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The Certainty Trap

Christians have created a little trap for people of reason. It is a way they can attack us for whatever answer we give. It is an interesting new rhetoric that I am starting to hear them use more and more. I will call it “The Certainty Trap.”

First they start out with the whole, “it takes more faith not to believe” argument which goes a little something like this: “Unless you know everything in the entire universe, you can’t be certain that there is no God.”

Now atheists are left with two choices. We can claim certainty just as anyone with half a brain would claim to be certain that the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist without having to know everything in the entire universe or like Christians themselves will claim certainty about a host of deities they are certain don’t exist… or we can admit that we aren’t certain and that there might actually be a God.

If we take the first option, we are then labeled “dogmatic” which ironically is a term created specifically for the religious. The religious have now successfully lowered us to their level.

The second option is to admit that we aren’t certain. To some extent this is the more truthful approach but the problem is that it gives Christians the green light to proselytize. In their mind if you admit the possibility you also admit the probability. So by taking this route we have encouraged them in their ridiculous beliefs.

This is where we have to take the time to explain the difference between absolute certainty and reasonable certainty. They have an absolute certainty that their beliefs are true or to use Christianisse that their beliefs are “Truth.” Our certainty however is reasonable certainty. We are reasonably certain that no god exists. That is to say that we admit the possibility, but not the probability. It is in this way that we can turn the tables on their Certainty Trap and expose their dogma for what it is.

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  • silkworm

    I discovered the solution to this problem when I discovered “igtheism” on Wikipedia. Basically, igtheism, or theological noncognitivism, posits that there is no coherent definition of “God,” and without that, any discussion of “God” is meaningless. So, when I get asked whether I believe in “God,” I ask the questioner what they mean by “God.” In most cases it shuts Christians up, but if they try to define “God,” they usually stumble, and even then, any definition they come up with can be contrasted with alternative definitions, and this can be used as a wedge between competing understandings.

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