God’s Not Dead, Chapter 2 – Insults Aren’t Arguments (pt17)
INSULTS AREN’T ARGUMENTS
Ridicule and mockery are, in fact, evidence that there is a reluctance to engage theism on a rational and theological grounds.
I will agree and disagree with this statement. First, yes, we should not mock people, but we should mock ideas that deserve ridicule. If you met someone who truly believed the Earth was flat you would not accept their denial of science and uneducated position, you (and I) would mock them for their belief. Beliefs are not off the table for ridicule, mine and yours.
It’s a hard lesson to learn but sometimes the best way to find out that you are in fact holding a ridiculous stance is to be mocked and jeered at for it, this usually makes you step back and rethink your position.
Any mistake made by someone with religious faith is gathered and collected as evidence that because of the mistakes of those who are believers, God isn’t there. It’s a little like saying that because my children make mistakes, I don’t exist.
It is amazing to me how the author states that take the actions of the few religious nar-do-wells and claim all religious people act like them and in the same chapter he claims atheists are bad because of Hitler, Stalin, Zedong, and Pol Pot. Beyond that, it’s not saying you don’t exist if your kids make mistakes because you are human if, however, you were an eternal, all-powerful, deity who supposedly created a perfect world, maybe.
I already said it but, again, the ridicule atheists use against the faithful are about the beliefs, not about the people.
The legions of the unbelieving have learned to cry “reason” while they consistently hit below the belt with one emotional appeal after another.
The author attempts to make an argument that the atheists were emotional are emotionally driven in their engagements. This quote is problematic for me first because it seems that the religious stance is more about emotion than the faith-less one. Although the atheist may be emboldened to act by their emotion we rarely make our arguments’ foundations on emotional appeals. Secondly, what is “below the belt”? Questioning a deity? Questioning why something is sacred vs secret? Demanding physical demonstrable evidence before devoting a life to the praise and service of a possibly fictional being?
Quoting Peter Hitchens, the author brings up that some atheists get angry during discussions.
The difficulties of the anti-theists begin when they try to engage with anyone who does not agree with them, when their reason is often a frustrated rage that the rest of us are stupid.
I will freely admit that I have gotten heated in discussions involving faith and religion, but the fact that someone doesn’t simply agree with me isn’t the source of the “rage”. The aggravation comes from having the same discussion, debating the same points, answering the same tired position statements, demonstrating the flaws and fallacies in an argument over and over again, and/or opposing ‘I just feel it’s right’ as the evidence someone uses to hold a position.
The author quotes David Albert from the New York Times review of the book A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss. The reviewer states that Krauss makes the accusation that “religion is, I don’t know, dumb.” This statement is supposed to “identify the unreasonable anger that is exhibited against religion” but I think it falls short. Some of the “New Atheists” have rage against religion and what they perceive as brainwashing or indoctrination (Richard Dawkins has even likened church to child abuse) and who are we to say they’re anger is unjustified?
The author, and the reviewer, claim our criticism of their religion is “unreasonable” and that we think they or their beliefs are “dumb”, but I wonder how reasonable Mr. Broocks is to the ancients’ beliefs in centaurs, demi-gods, and other deities. The world as a whole has agreed that these beliefs are now ‘dumb’ and are only accepted as mythology, but those people believed the gods lived on Olympus, they ‘knew‘ Minos had placed his son, the minotaur, at the center of his labyrinth.
Imagine this: People come to you explaining away phenomena that we understand (or even those we don’t) as being the work of Hephaestus or Dionysus. You rebuke their arguments but they continue on, they know the true reason behind the movement of the water (Poseidon), you explain the lunar pull causing the tides, they deny or just simply don’t entertain your idea that maybe it can be explained naturally with no involvement by the super-natural. Continually you are called angry or unreasonable for not simply going with the flow, you get angry. You understand that a harsher tactic may be needed to get through to them. You understand that for the greater good you may need to be seen as angry or vengeful for going after those beliefs you long held on faith but some time in the future you see enlightenment may, just may, make it through and help others get free of that faith.
I don’t know if that rant will come out understandable or potable but I will end here. I am sorry to anyone I have been angry at while discussing religion and I can’t promise to change because like Peter Hitchens said, speaking of atheists:
I tend to sympathize with them. I too have been angry with opponents who required me to re-examine opinions I had embraced more through passion than through reason.