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Fox News: cowardly atheists refuse to debate William Lane Craig

Is this what atheism amounts to?
Is this what atheism amounts to?

From Fox News.

Excerpt:

American Evangelical theologian William Lane Craig is ready to debate the rationality of faith during his U.K tour this fall, but it appears that some atheist philosophers are running shy of the challenge.

This month president of the British Humanist Association, Polly Toynbee, pulled out of an agreed debate at London’s Westminster Central Hall in October, saying she “hadn’t realized the nature of Mr. Lane Craig’s debating style.”

Lane Craig, who is a professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, Calif., and author of 30 books and hundreds of scholarly articles, is no stranger to the art of debate and has taken on some of the great orators, such as famous atheists Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Harris once described Craig as “the one Christian apologist who has put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists”.

Responding to Toynbee’s cancellation, Lane Craig commented: “These folks (atheists) can be very brave when they are alone at the podium and there’s no one there to challenge them. But one of the great things about these debates is that, it allows both sides to be heard on a level playing field, and for the students in the audience to make up their own minds about where they think the truth lies.”

[…]Others have refused to challenge Lane Craig, too, including Richard Dawkins, one of the Four Horseman of the new Atheist movement, which include Hitchens, Harris and Daniel Dennett.

Craig has debated Hitchens, Harris and Dennett, and defeated them all easily.

More:

Dawkins, who has labeled the Roman Catholic Church “evil” and once called the Pope “a leering old villain in a frock,” refused four separate invitations, extended through religious and humanist organizations, to take part in debates with Lane Craig during his fall tour.

The controversy wafted into the British press after fellow atheist and philosophy lecturer, Daniel Came, accused Dawkins of simply being afraid, saying, “The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part.”

Here’s an example of William Lane Craig debating the famous atheist Christopher Hitchens, arguably the top popular atheist in the world today.

Here’s a review of that debate fromCommon Sense Atheism, a popular atheist web site.

Excerpt:

I just returned from the debate between William Lane Craig and Christopher Hitchens at Biola University. It was a bigger deal than I realized. Over 3,000 people were there, and groups from dozens of countries – including Sri Lanka, apparently – had purchased a live feed.

Of three recent Craig debates, I was most looking forward to his matchup with Morriston, which has yet to be posted online. I was somewhat excited for his debate with Carrier, which was disappointing. I was least excited for this debate with Hitchens, but it was the only one in my area, so I went.

The debate went exactly as I expected. Craig was flawless and unstoppable. Hitchens was rambling and incoherent, with the occasional rhetorical jab. Frankly, Craig spanked Hitchens like a foolish child. Perhaps Hitchens realized how bad things were for him after Craig’s opening speech, as even Hitchens’ rhetorical flourishes were not as confident as usual. Hitchens wasted his cross-examination time with questions like, “If a baby was born in Palestine, would you rather it be a Muslim baby or an atheist baby?” He did not even bother to give his concluding remarks, ceding the time instead to Q&A.

So why isn’t there a British atheist brave enough to face Craig on his UK speaking tour?

Well, what William Lane Craig offers in his debates is a set of deductive arguments that are logically valid, and supported by the latest scientific evidence (which he has published in peer-reviewed scientific journals), and the consensus of academic historians, using standard historical methods. Atheists are ill-equipped to respond to this case, because atheism is not really a rational worldview that is based on evidence. It’s really adopted because people cannot be bothered with the demands of the moral law. They make these faith commitments about there being no evidence, or that religious people have blind faith, or that all religions are the same (especially the ones they haven’t studied), or that religion is unfalsifiable. But the root cause is simply the desire to not have to care about right and wrong.

Consider the famous agnostic Aldous Huxley:

“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantegous to themselves… For myself, the philosophy of meaningless was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.” — Aldous Huxley in Ends and Means, 1937

What about the atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel?

“In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.

