This post is a response to there are no good atheists by pastor Rick Henderson.
First remember the pastor has the deck stacked against you. You can’t win against the house, in this case that’s him, but that is fine with me. It is the kind of card game I enjoy as long as I am not putting any money in it, let’s play.
He says the atheists who insist theirs is just a disbelief in deities are withholding information. He writes that at heart, each atheists holds to the following
1. The universe is purely material. It is strictly natural, and there is no such thing as the supernatural (e.g., gods or spiritual forces). It is safe to say we have no evidence for the supernatural and no way of detecting them
2. The universe is scientific. It is observable, knowable and governed strictly by the laws of physics. Here is a mistake, the universe isn’t governed but we see the laws of nature operate strictly in the universe. To say the universe is governed would require us to be outside of it and I know no one who has achieved that feat.
3. The universe is impersonal. It does not a have consciousness or a will, nor is it guided by a consciousness or a will. We are again faced with a problem. If the universe by definition includes all that is in it, it contains both conscious and non-conscious organisms.
I could possibly leave off here and tell the pastor he has missed his aim by a million miles but today being Sunday and is my be nice to theists day, I will answer his other challenges.
I think he commits a fallacy of equivocation in his next paragraph when he writes
Anything and everything that happens in such a universe is meaningless
and by leaving it open-ended, it can interpreted any way. It should be noted that humans, who are part of the universe give things meaning. A stone on the other hand being without consciousness is incapable of any such deductions.
So this next statement
A young girl is rescued from sexual slavery. A dog barks. A man is killed for not espousing the national religion. These are all actions that can be known and explained but never given any meaning or value.
is no longer about the universe but people and as such is untrue. To us, it matters that a man is killed for believing in a different god or that a girl is freed from slavery. It has meaning, it has value.
From the foregoing, it is clear that the dilemma the pastor raises is a false one. It is non-existent.
The pastor then goes to the deep end of the rails where all of them eventually end. He writes
His only reasonable conclusion is to reject objective meaning and morality. Thus, calling him “good” in the moral sense is nonsensical.
and for the umpteenth time we must ask, is talk of morality only possible when we accept objective morality? Is talk of meaning only possible when we acknowledge objective meaning? Is something only sweet when we have objective sweetness? Is sex only good when we have objective sex? And how would that sex be, that is, objective sex?
As they say, even a broken watch is correct twice a day, so it is possible that even a wrong person sometimes by accident gets something right. He writes,
At best, morality is the mass delusion shared by humanity, protecting us from the cold sting of despair.
and I agree with this.
I don’t know about you, but I think he is being economical with facts when he writes
But I’ve never met an atheist who’s managed to live this way. All the atheists I’ve known personally and from afar live as if there is objective meaning and morality
And am sure he hasn’t met me. I gave up the search for meaning. Life is the all. Anyone looking for meaning has not learnt what being alive really is. All the human endeavours are the source of meaning, nothing beyond the ordinary. Kissing your baby in the morning, working at your station, writing all these we do because they have meaning for us. Meaning isn’t hidden under a stone that we are trying to fetch.
I believe morality[ whatever it might mean for you] evolved out of a sense of reciprocity for people/ animals living in community. A person living alone in isolation has no use of morals. He has no obligations to anyone.
I get disappointed all the time I read posts by Christian apologists regardless of their education. William Craig disappoints me, the arm-chair apologist, not you divine1, disappoints me even worse but pastors simply annoy me. How can a class of people be so silly? How can a whole class of people be so unreasonable? Worse how can a whole class that feels they have to apologise for their faith get things so wrong? Can’t we get a better challenge?