Nov 18, 2009

"Should we bash religion with a crowbar or only with a baseball bat?"

A reasonably frequent claim in discussion over whether the creator, redeemer and friend that Christians believe in actually exists, is that unlike those from religious backgrounds or defending religious claims, atheists and their ilk, brethren and ‘cuzzy-bros’ are able to come to the table with “no theological axe to grind”. Now, with a background in Scouts I know something about grinding axes, so I’ll give a short reply. First, I apologise for the violent imagery in the trio of axe, baseball bat and crowbar - they have been borrowed from others.

The entertaining ‘quotet’ above came to my attention in checking out such a claim, made by one of those atheists who like to visit and comment over-abundantly on Christian apologetics sites. [NB: If you’re studying critical thinking and want a source of dodgy logic to wade through, visit such an internet discussion – I warn you 1) that it may well bore you to tears and 2) to carefully check any claims made by both sides, as they’re frequently, if not generally, false.]

Predictably, the one whose theological axes were supposedly in complete absentia was an avowed public promoter of atheism, who has spoken at a conference described by fellow non-theist Melvin Konner with the above phrase. I can see the sparks from here; *grind, grind*. I don’t think it could be claimed with a straight face that e.g. Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins could come to a debate on religion from a stance of neutrality – yet somehow, less prominent atheistic scientists get away with it, while Christians are written-off as irreparably compromised by their faith no matter their arguments or personal background.

You see, atheistic materialism is not a “neutral” viewpoint; like other worldviews, it makes grand truth claims. Perhaps later I shall elaborate on exactly what popular scientism entails – for now I shall let you consider the domains of: the creation of matter, the complexity of life, the phenomena of consciousness, the moral law, the personage of Jesus Christ, the changed lives of his followers and our very integrity and dignity as persons, in the absence of God. I grant atheism this, though: it, along with agnosticism, is eminently falsifiable. This is precisely why I can have confidence in rejecting it.

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