some personal views
I find atheism ridiculous too but not everything on that list is as far fetched as it seems. There is nothing magical about self replicating chemicals forming and from that point evolution to the dinosaurs etc makes sense. Geological evidence shows that there was an inconcievable amount of time for this to happen.I don't think we will rescue many atheists by denying evolution. They need to be shown that a purely material description of creation is inadequate. My guess is that a good way to do this is to teach them to recognise that they themselves have a soul.
I think Atheism is just an affectation like acrophobia.
I didn't read it as a denial of evolution.Certainly I paid more attention to the ex nihil bit.
Funny enough I think it was Chesterton who said that to him Atheism is a much sounder position than Agnosticism.
Cute to hear agnostics described as having a "sense of wonder"!I know a couple of self- proclaimed atheists who wear their atheism like a badge of academic status. I do feel atheism is often an affectation.When you take on the proposition (from nowhere, made by no-one)that (Big Bang! we're suddenly here, but for no purpose, and if we go (bang!) it's for no reason and to no other "destination"... Atheism beggars belief, really.
Of course that's just an amusing caricature of atheism, which is in fact perfectly intellectually respectable, even if far from compelling. But it's certainly a nice way of turning the tables on those less reflective atheists who seem bizarrely pleased with themselves as they endlessly grind out their own drearily predictable caricatures of theism ("sky fairy", "imaginary friend", "old man in the sky", etc. etc. ) Properly arguing against either position requires that we move beyond caricature. But making such atheists realise that they are engaged in caricature - and that two can play at that game! - is at least a start.
I know it's trivialising but... My dear brother-in-law frequently boasts that he's proud to an atheist, as he sees faith as dependence and therefore a weakness. I have no idea why he's "proud", as there won't be any reward for it in his non-existent here-after. He can generaly be caught out once or twice a year if I counter his "I don't believe in God" by assuring him " God still believes in you". Odds are, he will shrug and say "That's his problem".
I believe it does sum up the atheist proposition quite well, which essentially: 1. Fails to explain the origins of the universe on a rational scientific basis (whether it be Darwinistic evolution or the Big Bang theory)2. Nor can it explain the basis for their moral standards3. Nor can it explain where free will comes from4. And last but not least can it explain the purpose of the human being.
I honestly don't think this kind of thing is helpful at all - tit-for-tat nonsense.Let's be frank. The vast majority of those who don't believe in God are not "atheists" - they're people for whom God's non-existence is so obvious and self-evident that it doesn't require adopting any kind of "stand". Such people are not therefore simply stupid or perverse. Appeals to a "first cause", or to free-will, morality, or teleology are useless. At best, they can only demonstrate that belief isn't intrinsically irrational, but they don't "prove" anything whatsoever, and adducing them is essentially circular.It only becomes obvious that there is a God when one knows that there is a God - and then, it can't be boiled down to some kind of demonstration in logic or metaphysics. It isn't more "reasonable" to believe in a personal creator-spirit rather than a multidimensional flux of random occurences. It isn't at all difficult to discard on perfectly rational grounds such "evidence" as meaning, freedom, morality. The traditional story of the martyrdom of St Andrew the Apostle puts it best, I think:Tyrannos: "How can you believe this ridiculous nonsense and be prepared to die for it? You've lost your mind."Andrew: "Become His disciple, and you will know. Do not, and you will never know".- or: you cannot know God - but you need to know God to know it. It's the pure in heart who "see God"; not those capable of mastering Aristotelean metaphysics, or inventing ingenious logical teases.
Thanks Auricuralis and Anagnostics for those interesting points. Also on a more sober note, I have met several colleagues and friends who have professed an aggressive aversion to Theism. A couple of them have employed a kind of academic superiority. A dear friend of mine has a deeprooted distrust of religion due to a perceived "bad" experience. He fell in love with a girl of a different faith and culture and her family forced them apart. He is now with a wonderful Catholic lady - he was raised as Roman Catholic - but maintains his atheism as cheerfully as she maintains her faith! I do pray for their continued happiness and I am aware that his response would be "Please don't!" I truly believe that his antagonism towards God, by any name, and those who profess faith stems from his misdirected anger and heartbreak. Anagnostics, I do believe my friend is "pure of heart". He is kind, sensitive and impartial in all other respects. I have told him that I think he came to see a love for God as a threat to his happiness; a rival even; and he has systematically sought to demean that love and belief ever since. He says he finds his new girlfriend's faith "sweet". She is indeed a lovely lady, but her form of worship does not interfere with their relationship. He tells her God does not exist; she, like me, tells him she doesn't believe he is an atheist... I do not accept that one can distrust, be adverse to or actively malign something unless one has at least a suspicion that it exists.
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