Thursday, March 12, 2009

Radical Atheism

By "radical atheism" I am referring to that genre of atheism whose proponents insist that a "supreme being" would need to conform to their standards in order to exist, and since obviously no being is conforming to their standards, no such being exists. These "standards" may take on many different forms, ranging from the idea that a supreme being would not allow the suffering which we observe in the world to take place, to the idea that such a being would supposedly have to be comprehensible to human beings or like human beings, which includes being limited by time and space. Of course the source of their standards is themselves, which means that they view themselves as their own highest authority.

Some radical atheists will insist that if a supreme being of some kind exists, it would be morally wrong for such a being to allow human beings to suffer. How they can say that anything is morally right or wrong I don't know. If it would always be morally wrong to allow suffering, however, then we would have to conclude that many diagnostic procedures were wrong. If they then say that only allowing suffering which does not involve any observable benefit to people would be morally wrong, they would be saying in essence that the Creator can have no higher purpose than the purposes of human beings, and that He has no right to do whatever He wishes with those who He created, even if they have rebelled against Him.

Some radical atheists seem to have no intention of budging from their atheism unless a supreme being of some kind communicates with them in a certain way or causes some kind of observable miracle to take place. In other words, this being would have to allow himself to somehow be manipulated or controlled by them. No doubt it hasn't dawned on such people that entertaining the thought of a creature imposing terms on the Creator is the height of absurdity.

Some radical atheists will not take any responsibility for trying to make their case. Instead they will simply say they are unconvinced that any evidence for a Creator exists, and demand that theists do all the work to make their case, and if the so-called standards are not met, the radical atheists go merrily on their way, acting as if they have won the day, when in fact nothing of the sort has happened.

What about the great variety of theistic beliefs? Many theists may have unsubstantiated, contradictory, and even self-contradictory views, but this does not invalidate theism per se. It only indicates that either many kinds of theism are erroneous, or else we live in an irrational universe and there's no point in anyone discussing anything.

In my experience I have found that radical atheists tend to avoid providing meaningful responses to objections to their views, and their objections to theism are often emotional and lack any substance. When given the opportunity to engage in meaningful dialog, they often all of a sudden have something else to do, such as give their goldfish a bath. How tragic it is when people promote errors with such serious implications while at the same time they are unwilling to provide meaningful responses to reasonable objections.

1 comment:

Dave said...

The film Collision will surely get you thinking, whether you're an atheist or not.