Skip to comments.11 SiIlly Things That Some Atheists Say
Posted on 02/28/2015 8:40:57 AM PST by Heartlander
The atheist that this blog article is briefly referring to is the fundamentalist head-in-the-sand, fingers-in-their-ears type, which contrary to atheism makes up the majority of the religion hating New Atheists. My last point, point 11, addresses Stephen Hawking but I want to make it clear that I do not view him as a fundamentalist atheist like Richard Dawkins, or Sam Harris would be. Although I, alongside many, disagree with Hawking and his conclusions, I dont take anything away from his brilliant intellect, or his skillset. By head-in-the-sand atheist I mean the ones that prove irrational, close-minded, and hyper critical by demanding ridiculous evidential experiences (such as God writing his name on the moon or in the clouds, and then having him appear to them in their bedrooms to convince them, for instance).
This article also by no means suggests that all atheists are this irrational, I think atheists have good arguments, and I think the studious atheists are intelligent people, I just think the theistic arguments are better, thats all. Nevertheless, in future blog articles I will address more silly things some atheists say, but these 11 will suffice for now.
1) That Jesus never existed.
The evidence for Jesus existence as a 1st century person is very convincing, if you are willing to view this evidence I have detailed it here, and here. I also outline 41 reasons why scholars know for certain that Jesus existed (here). In fact, we can know quite a lot about Jesus, and in this article I establish 23 historically certain things we can know about him. As Paul Maier, former Professor of Ancient History, remarks: The total evidence is so overpowering, so absolute that only the shallowest of intellects would dare to deny Jesus existence.
Are these atheists being the shallowest of intellects? They seem to be. Bart Ehrman, perhaps the leading sceptical scholar of our time compares those who deny Jesus ever existing to six-day creationists:
These views are so extreme (that Jesus did not exist) and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.
The most direct opinion comes from the non-Christian scholar Maurice Casey, a former prominent New Testament historian before his recent death. He hits the nail on the head when he says:
“This view [that Jesus didn’t exist] is demonstrably false. It is fuelled by a regrettable form of atheist prejudice, which holds all the main primary sources, and Christian people, in contempt. …. Most of its proponents are also extraordinarily incompetent.”
Yes, indeed these atheists are prejudice(ed), the shallowest of intellects, unconvincing, and extraordinary incompetent. In fact I will end this point on a quote from an atheist historian:
After 30+ years of observing and taking part in debates about history with many of my fellow atheists I can safely claim that most atheists are historically illiterate. This is not particular to atheists: they tend to be about as historically illiterate as most people, since historical illiteracy is pretty much the norm. But it does not mean that when most (not all) atheists comment about history or, worse, try to use history in debates about religion, they are usually doing so with a grasp of the subject that is stunted at about high school level.
Tim ONeill goes on to say: All too often many atheists can be polemicists when dealing with the past, only crediting information or analysis that fits an argument against religion they are trying to make while downplaying, dismissing or ignoring evidence or analysis that does not fit their agenda
2) That it doesnt matter how many independent source we have on Jesus:
On writing one of my articles on the historical Jesus I was happy to engage an atheist on the matter in the comment section below. All of a sudden this atheist was implying that I had to provide evidence for Jesus ever existing, in other words he said that I had the burden of proof.
At one stage he even said, I quote: What does it matter the more written texts we have on a person, what does that prove?
With all due respect but the ignorance of this particular atheist is obvious. According to Wikipedia one of the methods on establishing the likeliness of an event in the past occurring is If a number of independent sources contain the same message, the credibility of the message is strongly increased. Or as leading scholar Bruce Metzger comments:
“The more often you have copies that agree with each other, especially if they emerge from different geographical areas, the more you can cross-check them to figure out what the original document was like.
That is hardly revelatory information I wouldnt even have had to pick up a single history book to know that. That is what you learn in history 101 class.
But there is more to this as this particular atheist, brandishing his weapon of ignorance, believes that his opinion trumps the professional and expert opinions of just about every PhD scholar in the field who hold that Jesus certainly existed. So, he doesnt even know what independent source are, or how they provide a higher degree of historical probability from history for the historian, but on top of it he is just downright arrogant. Ignorance and arrogance make for a terrible concoction.
