Friday, February 20, 2015

Stealing From God

David Limbaugh of WND wrote an article on a book called Stealing From God. He props the book up with the lofty claim that it 'skillfully challenges atheists'. But does it? Lets see what his article reveals...
By definition, Christian apologetics deals with defending the faith and, in the process, marshaling evidence in support of Christianity’s truth claims. “Stealing From God” does that, of course, but it does something else, too. It transitions from defense to offense and turns the tables on the atheist community, exposing the brittle foundation on which many of its beliefs (or non-beliefs) are based.
Turns the tables? Brittle foundation? Atheism tends to stem from there being a lack of evidence that there actually is a God. Is this book going to finally do what no other book has done yet and offer actual conclusive evidence of God?
Why would a Christian want to challenge the position of atheists, you ask? Why would one want to attack their arguments? After all, they are just passive unbelievers who mind their own business.
Ego? The call of their church to bring in new members so they can in turn bring more money into the church? Nosy?  Control freak? There's no one single answer to that question really, as those that do evangelize have their own motivations.
In many cases, perhaps most, that is quite true, though Christians have an obligation to spread the good news and offer the reasons for their beliefs to everyone they can, provided they do it with gentleness and respect.
So they'd be cool with Muslims repeatedly trying to get them to convert to Islam?
Please don’t misunderstand; my primary enthusiasm for this book isn’t based on the fact that someone has finally put atheists in their place and forced them to defend their views.
Put us in our place? Defend our views? All we've asked for is evidence! We don't believe in God. What is there to defend? I would ask David for evidence that there is a God if he was here questioning me. But I still don't see what there is to defend. I'm not making a positive claim, I'm just asking David to prove his.
It isn’t about one-upmanship to me or to Turek. This isn’t a game of gotcha, even with aggressive atheists, whom Christians are under a duty to care for as fellow human beings. The book is very respectful.
Wait, it's 'respectful' but you openly admit that there are those that you care for only because you're 'under duty to'... Does David know what respectful means?
I’m excited about this book because I believe that it fills a bit of a hole in the field of Christian apologetics. You see, I have long believed that many skeptics, not just full-blown atheists, shortchange themselves by ending their philosophical inquiry about Christianity when they encounter troubling questions about the Bible or wrestle with disconcerting issues such as the prevalence of evil and suffering in our world.
Um... What!? In my experience, skeptics never end their inquiry. As an atheist I revisit the question of Christianity every single time someone makes a challenge or claims that they have proof. Atheists by and large are open-minded, so we don't tend to just decide there is no God and never give it another thought. We love it when our ideas and thoughts are challenged.  If your beliefs can face these challenges and win, the challenge will only strengthen them. If they fail, you have learned something and can refine your beliefs.

