Quick responses to atheist claims.

You don’t have to read hundreds of books before you can discuss your faith with an atheist. Sometimes claims and questions that are just short soundbites can be answered just as quickly. At the London Evangelists’ Conference yesterday, Professor John Lennox offered some quick responses to some common claims from atheists.

1) You don’t believe in Zeus, Thor and all the other gods. I just go one god more than you, and reject the Christian God.

The problem with this idea is that ‚gods’ such as Zeus and Thor are not comparable with the biblical understanding of God.

„There is a vast distinction between all of the Ancient near eastern gods and the God of the Bible,” said Prof Lennox. „They are products of the primeval mass and energy of the universe. The God of the Bible created the heavens and the earth”.

2) Science has explained everything, and it doesn’t include God.

Science cannot answer certain kinds of questions, such as ‚what is ethical?’ and ‚what is beautiful?’ Even when it comes to questions about the natural world, which science does explore and can sometimes answer, there are different types of explanations for different things.

„God no more competes with science as an explanation of the universe than Henry Ford competes with the law of internal combustion as an explanation of the motor car,” says Prof Lennox.

3) Science is opposed to God.

There are certain conceptions of a ‚god’ that might be opposed to science, but not the Christian God. There might be certain kinds of ‚gods’ that are invented to explain things we don’t understand, but they’re not Christian.

„If we’re being offered a choice between science and god… it is not a biblical concept of god,” said Prof Lennox. „The biblical God is not a god of the gaps, but a God of the whole show. The bits we do understand [through science] and the bits we don’t.

„Among many leading thinkers, their idea of god is thoroughly pagan. If you define god to be a god of the gaps, then you have got to offer a choice between science and god.”

4) You can’t prove that there is a God.

This kind of statement ignores that there are different kinds of ‚proof’.

„Can you prove that there is a God?” asked Prof Lennox. „In the mathematical sense no, but proving anything is very difficult. The word proof has two meanings. There’s the rigorous meaning in maths that is very difficult to do and rare. But then there’s the other meaning – beyond reasonable doubt”.

That’s the kind of ‚proof’ we can present: arguments to bring someone beyond reasonable doubt. For example, rational arguments such as those from philosophers Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig, the personal experience of Christians, and the witness of the gospel accounts in the Bible.

5) Faith is believing without any evidence.

Christian belief has never been about having no evidence: the gospels were written to provide evidence, as the beginning of Luke’s attests. The end of John’s gospel says, „These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

But believing without evidence is a common notion of ‚faith’ at present. „This definition is in the dictionary and believed by many,” said Prof Lennox. „So, when we talk about faith in Christ, they think that’s because there’s no evidence. [John’s gospel shows that] Christianity is an evidence-based faith.”

6) Faith is a delusion. I’d no more believe in God than I would in the Easter Bunny, Father Christmas or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

These ideas have been made famous by people such as Prof Richard Dawkins. The only thing they are good for is mockery.

„Statements by scientists are not always statements of science,” said Prof Lennox. „Stephen Hawking said, „religion is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark”. I said, „atheism is a fairy story for people afraid of the light”.

„Neither of those statements proves anything at all. They’re all reversible. What lies behind all these delusion claims is the Freudian idea of wish fulfilment [that we believe what we hope to be true.] This works brilliantly providing there is no god. But if there is a god, then atheism is wish fulfilment.”

7) Christianity claims to be true, but there loads of denominations and they all disagree with each other, so it must be false.
Why does the existence of denominations imply Christianity is false? It might imply that Christians have very different personalities and cultures – or even that Christians aren’t good at getting on with each other – but not that Christianity isn’t true.

„There are all kinds of different kinds of teams in football, but they all play football,” said Prof Lennox.

8) The Bible is immoral.

If you want to question the morality of the Bible, what basis does that morality have? There can be a serious contradiction within atheist criticisms. Dawkins wrote: „In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, 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, nor 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, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

If this is true, then why does he question the morality of anything? „Dawkins says faith is evil,” said Prof Lennox. „But at the same time he abolishes the categories of good and evil. That doesn’t make sense.”

9) Surely you don’t take the Bible literally?

Some atheists (and a few Christians) have a very black and white idea of how to interpret the Bible. You either have to take it ‚literally’ or chuck it away, they think. That ignores the reality of language and how it reflects truth.

„Jesus said ‚I’m the door’,” said Prof Lennox. „Is Jesus a door like a door over there? No. He is not a literal door, but he is a real door into a real experience of God. Metaphor stands for reality. The word ‚literal’ is useless.”

10) What is the evidence for God?
You can debate the existence of God until the cows come home. It can be very interesting, especially when you go into the detail and explore the subject in depth. But for an atheist, they might be missing the point or avoiding the real issue. Prof Lennox advises to ask them the most important question:

„Suppose I could give [evidence for God], would you be prepared right now, to repent and trust Christ?”

Of course there are more in-depth answers to all of these claims – try out videos of debates between Prof Lennox and Prof Dawkins like this one:

