Sunday, January 07, 2007
"Fundamentalist Atheist" is a title that is unwanted by atheists but is beginning to be applied more and more. Atheists have tried to make their philosophy appear to be the free-thinking, rational, non-dogmatic worldview. This image is now being scoffed at as the stripes of Fundamentalism in Atheistic philosophy are becomming evident for all to see. This has become particularly clear in the polemical attacks from what seems to be an Atheist clergy led by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins has put out a documentary "The Root of All Evil" in which he makes the assertion that Religion (All) has been the root of nearly all the bloody wars in history, and really is stunting the intellectual growth of man in general. In short if religion was done away with altogether the world would be a better place.
The term "Fundamentalist Atheist" really begins to be applicable when we see that atheists share distinct commonalities with every other fundamentalist religious group. This is in claims of exclusivity (Atheists are quite dogmatic that there is no God and all theists are wrong) in holy texts (Darwin's Origin of The Species) evangelism (there are numerous atheist outreach groups, Dawkins movie is one example of Atheist evangelism) etc. This is well presented in the documentary "The Trouble with Atheism" which is at the bottom of this post.
Now, Dawkins and most atheists will explain the existance of religion as basically being a crutch for the intellectually weak. Now we have come to a place evolutionarily where God is no longer necessary, we are at a place where we do not need to elplain lightning and rain with deities science has filled those gaps. The only reason religion continues is because people are simply weak and need a pie in the sky promise. Most atheists will use the line: "Just like I don't believe in fairies, elfs, or unicorns neither do I believe in God."
But what of ethics? How is ethics/morality accounted for in an atheistic/evolutionary philosophy? Well evolutionarily of course. Morality is always changing, shifting to fit man's contexual needs. I can not give an atheistic ethical theory that ALL will agree to, however, MOST adhear to a kind of social majority view of morality (What is right and wrong is determined by the majority opinion in a particular society). This is generally based on what makes the majority happy or what is least harful for the majority.
I will address these points, and have a documetary at the end of this post which talks about the Fundamentalist nature of Atheism. (It is really really good)
I) Religion the Root of Evil?
Well from the outset this is absurd, because in order to even call something evil you need an objective moral standard from which you base your moral judgements. Dawkins does not have this, nor does any atheist (As we saw the best ethical theories atheists can contrive is consensus based so all Dawkins is really entitled to say is "Most people think religion is evil."). So in making this assertion the atheist is really guilty of unwarranted dogmatism. Yes it is true people flew a plane into the WTC on 9/11 in the name of God but the atheist has no objective footing on which to stand where he can say: "9/11 was immoral!" The atheist can an does say things like this all the time, but I would submit in doing so he is being inconsistant with his worldview and really borrowing from my objective Christian ethics.
The next problem that arises with this charge is the cherry picking of data and historical facts. Yes it is indeed true that many people of all religious stripes have done horrible things in the name of God, however, one only has to look to the 20th century communist regimes to realize that Atheism has blood on its hands as well. Communist Russia was an atheistic regime which exterminated over 20 million people, many of them specifically because they would not deny Christ. Richard Wurmbrand is an example of a Christian who suffered under the oppressive atheist Communist regimes for his Christianity. This is one of the tennants of Communism, to eliminate all religion and establish an atheistic state. This led to much bloodshed.
Not only this but there is an undoubted link between the Darwinian ideas of natural selection and its offspring eugenics. Eugenics is the idea that we will selectively eliminate the unwanted traits in human beings thus speeding the evolutionary process. Margrett Sanger the woman who started Planned Parenthood was a big supporter of eugenics (particularly directed at brown people). Not only this but all this talk of eliminating unwanted traits led to the concentration camps of Nazi Germany which was seeking to produce a "Master race". This ties directly into evolutionary theory, which is the foundation of all atheistic explanations of life.
This being so it is simply wrong to have a rosey/idealistic utopian picture of a society run without religion, people have done it, and it has led to oppressive Totalitarianism wherever it has been done. To make the assertion that religion is the root of all evil is simply absurd and selective of historical facts. Yes wars and evil is done in the name of God, however there are a lot of wars and a lot of evil done under Atheistic presuppositions. To not acknowledge this really is to either be ignorant of the facts or minipulate the data to fit a theory (Dawkins probably knows a lot about that being an evolutionist Paleontologist).
