— It’s Pretty Thin Gruel In The Atheist Pot! —
It’s funny… I constantly bump into people who simply cannot brook any disagreement. The following is a long post, but it contains a great deal that’s instructive about so many of the interactions I’ve had on the web in the past decade.
My interactions with the Left met with, as I kind of figured they would, vituperative defensiveness showing two things (1) the insecurity the Left has in its beliefs, and (2) the general lack of maturity and character on the Left.
I was surprised to find the same thing among the atheists. We’ll see it in the interaction below, in which I went to KIA’s site to mix it up with the atheists there. No, KIA doesn’t mean “Killed In Action,” as is the most common understanding of the acronym, but rather “Know It All.” KIA believes himself to be a Recovering Know It All. The recovery is not going well.
I mixed it up with several interlocutors there: KIA himself, as well as Arkenaten, Jill Smith and Shiarrael. Jill (who calls herself a Catholic Christian) and Shiarrael were interesting, and intelligent — if maybe overly concerned with fitting in with the KIA crowd — while Ark and KIA were more typical of the atheists I’ve encountered on line.
KIA tried, briefly, to be reasonable, but simply could not handle simple, but persistent, disagreement. His problem is that he thinks he… knows it all. Ark’s main weapon is potty-mouthed name-calling. He’s kind of a baby. And, of course, it’s widely accepted that the first sign that you’ve lost a debate is when you give in to the temptation to name-call and launch personal attacks. Ark begins with that.
Without further ado, I’ve reproduced in toto the exchange, with some in-line comments, in [brackets and red font] below.
[This is the original post. My participation began when I commented on this post]
“Atheism is a Religion like Abstinence is a Sex Position.” -kia
In their efforts to push a false equivalency that both Not Believing and Believing in God or gods require Faith without or even contrary to Evidence and involve a measure of Burden of Proof with those who Don’t Believe also bearing a responsibility to demonstrate That they don’t exist or grant the bold and unsubstantiated assertions of Believers even without Evidence for their claims… JB and someone who has a blog called The Wee Flea (what the heck?? Lol) again put forth the intentional and knowing misrepresentation that Atheism is a Religion and Atheists have a Belief System that they can be both converted TO and deconverted FROM. [This is largely incoherent, but I think KIA is trying to debunk the idea that atheism is a religion. I don’t pronounce on that in this exchange, but atheism certainly has certain important characteristics in common with religions, one of which is a degree of faith, as well as, in the case of the people below, a highly dogmatic(1) adherence to their “beliefs,” or to their “non-beliefs,” or to their “skepticism,” or to their “belief in their non-belief.” You’ll see the atheists in the following exchanges prove to be way more dogmatic in whatever it is they’re trying to say — than most Christians you’ll encounter.]
I can see calling moving from an atheist position, or even agnostic, could be called conversion to a belief, but how exactly would one ‘Deconvert’ from holding no belief in God or gods? Nonsensical and false equivalency
To which once again I say, although I am not atheist, “Atheism is a Non Belief in God or gods, not a Belief that they do not exist. There is a difference with distinction here that the more dishonest and manipulative of Internet Apologists intentionally propagate.
“Proposing that Atheism is a Religion and a system of Belief is like saying Abstinence is a Sex Position.”
[This is a glib little bit by KIA, but I’m not sure that it stands up to scrutiny. Abstinence — that’s not involuntary, at least — is an affirmative choice not to do something. Man is a sexual being with sexual urges. Abstinence represents a choice to deny those urges, and not to engage in sexual activity, for whatever reason. If KIA wishes to stand by this analogy, then it rather better makes the case of the theist who argues that some atheists deny their deepest, innate urge to be with God, and, as I’ve said, they tell God to take a hike. Which God then does. The point: such people — again, if KIA’s analogy is apt — admit to the existence of God, but deny His sovereignty over them. Kind of a Theist-Atheist. Or a Croco-Duck (see further below in the Evolution discussion). Or a Tall-Short. Or a Pushmi Pullyu. Or a self-contradiction. We’ll see later on, that some in this discussion are okay with self-contradiction.]
Atheism is not a Positive Claim THAT God or gods don’t exist. Who would, with limited and imperfect knowledge and information ‘Know’ whether they do or not? Who honestly would claim to ‘Know’ either way? Theism and Atheism deal with Belief and Non Belief. I’m sure if you present your Evidence, fulfill your Burden to demonstrate the Truth of what you Believe to be actually in accordance with Reality, the Atheists would have No other choice to Believe what you say. [Not really: the atheist can, as I’ve said in the notes at bottom simply deny that the evidence is evidence. Ark does that all the time. The atheists in this discussion were able to remain unswayed completely by anything I had to say. And, of course, I don’t rule out the notion that it may have been my ability to express myself that caused that. In which case you do not have to go pound sand. In any case I absolve you from any sand pounding at all.] Whether they would follow, obey and worship your God on fear of Hell Fire if they dont… I’m not so sure, given the nature, morals and goodness of the God you represent.
