore, human logic, which is chained to this finite universe, is useless in understanding it. Reason is simply too faulty. So, to discover the answer to the most basic questions in life, we must abandon reason in favor of faith. Is that such a bad thing? Consider the soldier who believes, “leave no man behind.” Is that always a logical belief? No. But is it always right? Yes, absolutely. The theist values Truth over logic because he believes logic is useless in discovering Truth.

As long as the Absolute Good is believed on faith alone, it remains absolute. There are no exceptions to the Golden Rule. We go wrong when we eliminate faith and introduce our own faulty logic. From that point on we construct for ourselves logical exceptions to the rule. We say, “This is right, except in this case.” or “except when we’re dealing with these people.” That is what happened in Nazi Germany and in pre-Civil War America.

So, theism satisfies, by faith, this universal need for an Absolute Good. While atheism/agnosticism, through logic, corrupts it. This leads one to wonder if there is something inherently wrong with a philosophy that fails to fulfill a basic and universal need of humanity.

Atheism Automatically Justified? | Top

While reading an article about atheism I came across this line:

if atheism is simply the absence of a belief in any gods, then the principle burden of proof lies solely with the theist. If the theist cannot demonstrate that their belief is reasonable and justified, then atheism is automatically credible and rational.

Please excuse the grammar (singular “theist” coupled with the plural “their”).

For the purposes of this post, “atheism” refers to weak atheism, more commonly known as agnosticism. That must be said because the broader definition of atheism (used in the quote) makes the term confusing. The atheist’s argument is that since it is the theist who claims that God exists, then it is up to him to prove his claim. If he cannot, then one is justified in refraining from accepting his claim and remaining an atheist.

That sounds reasonable, except for this: where’s the answer? There are two possibilities to the god question: either there is a god, or there isn’t a god. One of those possibilities is true. Those of us who are interested in such things want to know which. Atheism doesn’t tell us. Atheism doesn’t offer an answer. So, how can (weak) atheism be automatically justified when it doesn’t offer an answer to the biggest question any of us will ever ask? Can we really construct a worldview around an unanswered question? That is not a rhetorical question, I would really like an answer.

Without any answers to these questions, I am forced to say that not only is atheism not automatically credible and rational, but also dishonest in the sense that atheists often attack theists’ “irrational” claims (something that is common on that website) but offer no alternative claims of their own.

No Decision | Top

In his criticism of my post, Atheism Automatically Justified?, Austin Cline uses a legal analogy to explain how my reasoning is in error:

Consider a legal analogy: absence of belief in the truth of the proposition "O.J. Simpson killed his wife" doesn't answer the question whether he did, in fact, kill his wife or not. Does this mean that it's not justified for jurors to maintain the absence of this belief unless those making the claim (the prosecutors) can support what they are saying? Of course not.

The juror’s default position would not be an absence of belief in the prosecutor’s claim, but rather a belief in the defense’s claim that O.J. Simpson did NOT kill his wife. In the American legal system, the jury begins with an assumption of innocence. If the prosecution cannot prove its claim, then the jury would have to conclude that the defendant remains innocent. If the jury defaults to a no-decision (we don’t know if O.J. killed his wife or not), then a hung jury will be declared and there would be a new trial. This will continue until a jury makes a decision, either O.J. killed his wife, or he didn’t.

So, using Mr. Cline’s analogy, the default position regarding the question “is there a god?” would be “the claimant has not yet proven his claim, therefore there is no god.” Using Mr. Cline’s analogy, we must begin with the assumption that there is no god. When we discover that the claimant, the theist, cannot prove his claim then we remain with the assumption that there is no god. But that is not where Mr. Cline would like the analogy to lead us because that assumption is not logical. Mr. Cline is looking for a no-decision, but his analogy does not lead us to that conclusion. In fact, Mr. Cline's analogy only adds support to my argument that a no-answer is not justified or acceptable. Certainly, Mr. Cline must understand this and so he must also understand that his is a bad analogy. Therefore, one can only conclude that Mr. Cline offers his argument dishonestly.

