Boghossian’s “Manual for Creating Atheists”

Ebook compilation available

Peter Boghossian wants to create atheists. He calls faith a dangerous belief, a virus, a contagious pathology. He says (32:30 here), “When I speak to speak to somebody of faith, I view them as a person who really is mentally ill.” Yet ironically he considers it frightful that anyone would “medicalize” attitudes toward Islam through using the word “Islamophobia.”

That’s one of several oddities in the conversation you see below. Still it’s interesting. He has a book due for release not long from now, A Manual for Creating Atheists. In this video he tells us it’s not directly about God or atheism, but rather about epistemology, the philosophical study of knowledge, or the way we form our beliefs and opinions. He considers faith a false and dangerous epistemology that needs to be rooted out of society, and he believes when people give up faith as an epistemological approach, atheism will naturally follow.

He doesn’t go into further detail on his preferred epistemological approach in this conversation. (There are other videos out there in which he does, including the one I linked above; I’ll cover them soon.) What he reveals in this video is that faith is believing things we don’t know are true, or belief based on insufficient evidence, or so he thinks, anyway. He considers it dangerous (he uses that word a lot) to base beliefs on an ancient book. He used the Socratic method to challenge one Christian’s belief that God is required to explain the existence of the universe.

Here’s my take on this:

1. Boghossian is a dangerous man. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and there is true life only in him. Boghossian seeks to block people from that knowledge.

2. Nevertheless this book could do some good when it comes out. Christians in the West have been sloppy in their thinking. I expect a book like this could help us clarify what we believe and why, provided that churches teach an appropriate epistemology. Really, though, for those who know something about the basis for Christian belief, there’s nothing there to be afraid of. Nothing.

3. With that in mind, I wish the revised Kregel Publications edition of True Reason could be ready for release the same time as this book. Plans now are that it will come out early next year. The ebook is available now, of course. I’m confident that whatever Boghossian has to say in his manual, True Reason will provide epistemologically sound answers.

4. Whatever source Christians study from, if books like his wake up the sleeping intellectual power of the church, Boghossian may find the result more dangerous than he dreamed. He might find out that he can’t get away so easily with sloppy views of faith and reason.

174 Comments