3) That the burden of proof is never on them:
I beg to differ. For example, the head-in-the-sand atheist has often told me that I need to prove that Jesus existed. No, I dont and I wont as the vast majority of scholarship in the field from historians, classical scholars, New Testament and Biblical scholars accept, based off historical method and evidence, that Jesus did exist. As Bart Ehrman notes:
“ none of them, to my knowledge, has any doubts that Jesus existed. The view that Jesus existed is held by virtually every expert on the planet.”
So, it is the head-in-the-sand atheist that needs to provide evidence to the contrary, and abominably inaccurate and deceitful films like Zeitgeist, or the Da Vinci Code do not count as evidence.
Secondly, some atheists think they are self-entitled in thinking that the burden of proof never lies with them but on the shoulders of the theist to provide evidence that God exists. No, the burden of proof lies on the one making the claim, including the atheist. If you make the claim then you need to back it up.
4) That the Bible is not historical:
The Bible is history as it is a library (66 books) of historical texts that provide us with information. It is written over a 1500-year period, by over 40 authors, on three different continents, and in three different languages. Regarding the New Testament (which is part of the Bible, by the way) Bart Ehrman explains:
If historians want to know what Jesus said and did they are more or less constrained to use the New Testament Gospels as their principal sources. Let me emphasize that this is not for religious or theological reasonsfor instance, that these and these alone can be trusted. It is for historical reasons, pure and simple.
So, according to one leading historian the Biblical narratives can be used for historical reasons, pure and simple.
Richard Burridge, a scholar on Biblical exegesis, notes: “According to The Gospels have to be judged by the criteria of the 1st century and I think they are pretty reliable documents. They share essentially the same story of Jesus public ministry, his teaching, his preaching, his activity, his healing and the events of the week leading to his death and the fact that something very odd happened afterwards.”
It is also commonly hold that the Gospels are biographical in nature, which means that they constitute history based on a historical figure. As Graham Stanton in his book Jesus and Gospel writes:
“The gospels are now widely considered to be a sub-set of the broad ancient literary genre of biographies
David Aune, specialist in ancient genres, also comments: Thus while the [Gospel writers] clearly had an important theological agenda, the very fact that they chose to adapt Greco-Roman biographical conventions to tell the story of Jesus indicated that they were centrally concerned to communicate what they thought really happened.
Craig Keener, another prominent New Testament scholar, pronounces: In recent decades, as scholars have examined the best ancient analogies for the Gospels, it has become increasingly clear that the Gospels were designed as biographiesthough as ancient rather than modern ones.
The Biblical narratives, Old Testament too, are historical sources. How reliable they are is another question altogether, but it is obvious that they are historical sources from which data can be gathered. The sceptic may have a different opinion to what scholars believe, but that opinion does not constitute fact.
5) That atheism is not a belief:
By common sense, and the ability to just see with your own two eyes, this statement is refuted. I walk into the bookstore and head to my favourite sections: religion, atheism, philosophy. I will see a pile of atheist books, oh but wait! These books are nothing, according to some atheists, but some authors writing on the lack of a belief in God. That doesnt make sense, I wouldn’t write a book on my lack of belief in unicorns, I write a book because I believe unicorns dont exist, and I provide arguments to back that up.
It is also obvious that in these atheist books, and in their debates, they make arguments that they believe (big emphasis) prove that God does not exist, or that he likely does not exist.
Its kind of like saying I dont have any beliefs myself even though I believe your belief is wrong. It falls foul to the law of self-contradiction. In fact, John Lennox an Oxford mathematician and philosopher of science in an interview, on this very subject, opines:
The atheists claim that they dont have faith. Oh yes they do, in their science, in the rational intelligibility of the universe.
When you have faith, you have a belief the atheist isnt the exception. William Lane Craig, a leading philosopher, comments:
If atheism is taken to be a view, namely the view that there is no God, then atheists must shoulder their share of the burden of proof to support this view. But many atheists admit freely that they cannot sustain such a burden of proof. So they try to shirk their epistemic responsibility by re-defining atheism so that it is no longer a view but just a psychological condition which as such makes no assertions. They are really closet agnostics who want to claim the mantle of atheism without shouldering its responsibilities.