The Faith of Atheism | Top

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post in which I asked this question:

So, how can (weak) atheism be automatically justified when it doesn’t offer an answer to the biggest question any of us will ever ask? Can we really construct a worldview around an unanswered question? That is not a rhetorical question, I would really like an answer.

Recent criticisms of that post never answered the questions I asked. The closest answer I received was this from Austin Cline:

It is true that atheism, as mere disbelief in gods, doesn't tell us whether Apollo, Odin, Krishna, or Yahweh exist. (My reply)

But, nothing explaining how one can construct a worldview around an unanswered question (Mr. Cline should be careful with his sarcasm considering his refusal, or failure, to answer that question). All I received was more talk about how it is the theist who makes the claim that God exists, and therefore the burden of proof falls on him. If he cannot prove his claim, then disbelief is the only logical reaction.

Atheists are atheists primarily because they believe logic has lead them there. Atheists hold on to logic very closely. So closely, in fact, that even though they admit it has failed them, they continue to hold on to it.

So, why hold on to it? If logic has failed you before, and you admit that it has, then why continue to trust in it? It is as if they hope that one day logic will not fail them. One day, even though it has failed them many times before, one day it will answer their questions. And not just the God question. I’m sure if he really cared to, an atheist could list all the times that logic has failed to answer a question.

There is wisdom in old sayings. One old saying that comes to mind now is, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” If I put my trust in someone and he fails me in that trust, then I would be careful about trusting him again. If logic has failed to answer a question, especially an important one such as “Is there a god?” then why continue to trust it? It takes a great deal of faith to continue to trust something that has failed you before. Most people would turn to other methods of discovery once they realized that logic fails. Only the truly faithful will keep coming back. They are blinded by their devotion. They refuse to see reality because it doesn’t fit into the little box they have constructed for themselves.

The Conclusion of Atheism | Top

Atheists are always complaining that conservative Christians want to take away religious freedom. A claim that is as insulting as it is wrong. The true threat to religious freedom comes from the non-religious.

The onslaught of disbelief is constant and unrelenting in its efforts to recreate American society in a secularist image. Long held beliefs and traditions are now ridiculed as backward, irrational, unenlightened, silly, and so on. The only “ism” acceptable in the public square is secularism. Judicial nominees must not be allowed a vote because they are “too conservative.” The President says “God” way too much. In fact, God is mentioned way too much everywhere. “Have you ever seen God?” they ask. “Then don’t bring your silly, old-fashioned religion around here.” When theists try to assert their beliefs in the face of this onslaught, they are beaten down by accusations of theocracy.

For people who claim not to believe in the supernatural, atheists are sure haunted by phantoms of radical Christians bent on instituting a new inquisition. I’ve never met these Christians. And I hang around with quite a few Christians. I’m not saying they don’t exist, I’m sure there are some out there. There’s always some. But I am saying they don’t make up the vast majority of Christians. Our complaint is not that society has become indifferent or neutral to religion, but hostile. We do not seek endorsement for our faith, but acceptance. We ask, “Can you prove us wrong? Then why the hatred? Why the insults? Why the fear-mongering?” We seek Truth. And we are not self-centered and shortsighted enough to think that the only truth worth acknowledging is the truth that comes from mankind.

Why isn’t atheism more widely accepted? Why has atheism seen its golden age pass? Because it has been revealed as the intellectual fraud that it is. Most people in America today rightly see atheism as merely an excuse to ridicule the beliefs of others. Atheists love to do that, and they feel they can do it with immunity since they feel they have no beliefs that can be criticized. They can inflate their egos with witty logic, questioning answers but never answering questions.