I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
(”The Last Word” by Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)

The famous philosopher Mortimer Adler rejected religion for most of his life because it “would require a radical change in my way of life, a basic alteration in the direction of my day-to-day choices as well as in the ultimate objectives to be sought or hoped for …. The simple truth of the matter is that I did not wish to live up to being a genuinely religious person.”

As G.K. Chesterton says,”The Christian way has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found to be hard and left untried“. Atheists want to believe that there is no God, so they do. And they carefully avoid studying anything that might threaten what they want to believe – or having to debate people who might challenge what they want to believe. What you will see from atheists instead of a willingness to study science and to debate qualified Christians is things like one-line ads on the sides of buses, lawsuits forbidding people to exercise their right to free speech, and demands that Christians not oppose abortion and slavery – because that cramps their pursuit of pleasure, don’t you know.

Here’s an example of an atheist learning about history from Bart Ehrman, a famous secular historian:

Of course, William Lane Craig has debated Bart Ehrman (video) as well. And defeated him. Badly.

Atheism really isn’t a knowledge tradition. It’s not really something that they think is true – it’s just that they want to be hedonists, and they want you to stop making them feel guilty with your moral superiority and moral judgments and your “unfair” moral prohibitions on bestiality and infanticide. Often, these people believe that the universe is eternal, that there are millions of unobservable universes, and that unobservable aliens can explain the origin of life. Craziness. And yet they are allowed to vote. I’m scared that these people can vote – especially since most of them voted for 1.65 trillion dollar annual deficits, because of “hope and change”. Maybe we should try to reform the education system to help them to get used to arguments, evidence and debates.

Why do some people not believe in God?

An analysis of the common causes of atheism. (H/T The Poached Egg)

Excerpt:

Most atheists would have us think they arrived at their view through cool, rational inquiry. But are other factors involved? Consider the candid remarks of contemporary philosopher Thomas Nagel: “I want atheism to be true …. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God, and, naturally, hope that I’m right about my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.” Could Nagel’s attitude—albeit in a more subtle form—actually be common among atheists?

[…]The 20th-century ethics philosopher Mortimer Adler (who was baptized quietly at age 81) confessed to rejecting religious commitment for most of his life because it “would require a radical change in my way of life, a basic alteration in the direction of my day-to-day choices as well as in the ultimate objectives to be sought or hoped for …. The simple truth of the matter is that I did not wish to live up to being a genuinely religious person.”

Historian Paul Johnson’s fascinating if disturbing book Intellectuals exposed this pattern in the lives of some of the most celebrated thinkers in the modern period, including Rousseau, Shelley, Marx, Ibsen, Hemingway, Russell, and Sartre. In their private (and often public) lives, these Western intellectual stars were moral wrecks.

[…]As children of the Enlightenment, we tend to heavily emphasize the impact of belief on behavior. But it also works the other way around. Our conduct affects the way we think. On the positive side, as Scripture’s wisdom literature tells us, obedience and humility lead to insight and understanding. Negatively, as we indulge in immoral behavior, our judgment will be skewed.

[…]External factors may also hamper the natural awareness of God and contribute to a descent into atheism. In his book Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, New York University psychologist Paul Vitz, a onetime atheist, examines the lives of the major atheists of the modern period, including Hobbes, Hume, Voltaire, Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus, Russell, and Freud. He found they had something in common: a broken relationship with their father. Whether by death, departure, abuse, or some other factor, the father relationships of all these well-known atheists were defective. Vitz also examined the lives of prominent theists during the same period (Pascal, Reid, Burke, Berkeley, Paley, Wilberforce, Kierkegaard, Schleiermacher, Newman, Chesterton, and Bonhoeffer, among others). In every case, he found a good relationship with the father or at least a strong father figure.

One more quick quote on the argument that immorality leads to an atheistic worldview:

“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantegous to themselves… For myself, the philosophy of meaningless was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.” — Aldous Huxley in Ends and Means, 1937

This rejection of morality is widely acknowledged by prominent atheists as being a selling point of atheism. People become atheists because they know that atheism will free them from having to do anything simply because it’s “good”.

