Wrong Idea: “Atheism ‘believes’ there is no God- but where’s their proof?”

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Jim West states, on his June 20th blog post, “answering your letters,” that “atheism ‘believes’ there is no god- but where’s their proof?

He says a bunch of other stuff, too, but let’s reserve those juicy bits for later.

There are, no doubt, atheists who actively “believe” there is no god. But this isn’t the most fundamental characteristic of New Atheists, who simply aren’t moved by the claims of theists that a god does exist. West doesn’t like atheists, so he’s not about to give any credit to their point of view. Regardless, he’s the one with the claim. From the perspective of someone who wasn’t culturally indoctrinated in West’s religious superstitions, a positive claim is being made which is extraordinary (I’ve yet to meet the Christian that didn’t think their god was extraordinary). Atheists, in general, don’t start with positive claim. They simply ask, “what’s the evidence?” With the evidence lacking, they continue with “what good reason is there to accept a god as real?”

Jim West is about fighting the culture war. He says it:

“Christians have been either unwilling or afraid to take the offensive against atheist propaganda preferring, instead, to lay back and take ‘defensive’ (i.e., apologetic) positions.  In my opinion it’s time to take the fight to them instead of letting them barrage our camps without charging.”

Well, he sure isn’t about to let an atheist post his/her opinion in the comments section of his camp (a.k.a. blog). That’s for sure.  I posted several very reasoned responses that never made it past his moderation queue after he made comparisons between atheists and hated insects like mosquitoes.

West continues: “They barf out books anti-Christian and the lowest sorts of them…”

But he doesn’t provide any example of which are the “lowest sorts” and what makes them so. There’s  a reason for this, I’m sure. Either he hasn’t ever actually read any of the books by atheists or he hasn’t any real counter-argument. Better to stay in the shadows, “barfing” ad hominem remarks and poisoning the wells of intellectual authors of New Atheism than to risk getting caught up in an academic or intellectually embarrassing debate.

As to his call-to-arms: ”I’d like to see Christians of all flavors begin to barrage the ridiculous atheists with all manner of challenges to their ‘system of belief,’” I say bring it on. At some point a dialog must ensue. Either Christians will force themselves to answer intellectual and academic criticism and query, or they’ll just avoid it while atheists looking for dialog do all the talking. Hatred and bigotry versus intellectualism and reason.

West concludes:

It’s high time Christianity take back what rightly belongs to it- the upper hand, and stop sniveling about the influx of atheists and meet them on the field of battle by attacking them in their own camp.
Surround their city, blow the trumpet, and watch their walls crumble like crackers in soup.

It’s high time Christianity take back what rightly belongs to it- the upper hand, and stop sniveling about the influx of atheists and meet them on the field of battle by attacking them in their own camp.

Surround their city, blow the trumpet, and watch their walls crumble like crackers in soup.

I have little fear of any force that finds it advantageous to appeal to the mythology of Joshua and the fantastic story about Jericho’s walls being brought down by trumpets. There’s a bit of pseduo-archaeological lore surrounding this that Christians seem to fancy, much like the myths of Noah’s ark and the Exodus of Moses. Jim West’s mistake is appealing to these myths as if they are reality and not focusing on the flaws in his own position: atheists aren’t trying to prove his god doesn’t exist nor would they be expected to. He has the claim as do Hindus, Muslims, Polynesians, Peruvians, etc. It’s his responsibility to show his god exists. I don’t see him disproving Ptah, Vishnu, Allah, Polynesian volcano gods, Andean mountain gods, Zeus, or any of the other thousands of gods, both extant and extinct, that man has invented. When he has successfully disproved their existences, then he has the juice to demand atheists disprove his god.

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