On this redefinition of atheism even babies, who hold no opinion at all on the matter, count as atheists. In fact, a cat or a dog, even a rat, counts as an atheist on this definition. One needs to be brave enough to back up why they believe what they do, not simply redefine the title of their worldview.
6) You cant prove that something doesnt exist.
One atheist during the Q&A period of a debate between William Lane Craig and naturalist John Shook claims that you cant prove that something doesnt exist (watch the 40 second clip here). Craig responds:
Thats just silly, of course you can prove something does not exist. We can prove, for example, that there are no living tyrannosaurus Rex on the face of the Earth, we can prove that there are no Muslims of the United States senate, or as Dr. Shooks says if you can show that something is a self-contradiction, that there are no married bachelors. So, this is an atheist line that you hear on a popular level all the time, but that the sophisticated atheists dont take, because it is easy to prove that things dont exist.
7) That there is no purpose to life, then they contradict themselves:
In a debate between the Christian James White and the Christian apostate Dan Barker, Barker says:
There is no purpose to life, and we should not want there to be a purpose to life because if there was that would cheapen life.
When watching this debate it was a very odd thing to say on the part of Barker because the fact that he is even debating a topic (the topic was: The triune God of scripture lives) shows that he has purpose being there, to convince those in the audience. Dan believes that he had a purpose writing his book Losing Faith in Faith and that people would pick it up and read it, and thus be convinced of his position. Dan believes that he served a purpose suing a privately owned restaurant for giving discounts to customers that voluntarily prayed before their meal. Dan Barker repeatedly believes that he has served a purpose all over the place, that is hardly consistent with his statement above, it is also hardly consistent with his atheistic naturalistic worldview.
To further see this lack of consistency illustrated by Richard Dawkins, please view point 10 in this article.
8) That science disproves miracles:
Ive read, a few times, some atheists claiming that science has disproven the possibility of miracles. This only shows how ignorant such an atheist is on both science and miracles (especially the abundance of miracle testimonies). It is like saying that astrophysics disproves that there is a rock of land called South America. There is no such connection for one to deduce that, in the same way one cannot conclude that miracles are impossible because science disproves them. As the theoretical physicist John Polkinghorne notes:
Science simply tells us that these events are against normal expectation. We knew this at the start. Science cannot exclude the possibility that, on particular occasions, God does particular, unprecedented things. After all, God is the ordainer of the laws of nature, not someone who is subject to them.
Craig Keener in his two-volume book on miracles writes: Since science works inductively from details to larger patterns, it looks for larger patterns and cannot address single anomalies like miracles.
If God exists, and thus is the author of all creation (which also means science and natural laws) then he is free to act in any way he sees fit. Because he created it all he then cannot be subject to his creation, rather his creation is subject to him. This point is illustrated well by the philosopher Richard Swinburne:
If there is no God, then the laws of nature are the ultimate determinants of what happens. But if there is a God, then whether and for how long and under what circumstances laws of nature operate depend on God.
The atheist is simply wrong to suggest the impossibility of miracles due to science. In fact, I wholeheartedly urge everyone to grab a copy of Craig Keener’s book called ‘Miracles‘, and to watch his short presentation. I don’t see how after reading it someone will still be an atheist.
9) That science is the only way to truth:
According to this atheist science is the only way to know what is true or it is the only gate to discovering what is true reality, so forget philosophy, religion, and just about every other non-scientific faculty its only science that counts. This condition has a name, we call it scientism – the proposition that science can explain all aspects of reality, when it actually cant because it has its own limitations. Philosopher William Lane Craig defines it thusly:
Scientism is the view that we should believe only what can be proven scientifically. In other words, science is the sole source of knowledge and the sole arbiter of truth.
Such is simply not true as Fred Copleston, a philosopher of history, notes that there are other levels of experience and knowledge than that represented by empirical science.