Consider these prominent atheists:

The idea of political or legal obligation is clear enough… Similarly, the idea of an obligation higher than this, referred to as moral obligation, is clear enough, provided reference to some lawgiver higher…than those of the state is understood. In other words, our moral obligations can…be understood as those that are imposed by God…. But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of moral obligation…still make sense? …The concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain but their meaning is gone. (Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith, and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1985), p. 83-84)

The position of the modern evolutionist is that humans have an awareness of morality because such an awareness of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate when someone says, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory. (Michael Ruse, “Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 262-269).

In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference… DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. (Richard Dawkins)
http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins/WorldOfDawkins-archive/Dawkins/Work/Articles/1995-05-10nomercy.shtml

And it works in reverse. When I was a young man, one of my reasons for becoming a Christian was precisely because I did not want to be like atheists. I could plainly see the harm they were causing others with their rejection of prescriptive morality, and when I put that together with the cosmological argument and the Big Bang theory, which I learned about in grade 1, the case was sealed. It helped that I had not done anything really wrong at that time, or it would have been harder for me to accept that I was guilty. The more bad stuff you are into, the harder it is to accept that you are wrong, and to turn away from it. Some clean-living atheists are going to have no problem being fair with the evidence. – switching to Christianity would be much easier for them to do.

As for his second point, consider this article that talks about how important fathers are in passing along religious convictions to children.

Excerpt:

In 1994 the Swiss carried out an extra survey that the researchers for our masters in Europe (I write from England) were happy to record. The question was asked to determine whether a person’s religion carried through to the next generation, and if so, why, or if not, why not. The result is dynamite. There is one critical factor. It is overwhelming, and it is this: It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.

If both father and mother attend regularly, 33 percent of their children will end up as regular churchgoers, and 41 percent will end up attending irregularly. Only a quarter of their children will end up not practicing at all. If the father is irregular and mother regular, only 3 percent of the children will subsequently become regulars themselves, while a further 59 percent will become irregulars. Thirty-eight percent will be lost.

If the father is non-practicing and mother regular, only 2 percent of children will become regular worshippers, and 37 percent will attend irregularly. Over 60 percent of their children will be lost completely to the church.

Let us look at the figures the other way round. What happens if the father is regular but the mother irregular or non-practicing? Extraordinarily, the percentage of children becoming regular goes up from 33 percent to 38 percent with the irregular mother and to 44 percent with the non-practicing, as if loyalty to father’s commitment grows in proportion to mother’s laxity, indifference, or hostility.

That is why I find it so odd that so many “Christians” insist on voting more and more wealth redistribution from rich to poor. The more that government programs are seen as a replacement from the protecting, providing and moral/spiritual leading that fathers do in the home, the more atheists we are going to be producing. Fathers are vital for passing on spiritual and moral convictions to children. Fathers are the ones who show that setting moral boundaries is a way to love someone – that love is not incompatible with rules. It is very important that young people see that it is loving for a person in authority to set up rules and boundaries – and that there are reasons for those rules. It’s very similar to the way that boys raised by single mothers are aggressively sexually – because they haven’t seen men loving their wives up close, and getting respect and approval for that love. And girls raised fatherless are similar – they haven’t seen men loving their wives up close, so they aren’t in a position to judge men and hold them accountable. The family is needed to model all kinds of good behaviors at a pre-cognitive level.

You can order Jim Spiegel’s book “The Making of an Atheist” here from Amazon:

And you can also read a sample chapter for free here.

James Spiegel explains what really causes atheism

I spotted this sample chapter from James Spiegel’s new book “The Making of an Atheist” at Apologetics.com.

Here’s the part I found the most interesting:

The eminent twentieth-century historian Paul Johnson describes his Intellectuals as “an examination of the moral and judgmental credentials of leading intellectuals to give advice to humanity on how to conduct its affairs.” Thus begins a 342-page historical expose that recounts behavior so sleazy and repugnant that one almost feels corrupted by reading it. Most disturbing are not necessarily the details of the sordid lives described by Johnson but the fact that the subjects are often regarded as intellectual heroes. Not merely successful people of letters in their day, they were scholars whose influence was, and continues to be, felt worldwide. They mastered their crafts as novelists, poets, playwrights, and philosophers and set forth ideals and values for ordering society.

