Interview with Jim Spiegel on “The Making of an Atheist” book

Interview here at the EPS blog.

Excerpt:

Why might there be a tendency among some Christian philosophical critiques of atheism (or any other worldview for that matter) to under-represent or downright avoid how the sinful tendencies of the human heart figure into the formation of a worldview?

One reason for avoidance of this issue might be a concern for decorum.  I suppose it could appear unseemly or offensive even to suggest, much less to present as a thesis of a book, that a person’s lack of belief in God is, at bottom, a form of rebellion.  And I must admit that at times I felt uncomfortable writing the book for this reason.  However, the fact that it is a clear biblical truth compelled me to write it anyway.  But I was careful to be as generous and winsome as I could manage, given the subject matter.

And:

How does one become “entrenched” in an atheist’s mindset?

In my book I expound on two aspects of this process, which explains something of the obstinacy of atheists.  There is a phenomenon that I call “paradigm-induced blindness,” where a person’s false worldview prevents them from seeing truths which would otherwise be obvious.  Additionally, a person’s sinful indulgences have a way of deadening their natural awareness of God or, as John Calvin calls it, the sensus divinitatis.  And the more this innate sense of the divine is squelched, the more resistant a person will be to evidence for God.

You say that right living contributes to the perseverance of faith. How is that perseverance related to Christian virtue and the “cognitive health” that it brings?

Just as sinful thoughts and behavior corrupt us cognitively and warp our perspective on the world, obedience and virtue benefit us cognitively in a number of ways.  Not only do we avoid the intellectual warping and deadening of the sensus divinitatis that sin causes, but Scripture also makes clear that God grants special insight and wisdom to those who obey him (cf. Ps. 19:7, Ps. 25:9; Pr. 1:4, Pr. 11:2).  So you might say that the life of Christian virtue enhances our ability to think and reason, especially about moral and spiritual matters.

I can hardly wait to read this book so that I can get some guidelines for dialoguing with atheists about how they formed their worldview. Is this really how atheists formed their view?

2 thoughts on “Interview with Jim Spiegel on “The Making of an Atheist” book”

  1. One more important reason why God sets up governments to enforce moral standards, and why he blesses even unbelievers who cooperate with these standards of decency

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  2. Speaking for myself as a fairly psychologically healthy Ath/Ag, it isn’t really how many Atheists/whatever form their views.

    Generally, when people attempt to pathologise my beliefs instead of arguing with them, I don’t take them seriously. That or I reach for the Nietzsche and Feuerbach.

    (That he uses the ‘how can you say anything is right or wrong?!” counter to the PoE is also a bad sign. Even if – big if -that naturalism entails the denial of moral realism, that doesn’t stop an Atheist running the PoE. He could be a non-cognitivist offering the argument to show Theism as incoherent, for example.)

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