Last time we covered the first half of ten items that Christians supposedly say to atheists and the “translations” provided by a militant atheist. The translations were little more than wishful thinking. These are, too.
6. “Our nation is falling apart because we’ve taken God out of the courts and schools.” Translation: “I am terrified by change. I want my religion to call the shots in society. Why can’t life get back to being like Leave It to Beaver and The Andy Griffith Show?”
There is a correlation between the escalating levels of crime in society and the removal of the influence of Christianity from it. It is more nuanced that this, though? Almost certainly. But, when you teach people that they are accountable to no one but themselves and the moral code of their own choosing, who is to say that criminal activity should be disallowed? Shouldn’t that be up to the individual to decide? Besides, if “change” means “escalating levels of degeneracy, crime, and devaluation of human life,” why shouldn’t we be against it?
Translation of the translation: “Yeah, we can’t really make a good case against transcendent morality, so let’s sneak in a good, old-fashioned ad hominem argument and hope they don’t catch it.”
7. “Religion gives people hope and does a lot of good.” Translation: “So what if it’s not true… it’s useful!”
Again, we’re talking about things that Christians say here (a common problem for the less careful atheist is to simply lump Christianity in with all the other world religions). But does religion do good things? Absolutely. Look at Christianity specifically. One of its main concerns is for the well-being and flourishing of others. Why shouldn’t that be a selling point?
Translation of the translation: “I’m going to take a minor point and translate it so that it sounds like a much more important and utilitarian argument than it really is.”
8. “So you believe in… nothing?” Translation: “But I’m so used to letting the god virus call the shots in my life. How would I make it through the day without religion telling me what to think and do? Way too scary!”
Ahh, yes – the old “mind control” argument. It never gets old … for militant unbelievers, anyway. What militant atheists simply refuse to acknowledge is that Christianity encourages the use of the mind. Here we have an example of what is called “epistemic closure” – basically, the closing of the mind. The militant atheist basically says, “I think Christianity is all about ignorance and control (probably because an atheist I respect told me so), so don’t bother me with details to the contrary.” It’s elitist. And sad.
Translation of the translation: “I can’t imagine anyone recognizing an external source of authority to influence what they think. That’s just one of the many things the new atheists have taught me to believe.”
9. “Here, read this. It will change your mind.” Translation: “I don’t have any answers so instead I’ll give you a poorly-written book filled with straw-man arguments.”
Christians often use tracts or booklets in evangelism, that’s no secret. But guess what? So do atheists. Especially the new atheists, who generally recommend each other’s work to everyone, and point out other sources not only for unbelievers to confirm their disbelief but to offer believers to convert them to atheism. And the “poorly-written material? Generally speaking, this is just a caricature. It doesn’t agree with their point of view, so it has to be bad by definition.
Translation of the translation: “I’m not going to bother reading anything that will challenge my worldview. So, I’m just going to keep believing that everyone who disagrees with me is a stupid, ignorant, deluded or wicked. Just like Richard Dawkins told me!”
10. “I can’t imagine life without Jesus. He is everything to me!” Translation: “Jesus is like meth: Both foster addictive dependency and ultimately destroy our ability to feel pleasure.”
And how can anything in the Christian life be compared to a self-destructive addiction? Well, if you come from a worldview completely divorced from reality where you believe that faith is incorrigibly evil, then I suppose you can. Our author seems to have made it clear that he isn’t to be bothered with details. Any Christian worthy of the name will tell you that committing themselves to Christ is liberating and serves as a source of joy. What we have in this list, thus far, is a rather naïve and closed-minded refusal to examine the Christian viewpoint with any honesty.
Translation of the translation: “I’m going to deliberately confuse commitment with addiction so that I can compare Jesus to drugs. Forget the fact that Christianity is responsible four countless hospitals, orphanages, and charities around the world that have helped tens if not hundreds of millions of people. I don’t like it, so it has to be bad regardless of what the evidence says!”