I once asked how we can be expected to create a worldview around an unanswered question. How can atheists leave an important question such as “is there a god?” unanswered? It is my opinion that they do not. They answer the question with a “no.” But, they would not admit that, since such an answer is not logical. It is a belief, just a belief. It is not supported by scientific evidence. It is not supported by logical arguments. Therefore, the atheist’s claim that he makes no claim appears dishonest. His attacks on the beliefs of others appear fraudulent. That is the conclusion to which we come. That is the conclusion of atheism.

The Argument from Design, a Change of Heart, and Hell | Top

I have to admit, the more I think about it the more the Argument from Design seems to be true. I have never thought that argument to be very convincing. Most non-believers would say the argument is nonsense because the universe is just an accident. Well, maybe so — but an accident that is governed by natural laws. Were these laws just an accident? Our study of the universe seems to indicate that the universe takes random input, processes it, and produces a thing of immense beauty which can be appreciated on every scale. Kind of like those computer programs that take random pictures and organize them to create a mosaic. But, while the universe may seem to operate by natural laws, its creation seems to defy those natural laws.

A few weeks ago, Christianity Today featured an article about Antony Flew, a very prominent atheist who has recently changed his mind. What caused this change of heart? According to the article, “he cites his affinity with Einstein who believed in ‘an Intelligence that produced the integrative complexity of creation.’” Integrative complexity of creation? Sounds like the Argument from Design to me.

But many atheists and agnostics dismiss Flew’s change of heart, saying he’s just an old man facing death and is essentially taking Pascal’s Wager. But Flew makes it very clear that he doesn’t believe in an afterlife. He tells Christianity Today, “I don't want a future life. I have never wanted a future life.”

He also makes it very clear that he is not a Christian, and “detests any notion that a loving God would send any of his creatures to eternal flames.” This is a problem many non-believers have with theism. Flew does say that he plans on reading C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce in an attempt to understand the Christian idea of judgement. I hope he pays special attention to the line,

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.”

If you believe in the eternal soul, then you must believe that something happens to the soul when the physical body is no longer able to hold it. Is it right for a soul who has spent a lifetime denying God to be forced into the presence of God where angels sing, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 7:8)? As one theologian put it, God is not a divine rapist. He is a loving God, in fact He is Love, but God is not going to force His love upon us.

So, it is not God’s wrath that sends the non-believer to hell, but it is His justice, and His respect for our choices. Those who choose to live without God will live in eternity without God, just as they wanted. While believers submit themselves to the will of God, non-believers exist outside of God’s presence and are free to live as they see fit, a miserable experience according to Lewis.

Our Idea of Heaven | Top

Our old friend, Austin Cline, has recently posted an article in which he claims the Bible describes Heaven as a place of war and violence. To back up his claim, he offers five quotes.

And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels. (Rev. 12:7)

It is important to note that Revelation was written by John of Patmos, who was imprisoned by the Romans for preaching Christianity. Revelation is a letter he wrote to the churches that were under his care. Knowing that his letters would be read by his captors, John often used symbols that would be understood by Christians, but would seem like nonsense to his captives. Therefore, it is important to read the book very carefully, keeping in mind that it is not to be taken literally.

This particular quote is taken out of context (sadly, that’s often the case). Wait a minute, isn’t that a fallacy? Mr. Cline claims this verse says Heaven is in a state of war. However, chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation describes persecution of the Church. It begins with a description of “a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.(v. 1)” The writer goes on to say that the woman is in labor, and a dragon is poised to “devour her child (v. 3)” However, the child is rescued from the dragon and the dragon is defeated by Michael and the armies of Heaven.

The dragon, obviously, is Satan, the adversary and accuser. The woman is the Church and her labor represents the growth of the Church, which Satan is attempting to prevent. This chapter symbolizes the spiritual war that Christians must fight. Matthew Henry’s Commentary (a venerable book) interprets “in heaven” as “in the church of Christ, the kingdom of heaven on earth.”

The next verse quoted is made to appear as if it follows immediately after the last verse and within the same context, however it appears seven chapters later.

