f The Wittenberg Door: The New Atheist Challenge – Part 2 (Conclusion)

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The New Atheist Challenge – Part 2 (Conclusion)


In part 1 I mentioned that for a worldview to be considered viable it must be able to make sense of reality. Atheism as a worldview fails to provide a foundation for abstract (non-material), invariant (things not given to change) entities, such as morality, mathematics, laws of logic, and propositions. Moreover, Atheism fails to make sense of love and beauty, and is found wanting when it comes to accounting for the regularity of nature.

So what are we to make of it when Atheists love, show compassion, demand justice, use logic and mathematics, and engage in the scientific enterprise? Like a drowning man denying the existence of water, they must assume the Christian worldview in order to refute it—for it is Christianity, not Atheism, that comports with reality.

Christianity Provides the Answers

Christianity answers the tough questions:

  • Morality
    Murder (the unjust taking of a human life) is wrong. We know this innately. The same is true with theft, adultery, rape, lying, etc. (Sure, there’ve been variations on these themes, but the themes remain.)

    Morality reflects God’s character. He is holy, righteous, and just. We are beings created in his image; therefore, we are moral agents. It is upon this very foundation that civilization is made possible.


  • Mathematics and the Laws of Logic
    Prove 2+2=4. Most people grab four items, place them next to each other, and then say “two pencils and two pencils equal four pencils.” But this doesn’t solve the problem—it merely restates the equation using a different physical representation.

    How about the laws of logic? Are the laws of logic—the law of non-contradiction (A cannot be non-A at the same time and in the same sense), the law of identity (A is A), and the law of excluded middle (A is either A or it isn’t)—merely human inventions? If they are, we’re doomed. Actually, all cultures assume the laws of logic. Language isn’t even possible without them, and thus civilization would not be possible.

    2+2=4 because that’s the way it is in the mind of God; and the laws of logic reflect His thinking. Again, we think this way because we are His image bearers. Thus, Aristotle discovered (i.e., categorized) the laws of logic; he did not invent them.


  • Uniformity of Nature
    God upholds all things by the word of His power. It is because of this that we see regularity in nature, and it is because of this that we can extrapolate future events from the past. This provides the needed foundation for science and answers Hume’s Problem of Induction. All this without making incredulous claims like everything came from nothing; order came from disorder; life came from non-life; consciousness came from non-consciousness, etc.


  • Propositions
    How much does a thought weigh? How deep into space does a proposition extend? How long is it? Imagine Snoopy atop his red-roofed doghouse. Now, if we opened your cranium, would we find him there? I don’t think so. But if thoughts are material, he must be there! Perhaps we just don’t have a microscope powerful enough.

Wrapping It Up

Like the previous post, this is just a thumbnail sketch (and we still didn’t have room to talk about love and beauty)—but at least it’s a start. All claims to explain reality must be scrutinized, including Atheism—It’s simply a cop-out to hide behind the claim that “there is no reason to believe in God.” It’s time for some heavy lifting, New Atheists.

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2 Comments:

Blogger sorceror said...

If you want to see some 'lifting' done on some of these topics, like morality, you could look here...

11:01 AM  
Blogger The Wittenberg Door said...

Thanks for providing the link, Sorceror. The author covers a lot of ground, but his basic thesis is that something is moral if it provides a strategic or advantages result.

He mentions things that he rightly thinks immoral, such as slavery and terrorism. But in an Islamic world, both of these are moral. What will the author say to the Muslim?

“In chess, you ‘ought’ not sacrifice your queen. Although there is no ‘rule’ against it, it’s not good strategy. Although there’s no rule against your terrorism and slavery, it is not the most advantages way.”

As I think is evident, his thesis doesn’t stand up well to reductio ad absurdam. And his thesis certainly doesn’t explain the deep revulsion felt by decent people when confronted with such heinous acts as terrorism and chattel slavery. That is to say, “I’m shocked, SHOCKED, to see that you’re not acting strategically!” doesn’t quite measure up.

7:46 AM  

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