Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Atheist Arguments

The Deeps of Time has an interesting post entitled Atheism & Thinking which is worth reading. The atheists fire back in the combox to refute his claims but they didn't get anything right. Their reasoning reminds me of Protestant rebuttals to Catholic arguments - I can see where they're coming from... just not sure why they'd stay there.

And it would take far too long to refute because they've made such fundamental errors in their thinking a long time ago - that I'm not even going to waste my time. For me, I think I'm leaning more towards dealing only with Theistic leaning Agnostics or Protestants who are almost ready to be Catholic. In short, they have to do their homework first.


Dean said...

That was a great article. I recently read "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris and all I could feel was frustration, not that he advocated atheism, but that all of his premeses were faulty. Maybe i shouldn't say faulty, rather they were well suited to his points and not to seeking truth.

Give me an honest atheist like Bertrand Russel or Bernard Shaw and I could read him all day without a problem because they are actually thinking and seeking rather than avoiding truth through arrogance. Even an atheist like Jean Paul Sartre was at least honest about the logical consequence of atheism, which was not happiness but despair.

Modern atheistic thought from Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris is unfortunate. The sad thing is that it will likely continue to grow exponentially within the next few years.

Gretchen said...

One of my parish priests, a very liberal fellow, asked me this question last night: "Do you think atheists are atheists because they worry there is no God or because they worry there is a God?" He told me to 'think about it and ponder it' before answering him. This, to my mind, is a typical liberal way of framing a question that has numerous answers to it. However, he is in a touchy-feely mode and wants only the limited answer such a question would avail him. Most of the atheists I've come in contact with (including family members) are unbelievers out of a desire to be their own god (no constrictions on their desires), or out of anger at a God who would allow xyz, or from being indoctrinated with atheist and secularist doctrines from their educational institutions. I'm interested in how you would answer Fr. Brown. Btw, I do agree that some atheists are worried there is a God and some are worried there is not a God, and that those ideas may have some bearing for many people.

Joseph said...

"Do you think atheists are atheists because they worry there is no God or because they worry there is a God?"

Followed by:

think about it and ponder it

... makes the question rhetorical.

He doesn't really care what your answer is, he has an answer that he wants you to listen to, but by asking the question he wants to make it appear as if he really wants you engaged in the discussion. He's trying to teach.

Tim A. Troutman said...


Maybe you should reply - "Do you think liberal priests are liberal priests because they're worried Vatican 2 was a false council or because they're worried Vatican 2 was a true council? Think about it.. Ponder it... "

My guess is that, like liberal priests, atheists have all kinds of bad reasons why they're so.

Dean said...


It's a mixed bag that depends on the person. Atheists like Jean Paul Sartre seemed to have wanted there to be a God deep down, since without him man was forlorn. Some hate the idea of God, as you point out, because he cramps their style and disordered desires. Likewise, there are some that just don't care. There are many reasons why atheists choose to believe what they believe.

In essence, I think that your liberal priest friend is presenting a false dichotomy (and is most likely trying to present a teaching point through rhetoric as Joseph points out.). It isn't a simple either/or question. It would be like asking "Do you think people work out because they worry about becoming overweight, or because they are overweight?" There are a multitude of reasons why people exercise, so you can't answer the question with truthfully with just the options presented.

I guess that they don't teach logic in the seminary anymore. It's too objective, maybe?

Gretchen said...

Yeah, you guys are right. He's always trying to get me around to his way of thinking by getting me to 'reason.' Tim, you make me laugh out loud!

And, I don't know if they teach logic or not, but this priest is 67 and as liberal as you can get. He was ordained by Bishop Fulton Sheen, too. Sad, huh?