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/ten.quick.responses.to.atheist.claims/41439.htm
 There is no God
  1. This is not a logical position to hold since to know there is no God means the person would have to know all things to know there is no God.  Since he cannot know all things (if he did he would be God), then he cannot logically say there is no God.
    1. „This argument is invalid. I do not need to know all things in order to know that no even prime number greater than two exists. Similarly, some God concepts are self-contradictory, while others (e.g. a truthful god who has painted the sky pink) are excluded by observations . . . „
    2. The atheist missed the point.  We can know with certainty various mathematical truths.  This is because we can easily grasp the basics of simple math.  But, not so with God.  Therefore, this atheist has made a mistake in categories.  The nature of God, that he exists outside of time and space yet is able to influence our world, does not fall under the same category as knowing prime numbers.  Again, the atheist has made a mistake of not recognizing that knowing the existence of a being who exists beyond space and time is not the same thing as knowing numbers that you can write on a piece of paper.
  2. I agree that gods like His Supreme Indifference (who created the universe 14 Years ago and doesn’t care a iota what happens here) cannot be excluded; but the same is true for creation of the universe by my cat, last Thursday.”
    1. I do not argue for the existence of any God or gods besides the one revealed in the Bible.  So when I speak of God, I am only speaking of the Christian God.  In light of that, this atheist fails to understand the biblical empathy God shows for his creation.  Biblically, God cares a great deal about what happens to us, which is why He sent Jesus to die for our sins.  This atheist does not know what he is talking about.
    2. I believe there is no God
      1. To say „I believe there is no God” is a conscious choice.  Then, on what do you base your choice: evidence, logic, faith, or a combination of the three?
        1. Regarding „To say ‚I believe there is no God’ is a conscious
          choice” immediately above, he says, „No it isn’t. It is a simple statement of fact, like „my left foot hurts”.
        2. To say that one’s left foot hurts is not the same choice about believing in the existence of something or not.  Sure, a person can believe his foot hurts by experiencing it.  But to say „I believe there is no God” is a choice of what to believe.  After all, the comment „I believe there is no God” contains the word „believe.”  Believing in something is an act of a person’s will.  Therefore, this atheist has failed to understand the difference between an act of will regarding believing something or not, and making a simple observation.
      2. If evidence, then what positive evidence is there that disproves God’s existence?
        1. There can be no such evidence since evidence is physical in nature (evidence is an effect and/or result of something in reality). How could evidence disprove God’s existence who is, by definition, the creator of reality and separate from it?
          1. „If so, how could evidence prove his existence ? If God is separate from reality („all that is”), how can he create it ?”
          2. This atheist is not being logical.  He asks, „If God is separate from reality, how can he create it?” First of all, he is misusing the term reality here.  Reality is that which exists, that which has being, is true, possessing actuality and existence.  Therefore, this atheist has produced an illogical statement: If reality is what exists and if God exists, then God is within reality.  But what he has said is „if God is separate from reality (‚all that is’).”  This is not logical.  That would be like saying if God exists separate from that which exists. It makes no sense, and is a self-refuting statement since it is internally inconsistent.
            Nevertheless, I will assume that the atheist is intending to state that if God exists separate from the physical universe, then how can he create it?  If this is his question, there is no problem because the Biblical God who exists can create that which is separate from Himself.  As I write this article, the article is not me.  It is separate from me.  I exist and it exists.  I wrote it, and in that sense I created it.
        2. (I am defending the Christian God as revealed in the Bible).
          1. „Lack of belief in X is the default condition for extraordinary beings, in the absence of evidence in their . No evidence against their existence is necessary.”
            1. This small paragraph makes no sense, so I’m not able to respond to it.
        3. Testimony is admissible in court as evidence, but no one can rightly testify that God does not exist.
          1. „So if no one can rightly testify that I haven’t killed my daughter, will the court convict me of murder ?”
            1. Again, the atheist misses the point.  When an atheist says he „believes” there is no God, or he „knows” there is no God, he cannot logically and authoritatively demonstrate that what he „believes” or „knows” is objectively true.  Of course, this precludes any attempted atheist logical proofs that God does not exist.  The atheists have not come up with one yet.  If they had, they would be using it everywhere.  Nevertheless, the issue of his daughter has no relevance to the point at hand that an atheist cannot logically and authoritatively demonstrate that God does not exist.
      3. If logic then what logical proof do you have that negates God’s existence?
        1. „See above. God’s existence has to be proven, his non-existence doesn’t have to be proven in the absence of objective evidence in his favor.”
          1. Again the atheist is missing the point, which is clarified under the initial comment (2A) „To say ‚I believe there is no God is a conscious choice.  Then, on what do you base your choice: evidence, logic, faith, or a combination of the three?” [emphasis added] He has failed to take this into context in his comment.  He has failed to answer the possible atheist’s objection which would claim that logic demonstrates that there is no God.  This is why I responded by asking, „what logical proof do you have that negates God’s existence?”  It is a logical question to ask, but this atheist is apparently responding without thinking the argument through and without paying attention to context.
        1. At best, logic can only disprove theistic proofs.  Disproving theistic proofs does not mean there is no God.  It only means that the proofs thus presented are insufficient.
        2. Logic can only disprove theistic proofs that are presented and negating such proofs is not a refutation of all possible proofs since no one can know or present all possible proofs of God’s existence.  Therefore, negation of proofs does not disprove God’s existence.
        3. If there were a logical argument that proved that God did not exist, it either has not yet been made known.  If it were known then it would be in use by atheists.  But since no proof of God’s non-existence has been successfully defended by atheists, we can conclude that thus far, that there are no logical proofs for God’s non-existence.
          1. „Depending on your God concept. The logical existence
            of a triune god is doubtful (it entails that 1 = 3).
            The logical existence of an omnipotent god is doubtful
            as well (it violates Cantor’s Power Set theorem). Etc.
            I already agreed that His Supreme Indifference cannot be logically excluded. But that’s hardly what you want.”
          2. Contextually, I stated that I am not defending any position except the biblical position regarding God.  It would be nice if the atheist would focus on the Christian topic instead of blurring the discussion regarding God.  He gives an erring view of the God of the Bible. God is triune; that is, he is a Trinity.  By definition, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity does not state that 1 = 3.  The Christian doctrine of the Trinity states that one God exists in three persons, not one God in three gods, or one person in three persons; but one God in three persons.  The atheist demonstrates that he does not know the Christian concept of the Trinity.  He is criticizing what he does not understand.
            Cantor’s Power Set theorem says that for every set that exists, a larger one can always be considered.  The atheist does not state how an omnipotent God violates this theorem.  Simply saying it does is not sufficient.
            Nevertheless, the nature of God being all-powerful rests in His infinite nature.  Since God exists, (He is in the set called reality), and by definition He is omnipotent, then He is by definition that which nothing more powerful can exist.  This is not an additional truth to reality (refuting the omniscience criticism application of the theorem), but a fact of definition of the Christian God, whereby God’s omnipotence is reality and thereby encompasses the set of actuality in which God is omnipotent.
      4. If faith alone, then the position is not held by logic or evidence and is an arbitrary position.
      5. If by a combination of evidence, logic, and/or faith, then according to the above analysis, neither is sufficient to validate atheism.  A combination of insufficient means does not validate atheism.
        1. „Yes it does. Atheism is the absence of belief in the existence of any god, not the positive belief in the non-existence of all gods.
          Lack of belief is justified by the absence of objective evidence, either you would have to believe in Last Thursdayism (which cannot be logically excluded).”
        2. I have addressed the „lack of belief” in another article.  This atheist has defined atheism in his own terms.  He has the right to do that, but he must understand there are atheists who positively affirm that there is no God, as well as there are atheists who simply „lack belief” in God’s existence.
          To say that lack of belief is justified by the absence of objective evidence is really a subjective statement.  Evidence is interpreted based upon a person’s presuppositions.  If an atheist presupposes that God does not exist (as this atheist seems to be doing ), then no matter what evidence is presented, his presuppositions will not allow him to be objective.  In other words, he subjects the objective evidence to his subjective desires.  Furthermore, he doesn’t have the authority to state that there is no objective evidence for the existence of God, since he does not know all possible evidences.
      6. For someone to believe there is no God is to hold that belief by faith since there is no evidence that positively supports atheism and there are no logical proofs that God does not exist.  It is, after all, virtually impossible to prove a negative.
        1. „Not quite, as indicated above (I can prove the non-existence of a fire-breathing 30-meter dragon in my room). But atheists don’t have to, since in general they make no positive claim.”
          1. The discussion over proving a negative can get rather intricate.  But his comment really doesn’t add anything to his argument.
  1. There is no evidence for God   
    1. This is not a logical position to hold since to know there is no evidence for God’s existence necessitates that the person knows all possible evidences for God’s existence.  Since he cannot do this (if he did he would be God), then he cannot logically say there is no evidence for God.
      1. „Ridiculous. According to this line of argument, I’ll claim that you cannot know that there is no proof which unambiguously demonstrates that your God does not exist. After all, in order to know that such a proof does not exist, you would have to be omniscient.
        „There is no evidence for God” means of course „There is no objective evidence known to us”. But who knows – perhaps some day there will be objective evidence of Odin ?”