So for most readers it comes as a bit of a shock to learn that so many leading intellectuals were self-serving egotists,whose ostensible interest in humankind generally was belied by their callous disregard for those nearest and dearest to them, especially familymembers.

The upshot of Johnson’s book is that not only do many leading modern intellectuals fail to live up to their billing as moral visionaries, but their moral perversity should cause us to question the legitimacy of their ideas. This is because one’s personal conduct impacts one’s scholarly projects. And, as Johnson shows, the works of these intellectuals were often calculated to justify or minimize the shame of their own debauchery.

Among the diverse vices that characterize the intellectuals studied by Johnson, brazen sexual promiscuity is the one recurring theme. So it is not surprising that most of these men explicitly rejected the Judeo-Christian worldview. Indeed, many of their scholarly and creative works openly challenged the values of this tradition, which condemns the sorts of lascivious behavior that dominated their lives.

Aldous Huxley, another significant modern intellectual, had much to say on this point. In the following quote he refers to a nihilistic worldview, but this could as easily be supplanted by Marxism, Sartrean existentialism, or Shelley’s vision of a religion-free society:

For myself as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation.The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality.We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.

Elsewhere in this same essay, Huxley is even more candid:

Most ignorance is vincible ignorance.We don’t know because we don’t want to know. It is our will that decides how and upon what subjects we shall use our intelligence. Those who detect no meaning in the world generally do so because, for one reason or another, it suits their books that the world should be meaningless.

As Paul Johnson argues, the philosophical systems and social ideals of many modern intellectuals were decided by their will to be immoral, not their quest for truth. They wrote the books they did to suit their personal lives, not vice versa.

The interesting point from the sample chapter here is that for atheists, the sin comes first, especially sexual sin. Now, pretty much everybody has some trouble with sin. No one can be perfect all the time. But atheists try to lie to themselves and others by re-imagining the world in such a way as to remove God as moral lawgiver. And it doesn’t matter how far they have to go to speculate, assume or imagine their way out of reality. If they have to deny the big bang, they will. Deny the fine-tuning, no problem. The origin of life? Aliens did it. The resurrection? Unknown identical twin of Jesus. It’s brute facts all the way down.

Consider this quote from an honest, respectable atheist philosopher named Thomas Nagel:

“In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.

I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
(”The Last Word” by Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)

They don’t want to admit that they are doing anything wrong, and they don’t want to be bothered by God’s design for them. They don’t think there is any way they ought to be other than “happy”. Their new alternate universe allows them to do whatever they want (however destructive) while trying to make themselves happy for a few years apart from God. And their new moral standard requires that everyone call that selfishness “good”, or else. And finally, if anything goes wrong, then the government is right there with someone else’s money to fix it, so they never feel any shame or guilt.

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Brian Auten posts book review of “The Faith of the Fatherless”

The book review is here on Apologetics 315.

Excerpt:

Vitz begins by laying out his hypothesis and the underlying principle behind it. He proposes that “atheism of the strong or intense type is to a substantial degree generated by the peculiar psychological needs of its advocates.”2  He notes that the theory that God is merely a projection of one’s needs is a popular position, but “the psychological concepts used so effectively to interpret religion by those who reject God are double-edged swords that can also, indeed easily, be used to explain their unbelief.”3  He makes clear one of the underlying assumptions of his study: “First, I assume that the major barriers to belief in God are not rational but can be called, in a general sense, psychological.”4

The psychological angle that Vitz examines is the role and influence of one’s father in the formation of beliefs about God. The author notes that “Christianity is in many respects distinctive in its emphasis on God as loving Father.”5 Vitz points out that “Freud makes the simple and easily understandable claim that once a child or youth is disappointed in or loses respect for his earthly father, belief in a heavenly father becomes impossible.”6 It is with this thesis in mind – the lack of a father plays a strong role in one’s psychological disposition towards rejecting God – that Vitz engages his case study comparing the lives of famous atheists and theists: “I have selected for study those who are historically famous as atheists. These are great thinkers, typically philosophers, whose rejection of God was central to their intellectual life and public positions.”7