And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. (Rev. 19:14)
This describes the army of heaven which will fight the final battle against Satan and the forces of evil from earth and hell. Again, this is not to be taken literally. It is John’s reminder to his churches that, though the cause may seem hopeless now (with the whole power of the Roman Empire against them), Christ and His Church will win. This verse, as with the other, is not a description of Heaven, the Abode of God.

Next, Mr. Cline offers this quote:

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matt. 11:12)

Mr. Cline asks why we would “want to strive to reach a place where the “violent” can take over.”

As we have seen before, “kingdom of heaven” often refers to the Church, God’s domain on earth, the Body of Christ. For example, in Matthew 13:31&32 the kingdom of heaven is compared to a mustard seed which is “smaller than all other seeds.” Certainly, Christ is not referring to the Abode of God, but to the Church on earth, which starts out small but then grows. The term has a wide interpretation (too much to go into here), but here it does not mean the Abode of God, as Mr. Cline suggests.

This verse tells us how the Church is under attack from those who would see it destroyed. It is interesting that Mr. Cline would attack Christians (which is the intent of his article, indeed his entire website) for believing they are under attack.

Mr. Cline then quotes Matthew 11:11,

Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matt. 11:11)

and asks, “Although God can create any sort of class system it wants, does that really describe your idea of a ‘perfect’ existence?” I suppose Mr. Cline believes that God should bend His will according to our likes, rather than we submitting to His will. If we believe that we have reached Heaven, and we find there a god and a heaven that fit perfectly with our idea of God and Heaven, we would do ourselves well if we question whether we have reached Heaven at all. We have attempted to construct for ourselves a world that fits with our idea of a “perfect” existence, and we have failed miserably. The failure is not the result of a flaw in construction, but a flaw in design. Do not be surprised if God isn’t quite what you expect.

Finally, Mr. Cline quotes,

Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Matt 24:34-35)

Mr. Cline’s tidbit of wisdom is, “Heaven will eventually pass away? Well, so much for the claim that heaven is a state of eternal bliss or eternal communion with God.”

The Apostle Paul wrote in 2Corinthians 12:2-4 of a man who “was caught up to the third heaven. . . caught up into Paradise.” Three heavens? Yes, there are the physical heavens, the sky (atmosphere) and stellar space, and the “heaven of heavens” as the King James Version puts it, the Abode of God, Paradise, where the blessed go. When Jesus says “Heaven and earth will pass away,” He means, of course, this physical universe. Just a little bit of study in Judeo-Christian symbolism would have discovered that.

Mr. Cline tells us that he was told about these quotes by Dennis McKinsey. I have never heard of this fellow, and Mr. Cline doesn’t provide any information about him. But, apparently he is an expert on biblical interpretation, since Mr. Cline appeals to him as such. But since Mr. Cline does not provide us with any data on Mr. McKinsey’s qualifications, then I suspect this is an appeal to an unqualified authority.

Mr. Cline ends with this:

So what is the basis for the idea that heaven is really a place worth striving for? That’s something worth asking the next evangelist who accosts you.

Well, I have never “accosted” anyone with my faith, but I’ll be happy to answer the question. Take a look at these verses for starters:

Psalm 16:11; Isaiah 49:10; Dan 12:3; Matt 5:12; 13:43; Luke 12:37; John 12:26; 14:1; 17:24; 1Cor 2:9; 13:12; 1Peter 1:4; Rev 7:16; 14:13; 21:4; 22:3

Rather Interesting | Top

While studying St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument, I came across this from Benedict de Spinoza,

Of everything whatsoever a cause or reason must be assigned, either for its existence, or for its non-existence – e.g., if a triangle exist, a reason or cause must be granted for its existence; if, on the contrary, it does not exist, a cause must also be granted, which prevents it from existing, or annuls its existence. This reason or cause must either be contained in the nature of the thing in question, or be external to it.