        1. On the contrary, it is not ridiculous.  The issue is when an atheist says there „is no evidence for God.”  This is not a logical position for an atheist to hold, because an atheist cannot know all possible evidences.  An atheist can say he does not believe there is a God, or he does not think that the evidence is sufficient.
          Again, the subject is the Christian God, not mythology.  The atheist needs to stick to the topic.
  2. I have not seen sufficient evidence for God’s existence.
    1. To say you haven’t seen sufficient evidence for God’s existence is a more intellectually honest position, but it is really a form of agnosticism which maintains that God is not known or knowable while admitting that the possibility of God’s existence.
      1. „No. It is weak atheism (an ontological position). Agnosticism states that it is impossible to know in principle whether god(s) exist(s): an epistemological position.
        1. An ontological position deals with the nature of existence.  An epistemological position deals with how we know something.  Weak atheism does deal with whether or not God can be known to exist.  It is, after all, a position of lack of belief, denial of, etc.  This has to do with knowledge, and atheists repeatedly demonstrate, or try to demonstrate, that no God exists.  How do they do this?  By seeking to find logical problems and refutations for theistic evidences.  Their ontological position leads to epistemological statements.
    2. If a person has not seen sufficient evidence for God, then it means he has not yet seen all evidence and there might be sufficient evidence.  This would mean that God may indeed exist and the person really is an agnostic concerning God and his atheist position is inconsistent with his statement.
      1. „This argument cuts both ways. If a person thinks he has seen sufficient evidence for his god, how would he know that further evidence will not disprove his beliefs ?”
        1. It is certainly possible that future evidence could disprove his beliefs, but we do not act upon that which we do not know.  We act upon what we do know.  The atheist does not see sufficient evidence for God’s existence.  Theists do.
  3. I lack belief in God.
    1. To lack belief in God appears to be a defensive position since the assertive atheist positions are wrought with logical problems (shown above).
      1. „Not so much as you’d like to think, as demonstrated above. There are quite a number of specific God concepts whose instantiation in reality can be disproven (e.g. a non-deceiving god who caused a Biblical flood). Strong atheists are talking about those concepts when they say that they believe that God X does not exist.”
        1. This isn’t an issue of what I would „like to think.”  Furthermore, I do not believe that this atheist should practice mind reading.
          Again, this paper states that I am not defending the position of the existence of gods, but only the existence of the Christian God.  More specifically, the original paper seeks to refute atheistic positions.  Anyway, to speak of „a number of specific God concepts” is irrelevant to the topic.  I would even stand with the atheists in stating that all god concepts are false — except of course the Christian one.
          As far as the biblical flood issue goes, I do not see what point he is trying to make in talking about a „non-deceiving God” and the flood.
      2. If the atheist says he „lacks belief” in God, then it appears its goal is to maintain a position that is unattackable since then he has no position to attack.
        The problem is that „lacking belief” in God is an intellectual position made by a choice to „lack belief.”  Therefore, it is a position since it is the result of a choice.

        1. „Quite wrong. Lacking belief is not a choice, it is the result of the lack of evidence. Is your lack of belief in leprechauns the result of a free choice ? If so, then it should be easy for you to reverse that choice, and believe – honestly – in leprechauns for exactly one hour. Please do the experiment and report its results.”
        2. I have written a paper on this („I lack belief in God”) that I think is worth looking at here.  People are not motivated to action by lack of belief, but by belief.  I know of no one who performs various actions based upon a lack of something; that is, a lack of belief in something.
          Again, there is evidence for God’s existence, but as I have stated above, a person’s presuppositions govern how he interprets evidence.  If his presupposition does not allow for the existence of God, then the evidence presented cannot be interpreted to be supportive of God’s existence.  This is another discussion.
          I do not have a lack of belief in leprechauns.  I openly believe that they do not exist because the evidence is contrary to their existence.
      3. Any position held, must have reasons or it is not a position.  It would be nothing.  The atheist who asserts that he lacks belief is asserting a position of lack of belief.
        1. „And the reason is: Lack of objective evidence.”
          1. Again, a person’s presuppositions govern how he interprets evidence.  Notice that he uses the term „objective evidence.”  But he defends atheism, a „lack of belief” in God.  His actions do not reflect a lack of belief, but an active belief.  I conclude that no matter what evidences are presented, they will fall by the wayside because his atheistic presupposition cannot and will not allow their objectivity to be accurately examined.
    2. My cat lacks belief in God as does my computer.  Are they also atheists?  Therefore, simply lacking belief is not a sufficient statement since it can include animals and inanimate objects.
      1. „A semantic pedantry, which is easily corrected. If you want to call my cat an atheist, please be my guest.”
        1. On the contrary.  The point is a good one.  If an atheist says that atheism is lacking belief in God, then by that definition, anything that lacks belief in God is also an atheist.  The point is that the definition is inadequate since it does not exclude dogs, cats, rocks, clouds, dirt, fish, electrical current, radio ways, etc.  It is a simple point that he should have grasped.
      1. If you say that „lacking belief” refers only to yourself as a human being, then see point A.
  4. I don’t believe in God.
    1. Is this a choice you have made?  If so, why?  What made you not believe in God?
      1. „The same thing which made you not believe in Krishna or an ice cream factory on Jupiter: lack of evidence”
        1. This person does not know what has led me to believe in God.  I do not believe in Krishna or an ice cream factory in Jupiter because the evidence is contrary to the existence of each concept.  But that would be another paper.
      2. Is there an intelligent reason that you do not believe in God?  Can you please tell me what it is?
        1. „Lack of evidence. Disembodied minds have never been observed. etc.”
          1. And how does this atheist know that disembodied minds have never been observed?  He may not like the idea, or he may choose not to believe in the idea, but to say it has never been observed is fallacious.  There have been countless people who have seen things that natural science cannot explain, and it is possible that a disembodied mind could have been observed — though how we would verify that would be an interesting undertaking.
            In the same vain, I offer my own subjective observation.  I have seen a materialization of a human figure in a dark room.  This figure changed form into that of a cross.  A friend who was with me saw the same thing.  We were not under any influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication.  Now, I recognize that this is fodder for mockery and ridicule.  That’s all right.  But the fact is that I have seen this.  I do not offer this as objective evidence, but as subjective evidence, since it rests entirely in my experience.
            But to say there has never been an observed instance of a disembodied spirit/mind is far too presumptuous a position to hold, and the atheist shouldn’t make such an unsupportable claim.
    2. Naturalism is true; therefore, there is no need for God.
      1. Naturalism is the belief that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws.  If all things were explainable through natural laws, it does mean God does not exist since God is, by definition, outside of natural laws since He is the creator of them.
        1. „Actually, it would. „All things” includes God. Laws, not being things, are not created.”
          1. This becomes a semantic argument.  The laws inherent in the nature of God are peculiar to Him alone.  Since God is different than the universe, the laws of the universe do not need to be identical with those inherent in God’s nature.  Natural science presumes to quantify phenomena based upon naturalistic observations.  By definition, this excludes God’s existence; or at the very least, it excludes the possibility of evidences for God’s existence to be interpreted apart from the naturalistic forced mold. Again, this is an issue dealing with presuppositions.
      2. Some might say that if all things can be explained via natural laws, then it means there is no evidence for God.
        1. But, can all things be explained via naturalism?  No, because naturalism has not explained all phenomena known today, nor can we assert that all things in the future will be explained via naturalism because we do not know all phenomena that can and will occur.
          1. Your premises do not entail your conclusion („There are things which cannot be explained via naturalism”).
            1. I disagree.  I think my statement makes perfect sense.
        2. Therefore, it is not a fact that naturalism can explain all things.  Therefore, God is not negated via naturalism.
          1. „But it is not a fact either that there are things which cannot be explained by naturalism.”
            1. Explain, then, how and why the gentle cooing of a baby warms the heart of a mother.  In your naturalistic explanation, quantify and predict future „warm fuzzies” in the heart of the mother, or why poetry speaks to one person and not another.  While you’re at it, use your naturalistic principles to prove that I love my wife.  Come on, not everything is quantifiable and repeatable through observation.  We are not that simplistic in our makeup.
          2. „Your God is negated by naturalism in the same sense that Allah is negated by Christianity. But I agree that naturalism is just one worldview. It has the advantage of needing the smallest amount of working assumptions (aka „presuppositions”). ”
            1. You make my point when you say the Christian God is negated by naturalism.  This does not mean the Christian God is proven to not exist — a negative that, I hope, you weren’t trying to prove through naturalism.  Nevertheless, again you have helped me to make the point that naturalism, by definition, excludes God.  This is why you stated, „your God is negated by naturalism.”  Unfortunately for you and other atheists, naturalism does not negate God’s existence.  Naturalism is only sufficient to explain many aspects of the universe and its behavior.  But if God is „other” than the universe, then to be so pompous as to say that naturalism negates God’s existence is to subject an infinite God to finite principles based on human observation.  This is a presupposition of error on your part.