Deborah Haarsma, an astrophysicist and former professor and chair in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, being a hardcore scientist herself informs us of the limitations of science:
Many questions related to morality, ethics, love and so on, are questions that science simply isn’t equipped to answer on its own. Science can provide some important context, but religious, historical, relational, legal, and other ways of knowing are needed.
Scientism, the belief that science can explain everything, is self-refuting as science fails to explain moral/ethical truths, aesthetic truths, metaphysical truths, natural laws (it only describes them, but presupposes them), science also presupposes the laws of logic, and also cannot rule out the existence of God since God would have created natural uniformity of which science explains. For these reasons William Craig comments:
scientism is too restrictive a theory of knowledge. It would, if adopted, compel us to abandon wide swaths of what most of us take to be fields of human knowledge.
As the journalist Lewis Cassels once wrote that: Every age has its superstitions, and ours is the notion that science is an all-sufficient guide to truth.
10) That science disproves God:
Again, this is another nonsensical claim. Science, the discipline that explores and defines what is in nature cannot go beyond its ability and disprove a supernatural entity, which by definition is above nature. However, many scientists are convinced that their scientific pursuits actually support their belief in God, as the Oxford mathematician, and philosopher of science John Lennox claims:
Far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise is validated by his existence.
The astronomer Allan Sandage believed that the supernatural was a necessity when trying to contemplate the mystery of existence:
It was my science that drove me to the conclusion that the world is much more complicated than can be explained by science, it is only through the supernatural that I can understand the mystery of existence.
C.S. Lewis, arguably the most popular and widely read Christian of the 20th and 21st centuries once wrote that: Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a legislator.
Far from science disproving God it actually points towards his existence via the complex language of DNA, the exquisite fine-tuning of the universe to make life possible, and the obvious design of biological creatures in the world. In essence, science cannot logically rule out Gods existence, but it can point towards him. Some former atheists were convinced that science pointed towards a creator God, and thus abandoned their atheism. As McGrath, who has his PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Doctor of Divinity from Oxford, says:
Atheism, I began to realize, rested on a less-than-satisfactory evidential basis. The arguments that had once seemed bold, decisive, and conclusive increasingly turned out to be circular, tentative, and uncertain.
Also the former militant atheist turned Christian apologist, Lee Strobel, explains that It was the evidence from science and history that prompted me to abandon my atheism and become a Christian.
11) Stephen Hawking on the universe:
Hawking is a great scientist, and theres no two ways about it. I also dont want to sound arrogant in my critique of him, but he must be hold to account for his conclusions (as is the rule of thumb in science). Hawking writes:
Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”
Surely to any reader that does not make sense at all. He says: Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing, but laws are descriptive, they describe nature when it acts in uniformity. Laws do not create things, they describe. Philosopher of science and mathematician John Lennox explains:
If I said that X created Y, that statement presupposes the existence of X in order to bring Y into existence. So if I say that X created Y Im presupposing the existence of X in order to bring Y into existence, but it already is in existence. That statement is self-contradictory, it is logically incoherent. But perhaps worse than that Hawkings says because there is a law of gravity the universe can and will create itself from nothing. So setting aside the logical problem hes saying that gravity already exists, but thats not nothing.
Lennox goes on to define what physicists really mean when they talk about nothing: And indeed when physicists talk about nothing they usually mean something very different from nothing. They usually mean a quantum vacuum.
So what this shows is that, contrary to Hawkings belief, laws do not create anything anymore than the laws of mathematics would put 50 bucks in my pocket. This also shows that when physicists refer to nothing creating everything they actually mean a quantum vacuum which is a sea of fluctuating energy, and certainly not absolute nothingness. Lastly, gravity is not nothing in the sense of no thing (no space, no laws, no time), as Hawking suggests.
For these reasons it is why Hawkings statement makes no sense, and is self-refuting. Lennox concludes that: Nonsense remains nonsense even when spoken by world famous scientists.
Atheists who fight against religion are not true atheists because they fear that God does really exist. Real atheists would not worry about those poor benighted people who believe in God, except for his own children, perhaps. The rest hate the idea that there is some Authority who disapproves of their views and practices and think that if they can force a significant number of people to also “disbelieve” then God will go away or change his Mind.