He goes on to explain that something may not exist because of some contradiction in its nature (he uses the example of a square-circle) or because of some outside force. For example, I could think of my chair as not existing because there are reasons for it to not exist. Perhaps it was destroyed in a fire.

He then explains,

It follows therefrom that a thing necessarily exists, if no cause or reason be granted which prevents its existence.

So, if there is no reason for something to not exist, then it must exist. Spinoza continues,

As, then, a reason or cause which would annul the divine existence cannot be drawn from anything external to the divine nature, such cause must perforce, if God does not exist, be drawn from God's own nature, which would involve a contradiction. To make such an affirmation about a being absolutely infinite and supremely perfect, is absurd; therefore, neither in the nature of God, nor externally to his nature, can a cause or reason be assigned which would annul his existence. Therefore, God necessarily exists.

So, it is impossible for God to not exist because there is no reason for Him to not exist. There is no contradiction in His nature, and there is no outside force strong enough to prevent His existence. To deny that God necessarily exists would require one to give a cause that might prevent God from existing.

Though I am admittedly not very familiar with Spinoza’s work, I found this bit rather interesting, mainly because it shifts the burden of proof onto the atheist, and that is something they hate.

Another defense of St. Anselm’s proof, found on the same website, is from Robert Flint. He says, in part, that Anselm has proven that perfection, in the sense that God is perfect, requires existence. Therefore, any adequate counter to his argument must resolve the paradox that the perfect being does not exist. It must explain how existence does not add to, and non-existence does not subtract from, this being’s perfection.

My God is More Popular than Your God | Top

While reading over the day’s news, I came across this article from the LA Times, called “A Time of Doubt for Atheists.” First of all, I thought every time was a time of doubt for atheists. I thought that was the whole point. Oh, well.

But this article is quite offensive, starting with the very first sentence, “It's been years, decades even, since the Almighty was so hot.” Huh? How can the Almighty not be “hot?” Perhaps the author means “popular.” But certainly God is “hot” as in “on His game,” or “in the zone.” But if the article means “hot” as in “popular,” what does God care? Does the LA Times think that God is keeping tabs on His positive press? Is He concerned with His ratings? Maybe I’m analyzing this too much, but it seems to me that the Times is implying that God may have to change His image from time to time to stay “hot.”

The article goes on to say, “Faith is the new must-have, evident when a major leaguer points skyward after his base hit.” Those guys annoy me. It’s like their saying, “Thanks, God for the base hit. Sure, I’ll probably get erased when the next batter grounds into a double play, but at least this helps my average.” That’s a rather self-centered reason to pray to God, and considering Christ prohibits public prayer (Matt 6:5-6) it is also sinful. They are using their faith as an opportunity to boast.

Moving on, the article says everyone seems to be Christian now because that’s the “hip” thing. A few years ago, the 70's were hip. Now it’s Christianity. The Times asks, “So where does that leave the fraction of Americans who define themselves as godless?” (That fraction, by the way is defined as less than a quarter of the 14% who claim no religion.)

“Some are using humor to cope, such as actress Julia Sweeney in her one-woman play ‘Letting Go of God,’ which ran in Los Angeles for several months this year. ‘It's really because I take you so seriously,’ she tells an imaginary God, ‘that I can't believe in you.’”

Humor? If that’s the funniest line in the play, I’m glad I didn’t see it. But then, I’m not the target audience for such a play. I didn’t think Hitchhiker’s Guide was funny, either. Perhaps I don’t think the line is funny because it doesn’t make sense. You don’t believe in God because you take Him so seriously? Perhaps I will watch, or read, the play just to find out what she’s talking about. That’s like saying, “It’s really because I take the War on Terror so seriously, that I can’t believe in it.”

But the article doesn’t explain what she means. The Times moves on to the paranoid wing of atheism.

“Others see the future as a time when nonbelievers are outcasts and religion dictates law, social protocol, even private life.