Much more could be said in this discussion, but what I find most amusing is the lengths atheists who „lack belief in God” will go through to behave as though they believe there is no God.  They openly attempt to refute logical arguments for God’s existence, and openly seek to undermine theistic evidences.  Yet, their actions and their proclamations do not mesh.

Atheism is an unfortunate denial of God’s existence.  „For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them,” (Rom. 1:18-19). The judgment that God speaks of in the following verses is His giving them over to the depravity of their own minds so they will believe what they want
https://carm.org/response-answers-positions-held-atheists

Response to answers from an atheist about God

I received an email asking for help on how to respond to an atheist who answered a variety of questions.  I thought it would be good to respond to the answers given by the atheist.

  1. „Atheism is an intellectual position.”
    1. Atheist: Atheism means I hold no beliefs in god(s). Having not been convinced, for lack of evidence, I put back to you: would you describe the non-alchemist as taking an intellectual position? These are subcategories of skepticism or simply not buying into certain popular opinions simply because they’re popular.”
      1. Response:  Atheism is not only defined as someone who holds no beliefs (or lack of belief). It is also defined as someone who believes there is no God. Different atheists have different definitions. This particular atheist defines his own view. I cannot help wondering which definition of atheism is the right one considering that atheists don’t always agree with each other on exactly what it is.
      2. Response:  Is the non-alchemist rejecting alchemy because he believes it is an incorrect view of how things work since the evidence does not support it?  If so, his position is that alchemy is false. Furthermore, if someone were to promote alchemy and the non-alchemist were to attempt to refute him, then the non-alchemist is revealing his beliefs based on his actions; namely, that alchemy does not work. Otherwise, why would he seek to speak against it?  Furthermore, people behave in a manner consistent with what they believe–not what they don’t believe.
      3. Response:  Atheism is not just a lack of belief. It is a position that is held and revealed through actions. When an atheist says there is no evidence for God or that the evidence is not convincing, then he is stating he has a position about God. It is not a lack of belief because it is a belief based on a reason.  Lack of belief is best understood in the context of complete ignorance. You have lack of belief or no belief in the existence of blornflakers if you don’t know what they are and therefore cannot determine their existence or nonexistence. What is a blornflaker?  I have no idea since I just made up the word.  Therefore, I cannot have a belief or nonbelief in a blornflaker because it is undefined and therefore conceptually meaningless.  However, if I were to define it as a blue topping for ice cream produced in a factory on the fourth-largest moon of Jupiter, then an intellectual determination about his existence can be made.  Is it more logical to say that a person now „holds no belief” in blornflakers or simply believes that such a thing does not exist because there is no evidence for it?  Furthermore, if I were to promote the existence of blornflakers and an a-blornflaker were to attempt to refute the evidence, he would be revealing his position that they don’t exist since he’s attempting to refute support for it.  Again, actions are the result of beliefs–not lack of belief.
  2. „What reasons do you have for holding that position?”
    1. Atheist: Your question, properly worded, is „why do I doubt people’s claims that their particular god exists?” Simply because there has never been a shred of evidence.
      1. Response:  To say that there has never been a shred of evidence for the existence of a God cannot be logically defended since it would necessitate that the person know all evidences that have been presented at all times.  This is not possible.  So, to say „there has never been a shred of evidence” for God is an indefensible position since it is asserting a universal negative.
  3. „So, is there any reason/evidence for you holding your position that you defend? ”
    1. Atheist: Again, doubting your god-claims does not mean that I need to provide evidence. It means that YOU do. Please stop attempting to turn the tables such that you do not hold the burden of proof. You do.
      1. Response:  But, shouldn’t a person have a rational justification for stating what he does; namely, that „there has never been a shred of evidence” for God?
      2. Response:  The problem is that if the atheist believes there is no evidence for God’s existence, it would be difficult to attempt to present any evidence to him at all. After all, his presupposition is that „there has never been a shred of evidence” presented. Undoubtedly, any evidence that might be presented for God would be evidence that must be dismissed because, as this atheist says „there has never been a shred of evidence” for God’s existence. So essentially the atheist is saying he wants people to provide him with evidence, but it doesn’t matter what evidence they provide because he will dismiss it automatically–an action consistent with his belief that „there has never been a shred of evidence” for God’s existence.
  4. „If you say that atheism needs no evidence or reason, then you are holding a position that has no evidence or rational basis? If so, then isn’t that simply faith?”
    1. Atheist: See above regarding burden of proof. You are positing an unfalsifiable claim, providing no evidence, daring me to disprove it, and telling me that my doubt is an intellectual stance without evidence. Are you able to notice how, in the case of your god, you contort logic?
      1. Response:  It is an unfalsifiable claim to assert that there has „never been a shred of evidence” for God when we consider that the atheist has essentially stated that all past evidences are invalid. This would mean that his position is an assumption that negates all arguments for God’s existence (unless we posit future unknown evidences)–an assumption that can’t be disproven since he rejects all evidences for God’s existence.  How then can his position be proven to be false when his position rejects any evidence for God’s existence automatically?  He is being inconsistent.
  5. „If you say that atheism needs no evidence to support it because it is a position about the lack of something,”
    1. Atheist: I hold no belief in god because no evidence has been presented. Please notice how this is not a „position” I take about the nature of the universe. That position is yours alone.
      1. Response:  On the contrary. Your atheism is a position you take about the nature of the universe when you say you hold no belief in God; namely, that the universe is not a created thing. There are always ramifications to beliefs. Your arguments here are not consistent with „no belief.” They’re consistent with a belief that no God exists since you are making a statement that „there has never been a shred of evidence” for God’s existence. The logical conclusion of your position is that God does not exist, hence, the no evidence. To say you hold no belief but also assert that no evidence has ever been a shred of evidence for God are inconsistent. When a person says there is absolutely no evidence for something, the person is stating that something doesn’t exist.  Why?  There can’t be evidence for something that doesn’t exist!  His actions reveal his believes.
      2. Response:  Why would an atheist state there is no evidence for God and then retreat to something like „I lack belief in it” or say „I hold no belief in it”?  It seems more logical to say that the atheist realizes his positive assertion that there is no God is not defensible and therefore must retreat to the idea of „lack of belief in God” while at the same time attempting to disprove God’s existence–an action based on belief–not non-belief.  Again, we behave based upon what we believe–not based on what we don’t believe.
  6. „then do you have other positions you hold based upon lack of evidence . . . like say, screaming blue ants? Do you hold the position that they do not exist or that you lack belief in them, too? ”
    1. Atheist: I’m much more fascinated with what information is actually available. The scientific study of the cosmos, for instance, is exponentially more fascinating than religious pondering about the cosmos. Your question seems to be, „what else don’t you believe in?” The answer is whatever lacks evidence. This does not mean I cannot imagine impossible or unlikely phenomena. I can and do whenever I’m feeling artistically creative.
      1. Response:  See point 5 response.
  7. „Furthermore, obtaining evidence for God would be quite a bit of a challenge for me,”
    1. Atheist: Yes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That which can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.
      1. Response:  How do you know it is true that „extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”?  Isn’t that claim itself extraordinary? How do you test and demonstrate that such a statement is valid?  Furthermore, it is a subjective statement. What is extraordinary evidence for one person might not be extraordinary evidence for another. Also, what would qualify as extraordinary evidence? What criteria would you use to determine what is extraordinary evidence? Also, an extraordinary claim for one person might not be an extraordinary claim for another. What would qualify as an extraordinary claim? What criteria would you use to determine what an extraordinary claim is?  If atheists want to be logical, then let the logic apply to them as well.  Defend your assertion logically. Simply offering a sound-bite as somehow repudiating God’s evidence just won’t work.
Przeczytaj jeszcze  How Many Types of Atheists Are There? (72)

