Athiests: Rebels Without A Clue

Can something come from nothing?

How could everything we know have come from nothing?

Are all atheists bitter, angry, ranty individuals?  They seem to splutter out more hatred (for faith and ‘religion’) towards their fellow man than any ‘religious’ group of bigots I’ve seen?   I am yet to meet an atheist who has the first elementary clue about the Christian faith.

It’s really starting to bug me.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the ‘church’ is hugely to blame for this but the shocking levels of sheer ignorance amongst atheists is clearly leading them to get their collective pants twisted about nothing at all (according to them!).   Why get so hot under the collar about something you don’t believe in?

The god they so passionately hate, the ‘blind’ faith of millions of people that so drastically raises their blood pressure has been extremely badly represented, it is true. So I will accept they are not entirely to blame for their misguided views, but please, could an atheist who actually understand the Bible, understands faith and understands science step forward for a grown up debate?  (Tumbleweed…….)

Here are a few of my own thoughts, ever-evolving (nice wee pun to lighten the mood) and here for you to debate, agree, argue, whatever you like.

Let’s stop being intellectually bullied by evangelical zealots who seem to want to make it their life’s good work to strip people of their faith and love for God.

1 – Evolution.  Stop telling Christians that there is no creator because we all crawled out of the sea.  What a load of nonsense.  If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?  Okay, that’s a cheeky one. But simply put –  why can’t God create evolution? There has to be a Chemist operating the chemistry set. No?  Wow, so you believe that the world is one big chemistry set that somehow organises itself to create bangs, whistles and pops and out comes humankind? Another analogy? Well, even once you’ve identified and named every ingredient in a cake, and can explain with big long words how the baking process transforms the gooey batter into a fluffy heaven that Delia would be proud of, you still need something with the power and intellect to combine them in the right quantity and order and put them in an oven to bake- a cake cannot bake itself just because you’ve figured out all the ingredients.  That’s some blind faith you’ve got there Mr. Atheist. Impressive.

2 – The Big Bang.  So, something can go bang without matter?  I don’t think so. ‘Nothing’ cannot create something. ‘Nothing’ is not an agent.  All the laws of gravity and physics you like still are simply laws and theory, they are not executing agents.  Newton’s apple would have fallen off the tree whether he figured out the law of gravity or not.  The apple did not wait for him to declare that gravity was operating as a physical law, before jumping willingly to the ground.  Newton’s apple also had to originate from matter.  To quote CS Lewis – no amount of book-keeping ever produced one farthing.  Science is an observer and a commentator – it is not a creator.  So if you heard a bang, it was my head off a brick wall with this one.

3 – Morals.  We don’t need a god because humans have a shared intrinsic moral law.  Really? Tell that to a salivating cannibal. Just kidding.  If your mother/child/partner was brutally murdered – so what Mr Athiest? So what?? That murderer is simply exercising his right to kill should he or she so wish to.  No? It’s ‘wrong’? Says who?  What if your mother/child/partner was brutally murdered whilst trying to brutally murder someone else? Was your beloved’s brutal murder now ‘less wrong’?  Or consider this of your animal kingdom which you seem to believe is morally on a par with humankind: Ever watched a lion shred a deer to smithereens prior to tucking in?  Pretty brutal murder huh?  Why is it not murder? Because it’s a hungry animal? So, hang on, are you saying one moral law for mankind and none for creatures? Why?  We’re just animals too aren’t we…..?

4 – Science.  God is now redundant, because we have science.  Oh please.  Refer to the chemistry set point above.  God is not a ‘god of the gaps’ with his position to be slowly downsized to nothing as our clever dick scientists discover genes, cells and atoms we didn’t know we had and how they work. Science and faith are not, and never have been, and never will be diametrically opposed.