Brian also cites Vitz explaining his own journey into atheism:

Just as I had learned how to dress like a college student by putting on the right clothes, I learned to think like a proper psychologist by putting on the right – that is, atheistic – ideas and attitudes. I wanted as few impediments to my professional career as it was possible.14

[…]In my own case, I now see that it was because of my social need to assimilate, my professional need to be accepted as part of the world of academic psychology, and my personal need for independence and an agreeable way of life that I chose to be an atheist. Hence, the intellectual basis for my atheism, like that of countless others, appears in retrospect to be much more of a shallow rationalization than an objective rationale.

I just ordered the book last week on Brian’s recommendation. You might also be interested in a lecture that Paul Vitz delivered on the psychological causes of atheism. (That link contains the MP3 file)

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MUST-READ: Book review of “If there’s a God, why are there atheists?”

Brian Auten has a new book review posted up at Apologetics 315.

The book is “If There’s A God, Why Are There Atheists?”, by theologian R.C. Sproul. R.C. Sproul is one of my favorite theologians. The book in question has a very, very special place in my heart, because I think that it is one of the major reasons why I was able to resist pernicious ideas like religious pluralism and postmodernism for so long. Once you put on the glasses of Romans 1 and see for the first time what man is really doing with respect to God, you can never see things the same again. I’ll say more about this at the end, but let’s see what Brian wrote first.

When I first saw Brian’s review come up, I had high hopes that he would write something so compelling and delightful that you would all rush out immediately and get a hold of this book right away.

And he did not disappoint!

The review

So often, you hear atheists complaining about religion is nothing but wish-fulfillment or some sort of crutch for people who are frightened by a variety of things. They think that God is invented to solve several problems. 1) how does the world work?, 2) is there meaning to suffering and evil?, 3) why should I be moral?, and 4) what will happen to me and my loved ones when I die?. On the atheistic view, God is just a crutch that people cling to out of weakness and ignorance. But is this really the case?

Sproul starts the book by investigating three atheists who sought to explain religious belief as a result of psychological factors.

Brian writes:

Before tackling the psychology of atheism, Sproul spends a chapter on the psychology of theism, from the perspective of Freud’s question “If there is no God, why is there religion?”11 What follows is an overview of various psychological explanations of theistic belief: Feuerbach’s “religion is a dream of the human mind.”12 Marx’s belief that religion is “due to the devious imagination of particular segment of mankind.”13 And Nietzche’s idea that “religion endures because weak men need it.”14 The author properly reiterates: “We must be careful to note that the above arguments can never be used as proof for the nonexistence of God. They can be useful for atheists who hear theists state that the only possible explanation for religion is the existence of God.”15 That being said, Sproul also reveals what these arguments presume:

Their arguments already presupposed the nonexistence of God. They were not dealing with the question, Is there a God? They were dealing with the question, Since there is no God, why is there religion?16

Sproul points out the weaknesses of each of these approaches and says “there are just as many arguments showing that unbelief has its roots in the psychological needs of man.”

Wow, could that really be true? What are the real reasons why people reject God? Does the Bible have anything to say about what those reasons are?

Brian cites Sproul’s contention:

The New Testament maintains that unbelief is generated not so much by intellectual causes as by moral and psychological ones. The problem is not that there is insufficient evidence to convince rational beings that there is a God, but that rational beings have a natural hostility to the being of God.

[…]Man’s desire is not that the omnipotent, personal Judeo-Christian God exist, but that He not exist.

In Romans 1:18-23, the apostle Paul explains what is really going on:

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

By now, all my readers know the scientific, philosophical and historical arguments for Christian theism, and you’ve all seen the debates with William Lane Craig and other scholars. So you know that atheists never win these debates, and that not only logic but the entire physical universe, past, present and future, falsifies atheism. What, you don’t believe me? I’ll prove it.