There is no proof that God exists

Sometimes atheist assert that there is no proof God exists.  The only problem is that an atheist cannot logically make that claim.

In order to state there is no proof for God’s existence, the atheist would have to know all alleged proofs that exist in order to then state that there is no proof for God’s existence.  But, since he cannot know all things, he cannot logically state there is no proof for God’s existence.

At best, an atheist can only state that of all the alleged proofs he has seen thus far, none have worked.  He could even say he believes there are no proofs for God’s existence.  But then, this means there is the possibility that there is a proof or proofs out there, and that he simply has not yet encountered one.

Nevertheless, if there was a proof that truly did prove God’s existence, would the atheist be able to accept it, given that his presuppositions are in opposition to the existence of God?  In other words, given that the atheist has a presuppositional base that there is no God, in order for him to accept a proof for God’s existence, he would have to change his presuppositional base.  This is not easy to do and would involve a major paradigm shift in the belief structure of the atheist.  Therefore, an atheist is presuppositionally hostile to any proofs for God’s existence and is less likely to be objective about such attempted proofs.

„Lack of belief” analysis outline

  1. What does „lack belief in God” mean?
    1. „Lack” means deficiency or absence.  „Belief” means acceptance and conviction that something is true or valid.
      1. Therefore, lack of belief would basically mean an absence of belief that something is true.  But even the meaning of „absence of belief” is debatable.  Someone can say, „I have absence of belief in screaming blue ants,” but it is a meaningless statement.  So?  You lack belief in screaming blue ants.  What about it?
    2. If „lack of belief” is complete ignorance about something, then it is a state of non-awareness about it.
      1. This would mean that it is not a purposeful chosen neutrality about something since this is an intellectual categorization which implies awareness of a concept or thing–even if the category is called neutrality.
      2. We lack belief in concepts we are not aware of, and we categorize/assess concepts we are aware of.
    3. If „lack of belief” means that a person chooses not to make an intellectual commitment to a position but to remain intellectually neutral regarding belief or disbelief, that would be more logical.
      1. However, complete neutrality about a concept is impossible since all concepts have an effect upon the hearer and illicit a response whether it be emotional and/or intellectual.
      2. Once you have been exposed to a concept, you categorize it as:
        1. True, False, Ridiculous, Unsure, etc., but you do not return to a complete mental neutrality or state of ignorance.
      3. We do not „lack belief” in invisible pink unicorns.  That is, we do not hold a mentally neutral position about the concept.  We make a decision to categorize it as:
      4. True, False, Ridiculous, Unsure, etc., based upon our scope of knowledge and experience.
      5. To the extent that this categorization occurs, belief or disbelief is associated with it.
        1. If True, then positive belief is applied.
        2. If False, then disbelief (the positive belief that it is false) is applied.
        3. If Ridiculous, then disbelief (the positive belief that it is false) is applied.
        4. If Unsure, then belief and disbelief are pending with either as the outcome.
          1. This is because we realize that belief in the concept (acceptance) is possible as also is disbelief (rejection)–depending on further information and analysis.
          2. Being unsure about something is as close to „lack of belief” as one can logically get, but even this is a categorization with pending commitment to belief or disbelief.
  2. Actions reflect belief
    1. We act based upon what we do believe–not upon what we do not believe.  In other words, I do something because I believe something–not because I don’t believe something.  If I don’t believe my house is on fire, then I don’t do anything; but if believe it is, I get out.
      1. In other words, if I believe my house is not on fire, then I don’t need to get up and get out.  It is not lack of belief that moves us but belief.
    2. I lack belief in concepts I am unaware of.  Therefore, I do not and cannot act based upon them since I am unaware of them.
    3. I can only act or not act based upon concepts I am aware of.
      1. If I believe there are invisible pink unicorns, I would act accordingly and either defend their existence or behave in a manner consistent with the belief that they exist.
      2. If I believe there are no such things as invisible pink unicorns, I may or may not defend my position depending on the circumstances.  But, I do not promote their non-existence since it is not necessary to do so anymore than it is necessary to promote the assertion that there is no ice cream factory on Jupiter.
      3. If I believe that the existence of invisible pink unicorns is ridiculous, I may or may not assert that it is ridiculous; but I have categorized them and believe they do not exist.
      4. If I am unsure about the existence of invisible pink unicorns, I would wait for further information before making my decision.  In this, I would be agnostic about their existence.
    4. If an atheist says he (or she) lacks belief in God yet actively seeks to undermine theistic proofs and promote atheistic principles, then we must conclude that his actions are consistent with his beliefs; namely, that he actively believes God does not exist.
      1. Furthermore, if the atheist is actively promoting the non-existence of God yet says he lacks belief in God, then his words and actions are inconsistent.
    5. Atheists, who say they lack belief in God or disbelieve in God yet actively attack theistic proofs and seek to promote atheism, are acting according to their beliefs–not their non-beliefs or their „lack of belief.”  It is more consistent to say that the atheist who supports and promotes the idea that there is no God but attacks theistic evidences must believe there is no God.  Otherwise, he is behaving without a reason, which is not logical.
  3. To say you believe there is no God has problems
    1. To say „I believe there is no God” is a conscious choice.  Then, on what would the atheist be basing his belief that there is no God: evidence, lack of evidence, logic, faith, or a combination of all?
      1. If evidence, then what positive evidence is there that disproves God’s existence?
      2. If lack of evidence, then it means he has not yet seen all evidence, and there might be sufficient evidence to demonstrate God’s existence.  This would mean that God may indeed exist; and the person is really an agnostic concerning God, so his atheist position is inconsistent with his statement.
      3. If logic, then what logical proof do you have that negates God’s existence?
        1. At best, logic can only disprove theistic proofs.  Disproving theistic proofs does not mean there is no God.  It only means that the proofs thus presented are insufficient.
        2. Logic can only disprove theistic proofs that are presented, and negating such proofs is not a refutation of all possible proofs since no one can know or present all possible proofs of God’s existence.  Therefore, negation of proofs does not disprove God’s existence.
        3. If there were a logical argument that proved God did not exist, it either has not yet been made known, or it doesn’t exist.  If it were known, then it would be in use by atheists.  But since no proof of God’s non-existence has been successfully defended by atheists, we can conclude that thus far, there are no logical proofs for God’s non-existence.
      4. If faith alone, then the position is not held by logic or evidence and is an arbitrary position.
      5. If by a combination of evidence, logic and/or faith, then according to the above analysis, neither is sufficient to validate atheism.  A combination of insufficient means does not validate atheism.
    2. For someone to believe there is no God is to hold that belief by faith since there is no evidence that positively supports atheism, and there are no logical proofs that God does not exist.  It is, after all, virtually impossible to prove a negative.