5 – Creation.  The biggie.  Surely no sane person could accept, now that we have the luxury of carbon-dating and fossils etc that the world was created 2000 years ago and in, gasp, seven days. Well, no dear. If you ever bother to actually read the Bible – it says that ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth’.. this was outside and in advance of the ‘seven days’ of creation.  I.e. the earth is the age the earth is.  God never said any different and Christians who know what they’re on about never said anything different either. Seven days? What, Monday to Saturday with His holy feet up on the Sunday watching cricket. If God is an omnipresent being who ‘always was’ then maybe, just maybe, the reference to seven days was for our dim benefit, to describe an extremely complex process – in fact THE most complex process – so that we could even begin to wrap our teeny minds around – i.e. a shining example of when the Bible was not to be taken literally.  There are many of those, but I’ll stop there for now!

To sum up.

Dear Atheists,

1 –  Read the Bible and ask some intelligent questions before deciding you’re an expert on scripture just because you were once forced to sing Give Me Oil In My Lamp at school.

2 – Don’t be so ignorant to assume that science is an opponent of faith. They are utterly compatible.

3 – Re point 1 above – until you’ve understood the Bible, don’t think for one minute you have the right to decide when to take it literally and without the first clue about the authors (all 30+ of them) and the context, culture and motivations of their subject matter.

16 responses to “Athiests: Rebels Without A Clue

  1. If you want to engage with more philosophical and theologically educated Atheists, you’re going to have to stop attacking straw men and using analogies and insults to make your points rather than reason and impartial evidence. I’m not saying that there haven’t been people on both sides who have done that. I’m just saying that in order for there to be progress and true discussion, we must deal with each other’s ideas, not our personalities or characters. You claim that Atheists seem to know little to nothing about religion when that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/09/28/130191248/atheists-and-agnostics-know-more-about-bible-than-religious

    If you’d like, we can discuss these 5 subjects in further detail.

    • Thanks for your response. Oh a few insults hurled towards a biased sample of strawmen really isn’t going to hurt anyone.. 😉

      What a strange article that is. So, people who have studied various world religions know more facts about the precepts of the religion than practicioners? I’m neither surprised nor bothered about this. With reference to my supplementary response to the comments below, church fails sometimes and even where it successfully educates Christians in the rudiments of the faith, there will always be, and must be, room for debate & disagreement within the faith. Not one person walking this earth has all the answers or should ever profess to fully understand God – what foolishness that would be. It still does not disprove God’s existence – for all the picking of holes in Christians, their behaviour and church and it’s sometimes-weak teaching. It proves only that humans are fallable and good at screwing things up. But we knew that already.

      Back to my fundamental gripe. Why on earth would a person spend so much passionate time and energy trying to ridicule someone else’s faith? As for one of the comments above which implies – oh no, it’s only the faith of the badly behaved people we disapprove of – even more evidence that God’s existence is NOT the true debate at the core. Angry, ranty atheism seems to me to be motivated by political, social and personal gripes and grudges. ‘God’ barely factors at all.

  2. Consider that you may be experiencing some sampling bias. People who are angry, yell; people who aren’t angry may say nothing at all. Besides, many people who are angry about one particular thing, aren’t just pissed at the world, and once you get them off-topic, they turn out to be quite pleasant. Again, sampling bias at work.

    • Totally agree. Hence my call out for any non-angry, or even angry but non-ranty, informed atheists to peek out of the shadows and have a chat about it all here 🙂

      • Why are you interested in this? You have posited that rejection of theism is based on motivation to rationalize a preexisting viewpoint, rather than on any solid philosophical foundation. Are you trying to confirm or refute that hypothesis?

      • I was hoping for a discussion in as plain English as possible. I was not hoping for a debate about debate but perhaps that is an inevitable diversion for some.

        I am intrigued and irritated in equal measure by atheists who arrogantly and patronisingly dismiss belief in God – belief that many millions of people share, many of whom are far smarter than you or I – and in doing so belittle the genuine experiences that Christians have as if we are to be found clinically insane.

        I find that worth objecting to.

