Which Flavor or Ice Cream Do Atheists Prefer?

clip_image002If morality is relative and based on personal preference, as atheists claim, then their moral judgments of others carry no more weight than if they told you which flavor of ice cream they prefer.

There is an inconsistency here. To claim to know what’s right for everyone requires universal moral absolutes. So every time moral relativists declare how other persons OUGHT to believe or behave they are demonstrating their underlying belief in God (because they are appealing to universals we ALL SHOULD believe in) and their simultaneous suppression of that truth (since they claim there is no God) Their beliefs, therefore, betray the confession of their lips.
In moral relativism there are no universal “shoulds” or “oughts” to abide by. If there were it would no longer be relativism.

As an atheist you can be a morally upright citizen but you could also be a morally debauched rapist or murderer – in both cases you are being consistent with atheism. Good or bad are equally evanescent and equally valid expressions of atheism. But atheists often tell me they will do what is best for human flourishing … but another atheist will do what is harmful to human flourishing. What is the difference? Both are being consistent atheists … in equal measure. There is no better or worse in moral relativism.

Do I have any examples of atheists espousing moral absolutes?

If you read any atheists online a very significant number of them argue against Christianity by explaining to us how immoral and wrong it is for us to believe it. … that God is a “moral monster” etc… That we and others ought to reject it because, they claim, God is morally debased. The irony is, in that making this argument, they deny moral relativism and reveal they really do believe in universals — not just a personal preference, but it is WRONG for OTHERS to believe it too. The irony should not be missed. Such atheists also have affirmations, denials and a missionary force.

Sun, 07/31/2016 – 14:58 — john_hendryx

https://www.monergism.com/blog/which-flavor-or-ice-cream-do-atheists-prefer

Twenty Ways to Answer a Fool?

Twenty Ways to Answer a Fool?

The above title is borrowed from the title (minus the ’?’) of a series of posts written by Fred Butler over at the Hip & Thigh blog. They were written as a review of an online pamphlet by an atheist anarchist by the name of Chaz Bufe called Twenty Reasons to Abandon Christianity. Although it is not specifically stated in the introduction to the series of posts, the title Twenty Ways to Answer a Fool is scriptural:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

Psalm 14:1 (ESV)

The following links connect to Fred Butler’s responses to Chaz Bufe’s 20 reasons to abandon Christianity. The numbers in parentheses correspond to the 20 reasons given to abandon Christianity.

Twenty Ways to Answer a Fool, Introduction
Is Christianity Based on Fear? (1)
Does Christianity Prey on the Innocent? (2)
Is Christianity Based upon Dishonesty? (3)
Is Christianity Egocentric? (4)
Does Christianity Breed Arrogance? (5)
Does Christianity Breed Authoritarianism? (6)
Is Christianity Cruel? (7)
Is Christianity Anti-intellectual? (8)
Does Christianity Have an Unhealthy Preoccupation with Sex? (9 & 10)
Does Christianity Have a Narrow View of Morality? (11 & 12)
Does Christianity Depreciate the Natural World? (13)
Does Christianity Model an Authoritarian Organization? (14)
Does Christianity Sanction Slavery? (15)
Is Christianity Misogynistic? (16)
Is Christianity Homophobic? (17)
Is the Bible a Reliable Guide to Christ’s Teachings? (18 & 19)
Is Christianity Borrowed from Other Ancient Religions? (20)

Does the atheist merely deny that which he knows is true?

Atheists either totally deny the existence of God or they claim they just don’t believe in God, or gods. I have met both types, however there are far fewer professing atheists who tell me that God doesn’t exist than those who merely tell me they just don’t believe in God. When it is suggested that to claim God doesn’t exist necessarily presupposes ‘all knowledge’, thoughtful God deniers will move into the ‘I just don’t believe in God’ camp.

We ask the above question because of what scripture tells us in the New Testament book of Romans, Chapter 1:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity. . . 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Note the following points about men in the above text.

1. Men suppress the truth (by their unrighteousness). (v. 18)

2. They (men) knew God. (v.21)

3. They (men) exchanged the truth about God for a lie. (v.25)

If you read the rest of Romans 1, you will also find out what the results are when men exchange the truth of God for a lie, but those results are not the topic of this post. The point of this post is the original question “Does the atheist merely deny that which he knows is true?” If the answer is ‘yes’, should it inform how we discuss the existence of God with professing atheists? If that’s another ‘yes’, how should it inform our end of the dialogue? What might change in the way we discuss the issue of od’s existence?

