I wonder whether atheism could exist if atheists didn’t know so much about God.
I’m talking about hard-core contemporary atheism: atheism that says, as John Loftus just wrote on Facebook,
The question is whether or not some kind of god did communicate to us.
Subjective doesn’t count on this score, otherwise we have no reason to object when someone claims a god commanded them to kill their children.
Read the context and you’ll see that “subjective” means, “not knowable through scientific evidence and reasoning.”
Loftus thinks he’s making a statement about the limitations of human knowledge: If we can’t know anything about God objectively (scientifically), then we can’t reasonably conclude we know anything about God at all.
What he’s really doing, however, is making a statement about the limits of God’s power: If God can’t communicate knowledge to humans objectively/scientifically, he can’t communicate knowledge at all. That is, if there is a God who wishes to communicate to humans, then the only power of communication that God could possibly possess is the power of scientifically-testable communication.
How does an atheist know that much about God, I wonder?
Or Loftus’s theology could be this instead: If a God exists, and that God wants to communicate truly and certainly to humans, then that God must want to communicate that way to all humans. It’s all or nothing. No God could possibly want to communicate truly and certainly to a subset of humans.
Does Loftus know that as a fact about God (or gods)?
I get his point about the possibility of human error. There’s plenty of evidence for that. There’s plenty of human overconfidence as well. But he takes those facts too far, to the conclusion that if some humans can be erroneously confident in their beliefs about God, then no confidently-held belief about God (or gods) could possibly be trusted as true. That’s a good conclusion insofar as truth and confidence depend on humans alone. Loftus, like many other atheists, assumes that to be the case. They’re assuming God couldn’t carry some or all of that load.
How do they know that about God?
I’ve only brought up one atheistic argument here, but if you survey atheists’ arguments, you’ll find it everywhere: They implicitly describe what God can or can’t do, or what God can or can’t be like, as if they knew.
I don’t know how contemporary atheism could survive without everything it knows about God. I do know that the gods they’ve disproved so knowledgeably are nothing like the God in whom Christians believe.
Point of Application for Christians
Watch for smuggled-in theologies when you’re debating atheists. Lots of their arguments depend on what they “know” must be true about God. Dig out those theologies. Don’t just ask yourself what must be true of humans or of nature, but also what must be true of God, in order for their point to be true. Then ask them how they know that much about God.
Image Credit(s): pixabay.