Is Atheism True? Debate, 2nd Round, 1st Post

Second Round, First post with response

The original post by the atheist was in standard paragraph form. I have numbered the atheist's paragraphs and adopted an outline format to allow ease of response. The atheist's posts appear in black text. My responses follow each paragraph and are in green.

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  1. What Does God Have To Offer?
    1. Wouldn't your question be better stated as what does religion have to offer or what does belief in God have to offer? To ask "What does God have to offer?" tends to assume that God exists which is not your position. But, I understand what you mean.
    2. God, the Christian God, offers us salvation, love, forgiveness, eternity in His presence, a renewed heart, and much more.
  2. In doing a study of comparative religions I found that the various concepts of god all have similar things to offer each believer.
    1. A social identity
    2. A set of rules of behavior
      1. Explanations for such behavior and rewards.
        1. Rewards for correct behavior
        2. Punishment for incorrect behavior
    3. Answers
    4. Direction and purpose
    5. A higher power to both be responsible to and to look to for guidance.
    6. A sense of superiority over non-believers.
  3. I think your observations have merit. However, your last comment is more of an opinion about attitudes of theists over non-believers and is, therefore, subjective. This is not consistent with the objectivity you raised in your first post. You may be correct in this conclusion, but then again, you may not be. I for one maintain no attitude of superiority over non-believers and I do not believe I am superior to them at all. I am simply saved by God's grace and want the same for them. By the way, your last statement reflects an evidence of subjective experience on your part. This may come back to haunt you in our debate later.
  4. When looking at these commonalities, one has to wonder, are they the result of various systems of belief? Or, are they the results of human beings needs to function within a social group? The evidence speaks more to the latter than the former.
    1. It may be that they are a result of the needs for human beings to function. But, if that were the case, it could explain an innate need within us, but it does not demonstrate that there is no God. Remember, this debate is on whether atheism is true or not. As I have said before, atheists can only support their position (that there is no God) by attempting to destroy theistic proofs and evidences. You have tried to reduce the "evidence" of worldwide belief in God to a need to function in a social group as a means for explaining theism. It is nothing more than a theory.
    2. Of course, there is another possible reason that the commonalities of religious expression and need exist. It could be that there is a God and He has made us in His image as the Bible says and the vast majority of mankind recognizes this need within us and looks outward to find the Creator.
      If you were objective and logical in your analysis, I would expect you to at least offer this alternative explanation and then address it. But, you missed it or refused to employ it. If you missed it, then I don't believe you are thinking your position through sufficiently. If you refused to employ it, then perhaps your atheistic bias has affected your reasoning by not positing it as an alternative theory. Either way, it could be a display of a lack of objectivity and logic.
  5. The idea of atheism as the default position has been discussed extensively on the Atheism forum here. This means that no human being is born with a concept of god or gods. That all such concepts are learned and influenced by the family groups and societies in which we live. If one is born into a Christian family, then tend to be raised in one of the many Christian belief systems. Our religious beliefs, our outlook on the concept of god or gods are heavily influenced by the societies in which we live.
    1. Saying that atheism is the default position is an assumption. How do you know that people are not born with an innate sense and/or awareness of God's existence? How do you know that atheism is not a learned position that goes against the natural? If you define atheism as a "lack of belief" and apply it to infants, you are merely begging the question since you cannot state what an infant "believes" or does not believe naturally.
    2. If God exists and if He made us, then it could it be possible that He created us with a propensity to believe in Him, the default position, which seems to be supported by the vast majority of the world believing in God(s) since the majority believe in God. Of course, this does not prove that God exists. Nevertheless, you make an assumption that atheism is the default position without proof since we cannot factually determine that a child is innately aware of God or not (thereby establishing "belief").
    3. Nevertheless, your position could also apply to cats, dogs, plants, birds, rocks, water, and dirt, since the "default" position of these things would be non-belief as well. This would demonstrate that your definition of atheism (in relation to the default position issue) might be lacking and need refining--unless you want to include cow manure, electricity, rocket fuel, and moon dust as members of the atheist party.
    4. Where we are born greatly influences our concepts and beliefs about God, but that has no bearing on whether or not atheism is true. Also, even if it were true that atheism were the default position, it bears no weight on whether or not God exists since the alleged default position is, essentially, an argument of silence--a position of lack, of silence on an issue. The fact that people become believers in things as they grow older does not invalidate the object of belief. For example, babies don't actively "believe" in airplanes when they are born. But it does not mean airplanes aren't real. An alleged default position of atheism has no bearing at all on whether or not atheism is true and there is no God.
  6. We, by our nature, are highly social animals and tend to form ordered groups. These groups offer us a social identity, (sense of belonging), a sense of camaraderie, a sense of security, a set of social standards and values, and a sort of chain of command. Human beings tend to gravitate towards other human beings with similar values and ideas. Being a member of a particular religious group (group that holds to a concept of god or gods) includes us in that specific social group.
  7. Sociologically this is reasonable.
    1. But, it does not mean that atheism is true. The position of the social alpha is usually filled in such a group with a particular god or other deity. This god concept provides the leader or ultimate authority thereby enforcing that groups social rules and mores. This being provides the reason for the groups existence, the foundation of the group identity, the rules of conduct for the group (anywhere from the Christian concepts of sin and redemption to the Buddhist ideas on the causes of suffering) This being also provides the vehicle by which punishment and reward is meted out to the members of the group.
      1. Again, there is truth in what you say. But, it does not mean that atheism is true.
  8. A particular idea of a god also offers explanations for the unanswered questions we meet every day. Where did we come from? Where are we going? Why do bad things happen to good people? What does it all mean? It turns the seemingly unexplained into the explained, once again, offering a kind of comfort to the believer.
    1. Again, there is truth in what you say. But, it does not mean that atheism is true.
  9. Simply put, the idea of a god or gods, and the belief system that develops around these ideas, is a strong social vehicle for human beings. We use them to regulate our behavior and to reinforce and protect social bonds.
    1. Again, there is truth in what you say. But, it does not mean that atheism is true.

Conclusion

 

Comparing religious phenomena and arriving at a list of commonalities and then attributing them to a need for social belonging might explain why religious communities exist. But it is too subjective an explanation since there are so many variables to be discussed. You failed to offer an obvious alternative explanation which, in my opinion, demonstrated your lack of objectivity.

Finally, citing the existence of religious social morays has no bearing on the validity of atheism. People are social creatures and gravitate to like-minded people. This can happen in political, religious, and cultural venues. But, social structure based around religious commonalities does not invalidate God's existence anymore than social structure based around political commonalities invalidates the existence of government.

 

 

 

 
 
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