Actually, it's almost always the believers that you will find are set in stone and unwilling to change or reconsider. So who is this book even actually directed toward?
In this largely secular, naturalist, materialist age, many find the Bible’s reported miracles as anti-scientific fairy tales and certain tough passages in the Old Testament as just too uncomfortable to square with Christians’ claim that they worship an all-loving God.
True, the Bible does directly contradict the popular notion  that the Christian god is all-loving and all-knowing.
But I believe that far too many doubters don’t dig much deeper once they discover perceived problems with Christian beliefs and use those difficulties – no offense intended – as an excuse not to believe.
Yes, aspects of Christianity are silly, and even ugly. But it always comes down to the evidence, or lack thereof.  Excuse not to believe? David may say 'no offense intended' but how else is someone supposed to take being implied to be a liar? Additionally, belief isn't even a choice, but I guess David didn't get that memo.
Why wouldn’t they want to believe? Well, some people are comfortable in their lifestyles and believe that Christianity would force them to take inventory and account of themselves. Others may not realize what’s at stake in resolving the question – and don’t let themselves ponder it much further.
It isn't about what we want! If it was about that I would believe in reincarnation... but I don't. Why? For the same reason I'm not a Christian... Lack of evidence. It looks to me that David is reverting into repeating the same old tired and false cliches so many Christian's do. To illustrate how silly this is what if I asked why David wouldn't want to believe in Islam? It must be that he's just comfortable in his lifestyle and is unwilling to take inventory and account of himself. See the absurdity now?
Others, such as college freshmen, shaken from their belief systems by wiseguy atheist professors, are ridiculed into abandoning their beliefs and haven’t the depth of knowledge needed to reinforce those beliefs.
Wow... Resorting to a myth to defend his myth. David must be getting desperate.
I don’t pretend to know all the reasons.
And apparently he doesn't even attempt to figure out the real reasons since he hasn't even mentioned any yet. Show me the evidence!
But I do know, based on my own experience in talking to some atheists and watching others debate Christians, that many atheists haven’t grappled with inherent problems with their own beliefs.
Atheism doesn't actually have any beliefs. In fact, atheism by definition is only the lack of one specific belief... belief in gods. But what is this supposed weakness? Do tell...
Inexplicably – to me, at least – they seem to think that because there are certain troubling questions with Christianity and the present age quasi-deifies naturalism and science, they can go philosophically AWOL and everything will be fine.
Um... No, that's not it at all! Does David still fail to realize why most atheists are atheists? I'm beginning to surmise that there's a lot about this topic that David probably finds inexplicable.
The reality, however, isn’t so simple. The existence of hard sayings in the Bible doesn’t mean that atheism makes sense.
Correct, ugly Bible passages is not a logical path toward atheism. But here's the thing... That has almost nothing to do with why most atheists are atheists. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, most disbelieve because there has yet to be a good and logical reason to believe.
If many of these atheists would apply their considerable mental agility to examining the reasonableness of atheism, they might find that it is much more difficult not to believe than it is to believe in a theistic God.
And how's that? As an atheist I ask for evidence. There is no evidence for the existence of the Christian god or any other. If there's no evidence for God, there's no good reason to believe in God. If there's no good reason to believe, atheism is much easier and much more logical. 
“Stealing From God” saves us much trouble in this inquiry because it lays out, with relentless logic, just how illogical non-belief in God is and, fascinatingly, how atheists actually steal ideas from Christianity to support their own worldview, never drilling deep enough into their own collection of beliefs to realize the egregious contradictions that coexist within them.
Seriously? Because this article has been a very poor representation if it is supposed to speak for this book. And what does atheism supposedly steal from Christianity? And more importantly, does it even matter? So what if atheism did borrow something from Christianity? That wouldn't make Christianity any more true. Christianity stole from the Romans, Christianity stole customs and holidays from the Pagans, Christianity based Bible stories and characters on those from earlier legends and religions... Is the author about to argue that Christianity's plagiarism actually proves the pagan religions of old, in turn disproving Christianity?
“Stealing From God” forces atheists – and other skeptics – out of their comfort zone and into the uncomfortable venue of examining their own conflicting ideas and their flawed presuppositions.
Flawed presuppositions? Such as? If you ask me this all sounds far too much like projection. This also shows the extreme lack of research since this book is challenging atheists to examine our own 'beliefs'... something we already do anyway. In fact, examining our own beliefs is why many atheists become atheists. Most were believers once and dared to examine what we believed. So the very thing that the author is challenging atheists to do can easily lead one away from belief.
Perhaps when they realize the extent to which their beliefs and so-called non-beliefs are resting on little more than shifting sands, they will take a second look at Christianity, whose difficulties will no longer seem nearly so daunting and for which there are satisfactory, glorious, life-giving and life-changing answers.
Sorry, but to me Christianity is the one that seems build on shifting sand. And again the presumption that atheists don't give religion a second thought. There are atheists that wish they could believe. There are those that want to believe.  But they just can't because there's no evidence to support belief. And yes, a Christian can claim that their faith is life-changing. But here's the thing... So will a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.
I hope, in a subsequent column, to share some compelling examples of Frank Turek’s dismantling of atheism. In the meantime, I strongly urge you to buy and read this incredible book.
For David's sake I sure hope that it's far, far better than what this article has offered, because the arguments here were really quite poor. But as I said above, I'm always open to being wrong and learning something. So bring it Mr. Turek, take your best shot!

-Brain Hulk

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