II) Religion a Crutch for the Weak
The thing about bad philosophy seems to be that the charge can always be turned on its head upon the one making it. Just as Dawkins and many atheists assert that Religion is just a crutch for weak minded individuals who simply can not deal with reality, so the Theist can make the same accusation to the atheist. Atheism the Theist can say is for the weak, who simply can not cope with the reality of not being autonomous but accountable to a Creator.
In like manner the oft repeated line of "Religion is just wishful thinking...people want to think there is a heaven awaiting them after death" can also be turned on its head.
For example one could say, "Atheism is just wishful thinking, for weak people who can not deal with the reality of standing before God Almighty and being damned...so the Atheist is engaged in wishful thinking, he wishes there is no God so he says there is no God."
In reality when we make such charges we are really playing Freud, we think we know how the other person arrived at the conclusion (wishful thinking). Indeed it is probably true that there are Theists who are Theists out of a wishful thinking but the same I think can be said of Atheists. However, to make a blanket statement that all Theists are such by wishful thinking is simply arrogant and presumptuous.
Well I think the problems that are evident when we approach Atheistic ethical systems is the unavoidable relativism. When we base our ethics upon any particular (man's reason for example) rleativism is unavoidable. By relativism I mean that there is no fixed unchanging standard for what right and wrong are, in the example I gave above right and wrong are changing based upon a societies majority view. This leads to multiple problems, for instance if a particular societies majority has a view that homosexuality is wrong what is the standard that minority of people who say homosexuality is right base their morality? Society itself is the standard, so no real moral shifts could take place.
Likewise on what footing can one society critique another societies morality if morality is based upon majority consensus within the particular society within which one resides? For example on what basis can we look at Hitler's eugenics and say that it was wrong? Who is right when two seperate societies with differing morals disagree, how can we tell? We are arrogantly imposing our consensus based morality onto a consensus that does not agree. In this vacuum I think all that is left is power, the atheist is right based upon his worldview the society is the standard, however the society will ultimatly be led by a Totalitarian elite just like ALL of the Atheist based governments have been.
As a Christian I have no such dilemma. My ethical system is not based upon any particular but on an absolute objective Being that transcends time and space, this provides an adequate basis for universal and unchanging morality. In the Christian worldview ethics reflect the character of the Triune God revealed in His word, thus they are as unchanging and absolute as His character is.
Atheists almost always raise ignorant questions like: "What if tommorrow God said that rape is now good, would you listen?...Nope didn't think so, so your morality really isn't based upon God!" This is just dumb. It's dumb because the Christian Biblical God has revealed that He does NOT change (James 1:17) but is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
So if something apeared to me no matter how majestic and said: "Hey I'm God, about that rape stuff ya know I changed my mind..." I know that this is not the True Biblical God who is immutable (unchanging) and is an imposter.
In asking such a question like: "Can God make a rock that He can't lift?" the Atheist is commiting a catagorical fallacy. Can God do something He cant do? That is really what is being said in this "profound objection to Christianity". In the case of the "What if God one day said rape was good..." the Atheist is asking "What if God did something He can't do (Change His mind and go against His unchanging character)?"
I have just addressed these pop-Atheist arguments that I hear almost everyday from atheists. These arguments really are so philosophically schlocky I just find it sadly ironic that these are the guys who call themselves the "Free-thinkers" and the ones who live by pure reason. Our reason just like our souls needs to be redeemed and brought under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, for just like the inspired apostle Paul wrote:
"For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools," (Rom 1:21-22)
We need to understand that not only will those who reject and hate God be judged, but also that their atheism IS judgement from God. As Paul states:
"Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." (Romans 1:24-25)
To conblude, here is the documentary I promised "The trouble with Atheism"
The Trouble with Atheism (part 1) by Rod Liddle
The Trouble with Atheism (part 2) by Rod Liddle
I found it to be a good response to all of the pop atheistic rhetoric. My only hangup is that Liddle did not approach this as a Christian, but from the supposedly neutral "agnostic" position. Still, there is good stuff here.