Food for thought and discussion.

Atheists in the Pulpit — The Sad Charade of the Clergy Project

Wednesday, August 29, 2012, Al Mohler

“It is hard to think of any other profession which it is so near to impossible to leave.” That is the judgment of Richard Dawkins, perhaps the world’s most famous living atheist, as he welcomes unbelieving pastors to join the Clergy Project, a group designed to help unbelieving pastors make their way out of the ministry. Apparently, some are not moving out very fast.

Dawkins explains that the Clergy Project “exists to provide a safe haven, a forum where clergy who have lost their faith can meet each other, exchange views, swap problems, counsel each other — for, whatever they may have lost, clergy know how to counsel and comfort.” Dawkins, who once held one of the world’s most coveted academic posts, has now reduced himself to addressing small gatherings of atheists and celebrating a motley crew of pastors who have abandoned the faith — even if some have not abandoned their pulpits.

The Clergy Project’s own statement is even more blunt, describing itself as “a confidential online community for active and former clergy who do not hold supernatural beliefs.” Most people, believers and unbelievers alike, are no doubt in the habit of thinking that the Christian ministry requires supernatural beliefs. That assumption is what Richard Dawkins and the Clergy Project want to subvert. More precisely, they want to use the existence of unbelieving pastors to embarrass the church and weaken theism.

This past Sunday, The New York Times Magazine told the story of Jerry DeWitt, once a pastor in DeRidder, Louisiana and later the first “graduate” of the Clergy Project. He is now the executive director of a group known as Recovering from Religion, based in Kansas. DeWitt told the magazine of his struggle as an unbelieving pastor. “I remember thinking,” he said, “Who on this planet has any idea what I am going through?”

As the story unfolds, DeWitt tells of being the pastor of a Pentecostal church. What readers will also discover, however, is that even by the time he assumed the pastorate, DeWitt “espoused a more liberal Christianity.” Though he never earned a college degree, he educated himself by reading authors such as Carl Sagan, an atheist astronomer, and Joseph Campbell, a proponent of the mythological. Later, he read Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, key figures in the New Atheism. By the time he had read Dawkins and Hitchens, “even weak-tea Christianity was becoming hard to follow.”

When he found that he could no longer pray for his own parishioners or preach a coherent message, DeWitt resigned, preaching his last sermon in Cut and Shoot, Texas in April 2011. Now he travels the country organizing Recovering from Religion local chapters and working with the Clergy Project.

The magazine also told of Teresa MacBain, once a Methodist preacher in Tallahassee, Florida and now another trophy of the Clergy Project. The magazine simply states that MacBain “resigned from her pastor’s position in Tallahassee and went public as an atheist.” That is a very strategic example of under-reporting the story. As National Public Radio reported, MacBain first told just about everyone but her church of her atheism.

“I am currently an active pastor and I’m also an atheist,” she said. “I live a double life. I feel pretty good on Monday, but by Thursday — when Sunday’s right around the corner — I start having stomachaches, headaches, just knowing that I got to stand up and say things that I no longer believe in and portray myself in a way that’s totally false.”

Of course, she didn’t have to say such things at all. She could have resigned and spared herself and her church the hypocrisy. MacBain told NPR of her experience with mounting doubts, and then of her “eureka moment” when she realized, “I’m an atheist. … I don’t believe.”

On March 26, 2012, she stood before the American Atheists convention in Bethesda, Maryland and told the 1,500 attendees, “My name is Teresa. I’m a pastor currently serving a Methodist church — at least up to this point — and I am an atheist.” As NPR reported, the crowd hooted and clapped for more than a minute.

NPR and The New York Times Magazine attempt to portray MacBain and DeWitt as victims. MacBain presents herself as unnerved by the fact that her church fired her and did not appreciate her declaration of atheism behind their backs at a convention hundreds of miles away.

The Clergy Project and similar efforts are rooted in a 2010 study undertaken by Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola of Tufts University. Dennett is one of the major figures in the New Atheism. He argues that belief in God once served an important evolutionary purpose, but does so no longer. Religious belief, he argues, is a vestigial remnant of our evolutionary past that modern humanity must overcome. He is hardly a neutral and dispassionate observer.

Nevertheless, Dennett and LaScola conducted and published a study known as “Preachers Who Are Unbelievers.” In that study, a small sampling of atheist or unbelieving pastors were considered, along with five representative profiles. These pastors clearly are not believers, at least in any orthodox or recognizably Christian sense. They spoke openly and in considerable detail about their unbelief, with the ministers explaining how they had abandoned any confidence in biblical Christianity.

