This is difficult to write about, because it’s so absurd. As you’re aware, the powerful intellects at Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — have maintained that atheism is a religion, which is like claiming that vacuum is atmosphere. Today they have a post which vigorously defends their bizarre position.
The title of their effort is Feedback: Is Atheism a Religion?, written by Tim Chaffey. We’ve been told that he “holds a master of divinity degree in apologetics and theology and a ThM in church history and theology from Liberty University School of Divinity. He is content manager for the attractions division of Answers in Genesis.”
It’s a long, chaotic article, written in the format of presenting objections to their claim that they’ve received, followed by what they consider smashing counter-arguments. We’ll cut through most of the blather, and give you their best defense of their claim, with some bold font added by us for emphasis. Here we go:
As with any debated issue, it is crucial to immediately define the key terms, so I agree that we should check the definition of religion. The following definitions are found in the eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary:
1b(1): the service and worship of God or the supernatural
That’s the usual meaning of the word, about which Chaffey says:
If this were the only definition of religion, then I would tend to agree with you on this matter. Some have argued that many atheists view themselves as gods, and that they worship their own ideas, but even this would not qualify as religion under the above definition. However, look at the final definition provided by Merriam-Webster’s:
4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
That’s the one creationists usually mention when making their claim about atheism. However, using that definition, your Curmudgeon’s devotion to the principles of the US Constitution would also be a religion — which of course it isn’t. Let’s read on:
Using this definition, many atheists would certainly be categorized as religious, particularly the so-called “New Atheists” like Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher. It would be better to consider them anti-theists (“against God”) or misotheists (“haters of God”). These men and others like them spend much of their time railing against the Creator they say doesn’t even exist. Strangely enough, these misotheists seem to be more obsessed with God than most Christians. They most certainly hold to their cause and beliefs with ardor and faith.
Great stuff, huh? It doesn’t require much in the way of Curmudgeonly commentary. Chaffey continues:
Chief among these elements of blind faith is your belief that God does not exist. Since you could never prove the nonexistence of God without possessing all knowledge (in which case you would be God), this is a tenet of your system that is held by blind faith.
[*Groan*] Here’s more:
Atheists follow the dogma that God does not exist, … [a]nd the way that many atheists assert their belief so dogmatically is another way in which they act religiously.
Yeah, okay. Moving along:
Instead of worshiping the Creator who made everyone, atheists have essentially chosen to worship the creature. An atheist worships (holds as the most important, respects the most, gives highest priority to, or treats as the highest authority and the source of meaning and morality) himself, or money, or sex, or a movie star, or an athlete, or the government, and so on. An atheist is an idolater just as much as someone who bows before a statue or other man-made object representing his deity.
Uh huh. Another excerpt:
As an atheist you must believe in evolution and so you cling to a view that requires mindless matter to work miracles, such as causing life to arise from non-living materials and intelligence to come from non-intelligence.
You believe in mindless miracles, dear reader. And now, Chaffey describes the true religion:
We believe in an eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing God who created life and everything else. He repeatedly demonstrated His ability to work miracles before thousands of witnesses. He walked on water, calmed the storm, healed the sick, lame, blind, and deaf, and He even raised the dead to life. As such, the Christian faith is not a blind faith.
[T]he Bible is not a fictional book. It is the Word of God and is therefore inerrant and infallible in the original manuscripts. Also, even if the Bible had some errors, which it doesn’t, it would not instantly turn all the rest of it into fiction.
See, dear reader? You’re the dogmatic fanatic with blind faith, unlike the geniuses at AIG. We can’t handle much more, but this is something we can’t leave out:
If atheism were true, rational thought would not and could not exist, for the atheist’s thoughts would just be the result of time and chance and the laws of nature. Therefore, our minds would just be rearranged atoms, no more rational than pond scum. Atheism is rooted in philosophical naturalism — matter is all that exists. Yet laws of logic, such as the law of identity and the law of non-contradiction, are immaterial. So atheism cannot provide the rational foundation for logic. Instead, atheism must steal from a theistic worldview to even use logic. Only if there is a rational Creator is there a basis for the laws of logic. Thus, an atheist’s attempt to prove atheism using logic is self-defeating.
Ponder that, dear reader. There’s much more in Chaffey’s article, but we’ve seen enough. Make of it what you will.
Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.