The Emptiness Of Internet Atheism

Every now and then I get bored and run a search for something atheistic to read. As much as I would like to lay hold of a good book on atheism I find that there is little from adherents to the position that would be worth my time.

Jeffrey Jay Lowder of www.infidels.org advertises for a book by J.L. Schellenberg called Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason. Apparently the book presents an argument for nonbelief in God from nonbelief in God. The idea is presented that theistic evidence is so weak that people might reasonably not believe in God. Lowder writes,

According to Schellenberg, a perfectly loving God would desire a personal relationship between himself and every human being, or at least every human being capable of it. Belief in God’s existence is a logically necessary condition for such a relationship. Hence reasonable nonbelief is evidence for atheism.

The Bible teaches that God is known by everyone and that there is abundant and plain evidence for His existence, but because we are sinners we suppress this knowledge and reinterpret the evidence within the framework of futile thought. It is therefore never a surprise to find people denying God and denying that there is even evidence of God. We should expect such claims to be made since the Bible is true.

Claims that there is no evidence or at any rate no strong evidence for the existence of God hardly constitute an argument against the existence of God, and to assert as a premise that there is actually such a thing as “reasonable nonbelief” in an argument that there is such a thing as reasonable unbelief is to blatantly beg the question. Finally, the first three words of the quote are a problematic portion of the alleged argument. Christians do not believe in the god postulated “According to Schellenberg”, they believe in God according to the Bible. The God of the Bible is described quite differently from what Schellenberg supposedly describes.

Thus a book has been written that includes an “argument” that involves a suppression of evidence, a viciously circular claim that since there is reasonable unbelief there is reasonable unbelief, and a conception of a god that has nothing to do with the God of the Bible. I think I will save my money.

Jeffrey Jay Lowder. The Argument from (Reasonable) Nonbelief. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/nontheism/atheism/nonbelief.html. Accessed 11/16/09.


2 Comments

Nocterro

Hello.

While I admit that I am by no means a professional philosopher, or anything of the sort, I would like to comment on one thing in particular:

“The Bible teaches that God is known by everyone and that there is abundant and plain evidence for His existence, but because we are sinners we suppress this knowledge and reinterpret the evidence within the framework of futile thought.”

You seem to be saying here that an opponent’s argument against your belief is invalid BECAUSE he does not share your belief. What if I said that the Bible is wrong? Your statement here seems quite unfalsifiable.

C.L. Bolt

Hi!

I am certainly no professional philosopher either. 🙂

It is not that he does not share my belief, it is that he is using, at least with respect to Christianity, an argument that imposes a non-Christian tenet upon the Christian worldview in an attempt to refute it which already takes for granted the position he is seeking to prove. You are welcome to say that the Bible is wrong but doing so is no an argument. My statement is, I think, hypothetically falsifiable.


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