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It Takes More Faith to be an Atheist

The popular Christian argument is that in order for atheists to reject the claim that a god exists, we must first know everything. What they are claiming is that atheists must know the entire set of facts about the universe before we can look and that set and see that their God is not included in that set of facts. Of course this argument is pretty absurd.

First it claims that atheists are claiming to know with faith-based, dogmatic, absolute certainty that the Christian God does not exist. While some atheists might claim that, this is really just a false caricature or “straw man” of what most atheists think. Most atheists simply see no evidence and thus no valid reason to believe.

Second, this argument assumes that we have to know what is in order to know what isn’t. I’m not a computer expert and so if someone asked me how computers work, I really couldn’t tell them. But if someone told me that there is a gerbil inside which powers the computer, I would be a bit more than skeptical. Even though I don’t personally know how computers work, I am reasonably certain that gerbils are not involved. I don’t need to know everything about computers to know that gerbils are not in that set of facts. Common sense informs me that gerbils do not power the computer.

Third, this argument focuses on the Christian God, but we could really switch that focus to anything. As with the popular atheist example of the unicorn, Christians would have to admit that if their argument is true and that in order to reject belief in something, we would need to know everything, than they would have to admit that they should also believe in the unicorn because to not believe would mean that they know everything about the universe and see that unicorns are not in that set of knowledge. It is just such an absurdly ridiculous argument and yet Christians seem to use it all the time.

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  • http://www.myspace.com/becky6378 Becky

    Great blog. =)

  • http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com makarios

    To suggest that a unicorn or a tea pot might have created the universe is too, um, stupid for you to even suggest. However, in the face of having to contradict science in order to propose something other than a Greatest Conceivable Being created the universe, the Christian supposition is not at all ridiculous. In fact, at this time in history, Creator God is the only solution that fits that facts, eg. Anything that begins to exist has an explanation of the cause of it’s existence; fine tuning and the presence of “Objective” morals, values and obligations. Again, to say that one would need to consider a unicorn did it is pretty childish.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      First off, we are not talking about the “Greatest Conceivable Being,” we are talking about the Christian God. Personally, it doesn’t take much imagination to conceive of a being greater than the one described in the Bible.

      Second, we are talking about a particular argument here. The argument is that in order to reject the existence of something, we must claim to know everything. This is of course a ridiculous argument and you know it. That is why you choose not to even address it, but instead to spout off about Greatest Conceivable Beings. Save that argument for another blog post.

      Third, in the context of this particular argument, the Unicorn card is not childish at all, but rather an example of just how ridiculous and poorly thought out this particular argument is.

    • Scott

      “However, in the face of having to contradict science in order to propose something other than a Greatest Conceivable Being created the universe, the Christian supposition is not at all ridiculous.”

      If that’s the case you are not thinking outside the box.

      “Anything that begins to exist has an explanation of the cause of it’s existence; fine tuning and the presence of “Objective” morals, values and obligations.”

      Apparently you haven’t studied ecology and behavior in great detail. Because the way nature operates is not thru fine tuning, morals, and obligations.

      “To suggest that a unicorn or a tea pot might have created the universe is too, um, stupid for you to even suggest.”

      It’s equally valid as other religious claims. Religion is faith based, thus people can make up any facts about it that they want. This even happens with Christianity which gets interpreted in many ways by many people. A perfect god wouldn’t have allowed this inconsistency to happen. Even our own judicial system is better at keep us under one set rules than God is.

      “Again, to say that one would need to consider a unicorn did it is pretty childish.”

      To say God did it is just as childish as belief in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

  • Kat

    I just have one question to Believers in God (Not Just Christians)
    Where is the God they talk about in the Bible? He seemed to ALWAYS be around…Talking to people, creating miracles, parting seas, Telling Noah to build as Ark…blah, blah, blah…Where is this God now? I haven’t seen any signs of him.

    • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

      Well….first off, you have some bad assumptions. One being that God was ALWAYS around, as if the Bible was written over a short period of time….According to the detailed genealogies the Bible provides…I believe the OT is about a 3-5ish thousand year span. Now, you can spread all these major events out, and see that it is maybe not so different from today…..who says miracles don’t occur? I have heard some insane stories….many from African missionaries about men on their death bed with aids somehow miraculously cured….go figure. Lies? Why though? Who knows….

      Also, if seeing for you is believing…well…why are your senses even reliable to you? From your own experience? That is a horribly shallow view and you should really think about the foundational presupposition that comes with admitting your senses are reliable.

      • Mr. X

        And YOU need to think about all of the horrible and absurd things a person becomes capable of, once they’re convinced that their own senses are not to be trusted.

        All knowledge is sensory on some level. Instruments may be used to enhance our senses, but they can never be bypassed.

        Reliable or not, our senses are all we have. They’re still much better than “mystical” sources, which have been proven to arise from neural malfunctions.

        • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

          Wow, you completely missed the point. Go deeper….I’m not looking for the scientific explanation as to why our senses are reliable….of COURSE our senses are reliable to an extent….why though?

  • http://www.myspace.com/itsahicke Her3tiK

    The common sense argument you used here probably isn’t the best of ideas. It’s the same thing Christians use when asked how everything was created. “Look at it. It’s too perfect to just happen on it’s own; common sense says there had to be a designer…” and so on.

    Just sayin’

    • Mr. X

      This isn’t an argument unto itself, but a refutation of a silly Christian argument. Within that specific context, it’s perfectly appropriate, and works just fine.

  • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

    There was a whole book written on this…by…hmmm…Lee Strobel? Maybe…I can’t remember…but i think it is actually called “It takes more faith to be an athiest”…sigh i’ll google it…actually…it’s “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist” by Norman Geisler…crap…I don’t really like Geisler lol. He is very inconsistent haha….anyways…..

    The whole unicorn and flying spaghetti monster thing I hear all the time from atheists is of course absurd to me….because it neglects all the evidence that Christianity brings to the table. 1 being the Bible’s authenticity of the witness’s of Christs death, burial, and resurrection. I am curious, what convinced you that these witness’s were so unreliable and inaccurate? I mean…Luke even stats out by saying….

    “1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

    Carefully investigated he says…what did these men have to gain by lying? 11 of the 12 disciples were murdered, and Paul was decapitated. Seriously, what did you study that told you that these accounts are not accurate or they are lies?

    The man that basically wrote the book for how US courts operate and examine evidence used his own method on the gospels in his book “The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence ” …the author being Simon Greenleaf. I actually just ordered it with 2 other books….for my summer reading…I am pretty excited cause it seems very interesting to me.

    Anyways….I have lots of questions for atheists, I view much of this as ignoring evidence….I assume you view non of it as evidence. I may have asked you these things before….if I have I apologize because my memory is horrible at times, and apparently if I did the answer I received did not satisfy lol.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      Matt, again you have gone off topic instead of actually talking about the topic. Here I am talking about a particular claim that some Christians have made and instead of dealing with that claim, you have taken the opportunity to spout off about a completely different issue. Why don’t you save this issue for a blog which deal with those claims (you know if I haven’t written about it already, I probably soon will). What do you think about this particular Christian argument? Do you agree of disagree? Did I address it well or not? If I did not address it well, where are the flaws in my counter-argument?

      • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

        Yeah…I tend to do that…haha that brings unorganization to the blogs. Sorry sorry, I should try to stick to blog topics…just stuff brings up other thoughts in my mind and questions and junk.

        The only part that sorta relates to the blog is when I asked you why you discount certain evidences for Christianity….which relates to the unicorne and flying spaghetti monster thing.

  • http://www.myspace.com/rothtalltales Tralf

    Indeed this is one of the sillier arguments presented by Christians. I don’t precisely how every aspect of the human body works, but I’m fairly certain it isn’t magical elves or tiny gremlins or any other type of magical creature. No doctor has ever asked me how my liver sprites were behaving, so I can infer, LOGICALLY, that magical beings play no part in sustaining my life. Ignorance of total knowledge does not preclude logical inference…unless you’re a Christian.

    Randy