The Pot Calling the Kettle Arrogant
When I’ve stated my positive atheism (i.e. the position that god does not exist) in the past, I’ve been asked by Christians, “How can you KNOW such a thing?” And they’ll be quick to label such a position as philosophically arrogant. Isn’t that just laughable? They ask me how I could know such a thing, yet they declare themselves immune from the same question! (Ask any one of them the same question and watch for the hypocritical double-standard of proof.)
By and large, Christians will deny such immunity from arrogance by embracing skepticism [long pause for comic effect], but they prove my assertion each and every time they state their beliefs as facts without a shred of concrete proof. However, I find it amusing that they get so defensive when I state my beliefs as facts. Gee, I wonder why?
It is the height of arrogance to state as absolute fact that which cannot be proven concretely. Now I, personally, am openly and entirely comfortable with being labeled as arrogant in this respect. But I’m not letting Christians off the hook for the same offense.
Thanks for pointing out the obvious, but of course I don’t have total knowledge of the universe – but neither do Christians. And of course I can’t possibly prove concretely that no god exists – but Christians can’t prove that theirs does. Sadly, their inability and unwillingness to accept this truth is what also compels them to argue the inane.
Know that neither your passion nor belief constitutes proof. And neither is faith nor the word of the bible. And the same applies to the seemingly “apparent” design and order of the universe. I’ll concede that at best it’s an entertaining discussion, but it fails as proof because there’s just as much “apparent” poor design and disorder of the universe to negate anything on the flip side.
My car has a beautiful and complex design, and I enjoy all that it is because of its designer and creator, Mercedes Benz. This I can prove concretely, literally, and absolutely. In fact, through its Vehicle Identification Number I can actually trace it back to the specific production lines and crew members who assembled and appointed it.
The human eye also has an amazing design and structure but there’s not a shred of concrete proof (or even compelling evidence) pointing to who or what caused it. Who knows? Maybe, just like my car, many things (natural processes and/or entities) were involved in design and manufacture of the human eye. Perhaps the Hindu creator god Brahma gave us these amazing organs of sight.
Theories? Yes, there are many. Concrete proof? Not a shred.
You don’t have to like it, but physically and philosophically, anything less than concrete proof is pure conjecture and leaves the matter at hand to faith. And I’ll happily concede that the same logic applies to me as well – Mercedes notwithstanding.
Beasts of Burden
So where does that leave us? I fairly conclude that both sides are equal in this respect and fairly they cancel each other out.
But here’s the thing. I’m perfectly fine not having that proof – whether it be concrete or something lesser. My Christian counterparts, however, aren’t quite as cozy being in that can’t-be-proven position. (This is why the field of Christian Apologetics exists. More about them later.)
As previously demonstrated, Christians state their beliefs (such as the risen Jesus) as absolute facts. If they can be so philosophically arrogant, then why can’t I? Seems only fair. But that’s the thing. Christians aren’t philosophically fair. To them, belief is a one-way street – and theirs is the only right way. And they think they have the right of way [vehicular pun intended].
Christians as a whole seem oblivious to fact that the burden of proof (of anything in life) is ALWAYS on the shoulders of the person making the assertion – not the person refuting the claim. And until that thing is absolutely and concretely proven, it is assumed to be untrue. If I alleged that Neptune was made entirely out of polyester, then my claim would be considered absolutely false until I proved absolutely (and concretely) it to be true. And until the time comes that I can provide that proof, my assertion must (and will) remain pure conjecture and therefore a matter of faith.
Leap of Faithless
I have complete and total faith that no god or gods exist, and that faith and conviction will never wane. If you ask me how I could know such a thing my answer would be substantially the same as what any Christian would provide. (Ask a Christian if any of the Hindu gods exist and you’ll hear them reject each and every one of them, as do I.) You see, we’re not that different. I’m no less comfortable than any Christian taking a leap of faith, but the big difference is that I’m happy to concede that I could be wrong.
Try getting a born-again Christian to concede that they could be wrong, that they could be deluding themselves because their god might not really exist. It’s likely you’ll never hear it. Why? Because rejecting the existence of an allegedly ubiquitous yet elusive god (as I do) and ultimately being wrong doesn’t compromise ones intellect.
Spending one’s life praising a god that ultimately doesn’t exist isn’t intellectually safe. From a purely intellectual standpoint, if as an atheist I’m wrong, then I’m just a guy who didn’t buy the story because there wasn’t a shred of concrete proof. On the other hand, if a theist is wrong, then he’s a gullible sucker who bought into a silly man-made fantasy – hook, line, and sinker. And no one wants that rap. No one.
As atheists remain the smallest segment of the population (theistically speaking), one thing is certainly clear: In a world filled with militantly devout bible-thumping theists with strong voting and political power, it takes INFINITELY more courage and conviction to be an atheist than to subscribe to any flavor of religion. Don’t agree? Try being a one-man tug-of-war team at your company’s next summer outing. To say that atheists are wildly outnumbered would be the epitome of understatements.
It’s easy to be a sheep. BAAH!
“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” – Stephen Roberts