  3. “Are all atheists bitter, angry, ranty individuals? ”

    Nope.

    But, welcome to the internet. An inordinate amount of bitter, angry and ranty individuals frequent here. Atheists or otherwise.

    “I am yet to meet an atheist who has the first elementary clue about the Christian faith.”

    Which one? There are thousands of versions of the Christian faith.

    “Why get so hot under the collar about something you don’t believe in?”

    Because the people who believe in him/it/them cause problems and harm people. We’re mad at the people, not the god.

    I’m not upset at believers in Santa Claus. But if Santa Claus believers tried to get Santa Claus belief taught in public school science classes, I’d be somewhat upset about it.

    “If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?”

    Because we didn’t. We evolved from a common ancestor with monkeys.

    And as for the rest…you don’t understand science. You might be interested in talking to a scientist sometime.

    • Thanks for taking the time to respond.

      I agree utterly there are so many versions of the ‘Christian faith’ that even the debate can become like spaghetti junction with no-one getting very far. I hope my sense of disappointment in intelligent Christian response to the atheist’s arguments came across, but if not I will reiterate: Christians need to know what their faith is, before they can ever hope to explain it and that’s where I like to separate church from faith. For atheists to assume that all Christians are the same in their faith is a fatal error too -and this is where my own little bloggie rant came from.. I am fed up of atheists ranting on about believers of Santa etc. Their impressive intellectual energy levels could be far better used (and much better informed).

      I know my faith. I’ve been agnostic and I’ve been Christian. {As it happens, I don’t believe in true atheism as the non-existence of God can never be proven}. We are all agnostic or have faith. It’s that simple. The many versions of that faith is where it gets so complex (and interesting).

      Church is meant to educate, explain, teach and often fails. Many church leaders are well meaning and enthusiastic but are making it up as they go along – they are on a journey like the rest of us. There is no such thing as a super-breed of Christians who are given a God-ordained right to lead others with their priviledged insight. There are, however, those who are skilled and educated and able to lead people in their own journey of faith, get the best from people and make a positive difference by organising groups of like-minded faith-filled people. God is no respecter of persons. He has no favourites. Jesus’s death gave free access to ALL to God.

      So I have no issue with the concept of church or organised religion – assuming they are not training up suicide bombers under the guise of religious mandate in the back room of course…

      It seems to me that many atheists are actually angry with the church, and it’s failures, not with faith. Banking is a good idea, but the way the banks have behaved is not so good. Will we abandon banking? I doubt it.

      Comparing belief in God to ‘belief’ in Santa Clause is precisely the kind of atheistic mumbo jumbo which fuels the disrespect on both sides I’m afraid. It is incredibly insulting to compare a faith in deity with a fairytale character and, frankly, is very lazy in terms of debate. No one ever claimed their life was transformed by Santa, or they were raised from the dead in front of witnesses by the easter bunny, or were freed of alcohol and drug addiction by the tooth fairy. Come on.

      I understand science about as much as you understand faith – probably more. I do not claim to have mastered science, it is true – I am talking about a very basic logic with which most averagely intelligent people are gifted. I won’t win any prizes for scientific discovery, and neither will atheists who think that faith in God is comparable to a child believing in Santa..

      As for being ‘mad at the people not the god’, you imply from this that because some people who claim to believe in God do harm, then it is their belief in that is to blame for the harm. No more than their parenting, background, conditioning etc surely? Isn’t it possible that their motivations for doing harm were from a source other than their belief? And again, back to people being mis-taught by the church and then behaving badly (either because of that teaching or due to any other influence) – this does not alter one iota the fact of God’s existence.

  4. I think I’m starting to realize why there debates between believers and non-believers do not go very well, and both sides are to blame here.

    Each side is entering with a certain number of assumptions, the most basic of which is that believers believe in God and atheists do not. Both sides are trying to argue their point using their own assumptions (and not the other) as the starting point, which creates problems obviously .