‘The McCarthy era is the last time this climate existed,’ says Simi Valley resident Stuart Bechman, co-president of Atheists United, a local affiliate of Atheist Alliance International.”

Last Sunday at church, me and a bunch of other guys were gathering stones to throw at atheists. Seriously, though. Is every atheist in this country sleeping with one eye open? Do they really think it’s just a matter of time before Christians start rounding atheists up and putting them in re-education camps? To be honest, the last time that happened, atheists were the perpetrators.

According to the article, many atheists have concluded that the only way to avoid being burned at the stake is to get an advocate in government.

“Unfortunately, as one activist noted, most politicians are as eager to align with the godless ranks as they are to lobby for pedophiles. Hence the need for an image makeover.”

Well, they do need an image makeover. The can start by not judging all Christians by the actions of a whacko. That link takes you to an article that really has be read to be believed. It is an example of atheist bigotry at its best.

“Keen to cast off stereotypes of immorality, atheists are stressing their integrity, patriotism and respect for the faithful while staying true to their age-old commitment to the separation of church and state.”

Well, they’re going to have a problem with the immorality part. I’ve already explained how God is the source of righteousness. Another Christian blogger takes that one step further. Ryft Braeloch explains,

“The question immediately presents itself: what is ‘good’? This is a moral question, is it not? What is the ground of our moral order? What is the final determinant and arbiter of moral order? Is it not God's authority, will, and law? I have said it before, and I will here say it again: ‘If anything is not informed and influenced by God's authority, will, and law, or grounded therein, it is sin. This is why even the apparent good that unbelievers do is nevertheless sin, because both their authority and motivation is something other than God.’”

The rest of this article deals with supposed Christian backlash against atheists. More paranoia. The article says,

“[Atheists are] quick to reference the many atheists who so fear harassment that they join atheist groups anonymously and others who are cast out of their families, refused positions involving children or relieved of jobs because of their nonbelief.”

I’m sure there are atheists out there who are harassed for their beliefs, or lack thereof. There are Christians who suffer the same harassment. Likewise, there are Christians who are cast out of their families. But this part about atheists being relieved of jobs, I just can’t believe. Interestingly, the article doesn’t provide any sources to back up that claim. If something like this was going on, any two-bit lawyer would be able to win a discrimination suit.

One last thing, because this post is too long already:

“[ founder Dave] Silverman says his 8-year-old daughter, who he says is also an atheist, has been taunted as a Satanist by some of her Christian playmates.”

Frankly, teasing and taunting is a part of life when you’re in elementary school. But, let’s look at this a little deeper. This girl is only 8 years old. The only thing she knows about religion is what her parents have taught her. I thought atheists oppose proselytizing children. I guess there’s a double standard. Not surprising.

Fallacies, Fallacies, and more Fallacies | Top

Here is an excellent example as to why logic sends us in circles. A Christian blogger wrote a post in which he argued,

The really frustrating thing about most atheists—at least those who enjoy debating against Christian theism—is that they presuppose the truth of their system of belief and then tacitly insist their Christian opponent work within the framework of that system.

That very short post prompted a much longer response by our old friend, Austin Cline.

It's fair to question the nature of what evidence is expected in support of a claim, but trying to exempt one's own personal god-claims from a standard used pretty much all the rest of the time in other situations is an example of the Special Pleading fallacy. If someone really thinks that some particular claim merits being exempt, they'll have to provide a sound logical argument in defense of that claim.

Mr. Cline says the standard imposed on theist claims is the same standard “used pretty much all the rest of the time” and that is why it is fair to impose that standard. Therefore, insisting on another standard without provided logical arguments to back up your demand is fallacious. If there is anything we have learned from Mr. Cline, it is that he loves to point out fallacies.