When you ask Daniel Dennett how the universe came into being, he’ll say that it brought itself into being. When you ask Martin Rees what causes the fine-tuning, he’ll tell you about an unobservable multiverse. When you ask Richard Dawkins what created the simplest living cell, he’ll speculate about unobservable aliens in another galaxy – aliens that he knows a priori evolved by natural mechanisms. And so on, and so on. Christopher Hitchens’ entire case against God in his debates is “I don’t like him”. So something else is going on here.

Sproul explains why atheists have to oppose rational argumentation, as well as scientific and historical inquiry.

The cumulative effect of this knowledge that is clearly seen is to leave men ‘without excuse.’ Herein lies the basis of the universal guilt of man. No one can claim ignorance of the knowledge of God. No one can cite insufficient evidence for not believing in God. Though people are not persuaded by the evidence, this does not indicate an insufficiency in the evidence, but rather an insufficiency in man.

[…]The basic stages of man’s reaction to God can be formulated by means of the categories of trauma, repression, and substitution.

[…]If God exists, man cannot be a law unto himself. If God exists, man’s will-to-power is destined to run head-on into the will of God.

And this is the force that is animating atheists today. They get a little bit of knowledge in some obscure field. They don’t want to look stupid in front of their colleagues. They abandon their faith. Maybe there is a financial dimension to their apostasy, (e.g. – Bart Ehrman, Dan Barker). It’s not something they’ve looked into – it’s something they do because of psychological reasons. No atheist disbelieves in God on the evidence – there is no evidence. It’s all just feelings and desires. E.g. – the need to be seen as smart and compassionate.

The rest of the book review, and the book, deals with explaining in detail how atheists respond to an all-good, all-powerful, all-knowing Creator/Designer. I encourage you to click through and read the whole book review. You can read the review, and the book, and then investigate for yourself whether atheists really are like that. Two other books to pick up on this topic is Mere Christianity and The Great Divorce, both by C.S. Lewis. And dont forget my recent post on a new book coming out on this exact same topic.

I am really grateful to Brian for taking the time to pull explain the thesis of the book with such perfect quotes. By the way, I left out the best quote of all, but you have to go look through Brian’s review for that!

Note: Brian isn’t nearly as mean as I am, and he probably doesn’t go nearly as far as R.C. Sproul and I do. But I’m telling you this – TRY IT. Go and sit down with these atheists and ask them how they got to be that way. This also works on people from other religions. I’ve tried it on Postmodern relavist “Christians”, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Mormons. And don’t be mean to them, either. Just because I’m being mean now it doesn’t mean that I am being mean when I investigate other people’s worldviews.

My survey of atheists

By the way, did you all see my survey of atheists that I did a while back? It’s relevant because one of the questions I asked to my volunteers was “How you begin to follow Christ if it suddenly became clear to you that Christianity was objectively true?”. I got some very strange responses that dovetail nicely with Sproul’s book.

Here are a few of the responses:

  • I would not follow. My own goals are all that I have, and all that I would continue to have in that unlikely situation. I would not yield my autonomy to anyone no matter what their authority to command me.
  • I would not follow, because God doesn’t want humans to act any particular way, and he doesn’t care what we do.
  • I would not follow. Head is spinning. Would go to physician to find out if hallucinating.
  • I hope I would be courageous enough to dedicate my life to rebellion against God.
  • I would not have to change anything unless forced to and all that would change is my actions not my values.  I would certainly balk at someone trying to force me to change my behavior as would you if you were at the mercy of a moral objectivist who felt that all moral goodness is codified in the Koran.
  • He would have to convince me that what he wants for me is what I want for me.

This is all part of my series discussing whether morality is rationally grounded by atheism.

Yes, they really think like that! Just ask an atheist those questions and you’ll see how “objective” they really are. Ask them how much time they’ve put in to studying to see if these things are really true.

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