Monday, 28 September 2009

Funny things about atheists

They managed to close down Nathan's blog!

Nathan warned that his blog in new location might not preserve comment on the old blog, so purely for vanity's sake I'm posting here what I said in comments about the post that started the fuss, Five things that would make atheists seem nicer.

But first, and just in case Nathan's blog-move kills even the original post, let's see what he wrote in full:

I am trying really hard to cut down on generalising and bagging out “atheists” rather than specific people and streams of atheism.

They’re not all the same – and they aren’t all out to eat your babies. But atheists (general) keep giving me reason to think bad thoughts about them. Like the two who hijack this thread on Communicate Jesus.

Here are five tips for my atheist friends to help them seem nicer and more reasonable.

1. Stop being so smug.

2. Don’t assume every piece of Christian evangelism is directed at you – we want the undecideds, not the decided-uns.

3. Admit that the debate about God’s existence is complex – and that it can, depending on your presuppositions, be quite possible for intelligent and rational people to intelligently believe in an intervening deity who communicates through a book.

4. Admit that the scientific method – which by its nature relies on induction rather than deduction (starting with a hypothesis and testing it rather than observing facts and forming a hypothesis) – is as open to abuse as any religious belief, and is neither objective nor infallible.

5. Try to deal with the actual notions of God seriously believed in by millions of people rather than inventing strawmen (or spaghetti monsters) to dismiss the concepts of God – and deal with the Bible paying attention to context and the broader Christological narrative rather than quoting obscure Old Testament laws. By all means quote the laws when they are applied incorrectly by “Christians” – but understand how they’re meant to work before dealing with the Christians described in point 3.

Sound reasonable? Well, not according to the mouth-foamings of the atheists who bit back. It doesn't need a greatly developed sense of irony to find humour in atheists managing to prove what Nathan gently invites them to disprove.

Anyhow, Here's the comment I left on Nathan's thread, which had about 40 comments of general atheistic argy-bargy by the time I looked in:

G'day Nathan

This thread is quite funny, and considerably better than your previous efforts at baiting Nigerian scammers. Lousy ROI (Return On Investment) by comparison, wouldn't you say?

But I think you are wrongheaded. I note what you said about comments not moving to your new webhost, so I'll keep it short. This:

I am trying really hard to cut down on generalising and bagging out “atheists” rather than specific people and streams of atheism. where you fail, to paraphrase Yoda, that great Jedi authority. It's just one of those polite and genteel hang-overs of a bygone era that finds no support whatsoever in Scripture.

Next time, start with "The fool has said in his heart, 'there is no God'" (Ps 14:1) This is far truer to the scant biblical testimony about atheism than trying the approach of reason, which gets...well, you've seen what it gets you. It gets you looking for a new webhost.

God bless, and congratulations on a very funny thread!

Atheism is not about reason, it's about a-theism (by definition), and deserves scorn rather than argument.


Nathan said...

Yay. My own tag.

Your comment is there in all its glory.

I'm increasingly thinking that you're right. But I'm struggling to pour scorn on my friends who are atheists who I would love to see converted.

Mr Paroxysm said...

And we you Nathan.

Luke said...

I've been talking with an atheist on Hayley's blog ( Its frustrating because some will not have eyes to see or ears to hear and so all the argument in the world will not help them see.

Plus, some arguments come from an unwillingness to believe anything else - because they assume that they have no belief. maybe linked to point 2 of your list nathan?

Will said...

"Atheism is not about reason, it's about a-theism (by definition), and deserves scorn rather than argument."

Well, Luke - I totally know what you mean about people who won't listen to all the argument in the world.
Gordon, I saw your post over there, and followed to this blog... but if you flatly state that you won't engage in discussion, I'll just leave this here.

Matthew 5:22
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, “Raca,” is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.