A Complete and Thorough Defense of Atheism: Chapter 5
I cannot express how truly sorry I am for you and your family. Such an experience is so terrible, and yet, so frighteningly common. Pain and death are natural but ghastly aspects of our world. A great many previously religious people have turned to atheism for the same reason you have. It is simply too difficult for them to believe in a loving God who permits death and suffering.
Now Frederick, I know this is difficult, and that these wounds still pierce you afresh, but you must try to understand me. As atheists, we know:
1. There is no God.
2. There are no morals.
3. We are the products of chemicals interacting for millions of years’ worth of evolution.
4. There is no afterlife.
If all this is true, if we are not enslaved to conventions of right and wrong, if we are not accountable to God, if we are purely and absolutely a walking assortment of matter and energy (which have developed over millions of years of mutations), and if there is no life after death, only the nothing from which we came - then human life, any life, has no value.
Atheism does make sense. It is only difficult to accept. I am so, so sorry for what happened to your sister. But you must realize the logical connection between atheism and the practicality of death.
Dear Mr. Dogood,
Yes, I do see what you mean. Death is good – under atheism.
Why are you so sympathetic towards my troubles? Why do you even care? According to your previous letters, you ought to think it good that my sister’s ‘weak genes’ have been removed from humanity.
You’re last few letters have been riddled with contradictory and ridiculous notions. You may try to defy laws of logic, science and morality, but I will stand by them. Without them I cannot know anything at all. And if one cannot know anything at all, then atheism – the worldview from which this conclusion is reached – must be false. Of course, you will not accept my argument, for I used logical reasoning to get to it. But did you not use logic yourself to disprove its existence?
You arrogantly assume all of your statutes to be correct without ever realizing that these ‘tenets of atheism’ are just another set of those rules you despise. You have defended a list of rules that are the consequences of having no rules, and you defend them logically to ‘prove’ the lack of logic in the universe.
You assume that since laws of logic do not exist, then contradictions do not exist; thus laws of logic can both exist and not exist at the same time. But if laws of logic do exist (simultaneously with them not existing) then contradictions cannot both be possible, so only logic itself can be.
Therefore, I must revise my last argument: you have used logic to prove it doesn’t exist, but you have also unwittingly used it to more certainly prove it does exist. The difference is that the logic you used to disprove was riddled with unsound logic and faulty presuppositions.
Again, I recognize that you will not accept my reason, because you reject reason and care not how unreasonable you are. But you must realize that you are being just as close-minded – no, more so – than the most dogmatic of Christians.
You sound quite riled; but no matter how exceedingly philosophic you try to get, it is impossible to be a consistent atheist without accepting what I have established.
Dear Mr. Dogood,
How dare you accuse me of being an inconsistent atheist when you have asserted that consistency, an obligation of logic, cannot be possible!
In your earliest letters you wrote of Christianity, naming it your greatest enemy. You accused it of being irrational, immoral, ridiculous and inane. And yet, you later claim standards of logic and morality (from which such titles are derived) nonexistent.
But what did you claim as ridiculous? You cited the literalists, the fundamentalists of the Christian faith, who interpret literally in Scripture only that which was meant to be written literally. Such people cannot be educated. They cannot be real scientists. You refuse to acknowledge any scientific credibility on their side. Can you deny the credibility of Galileo, Kepler and Newton? Is the ingenuity of Laviosier and Mendel, Leeuwanhoek and Linneaus, and Maxwell and Boyle not enough for you?
And yet, this does not even matter. How can any atheist be a real scientist (‘real’ being what you define so arbitrarily) since science is impossible in an atheistic worldview? You accuse Christians, likewise, of being irrational – yet you have abandoned all standards of reason. You attack the Crusades, (the Christians who were not acting in accord with their beliefs as set forth in their Scripture) but reject standards of morals.
In short, by destroying the foundations of logic, morality and science in atheism, you have destroyed any hope of refuting Christianity. Your absurdity only shows the Biblical source of these truths.
But atheism is the most rational, and most scientific, of the religions, you argue. Only real scientists can believe in evolution and real evolution must be naturalistic, because it logically follows. Every claim you make in atheism’s favor assumes these things you have rejected! But humans are apes – we have no purpose, we are animals, and cannot control our actions or words at all. Can this be your only defense?
You claim atheism is free of rules. Yet twice you listed to me what you called ‘tenets’ of atheism. You provide rules and standards which I ‘must accept.’ Among these was the tenet that ‘death is good’ (though you deem it ‘unpleasant’) and that free will is nonexistent so that there is no need to prove anything (though you attempted to prove it to me). Not only do you establish rules in your blind, dogmatic faith, but you judge them with standards of logic and morality (the same rules that you most detest). How then can atheism bring freedom? It only brings enslavement to a contradictory, amoral and logically ridiculous paradigm.
‘Atheism does not deal with concepts.’ Does it indeed? You certainly deal with them enough. The origin of the universe is the foundation of your atheistic truths. You assume a certain wrongness of ‘ruthless and arbitrary rules of logic,’ a certain importance to learn knowledge in writing ‘you don’t see the truth in my statements’ and an urgency to evangelize your own faith. You write that the world is ‘senseless, meaningless, lawless and logic-less.’ Are these not all conceptual observations you have designated to atheism?
If atheism is true, natural laws cannot exist. Thus, nature must really be in a wild, random state, and we have no reason to trust our observations of it (since our observations are, in fact, results of this big mess). You sympathize with me, calling pain, suffering and death ‘ghastly.’ But how do you know? Do you have any real experience, truth or knowledge that you can rely on to reach this conclusion?
It is your opinion that religious people are enslaved to morals. But you are enslaved to the foolishness of a worldview without Christ. You have, through the perspective of atheism, deemed the term “Natural Laws” an oxymoron. But the true oxymoron occurs when you so shamelessly write, ‘Atheism does make sense.’ Does it? Can it? Is such a thing even possible? Can atheism, which logically leads to an absence of logic, knowledge and truth, ever make sense?
You declare it impossible to be a consistent atheist if I reject these things (another of your ubiquitous ‘tenets,’ I see). I agree. But I also add that it is not possible to be rational and to be an atheist at all. Either you embrace atheism for what it is and reject reason, or you ignore its nature of being a reductio ad absurdum belief and embrace reason irrationally. I am convinced that you are wrong, and that I was wrong, not just on the absurdities you have portrayed, but ultimately because of my recent acceptance of Christianity.
Early in your letters you suggested compromise of religion with evolution leads one to atheism – especially when it comes to Christianity. Once again, I agree. But it is your teaching of the fundamentals of atheism that has played a major role in showing me the truth of the one true God.
Dear Mr. Canon,
I found myself amused (and inexpressibly relieved) at reading your last letter. May I ask who had the honor of seeing you conversion?
If you ever have any questions, any doubts, any slight qualms of your newfound faith, let me know.
I remain, proudly, your mentor in atheism,
Forever in Christ,