But rest assured, Atheists don’t claim to Know and don’t positively Believe THAT God or gods do not exist. That’s just YOU playing dishonest and manipulative Word Games for your own benefit, [or you being paranoid.] so you can try to escape your own Burden of Proof to demonstrate the Truth of your claims for the God you represent. [This is an interesting and silly-seeming premise. Why is the denier’s burden of proof any less than the believer’s? Heck, don’t try to tell environmentalists that the “denier” has less of a burden of proof! But, seriously… the believer has perceived God, and believed. The denier has not. The denier can no more disprove God to the believer — KIA even admits it here — than the believer can prove God to the denier. “Proof” — of God’s existence at least — seems almost irrelevant. It’s why Christians don’t talk of proof, but rather of “witnessing,” meaning talking about their experience of Him. God doesn’t have to provide evidence of Himself, He already has. It’s not our job to prove Him either, but rather simply to point out the evidence that’s all around already.] And they cannot Deconvert from Atheism because unlike Christianity, Islam or Buddhism… Atheism is NOT a Religion, system of Beliefs or Dogma. It’s a position of Non Belief in Your claims that there is a God or gods, that From their point of view You haven’t met your responsibility as Believers to demonstrate actually exist in Reality.
They might or would believe… but they don’t because You havent done Your Job. Do your job and stop trying to Flip the Burden to those who don’t believe you to prove you wrong, or your claims should be taken as True ™ by Default. It’s dishonest, manipulate and rude to say the very least. [More careless incoherence from KIA. Why, I wonder, don’t people re-read what they write? What does “It’s dishonest, manipulate and rude” mean? I’m sure that KIA meant to say “manipulative.” However, it’s tedious to need constantly to translate for a writer’s carelessness or poor proof-reading skills. Anyway, this is kind of my point. Christians aren’t, typically, trying to “prove” anything at all. A Christian understands that to “prove” God’s existence is as pointless as is the atheist’s demand that he do so. To “prove” God’s existence is, kind of by definition, beyond the scope of any person’s abilities. As is, I suppose, the ability of any person to understand any proof that God might offer. I used the example of God’s saying, “Fine! I’ll do it. He comes down, stands astride two oceans — in full view of everyone — picks up Mts. Everest, McKinley and Etna and juggles them like Jason Garfield. Then God replaces the three mountains in their original locations and holds His arms up high triumphantly. No one is hurt, and not a single living creature is even annoyed because of the astonishing display. “Good enough? Does that work for all you unbelievers? Okay now?” He thunders. And disappears. Immediately, an atheist says, “Was that a dream?” Another answers, “Must have been!” The first atheist responds, “But, how could we both have had the same dream?!?” “It happens,” answers the other atheist. “Everyone’s heard of mass psychosis. It’s science!” The response: “Like at Medjugorje? And Lourdes?” asks the first atheist. “Yeah,” says the second atheist, “just like Medjugorje and Lourdes.” And before you know it, the deniers are back in full denial. It’s not that all the deniers would be in full denial immediately, but in the upcoming months, after the furor dies down a bit, all the believers would, probably, continue to believe, while all the deniers, absent a few who would believe — and who probably would have come to believe anyway — would continue to deny. It’s why Christ, and His followers, stress the need for faith — ie belief beyond that which we perceive with our senses. I ended up trying to make that point repeatedly in the exchange below.]
I hope I’ve made myself Crystal Clear. Otherwise… pound sand.
[Oh, well… I guess the readers of this mess will have to pound sand, ’cause “crystal clear” it ain’t. Note how, KIA actually confesses that he continues to, well… “know it all,” despite his self-styling. He says — right there in plain sight! — that if he hasn’t made himself “Crystal Clear” — his fault — then you are to go “pound sand.” As if somehow you’re responsible for KIA’s weakness in self-expression. A know-it-all, genuinely trying to “recover,” would say something like: “If I haven’t made myself clear, please let me know what parts are unclear.” This is the phenomenon I’ve encountered time and time and time and time again with the Left and with atheists: the idea that if you disagree with them, then you’re the one lacking knowledge, insight, perspective… lacking correct thinking. In politics, this is called “political correctness.” You’ll hear echoes of political correctness running throughout the exchange below.]
(1) I use the word intentionally. Ark made nearly obsessive reference to talismanic terms like “Young Earth Creationist,” trying to paint me as one. His idea was to trap me into one of what he thought were cleverly laid traps, to get me to admit to being one of some group that others of similar beliefs scorn as idiots. One such group for Ark is what he calls “Young Earth Creationists.” These are people who think that the Earth is only several thousands of years old, and who therefore cast a wary eye on the idea of Evolution. For Ark, people who are skeptical of Evolution are idiots and show themselves unworthy of interaction because they’re too stupid, or misinformed, or ignorant, or indoctrinated. Ark, though, shows his own ignorance with this approach, because there are many highly reputable scientists who are skeptical of large portions of the Theory of Evolution, as well as many scientists, like me, who see no incompatibility whatsoever between Evolution and belief in God. Some of us, also, who have a strong grounding in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity recognize that there’s not even any incompatibility between a “Young Earth” and Evolution! That doesn’t, of course, mean that we believe in a “young earth,” scientifically at least, it can’t be ruled out. Ark, though, lacks any kind of meaningful grounding in the following three things: (1) Evolution, (2) Christianity, and (3) Relativity. It’s no surprise, therefore, that he leads off with insults and personal attacks. 🙂
(2) All the atheists I’ve encountered do have a religion. It’s: “Science.” The problem is that all the atheists I’ve encountered are poorly versed in both science and religious belief. Ark and KIA are notable examples.