Monday, May 18, 2009

One Angry Christian

 
Charlotte Allen doesn't like atheists very much. She writes in Los Angeles Times [Atheists: No God, no reason, just whining].
I can't stand atheists -- but it's not because they don't believe in God. It's because they're crashing bores.
She then proceeds to describe all the "boring" things that upset her.

I'd like to comment on one of the points that she makes.
The problem with atheists -- and what makes them such excruciating snoozes -- is that few of them are interested in making serious metaphysical or epistemological arguments against God's existence, or in taking on the serious arguments that theologians have made attempting to reconcile, say, God's omniscience with free will or God's goodness with human suffering.
This is becoming a mantra for Christian apologists and it's about time we put an end to it.

The reason why atheists aren't interested in making serious arguments against God's existence is that it's impossible to prove the non-existence of something. On the other hand, we can easily show that the arguments in favor of supernatural beings are nonsensical. There are no "serious mtaphysical or epistemological arguments" for God and that's what we point out to anyone who takes the time to listen.

I suppose that makes us boring.

Furthermore, atheists are not interested in "taking on" the "serious" (sic) arguments of theologians when they attempt to reconcile their God with free will and evil. Why should we be interested in such arguments? The premise behind these arguments is that God exists. Atheists reject the premise. If they want to be taken seriously, "serious" theologians have to first prove that God exists before they begin their apologetics.

Christians like Charlotte Allen make me angry. It's not because they're Christians, it's because they are so irrational.
What atheists don't seem to realize is that even for believers, faith is never easy in this world of injustice, pain and delusion. Even for believers, God exists just beyond the scrim of the senses. So, atheists, how about losing the tired sarcasm and boring self-pity and engaging believers seriously?
OK. Here's an attempt to engage believers seriously.

If believing is so hard in the face of the real world, and if your belief is "just beyond the ... senses," then why do you continue to believe?


[Hat Tip: RichardDawkins.net]

8 comments :

  1. Moran said: "Furthermore, atheists are not interested in "taking on" the "serious" (sic) arguments of theologians when they attempt to reconcile their God with free will and evil. Why should we be interested in such arguments? The premise behind these arguments is that God exists. Atheists reject the premise. If they want to be taken seriously, "serious" theologians have to first prove that God exists before they begin their apologetics."

    Yes! That's precisely right and exactly where apologists become infuriatingly obtuse . The inarguable fact that bad things happen in this world and the idea that there's a benevolent god is a problem religion created for itself. In a world not created by god, evil is just another sundry inexplicable.

    We all know bad things happen. So the question becomes: what's the real problem here, god or evil?

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  2. "it's impossible to prove the non-existence of something."

    Do you think that you can prove that? Can you prove the non-existence of proofs of non-existence?

    There are many proofs of non-existence.

    It is possible to prove the non-existence of a largest prime number. It is possible to prove the non-existence of a rational square root of 2.

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  3. I agree with anonymous: It's just as possible to know in a scientific sense that no god exists as it is to prove that there's no medical benefit to homeopathy.

    Second, apologetics (as I understand the word) are efforts to demonstrate, establish or prove the existence of a god. It would be more fussily precise to say that if theologians must prove that god exists before they begin their theology.

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  4. There are "proofs" for a god, like the ontological argument. I find them annoying to argue against.

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  5. Semantics. 'something...that is not clearly defined'

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  6. > If believing is so hard in the face of the real world, and if your belief is "just beyond the ... senses," then why do you continue to believe?

    But I conclude belief is sensible (in both, erm, senses), though it's not for me some single super-argument, instead it's a multitude of confirmations--both arguments, and evidences.

    "But this involved accuracy of the thing makes it very difficult to do what I now have to do, to describe this accumulation of truth." (Chesterton here)

    And yes, belief is at times difficult, but so is unbelief!

    "Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable, but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods where they get off, you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion." C.S. Lewis

    So we should steer by the stars, and not by the wind and waves, difficulties will be present in any view, but we take the view we think most sound and most likely--or so we may hope...

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  7. PZed also also had some non-complimentary things to say about Ms. Allen.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/05/charlotte_allen_really_is_angr.php

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  8. She's annoying. I had to comment as well.

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