Finally, a logical explanation!
Great C.S. Lewis quite there....
Stephen Hawking’s never existed..Hey, I’VE NEVER SEEN HIM!!
Well, that argument wouldn't pass logic 101. His personal feelings about God had no impact on God's existence or non-existence. One is subjective, the other objective.
I always that that was odd that an otherwise, seemingly intelligent man, would lean on such a weak logical argument. A lot of athiests do this, however.
Here is an example I like to use. Say it's 30 AD and you and some friends are walking down a street in Jerusalem and a woman comes screaming out of a house yelling My Son..My Son has drowned and is dead! She grabs you and drags you inside.
Inside you see the kid dead as a Mackerel. She begs you to help him. Shes screaming and invoking “God” You go to the kid and slap him. She's still screaming her head off and you are getting pissed. So you hit the brat in the chest! For some reason tou breath in his mouth. And suddenly...The kid coughs up water and breaths!
You must be a “God” You brought this woman's Son back from the dead! Your friends saw you do it. Soon enough you start to buy your own BS. This is how rumors start. And all you did was accidentally perform CPR 2000 before it was invented.
I like to live and let live. If believing gives you strength and hope and happiness then much the better. But it's really just so much nonsense.
My favorite: “Do you really believe there is some all powerful man in the sky that runs things?”
“No, I don’t believe there is an ‘all powerful man in the sky.’ You know who anthropomorphizes? Children. They do it a lot with animals. So, I suppose if I thought like a child - the way you are currently describing God - I *might* think he is an ‘all powerful man in the sky,’ but I’m a much more sophisticated thinker than that. I’m sorry you are not.”
:: She grabs you and drags you inside. ::
There is an atheist day. Somehow it happens to fall on April 1 every year.
Its certainly possible to doubt Jesus as the resurrected son of God if youve never received the spirit, but to deny that he ‘came in the flesh’ is odd even to the natural mind,
So how is it, they are so blind here? because its their desire that it be true,
However its no longer a simple choice for them after they’ve rejected the truth and embraced this world system and its worship of all things in the natural world ‘the flesh’ they instead worship the creature rather than the creator,
An so this is a spirit that now has influence and authority over them, one with an absolute hatred of the truth and denying Christs work which he fulfilled in the flesh, and that completed work also means it will bring that spirits torment when a future set time (known only to God) is finished on this physical Earth,
A set time which I believe is almost up called, the fulness of the gentiles which is coming due with the transgressors (Israel of 32 AD) being restored (the people since 1948 and Jerusalem since 1967) as both a witness and fulfillment of the timing elements required by scripture (Leviticus Chapter 25 and Daniel Chapter 9 etc.,) which is, for them to now come to a future Jubilee, (Isaiah 63:4)
This is the same evil spirit that was already at work even in Johns day, (note the wording ‘come in the flesh’ vs. ‘come as the messiah’)
And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 1 John 4:3
"Faith is something you believe, that no one in their right mind would believe" - Archie Bunker
That line was written for laughs, but there is so much truth to it. Faith is a choice. You choose to believe because you want to believe despite worldly evidence to the contrary. Once you make the conscience choice to believe, you have to own it 100%.
I struggle with faith as much as the next guy - and I certainly don’t want to get into a debate on the existence of God with you -
Where I typically have a problem with atheists is where they try to snuff out any expression of our traditions..
I like Easter and Christmas - the deeper meaning of both are very much religious and in your heart - but I also really like Christmas lights and Easter Bunnies, decorating trees and such... call me an idiot but it’s really the best time of year and you can see it in peoples faces - regardless of what’s in their heart.
I find most militant atheists to be quite bah humbug and the world they see is makes me think of a grey bleak soviet world with no joy or hope...
my 2 pennies...
They also use “OMG!” a lot in most of their text messages.
Great post. My feelings on the matter are the same as yours.
I think Athiests that try to stop people from expressing their faith in public are evil and wrong headed. I can admire the image of baby Jesus outside a courthouse as an expression of art and the season. our Constitution does not protect us from religion. It protects religion from us.
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