„I lack belief in a god.”


As a worldview, atheism is intellectually bankrupt and is wrought with philosophical problems.  In this video, let’s look at the inability for the atheistic worldview to account for rationality.

Now, I’ve already done a lot on this topic on the carm website and in videos.  So I’m not going to get into this very deeply here.  However, I can summarize by saying that atheism cannot account for rationality.  You see, logic is based upon universal truth statements which we call the laws of logic.  Such laws are, for example, the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction, and the law of excluded middle.  These universal truth statements are what rational arguments are based upon.  If these additional laws changed depending upon the situation, location, time, or an individual’s personal preferences, then there is no basis for rationality; and truth could not be known.  Truth would then depend upon situations and personal opinions.  If that were the case, then I could say that blue sleeps faster than Wednesday, and whatever I say is always true because I claim it.

But, this is not rational, and you and I both know that isn’t.

In the Christian worldview, the universal truth statements are derived from God.  These universal truth statements–these laws of identity–are conceptual by nature.  Why?  Because they are statements.  Statements require minds; and since logic is the process of the mind, the logical foundations upon which rationality depends are of the mind and are conceptual by nature.  If the atheist were to say that logical processes are not of the mind or that the truth statements which are the foundations of logic are not of the mind, then he is being irrational.  After all, truth is a statement which agrees with reality.  And because truth is constructed in statements, a mind is required for such statements to be made.

Let me clarify.  If a rock is all that exists in the universe, it is true that a rock is the only thing that exists.  But saying that it is the only thing that exists is a statement which requires a mind.  If there are no minds and the rock is all that exists, no statements can be made about the rock.  It would not be known that it was the only thing existing.  But truth statements are known. Therefore, all such truth statements require minds; and the universal, logical absolutes, truth statements that form the basis of rational thought require a mind to be made and known.

Atheism has no way of accounting for these universal truth statements.  Atheists can try and state that the laws of logic are based upon human minds, but this cannot be because human minds are different and contradict each other as well as themselves.  Since logical absolutes are universally true, they cannot be the product of human minds because human minds are limited, are not universally true, and often contradict each other.  If the atheist wants to say that the logical absolutes are merely descriptions of behavior of the universe, then how would an atheist by observation determine the third law of logic, the law of excluded middle, which says that statements are either true or false?  He couldn’t.  If the atheist wants to say that logical absolutes are the result of chemical processes in the brain, that can’t work because it would mean that logic could be altered by brain chemistry.  Some atheists say that logic is a product of human language, but that doesn’t work because languages are subjective and culturally variable where logic is not.  If the atheist says that logic is a property of the universe like motion and gravity, the problem here is that you cannot measure the laws of logic where such things like weight, mass, heat, and cold can be measured.

So, atheists repeatedly try to respond to the issue of trying to account for rationality founded in universal truth statements also known as logical absolutes.  But in all their trying and all their attempted logical outcry, they fail.  Why?  Because atheism doesn’t have the substance to account for rationality.  It is deficient as a worldview.

But, Christianity comes to the rescue and states that the universal truth statements reflect the universal mind.  We, as God’s creation, are able to recognize them because we are made in God’s image.  Where Christianity provides an answer to this important issue, atheism clearly fails to deliver.

https://carm.org/i-lack-belief-god

Response to criticism of „I lack belief in God.”

cat

The following is my response to the first portion of an atheist’s critique of two of my papers dealing with atheism.  His original criticism was one page, but I have broken it up into two pages relating to each paper he addressed.

The article was posted on infidelguy.com, an atheistic website, and that is the only reason I am responding to the paper which, in my opinion, does not present its case very well.  Nevertheless, I have copied the entire article with the author’s permission and reproduced the the two halves; one here, so it can be more easily addressed.  His original comments are in black, and my comments are in green.  I have left his typo’s and grammar errors intact.
_________________

Donny Kay Lonovy’s
Refutations of Matt Slick’s Articles on Atheism

This essay is a refutation of Matt Slick of CARM.org’s „I lack belief in God” and „Is atheism viable?” articles. As an atheist, I find his position to be idiotic and even downright offending. I’m going to show you exactly why he is an idiot when it comes to atheism, point by point. Read his papers along with mine to understand what I’m saying, as the paragraphs skip from point to point and wouldn’t seem as coherent otherwise.

Unfortunately, this individual begins his paper with an ad hominem attack.  Name-calling is generally considered a poor way to make a point.  He should address the issues and not insult the person.

„I lack belief in God”

This is my refutation of Matt’s „I lack belief in God” article. It is fallacious and misinformative to the core.

Let us first get our definition of „atheism” straight. Atheism is a lack of belief in any deity, which means an atheist lacks belief in God. Matt got this point right, but he doesn’t seem to understand that lacking belief is not holding off on having a position. Once you are exposed to the concept, you do have to make a choice, which he also got right. To say that you lack belief in God is to say that you do not believe He exists. It’s the same thing. You have taken the position that you believe God does not exist if you choose not to believe he exists. It’s that simple. You have a position if you are an atheist after being exposed to theism.