Now, Mr. Cline is a very learned man, especially when it comes to evaluating logical arguments. In fact, he even constructed a page which lists, in alphabetical order, the most common logical fallacies. But it is interesting that Mr. Cline overlooked a fallacy of his own. He says it is fair for atheists to impose their standard upon theists, even though theists might not agree with it, because that is the standard “used pretty much all the rest of the time.” But, isn’t that an example of the Appeal to Numbers fallacy? Mr. Cline describes that fallacy as occurring “any time the sheer numbers of people who agree to something is used as a reason to get you to agree to it.” And this is exactly what Mr. Cline is doing. He offers no other reason for the theist to submit to his standard of proof other than, “everyone else is doing it.” Mr. Cline states that this is the same standard that scientists and prosecutors are held to. But science and law are not at all like theological debate. Why should that standard be applied here? Certainly not because it is “used pretty much all the rest of the time.”

Despite the fact that the bulk of my post so far is focused on Mr. Cline, I’m not writing this as a criticism of him. I only pick on him, partly to return the favor, but mostly because he is a very good, and prominent, example of the logic-only crowd.

My point here (you knew I had one) is to illustrate the shortcomings of logic. A logical argument is constructed to prove something, but if you try to get two people to agree on the standard of proof you end up with logical circles. The first person will say, “I think the standard should be set at this level.” The second person would respond, “You can’t do that! That isn’t the standard everyone else uses. You are committing the Special Pleading Fallacy. You have to prove that your standard is the best.” The first person then replies, “Well, why should we use your standard? Just because everyone else uses it? Isn’t that the Appeal to Numbers Fallacy? Everyone else could be wrong. You have to prove your standard is the best.” But of course, it would be impossible to prove whose standard to use because it is impossible to agree on what standard by which to judge the proof.

And so we are caught in a circle, and it is at about this time we should begin to realize that logic really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Tell me Again Why You’re an Atheist | Top

While browsing some atheist sites to find yet another instance of atheist absurdity, I came across this from the American Atheists site:

We Are Atheists Because...

There is no proof of the existence of god.

First of all, what kind of proof are you looking for? What kind of proof will convince you? As we have already pointed out, logic alone makes it impossible to agree on a standard of proof. As my colleague, Mr. Lytle, said, “We must assume a touchstone, else we would get nowhere.” That touchstone, of course, is God. But atheists deny God. So when they say, “There is no proof of the existence of god,” they are saying nothing; there is no standard to judge any proof. Using logic tricks such as this, they attempt to force the theist into an impossible mission. Not only is atheism arrogant, but also fraudulent.

But, so what? So what if the theist cannot prove his claim? That does not make the negative claim true. Besides, if one claims that something does not exist, or even merely doubts its existence the doubter must give a reason for his doubt. So far, the atheists have not given a reason why God might not exist. Let’s see if they can give us a reason.

There is no need of, or use for, a god.

I could say this is a matter of personal opinion. But as I have explained above, and here, there is a need for God.

A good god would be useless if it were not powerful.

Is there any other kind of god but a powerful God? St. Anselm said,

What are you, then, Lord God, you than whom nothing greater can be thought? What are you but that which exists alone over all things, and has made everything else out of nothing? For whatever is not that, is something less than can be thought; but this cannot be thought about you. Then what good can be lacking to the highest good, through whom all other good exists? So you are just, true, blessed, and whatever it is better to be than not to be. For it is better to be just than unjust, blessed than not blessed.

The Proslogion, Chapter 5

A powerful god would not deserve worship if he were not good.

There is no all-powerful good god; otherwise there would be no imperfection.

If this is the best world god can make, the stories of Heaven must be lies.

I’m going to group these together, because they all attempt to make the same point: if God is good and all-powerful, why is there evil? Wouldn’t God simply destroy evil? The problem with the Problem of Evil is that it assumes God isn’t doing anything about evil. The growth of the Church (which atheists oppose) and the expansion of ideas such as “love your neighbor” since the founding of the Christian movement show that God is fighting against evil. As Christians, we believe evil, brought about by human corruption, will soon be destroyed:

“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:3&4 - NASB)

History shows that godism is accompanied by ignorance and superstition.