Why didn’t they just resign? Most shockingly, some openly spoke of losing their salaries as the main concern. So much for intellectual honesty.

Dennett and LaScola made a very interesting and important observation in their research report. They acknowledged that defining an unbelieving pastor is actually quite difficult. Given the fact that so many liberal churches and denominations already believe so little, how is atheism really different? In the name of tolerance, the liberal denominations have embraced so much unbelief that atheism is a practical challenge.

In the words of Dennett and LaScola: “This counsel of tolerance creates a gentle fog that shrouds the question of belief in God in so much indeterminacy that if asked whether they believe in God, many people could sincerely say that they don’t know what they are being asked.”

The Clergy Project gets to the point more concisely, defining its membership as “active and former clergy who do not hold supernatural beliefs.” Nevertheless, this definition suffers from the same problem. Many liberal ministers hold to no supernatural beliefs, but they also tenaciously hold to their pulpits without admitting atheism.

The Clergy Project is a parable of our times, but it is also a pathetic portrait of the desperation of many atheist and secularist groups. They are thrilled to parade a few trophies of unbelief, but do they really believe that these example are serving their cause? They celebrate a former Pentecostal preacher with no education, who was already a theological liberal when called to his church, and who then educated himself by reading Sagan, Dawkins, and Hitchens. Seriously?

The Clergy Project is a magnet for charlatans and cowards who, by their own admission, openly lie to their congregations, hide behind beliefs they do not hold, make common cause with atheists, and still retain their positions and salaries. Is this how atheists and secularists groups intend to further their cause? They are getting publicity from the media to be sure, but do they think it will win them friends?

Ministers struggling honestly with doubts and struggles are in a different category altogether. Doubt will lead to one of two inevitable consequences. Faithful doubt leads to a deeper embrace of the truth, with doubt serving to point us into a deeper knowledge, trust, and understanding of the truth. Pernicious doubt leads to unfaithfulness, unbelief, skepticism, cynicism, and despair. Christians — ministers or otherwise — who are struggling with doubt, need to seek help from the faithful, not the faithless.

Christianity has little to fear from the Clergy Project. Its website reveals it to be a toothless tiger that will attract media attention, and that is about all. The greater danger to the church is a reduction in doctrine that leaves atheism hard to distinguish from belief. And the real forces to fear are those who would counsel such a reduction.

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How to Become an Atheist

by Ray Comfort

There are two main hard and fast rules for anyone who would like to become an “atheist.” If you are tempted, beware. It’s not an easy thing to do.
The first rule is to ignore design in nature. You will see it everywhere—from the planets, to the atoms, to the seasons, to the design of the human body, to the design of the birds and the bees, flowers, fruit, feet, and even fungus. And, of course, the amazing human eye. Everywhere you look and everywhere you can’t look, you will see design.

Now here’s the hard part: ignore your God-given common sense. Admit that everything man made is manmade, but be uncompromisingly adamant that everything in nature came from nothing, with no Designer. Once you have set aside your acumen to do this, crown yourself as being intelligent. Very. Then find other atheists who will confirm that you are indeed intelligent.

The second rule is to “believe.” This is very important, because if you let doubt in, it will let in fear, and that can be a scary thing when the issue at stake is a place called “Hell.”

Believe that you are right in your beliefs. Believe that evolution is indeed true. Believe that it’s scientific. Believe that there are no missing links, and believe that Richard Dawkins knows what he is talking about.

 
Believe that you are related to an ape, and therefore you are not morally responsible because apes have no moral absolutes. Believe that your conscience was given to you by your parents and society, and not by God (always use a small “g” for God, if possible).

To grow as an atheist, you will need to learn believers’ language—phrases like, “There is no creation,” “Evolution is a proven fact,” and the powerful “Flying Spaghetti Monster” argument. Learn the fine art of cutting and pasting quotes, and responding to evidence with “Straw man!” That means you won’t have to respond to anything challenging.

All this will give a perception of intelligence. Never question evolution, and don’t think for yourself.

Do these things, and you will be able to call yourself an atheist, or even a “new” atheist. How cool is that! Well, I should say, as much of one as you can be called one. No one can be a true atheist because you need “absolute knowledge” to say that there is no God. So until you are omniscient (like God), you will just have to do with pretending to be one.

From “Atheist Central.”