Matt set up a straw man and tore it down by confusing the concept. You can disregard all of the other points he makes in that section because it was based on that straw man.

Quite honestly, I am not sure what his point was.  He said I got several points correct.  But to say „lacking belief is not holding off on having a position” is a confusing statement.  „Not holding off” is essentially a double negative.  Is he saying he does have a position because of his lack of belief?  Or is he saying he does not have a position?  He says I set up a straw man, but I cannot determine what that alleged straw man really is.

„Is my cat an atheist?”

Your cat is an atheist by definition. All things which cannot understand the concept of a deity are atheists. The false premise here is that they have never been mentally exposed to the concept of theism. They can’t understand it. They have made no choice to remain atheists. The difference is that mentally mature humans who are exposed to theism are capable of making the choice to remain an atheist. A cat can’t make this choice . . . as far as we know.

Matt Slick tried to use this, another straw man, to attack atheists. He is wrong again.

To say that „All things which cannot understand the concept of a deity are atheists” is not logically necessary.  It all depends on which definition of atheist you want to go by and what level of understanding is to be had regarding deity.  According to the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, Atheism is „disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a god.”  There can be a wide range of meaning held by this definition.  As far as deity goes, there are a host of different definitions in the world on what constitutes deity.  Therefore, Mr. Lonovy cannot rightfully make his claim since he has not adequately defined nor established his position.

If a cat can’t make the choice to accept God or not, then perhaps this atheist might want to refine his definition of atheism since rocks cannot understand the concept of a god either.  Are they atheistic as well?  Are we to include water, rainbows, and clouds as members of the atheist community as well?  Obviously this „lack of belief” position is inadequate to sufficiently define atheism.

„So what is this ‚lack of belief’ really about?”

Lacking belief is not some scapegoat technique to get out of defending the atheistic position. It’s what an atheist believes by definition. Atheists do have a position and defend it very well.

My assertion about „lack of belief” is found in my original paper.  I will reproduce the first paragraph from my paper „I lack belief in God”.

The statement I lack belief in a god is becoming a common position of atheists.  In discussions with them, they tell me they lack belief in God the way they lack belief in invisible pink unicorns.  In other words, they have no position, take no intellectual action, and have no belief or unbelief on the matter concerning God.  To them it is a non-issue.  Though this may sound sensible to some, the problem is that once you are introduced to an idea you cannot stay neutral about it.  You invariably make a judgment about an idea once it has been introduced to you.  You can brush it off as ridiculous, ponder its possibility, accept it, reject it, or do something in between.  But, you cannot return to a lack of belief position if lack of belief is defined as a non-intellectual commitment or non-action concerning it.  Though I admit that an atheist can claim he lacks belief even after being exposed to an idea and contemplating its rationality, I still assert that a position of some sort is required. [emphasis added to my quote]

Whether or not atheists defend their „lack of belief” very well or not is a debatable issue, but this really shouldn’t be a battle of opinions.  Rather, we should be using logic and evidence to persuade.

Matt Slick is trying to trick the readers of his article into believing that atheists really are liars who have no true basis for what they believe. He claims that Christians who see it’s problems are attacking it. From what I’ve seen, atheism is coming under attack by Christians who don’t understand it or science. They aren’t recognizing it’s problems. They’re making false claims about it, then attacking their own misconceptions. Yet they still continue to do this when they’ve been proven wrong. Now, tell me why I believe most Christian debaters are liars.

There are more people who believe in God in this world than there are atheists. Sadly, this is true. Does that make them right? No. Using the number of people who believe in God to your advantage is pathetic. If you need to use that, then you really are out of good arguments.

Atheists do defend atheism by attacking Christianity and any other theistic religion that trys to convert them. Does this mean that they can’t defend their own position? No. Atheists use science and logic to prove their point. There is no place left for God to have done anything in the universe that wouldn’t have occured anyways, except for at the Big Bang, which we don’t fully understand yet. There’s some science for you. God can’t be all of the „omnis” at one time, as they contradict each other. Actually, being omnipotent is a logical fallacy all by itself. There’s a logical point. Matt Slick is, once again, wrong.

First of all, Mr. Lonovy has erringly stated that I am trying to trick people.  He is either trying to read my mind or extrapolate my alleged deceptive intent.  Of course, I am not trying to trick anyone, nor am I trying to convince anyone that atheists are liars.  I do, however, maintain that atheism is, to a large extent, a matter of faith and not evidence with atheists–but that is another subject.  Mr. Lonovy states that I am making false claims about atheism, but he does not mention what they are.

Mr. Lonovy continues and makes several unsubstantiated claims.  For example, he says, „Atheists use science and logic to prove their point. There is no place left for God to have done anything in the universe that wouldn’t have occurred anyways . . . ”  Apparently, Mr. Lonovy is unaware of the logical flaw of „begging the question.”  That is, he assumes the thing to be true that he is trying to prove.  He assumes there is no God, and then says that all things that exist in the universe could have occurred without God.  He assumes that naturalism is true, yet provides no evidence for it; nor does he give a logical reason why there is no God.  He just makes assertions and continues on them.

I find this part of his paper to be very offensive. I hope any informed atheist would too. I’ve shown that he is wrong, and I hope that anyone who reads this will urge him to remove his fallacious article.

Since Mr. Lonovy has not logically established anything wrong with what I have said and since he has only given unsubstantiated opinions, I will assume that he simply has a chip on his shoulder and is venting his frustration; and that is why he is offended.

Another response to criticism of „I lack belief in God.”

The following is another response to my paper dealing with „I lack belief in God.”  I have reproduced his paper here and responded to it.  His original comments are in black, and my comments are in green.

—————-

Matt’s first point is that once we are exposed to a claim it is more or less impossible to stay completely neutral to it, and that therefore the claim by atheists that they merely lack belief isn’t credible.

This is fine as far as it goes, but I believe it is an oversimplification of the true atheist position which includes a default belief that X is not true, where X is unparsimonious. That is, the atheist rejects claims about God in much the same way that we reject claims about an ice cream factory on Jupiter, as being extraordinary claims that are not supported by evidence.

The atheist has admitted that he cannot remain neutral on a position once he has been exposed to it.  But, how is it an oversimplification?  It is either true, or it is not (is that too an oversimplification?).  Since there are many who claim to be „true atheists” yet contradict each other on exactly what atheism is and since he has not defined what true atheism is, it isn’t possible to fully delve into his position.  Nevertheless, basing atheism on a lack of evidence for God’s existence has been dealt with in my paper „I don’t see any convincing evidence for the existence of God.

I can truthfully say that I believe God does not exist, but it is more accurate for me to say I have nowhere near sufficient positive reason to believe in God, and that, lacking belief in God, I hold to the default position that God doesn’t exist.

