First and foremost, I want to state that I am NOT an atheist. My beliefs are my own.
One reason Twelve Steps programs have survived nearly eighty years is the prudent use of italics: …of God as we understood him. For some, God is the Christian God. For some, God was the group itself. For others, God may be a coffee cup. That phrase, “…God, as we understood him” literally made all the difference in the world in these programs’ context.
In “The Eyes of an Atheist,” author M.A. Neeper uses various logical arguments to provide atheists with ammunition for when they shoot-down us ignorant theists. Some of them are old and stale—if still valid: if God can do anything, can He make a stone too heavy to lift? My silent response is, “Yeah, and I wish he’d drop it on your head right now, douchebag.”
I admit it: the stone thing is a valid point.
Neeper uses several different such lists to support his theory that theism is a sham. I won’t go into them all, but many involve passive voice—which bugs the shit out of me. “It is commonly said that God…” IT IS COMMONLY SAID BY WHOM?? WHO SAYS THIS?
One line in the book states “Faith and rationality cannot and will not exist together…EVER.”
6CO2+6H2O (+light energy) —> C6H12O6+6O2. For the scientific heretic, that’s the formula for photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide + water with light becomes glucose and oxygen. I absolutely believe that. I’ve seen it happen; I’ve duplicated it in lab experiments. It’s a fact. Why is the world set up so that it works that way? That’s a question of faith. I can believe in the fact—photosynthesis—while having faith that God created a universe where it can happen.
I also have faith in English punctuation—e.g., the first word after a semicolon is not capitalized unless it’s a proper noun—yet here, our author’s faith wavers. There are also heretic run-on sentences, comma-splices, and The Flying Spaghetti Monster knows what else.
I jest, here, but I do so to prove a point. To be a person who believes in a Higher Power does not mean that the Higher Power helped your kid learn to read, or that It helped you find your car keys. Faith is a personal decision—one has it, or one doesn’t. RELIGION is a whole different subject. When you bring religion into the argument, you could argue for millennia (as some have).
Atheism vs. theism isn’t about religion. It’s not about how Abraham did this, or Luke said this in chapter whatever. It’s a simple thing: do you believe?
The arguments in this book did nothing to change my beliefs. Maybe it will for you.
Atheism has gone pop and that’s done very little to improve the quality of its proponents’ skill in argument… a real pity for believers who love a good debate.
Here’s the thing. You can’t “believe” in photosynthesis. Photosynthesis IS. It does not require belief. Belief requires some amount of unprovability and acceptance of that unprovability.
Steve, I think you’re right, in retrospect. A better example would be the scientists who have calculated how Earth came to be over millions of years, and how slowly life evolved, versus the priest who calculated Earth was 6000 years old, and man was formed as man, with no evolution. While the former, scientific argument is correct, there are still those who believe the 6000 years ago story. It was even so specific as to say it was on a Thursday. Still, I would bet that there are some fundamentalists who doubt photosynthesis, no matter how much you prove it to them–God makes air and the plants grow. When some people get a belief in their head, there’s not a damned thing that can change it. Poor bastards. That kind of eliminates what we heretics call “learning.”