Skip to main content

atheism competition - last call for entries...

I am looking for the most irritating, sinister or downright funny example of the ever-popular "but atheism is a faith position too" move. Any more entries...?


jeremy said…
OK, this one (from an email):

Logically, you cannot have a "lack of belief in". What you have to do instead is "believe in the lack of" deity. If you want to be agnostic and simply say "I don't know if deity(ies) exist or not", then do so. It is easier, and better, to change your label than to try to change a definition all of us are using to try to communicate better.

I submit that atheists are so busy trying to change the definition is because they do recognize that they are making a statement of faith, but don't have the courage to acknowledge it.

P.S. Why always the horrendous grammar? :(
jeremy said…
But I am afraid I've never seen such gobsmacking outrageousness as this: the article is called The Faith of Unbelief, and is written by Dallas Willard, "USC Philosophy Professor [!], Speaker, Author".

To give you just a taste, take only the concluding three points:

There really is no reason in the general nature of reality why "Mere Christianity" or any other view should or should not be true. This constitutes what older thinkers used to refer to as the "antecedent credibility" of Christianity (or other views).

Thesis: Most of 'the faith of unbelief' that exists today in the concrete form of individual personalities is morally irresponsible—because not rationally sustained—and would be recognized as the superstition it most often is, but for the fact that it is vaguely endorsed by the intellectual system. One might be rational, as above defined, and not believe, in my opinion. But I think this is highly unlikely, and am sure it rarely ever actually occurs. (This opens up another set of issues about belief in relation to evidence.)

If, now, one says that current belief is just as morally irresponsible as current unbelief, or even more so, we can only ask: "And how does that help?" Do we not, whoever we are, owe it to ourselves and those around us to be serious about questions of major importance to human well-being?

Imagine electing to do study philosophy and ending up in his class!
Anonymous said…
I am moved to wonder exactly what the point of the “atheism - a faith position” contest is. The terms of the competition seem to seek to reward the person “who can find the most irritating, sinister or downright funny use of this ever-popular myth?” Presumably such a position would be far more easily refuted than a non-irritating, non-sinister, non-downright-funny argument forwarding the same conclusion. How then would this be a triumph for the proponents of atheism? To seek out the weakest form of an opponent’s argument and hold it up to ridicule does not seem to me to be an effective way to forward the cause of reason, logic or rational thinking.

Excellent prize though!!
Larry Hamelin said…
Juliana: It would probably be useful to note that Law discusses the more serious arguments in the his three posts. One can pursue serious philosophy and indulge in a spot of fun.
Larry Hamelin said…
Here's another good one: Is Atheism a Religion? from Atheism's Fallacies: "Exposing the Flawed 'Logic' and 'Reasoning' Behind Atheism".

This is the premise behind why we here at think that Atheism is a religion. The term atheism comes from the Greek word atheos, meaning godless. Atheos is derived from 'a', meaning "without," and 'theos', meaning "deity". Simply put Atheism literally means "no god". But the problem is that Atheists don't leave it at that. They promote the idea and come up with a belief system to try and prove that there is no god. In fact Atheists by their own admission adhear [sic] to a set of doctrinal beliefs!
Larry Hamelin said…
From Atheism's Fallacies blog "welcome" page:

If you are posting to attack the author, website owner, or what we believe then don’t waste your time. You won’t change my mind so don’t bother trying.

And we're the dogmatic ones!
jeremy said…
Hehe - that last one's a gem. A real gem... ;)
potentilla said…
What I don't get is why some religious people seem to be so keen to "prove" that atheism is "just" a religion. Surely they think religion, and faith, are good things. But the project to paint atheism as a faith position seems to suggest some underlying commitment to the view that rationality is the best way of coming to conclusions about things. Tactically, it would seem better advised to stick to the line that atheists are poor benighted people who lack some fundamental perception, analagous to being deaf or blind.

I know this is not an original thought, but it just struck me afresh reading BB's quotations.
Larry Hamelin said…
Their goal is, I think, to paint atheists as inconsistent and hypocritical.
Anonymous said…
You're right (I am having a bad cognition day). But there's still a sort of lingering "see, you're just as bad as us" flavour.

Popular posts from this blog


(Published in Faith and Philosophy 2011. Volume 28, Issue 2, April 2011. Stephen Law. Pages 129-151) EVIDENCE, MIRACLES AND THE EXISTENCE OF JESUS Stephen Law Abstract The vast majority of Biblical historians believe there is evidence sufficient to place Jesus’ existence beyond reasonable doubt. Many believe the New Testament documents alone suffice firmly to establish Jesus as an actual, historical figure. I question these views. In particular, I argue (i) that the three most popular criteria by which various non-miraculous New Testament claims made about Jesus are supposedly corroborated are not sufficient, either singly or jointly, to place his existence beyond reasonable doubt, and (ii) that a prima facie plausible principle concerning how evidence should be assessed – a principle I call the contamination principle – entails that, given the large proportion of uncorroborated miracle claims made about Jesus in the New Testament documents, we should, in the absence of indepen

What is Humanism?

What is Humanism? “Humanism” is a word that has had and continues to have a number of meanings. The focus here is on kind of atheistic world-view espoused by those who organize and campaign under that banner in the UK and abroad. We should acknowledge that there remain other uses of term. In one of the loosest senses of the expression, a “Humanist” is someone whose world-view gives special importance to human concerns, values and dignity. If that is what a Humanist is, then of course most of us qualify as Humanists, including many religious theists. But the fact remains that, around the world, those who organize under the label “Humanism” tend to sign up to a narrower, atheistic view. What does Humanism, understood in this narrower way, involve? The boundaries of the concept remain somewhat vague and ambiguous. However, most of those who organize under the banner of Humanism would accept the following minimal seven-point characterization of their world-view.

Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism refuted

Here's my central criticism of Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN). It's novel and was published in Analysis last year. Here's the gist. Plantinga argues that if naturalism and evolution are true, then semantic epiphenomenalism is very probably true - that's to say, the content of our beliefs does not causally impinge on our behaviour. And if semantic properties such as having such-and-such content or being true cannot causally impinge on behaviour, then they cannot be selected for by unguided evolution. Plantinga's argument requires, crucially, that there be no conceptual links between belief content and behaviour of a sort that it's actually very plausible to suppose exist (note that to suppose there are such conceptual links is not necessarily to suppose that content can be exhaustively captured in terms of behaviour or functional role, etc. in the way logical behaviourists or functionalists suppose). It turns o