If he believes that God does not exist, then his atheism is a belief system since he is holding a belief that classifies him in a position.  He said he holds to the default position that God doesn’t exist.  I’m not sure if he means he holds that position because of lack of evidence, or that atheism is the default position.  If the former, my paper above dealing with not seeing any convincing evidence is worth reading.  If the latter, then he is simply assuming something that cannot be proven; namely, that atheism is a default position.  No one knows what is automatic within the minds of people at birth.  If atheists assume that non-cognition (non-intellectual contemplation of God) is atheism, then infants, by definition, would be atheists.  But that would also make cats, rocks, and chairs into atheists.  Therefore, the latter definition of atheism would be insufficient.

Is this sophistry? No. Rather, it reflects my thought process and my assessment of the burden of proof. Positive belief in something extraordinary must be established before I will accept it; lacking evidence or reason for such belief, I reject it.

It is not as simple as providing sufficient evidence.  A person’s presuppositions strongly effect what evidence is accepted and how it is interpreted.  If a person has an atheist presupposition, then is it possible he can be objective in his examination of theistic evidence?  That would depend on the person, but convincing such a person would be a difficult task at best.

Various evidences have been offered to atheists.  Some have been convinced and converted to theism, while others have not.  Therefore, it is not the evidence that is the issue; it is the atheist.  In other words, different people see things differently.  What is convincing to one person is not convincing to another.  This is why presuppositions are so important.  To someone who „will not see,” no evidence will be sufficient.

Finally, this person has not even offered any criteria by which evidence might be assessed.  What would be sufficient evidence and why?  If this person cannot logically describe what that would be, then he hasn’t thought through his atheism sufficiently and really hasn’t any right to make the claims that the evidences offered aren’t good enough.

Describing my position as a lack of belief is sometimes helpful in explaining my position to theists. When someone demands that I prove God doesn’t exist (or at least provide evidence that God doesn’t exist), it helps to show that my position is not based solely on evidence for and evidence against a particular God concept but more fundamentally on the extraordinary nature of any claims about God and my default assumption about any such claim.

Finally, distinguishing between my lack of belief in gods in general and my specific disbelief in particular God concepts can also be helpful in conversation. I lack belief in an omnipotent God because that is an extraordinary claim I do not believe is supported by the evidence. I disbelieve in any concept of a non-deceiving God who created the Earth 10,000 or fewer years ago because I believe the observable data strongly contradicts this age.

It seems that this atheist has missed the point of my paper on „I lack belief.”  I stated that once a person is exposed to a concept, he categorizes that subject.  He does something with it.  Furthermore, I stated that if „I lack belief in God” means that the person has no mental assertions either positive or negative concerning God, then that is an illogical position because people do things intellectually with information and concepts.  Even this atheist, at the beginning of his response, stated he cannot remain neutral on a position once he has been exposed to it.  Yet he wants to hold a „lack belief” system.  This is inconsistent.

Also, this atheist fails to understand that not all Christians, myself included, believe in a young earth.  I believe the earth is old.  What he has done is narrowed the field too far and not allowed for other positions on an issue that he has stated negates belief in God(s).  This is illogical to do and unfortunate.

Unfortunately, Matt then shifts from attacking the position to ad hominem, attacking the motivations of atheists.

Matt: Lack of belief is really an attempt by atheists to avoid facing and defending the problems in their atheistic position. You see, if they say they have no position, by saying they lack belief, then their position is not open to attack and examination and they can quietly remain atheists.

The irony of this is that the great majority of atheists on these boards who describe their atheism as a lack of belief in gods are quite willing to explain their views in depth, including exactly what they mean by lack of belief (as I’ve described here), as well as positive beliefs they do hold. Matt knows this, so for him to claim otherwise is both an ad hominem and a straw man.

My concern is to not produce ad hominem attacks.  They are weak.  However, the context of my comment he quoted above was at the end of the paper where I draw a conclusion after attempting to demonstrate that the „I lack belief” position is weak.  Having done that, I draw the conclusion that some atheists are indeed trying to avoid the weaknesses of atheism in general.  Nevertheless, I have modified the comment on that paper by adding „In my opinion.”

Stating what I know and do not know is risky business.  My experience on the CARM discussion boards with the atheists has been that only a few are willing to discuss their „lack of belief” position in depth for very long.  But, this is my opinion.

Matt: The problem for atheists, however, is that atheism is coming under more serious attack by Christians and others who recognize its problems.

How is this a problem for me or for any other atheist? Matt must presuppose that atheists do not want to find truth, since if they did any challenge to their position could only be a source of knowledge, not a problem. More ad hominem?

This atheist asks how is it a problem for atheists that atheism is coming under more serious attack from Christians?  Well, it is a problem in that many of their arguments have been answered–some of which I’ve demonstrated on the atheism section here on CARM.

I admit this is a subjective statement I am going to make here, but my experience with atheists over the past twenty years is that they have generally moved away from saying „There is no God,” to „I lack belief in God.”  I’m not the only one who has noticed this shift.  Why?  Again, my opinion is that atheists are discovering some weaknesses in their position and are adapting their atheism (even redefining it in some instances) so as to make it less vulnerable to attack.  Whether or not this critic wishes to acknowledge this matters little since I am offering my opinion based on my observations.

Matt: Without a doubt, there are far more people in the world who believe in God (or a god) than dont and more and more Christians are tackling atheism as an untenable position.

Irrelevant. If popular vote decided what is true, astrology would work. More interestingly, the sun would once have revolved around the earth, with the relationship switching sometime in the past few thousand years.

It is not irrelevant.  If it were irrelevant, then why is this atheist responding here?  I am one of those included in „more and more Christians” who are attacking atheism.  This atheist has just proved the relevancy of my comment that atheism is being tackled by Christians. Furthermore, I did not commit the fallacy of ad populum that the majority belief is correct.  I made no such statement.  I only said that more and more Christians are tackling atheism as an untenable position.  Atheism’s validity is not determined by „more and more.”  It is determined by logic and evidence.

Matt: After all, how does an atheist defend atheism? He cant. He has to attack theism in its different forms. This is why atheists attack Christianity, the Bible, and other religious systems and try and invalidate them. That really is all they have to go on.

More ad hominem . . . and simply false. It would be more accurate to say that the atheist doesn’t have to defend atheism rather than that he can’t, since atheism is a perfectly reasonable default view. In any case, Matt would do better to challenge (real) atheist logic or arguments than to mind-read and tell the rest of us why atheists debate with theists.

It may be that I committed the ad hominem fallacy here.  Instead of defending the statement and after rereading my final comments on that paper, I have modified it to the following:

The problem for atheists, however, is that atheism is coming under more serious attack by Christians and others who recognize its problems and are exposing them.  Without a doubt, there are far more people in the world who believe in God (or a god) than don’t, and more and more Christians are tackling atheism as an untenable position.  The majority belief doesn’t make something true, but the increase of examination of atheism has made it more difficult for atheists to defend their position.  This also explains why atheists seem to become more aggressive in their attacks on theism in its different forms.  There is an intellectual battle being waged, and both defensive and offensive measures are being taken on both sides.  In the end, the truth will be known.

I thank this atheist for trying to address the paper and for helping me improve it through my modification.  However, I do not believe that he sufficiently addressed all the issues raised in it.

https://carm.org/another-response-criticism-i-lack-belief-god

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