August 17, 2011

Will Christians lie to attack the criticism from atheism?

Response to "Will Atheists Lie To Promote Their Doctrine?", by Heath Stapleton (Heath's Blog, Kountze Church of Christ, Kountze, Texas, 5/13/2011).

Well, there's Christian anti-atheist rhetoric, and then there is reality.

First of all, there's the rhetoric that atheism is a "doctrine" (or another "religion"), but the reality is that that's a false pretension used by promoters of religious belief who seriously don't like it when people don't even accept the basic premise of religious faith in the first place. Portraying atheism as a "doctrine" is like pretending bald is another hair color. Atheism in the most commonly used sense simply refers to the position of "I don't buy this belief in a god that you're peddling because you just haven't backed up the idea with good evidence" - in other words it's based on a basic perspective of critical thinking and critical scrutiny. Portraying the rejection of religious doctrine and religious faith as a religious faith is an incoherent contradiction.

Second, Christians like to pretend they have an objective standard, but the reality is that no such objective standard exists, and Christians certainly are incapable of finding one since they're contradicting each other all the time on what this alleged "objective morality" is supposed to be. (Even the Church of Christ itself is splintered into various sects who refuse to "fellowship" each other because they cannot agree on what the supposed "rules" laid down by God are supposed to be.)

Third, atheists tend to have a higher conception of morality precisely because they don't buy into the Pharisaical tendency of trying to legislate moral principles with religious rules. As a direct specific example, lying, per se, is not in itself wrong, but it is what the purpose of the act that determines its effect. When a Nazi knocked on the door of a German citizen hiding a Jew in the attic, full-blown lying deception would have been at that moment the apex of virtue.

Fourth, in regard to dealing with reality, the problem - at least predominantly in the United States - isn't atheists lying to promote "the greater good" (whatever that's supposed to mean), but Christians, typically on the conservative side of the religious scale, lying to promote their religious doctrines - such as denying the scientific facts of astronomy and geology and falsely pretending that the universe and the earth didn't even exist more than about 6,000 years ago.

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