The group of Atheists I’ve called the “Hard Atheist” are also known as the “New Atheism”. These individuals are very militant and evangelical in the sense that they have one goal. Rid the world of theism of any kind. This group in general is very rude, disrespectful, and hostile. They will use rants and rhetoric instead of evidence and consistent logic. The main thrust of their method of argumentation is to back the theist into a corner forcing them to defend an inductive approach for the existence of God. Interestingly enough, they’re using a deductive approach. I believe the reason for this is because you can’t fully sustain any argument based on an infallible inductive argumentation. If they can get you to passively agree to this view, then you’ve already lost the argument. All that is needed is for you to not know one thing, to not have an answer to one point and this will be understood as a fideistic system of belief.
The basic structure of argumentation would progress something like this. The first step is to misrepresent what the Bible is. It will be assumed that the bible is either a science book or a book of fairytales. Each of these extremes is a gross misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the word of God, but if the Christian is unaware of what’s going on, they will immediately become defensive against the idea that the Bible is a book of fairytales. By emphatically stating that the Bible is not, the only other option that is left is that of a science book. This is where the Hard Atheist will direct his attack. If he can demonstrate one modern scientific principle that the Bible does not address, it will appear that he has shown that the Bible is nothing more that a fictional book.
This will usually come in the form of a barrage of questions. Statements about Genesis 1 and 2 will usually be the starting point. Mostly focusing on how evolution has demonstrated a creation or intelligent design theory is preposterous. Once they get to the talking snake of Genesis 3 they’re ready to throw in the towel of Christianity. Saying that if any part of the Bible is untrue then the whole thing is not the Word of God and just a book of man. At this point they’re expecting the Christian to cower and start backpedaling on their confidence that the God of the bible exists. They want to move the Christian from a Theistic worldview to a Deistic worldview. That is to say, a worldview that acknowledges an impersonal impotent deity who cannot or will not engage with humanity.
Once this is accomplished the next step is to find a common agreement that the Christian already holds. This usually comes in the form of “I can show how you’re an Atheist also. You don’t believe in Zeus or Thor or Allah do you? See, you’re an atheist to these gods just as I am. The only difference between you and I is that I believe in one less God than you.”
This point has checkmated the Christian. Do you say that you believe in these other gods and your wrong about being monotheistic or do you say that those gods don’t exist and only yours does? When asked why, you may state because I just know. This is the how a Christian can get pushed into a fideist or blind faith position which can be demonstrated as illogical, unreasonable and unreliable.
While this doesn’t disprove God it disengages the believer from further argumentation, which is the goal. No alternate explanation from the atheist on the origin of life is necessary because ironically a fideist approach is desired for adherence to an Atheistic worldview. Atheism is a religion of negation not assertion. As long as you can undermine or disagree convincingly enough, you can sustain your own blind faith. If you challenge the Atheist on this point they generally will define atheism as simply the disbelief in any gods or god and not a particular worldview. This of course is a misunderstanding on the part of the Atheist about the connotations of the word atheism within epistemology.
The one common thread with each view is an almost complete ignorance of the Bible. Now, I’m not asking that every Atheist be a biblical scholar in order to bring up objections to the Christian faith, but a casual reading of the Scriptures using the same common sense method of interpretation that one would use while reading the newspaper or Readers Digest, would answer many questions that have been posed to me over the years.
It seems disingenuous and disrespectful toward the conversation, let alone to the person you’re inquiring, to impose not only wrong concepts, but also a wrong philosophy to your opponent and treat them as if they’ve said and held to these wrong methods or beliefs!
Next week "The problem with Christians" or "an excursus on death". not sure which one yet. Let me know which on you'd like to read about.