I find atheism a bit of a quirky worldview because a significant group of the more militant atheists seem to be willing to believe in weird things that are obviously false. Even things that are denied by the majority of scholars. And sometimes things denied by ALL scholars. And yet as long as they can make fun of people and tell jokes about it, they are very happy to go on believing things that are obviously false, and congratulate themselves on how clever they are.
Anyhoo, here is an interesting case in point, in which “The Infidel Guy”, who thinks that Jesus never existed, confronts skeptical historian Bart Ehrman. Bart Ehrman lets the true believing jihadi know that the world really is round and that leprechauns most certainly do not exist.
When I look at atheists, I do see a lot of belief without evidence, and I suspect that they are just projecting their childish Santa Claus epistemology on Christians. Atheists believe weird things. They deny the Big Bang cosmology, and believe that the universe is eternal (Secular Humanifest Manifesto I). They believe you can explain the origin of life by appealing to unobservable aliens (Richard Dawkins). They think that morality doesn’t exist (Jerry Coyne). They think that cosmic fine-tuning is not real (Victor Stenger). They think that it is morally permissible for a society to murder unwanted 5-year olds (P.Z. Myers). The ice caps will be melted by 2014 (Al Gore). The majority DNA is non-coding “junk” (John Timmer). The universe popped into being, uncaused out of nothing (Lawrence Krauss). And so on. Don’t even get me started on the multiverse! Oh my. Talk about believing things without evidence just because you want to believe them.
The most powerful argument against Christianity
You know, the most powerful argument that radical atheists can press against the reliability of the New Testament reports about Jesus’ empty tomb and post-mortem appearances is their own gullibility. What they should do in a debate is stand up and say “look at me! I believe Jesus never existed! I am batsh*t crazy!! Bleh bleh bleh! (Dances the robot) And if I am this crazy, then maybe the early Christians were as good at believing weird things as I am!” That is an argument that could cause any Christian to quake in fear.
That is actually the strongest argument against Christianity in my view – the widespread delusions of the radical “New Atheist” community. If a group of people can be that credulous, then maybe the early Christians were that credulous as well? If people can invent an alternate Easter Bunny / Santa Claus reality when it suits their desires, then maybe the early church could do the same. Maybe humans are as credulous, in general, as these radical atheists are and just make things up. Maybe we are all just believing what is comfortable for us against the evidence, like the Infidel Guy and his buddies.
Now, I realize that there is a large group of non-radical atheists who are just not convinced by the evidence for theism and Christianity, and for those moderate atheists, we should prepare a defense for them, because they are still open to being convinced by arguments and evidence. Many of them may have grown up in the church, listening to anti-intellectual sermons and never getting answers to their questions. That’s fine, and we should be respectful and thoughtful with them. But I am just saying that there is another group of radical atheists out there who are just interested in deluding themselves, and we needn’t be impressed by them.