Actually, since atheist logic is useless in discovering Truth (which I have already shown), atheists should be careful about calling theists “ignorant.” As for superstition, I haven’t found a verse in the Bible that says “if you don’t walk under ladders, you’ll get to Heaven.” Maybe I missed it...

There has never been such intolerance and persecution as godists have practiced.

Really? (See also here, here, and here) Look, we can go on all day, each side pointing the finger at the other, but the fact is, evil and intolerance are human problems, not religious problems.

Godism had to be fought when humankind made its successive steps toward science, liberty, and reform.

So, when Thomas Jefferson penned the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” that was Liberty fighting against godism? Notice how Jefferson says “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” In other words, there is no need to prove these truths. Jefferson was thinking about the touchstone that my colleague Mr. Lytle talked about earlier.

And once again, considering the failures of atheist logic, one must question whether we can use it to make any “steps toward science, liberty, and reform.”

Godism was invented in the earliest days of mankind's ignorance. It is incredible that primitive humans guessed wrongly about everything else, but discovered the truth about the origin of life.

The first problem with this statement should be glaring. It assumes that the generations who came before us “guessed wrongly about everything else.” This is a case of what C.S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery.” It is the belief that those of us living today are better and more enlightened than those who came before us. This near techno-topia that atheists love to praise is only possible because of the works of the generations that have come before us. As Newton ( one of those old, ignorant theists) said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants.”

Everything about which science has discovered the origin was claimed previously to have been the work of a god. Godism recedes when a new fact is discovered. No new discovery ever supports a theistic explanation of anything.

Well, let’s talk about the origin of all origins: the creation of the universe. Science once denied that the universe had a beginning. Like the Epicureans of the Classical age, science said the universe was eternal. We now know this to be false. Ever since Edwin Hubble noticed the redshift, we have known that the universe has a beginning, confirming the Bible’s words (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth). So now, science must struggle to find a way to explain how all this matter was created from nothing, without bringing God into the equation. It will be fun to watch them try to wriggle around this one. Score a big one for theism.

All revelation proves, on investigation, to be human, and generally fraudulent.

That’s a rather sweeping claim. The atheists just posted this as a statement of positions, I’m sure, so I don’t expect them to provide proof of this claim on this page, if any proof can be found, that is (see above). However, I would challenge any atheist out there to prove (again, if proof even exists) that “all revelation proves (there’s that word again), on investigation, to be human, and generally fraudulent.”

Godism is consistent with crime, cruelty, envy, hatred, malice, and uncharitableness

It’s really sad when they start repeating claims that have already been shown to be false.

I can’t speak for all religions and theists, but I will quote Christ, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39), and “treat people the same way you want them to treat you.” (Matt. 7:12) These are rules for Christian living. Any man who claims to be a Christian, but does not follow these commandments, is only a liar.

So, tell me again why you’re an atheist.


The conclusion we should come to now is this: our greatest sin is placing ourselves on God’s throne. Indeed, this was our first sin (Gen 3:1-6), it is the subject of the first commandment (Exo 20:3), and it is the only unpardonable sin (Matt 12:30-32). Love, Peace, and Truth come only through faith in Christ because Christ is the Light of the world. The refusal to accept this is arrogance, selfishness, and blasphemy. As long as a man maintains this refusal, he cannot be saved. This is the guilt of Atheism. It refuses to accept an authority higher than man, and claims that man is the only arbiter of truth. Atheism insists that there is no truth that cannot be detected by human senses or understood by human logic. Any claims that are beyond the senses or logic are regarded by Atheism to be merely superstitions and myths. For this reason, Atheism is self-centered and shortsighted and therefore not valid.


© Copyright 2005-2007, Jason E. Heath
All rights reserved