On the difference between atheists, antitheists, Evangelicals and fundamentalists

Deustche Version:Vom Unterschied zwischen Atheisten, Antitheisten, Evangelikalen und Fundamentalisten.

Youtube version.

Definition do matters. Many political and philosophical disagreements simply stem from the different meaning of the words people engaged in a debate use.

Given that, I am going to define some important words I have used and will use on my blog.

A Christian is someone believing that God showed us His true face through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. 

    An Evangelical Christian is someone believing that the Bible is our only infallible authority. 

         A Conservative Evangelical believes that everything a Biblical writer intended to convey is true. 

               A fundamentalist is a Conservative Evangelical believing that those not agreeing with that are second-class                                                       Christians or no Christians at all.

      A progressive Evangelical believes that God may have intended to include erroneous writings in His Canon to teach us some                 lessons.

An agnostic is someone who does not know (within reasonable margins of uncertainties) if there is a God or not.

Now comes the most controversial part of my post, namely the definition of an atheist.
The French dictionary Larousse reflects well the historical understanding of the word as it states:

  • Doctrine qui nie l’existence de Dieu. (Cette position philosophique ne se confond ni avec l’agnosticisme, qui est le refus de prendre parti dans les débats métaphysiques, ni avec le panthéisme, qui implique que Dieu puisse exister partout dans l’univers et se confondre avec lui.)
  • Doctrine which negates God’s existence. (This philosophical position is not to be confused with either agnosticism, which is the refusal to take part in metaphysical debates, or with pantheism, which involves that God can exist everywhere in the universe and be identical with him.)

Modern (English-speaking) atheists don’t like too much that definition because it goes hand in hand with a burden of proof to explain why there is NO God.

As a consequence, they have redefined the word as meaning “lacking a belief in God” (making it compatible with being an agnostic) while under other circumstances they act as if it meant “believing God’s existence to be extremely unlikely”.

Being an old-school boy, I like to stick to the historical meaning of things. So in my entire blog I will abide by the following definitions:

An atheist is someone who sees God’s existence as being very implausible.

An ANTItheist (or New Atheist, militant atheist, atheistic fundamentalist…) is an atheist believing that all religions ought to disappear and that it is morally permissible (if not mandatory) to use ridicule, mockery and emotional bullying to destroy the faith of all religious believers.

A fascistic atheist is an antitheist believing that it is good for the state to introduce laws which would quicken the demise of all religions. A modern example is Richard Dawkins and his suggestion to forbid all kinds of religious educations, even for liberal and progressive religious parents. .

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Of course, the former Soviet Union where countless priests and religious persons were slaughtered or sent to lunatic asylums is another example of fascistic atheism.
Frankly speaking, if the New Atheists were to obtain full political power in the Western world, I would not be stunned if they ended up introducing the same kind of laws an in the Soviet Union.

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As antitheists themselves constantly remind us, beliefs (especially irrational ones) can really have dreadful consequences.
If one really views all religions the way they do, namely as one of the most horrendous evils plaguing mankind, it is a very small step to conclude that the end justifies the means.

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The transcendental Argument for God’s existence

Apologist Matt Slick of the CARM (a Conservative/Fundamentalist think-tank) used this argument in this short talk.

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Basically, it is as follows:

1)      If logic exists objectively, God exists

2)      Logic exists objectively

3)      Thus God exists

Of course, anyone knowing the history of philosophy knows that the conclusion does not follow from the premises since godless forms of Platonism are clearly possible.

But let us reformulate the argument in that manner:

1)      If logic exists objectively, materialism is wrong

2)      Logic exists objectively

3)      Thus materialism is wrong

I believe that a (consistent) materialist can only avoid the conclusion by denying premise 1)
Logic is just a construction of our mind, a concept invented for making sense of many properties of the real world, such as the fact that a rock is either black or non-black.

But this has a huge implication: a materialist has no way to know whether there could be a world where the law of non-contradiction does not hold, that is a world where A and non-A are true at the same time.

For saying that two contradictory propositions can never simultaneously hold is akin to asserting the objective existence of the law of non-contradiction.

And I truly don’t see what interacting particles this universal law could be IDENTICAL to.

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I have looked everywhere in the whole universe but could not find them, but maybe I missed something.

 

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Was William Lane Craig lying for Jesus?

This is what is currently puzzling me.

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William Lane Craig is undoubtedly the most popular defender of the Evangelical faith and for both believers and unbelievers, he represents the very best Christianity has to offer.

While trying to prove the historicity of the resurrection of Christ, William Lane Craig often presupposes the existence of God as background information. I think this is a very clever move for the way probabilities are assessed  in that case can largely vary according to the truth of atheism or theism.

But there is a problem here: William Lane Craig also uses the resurrection as independent evidence for demonstrating God’s existence.

Jason, the questioner asked:

“So for the first argument stated, you contend that the resurrection of Jesus serves in itself as evidence for God’s existence. In your Resurrection Hypothesis, you appeal to the evidence for the existence of God as a part of the specific evidence used to show that the Resurrection Hypothesis is more probable than not.Are these arguments not then circular reasoning?”

Let us see what Craig’s answer was.

“My studied view, then, is that one first establishes theism on the basis of the arguments of Natural Theology like the cosmological, teleological, axiological, and ontological arguments, so that when one comes to explaining the facts pertinent to Jesus of Nazareth, one may include as part of one’s background information the existence of the God of Natural Theology. You misunderstood the Defenders lectures. There I challenge the assumption that the probability of the resurrection on our background information Pr (R|B) is very low precisely because we can include God’s existence as part of our background information. We’ve already completed our Natural Theology before we come to an examination of Christian evidences.

So why do I frequently present the resurrection as part of a cumulative case for God’s existence in debates? Well, the reason, frankly, is evangelistic. I don’t want to leave students with just a generic God common to all monotheists but with some warrant for believing in the Christian God, the God revealed by Jesus of Nazareth.

Now if one includes the resurrection itself as part of the evidence for theism, as I often do in debates, one cannot include God’s existence as part of the background information (though one could still include evidence like the beginning of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe, the reality of objective moral values, etc.). What one will say in this case is just that we’ve got no reason to think that Pr (R|B) << 0.5.

So I hope you’ll find that I’ve been consistent in including God’s existence in the background information only in cases in which I am not using the resurrection as part of a case for theism. When using the resurrection as part of a theistic case, one should simply say that the resurrection has not been shown to be improbable on the background information because we’ve not heard any good arguments for atheism.”

The problem is that in such debates Craig leaves to most of his listeners and readers the misleading impression that one can, on a neutral agnostic ground, prove the resurrection and use this as evidence for God, even tough he seems to recognize at other places that you need to consider God’s existence as granted before doing this.

Is this a real inconsistency? Is that perhaps even a true deception?

I don’t know.

 

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