AIG: Atheists Follow a Dogmatic Faith

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.

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13 responses to “AIG: Atheists Follow a Dogmatic Faith

  1. michaelfugate

    Given the billions of possible gods, I think Ham should be worried that he picked the right one.

  2. Holy cow!

    (oops, I just committed religion)

  3. [T]he Bible is not a fictional book. It is the Word of God and is therefore inerrant and infallible in the original manuscripts.

    I’ll bet anything Ham can’t read the original manuscripts, the scribbled notes, the scrolls and fragments of ancient texts. No, and to that end Ham surely relies on translations, e.g., the KJV, which is human based and only one of many translations. Not only that, with so many bibles, they don’t all include the same materials. Hmm, humans selection of what their deity said, and omitting stories they don’t like.

  4. I don’t have the time or the interest to read Tim’s article but from the passages you quote, it’s certainly a nonsensical collection of bad arguments. For example, Tim claims that “Atheists follow the dogma that God does not exist.” I don’t know about other atheists, but I think the probability that any of the thousands of gods exist is indistinguishable from 0 (that’s zero, Tim), because of the complete lack of evidence that there are gods (or leprechauns, either, for that matter). If there were so little evidence for electrons, I’d doubt their existence too. On the other hand, I think the probability that evolution happened and is happening is indistinguishable from 1 (that’s as good as probabilities get, Tim), because the evidence for it is overwhelming.

  5. Dave Luckett

    This is possibly the greatest farrago of nonsense ever to emerge even from the bowels of AiG – and that is truly saying something.

    It is conventional for dictionaries to arrange their definitions in order of most to least literal, provided that the meanings be generally accepted. It is true that the word “religion” can be metaphorically applied with generally accepted meaning to any strongly held belief, in anything whatsoever. Strange, strange, how this writer insists that the Bible is to be read literally, but that the word “religion” must in this instance be taken at its most metaphorical.

    The same goes for “worship”. Again, this writer is attempting to apply the word in a metaphorical sense to any system of belief that grants authority to anything. “Reason”, for example, or “empathy”, or “humanitarianism”. Again, this is nothing more than fraudulent word-gaming.

    As atheists have long ago wearied themselves by repeating, almost none of them say that there is certainly no God. What they say is that there is no testable evidence for one, and that in the alternative, the null hypothesis holds.

    “The Bible is not a fictional book” is not only a mere assertion, it’s provably untrue. Palpably, obviously so, to anyone who has ever actually read the texts, and done the slightest amount of study of their languages, origin, or provenance. The writer is simply relying – probably correctly – on the ignorance of his readership. I would tentatively reject the idea that he is merely showing his own, on the grounds that if he holds even so fraudulent a thing as a “degree” in apologetics from Liberty University, he must have become aware that there is something he is supposed to be defending against. He must know that there are large schools of Biblical exegesis who deny the literality of most of the scriptures, for good reason grounded in close reading of the texts themselves. Rejecting these criticisms is one thing, but airily asserting the contrary as if the criticisms did not exist is quite another, and passes from ignorance into knowing untruth.

    As for the contemptible assertions that life cannot arise from non-life, or intelligence from non-intelligence, this is not only more ignorant assertion, it is also an iteration of the blind faith that he falsely taxes atheists with. Projection is not just for the movies! What reason has he for making these assertions? How does he know these things?

    Hideous. Simply hideous. This is what emerges from the creationist subculture: the night of reason and the winter of thought.

  6. Well, I consider myself to be agnostic, so none of Tim’s arguments apply.

    Not saying there definitely is no god (or is a god, for that matter); just saying there’s no way to know. Hardly a religion — by anyone’s definition. Unless one considers a belief in rational thought to be a religion. Now that’s a stretch.

  7. Charles Deetz ;)

    Read aloud with a slur, the essay’s true origin is revealed: a drunken rant from a bar-mate.

    “Inthead, at-heism must steal from a-a-a- theistic worldview to even use logic. Am I right, or am I right? Hic, burrp.”

  8. “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.”
    Since you could never prove the nonexistence of square circles without possessing all knowledge (in which case you would be a square circle), this is a tenet of your system that is held by blind faith.

    “Yet laws of logic, such as the law of identity and the law of non-contradiction, are immaterial.”
    Still we need matter like human brains to formulate them and matter like pen and paper to write them down.

    “Make of it what you will.”
    A good summary of the worst apologetics I’ve met last five, six years.

  9. 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.

    And Ken Ham knows from pond scum, folks, so listen up!

    Seriously, if Ham’s logic made sense for once, one might just as readily say: “If physics were true, then gravity would not and could not exist, since its effects would just be the effects of time and chance and the laws of nature.”

    Well, um, that’s where the laws of nature actually come in. And what’s so terrible about the human mind being the product of those same laws?

  10. One of the first things I think of when I hear a creationist’s argument against evolution(*) is whether that argument works at least as well as an argument against reproduction.
    The other thing is whether creationism itself is subject to the same argument.
    This one is, no surprise, a failure on both counts.
    1) If our thinking capacity is a result of our body being a result of processes which can be studied by sciences of reproduction … etc. etc. etc.
    2) Is something true because God tells us, or does God tell us because it is true?

    (*)Of course, it is always an argument against something, never an an argument for an alternative account for the variety of life. Never telling us what happens so that things turn out as they do.

  11. So the criteria for religion are ardor and faith. I believe with ardor and faith that the AIG are idiots, therefore my belief is a religion. Where’s my tax exemption?

  12. I have just sent the following message to Chaffey:

    https://answersingenesis.org/world-religions/atheism/feedback-is-atheism-a-religion/
    So?

    Atheism may be a sort of ‘religion’ (a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardour and faith) but Ken Ham widens the issue to the practice of science and falsely calls both naturalism and evolution a ‘religion’ as well. They are not.

  13. This from a person who is building an entertainment celebrating the death of nearly everyone and everything living.