    We should encourage three sets of debates in my opinion: one where we assume God exists, one where we assume that God does not exist, and one where we only use assumptions that both sides agree on.

    In short: unless both sides are willing to give up their own assumptions and attempt to see the world from the other side, we will have bigots and ranters on both sides of the issue.

    • If someone, like myself, has experienced a genuine convertion to faith from an agnostic beginning, then I would argue that that person does have a view of both sides. But I appreciate your point. Thanks for commenting.

  5. “1 – Read the Bible and ask some intelligent questions before deciding you’re an expert on scripture just because you were once forced to sing Give Me Oil In My Lamp at school.”

    Are you kidding? Some of the most vocal atheists were not only Christian previously, but clergy on top of that. There are only a few experts on Christian holy texts compared to the vast number of Christians who think they know their holy texts. The simple truth is that any random sampling is most likely to show that atheists do know more about the Christian Bible than self professed Christians… research has shown this to be true.

    “2 – Don’t be so ignorant to assume that science is an opponent of faith. They are utterly compatible.”
    It’s not an assumption. Science shows there is no need for gods to explain the universe and life as we know it. Science shows that the laws of nature are fundamentally in opposition to the creation stories, without which there is no need of a god. Just because you can have faith in something for which there is evidence does not mean that there is evidence for everything in which you have faith. Science offers actual medical advice and cures while your faith objects to them, instead offering prayer and killing birds and other superstitious activities as cures. These two are not compatible… to name just a couple of reasons that your statement is breathtaking in its ignorance.

    “3 – Re point 1 above – until you’ve understood the Bible, don’t think for one minute you have the right to decide when to take it literally and without the first clue about the authors (all 30+ of them) and the context, culture and motivations of their subject matter.”

    If any Christian group actually understood their Bible perhaps they could explain it to the approximately 30000 other Christian sects so that everyone would be using the same interpretation. If not all of your Bible can be taken literally, then how do you know which parts are true? Maybe the story of resurrection is only allegory? Further, who the hell are you to tell everyone else how to interpret it? Also, what were the culture and motivations of ‘Q’ ? You seem to claim some authority on the subject, so why don’t you tell us about Q?

  6. To my amazement, one of our children has decided to be an atheist. Faith is not inherited. It is not obtained through reason. Jesus woes us and opens our eyes individually. My son is greatly loved by my husband and I. I respect his decision and I pray that the eyes of his heart will be opened by the Holy Spirit. My job is to love this child. He respects my faith and feels free to ask and speak with me on our differences. Love will win out in the end…God’s love! ~ Wendy

    • Hi Wendy, thanks for posting.

      As a mum of two young kids I have vaguely wondered how I would react if either (or both) of them decided against Christianity. I suppose my conclusion, in a nutshell, is that even though they may feel they don’t believe in God – God still believes in them. I would hope I could trust that God would finish what He began in their lives and that as they grow older and experience life’s ups and downs, when it came down to it – they would always revert back to their original stance of faith in God.

      Is it possible your son has grown weary of church (if he went)? Is it possible he needs to be encourage to find a fresh look at his faith? I’ve said it previously in the Blog here but I actually do not believe in true atheism – because I refute that science or anything else has disproved His existence. I believe that there are believers, and not-yet believers (i.e. agnostics)! For someone to annouce that they have become an atheist sounds so much more decisive and, dare I say, dramatic than ‘I’ve decided I’m not sure anymore’ .. but I believe that is, in fact, what your boy may be really saying.

      • C.S. Lewis is one author that my son respects. I gave him Mere Christianity to read and he did. Since C.S. Lewis did not always follow Christ until later, I thought this would be a good book for him. I have also exposed our children to other great writers such as Lee Strobel plus DVDs etc. It still comes down to a personal choice. I would be more concerned with him if he was still attending the church with us and pretending like he believes as I think many adults have for years…

        I agree with you that God still believes in him. I look forward to the day when my son believes. It will be real.

        ~ Wendy

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