Sunday, March 20, 2011

Brainwashed to be an atheist

Loftus plugs this post by Coyne:

Why Are You An Atheist?

Jerry Coyne asked a good starter question so let me repeat it here:
Why are you an atheist? Does it have anything to do with a lack of evidence for god, or are there other factors involved?

Ironically, here's how the second commenter at Coyne's site answers the question:

Michael Kingsford Gray
Posted March 18, 2011 at 5:56 am | Permalink
I count myself lucky to have been raised in Australia by staunchly atheist parents.
Never believed in any gods, including Santa.
Have not only not seen any evidence that I should believe in one of the thousands on offer, but have seen bucket-loads of evidence that I should not.
This was quite obvious from the age of four, as I remember it.
There were no other factors involved.


  1. Have not only not seen any evidence that I should believe in one of the thousands on offer

    I was looking for a good rebuttal to this "argument" (really a smoke-screen).

    Is there anything on Triablogue that answers this question? Perhaps even a monograph or resource?

    Thank you :)

  2. That argument's pretty context-sensitive, isn't it? We'd have to know what the person thinks counts as evidence, what they think doesn't. My experience is that many people, even most people, who talk like this go on to admit that they don't even know what evidence in either direction would look like.

  3. Cory,

    The Bible itself cites fulfilled prophecy (Isaiah 44:6-8), eyewitness testimony (Luke 1:1-3), creation (Romans 1:19-21), and other lines of evidence.

    We've written thousands of pages of material on issues related to evidence for the existence of God. Some of the relevant material is covered in the topical index I recently put together here. We've published some ebooks that address such issues to some extent, like here and here. Last year, I wrote a post responding to atheists and other skeptics who often come here and make comments about how there's supposedly no evidence for Christianity. Other web sites we link to (James Anderson's, William Lane Craig's, etc.) often address such issues as well.

  4. Cory,

    Since he doesn't even say what he thinks would count as evidence for God, there's nothing to respond to. It's quite likely that he has completely unreasonable rules of evidence. In that case, you wouldn't even discuss the evidence. Rather, you'd discuss his ridiculous standards of evidence.

    There are many different lines of evidence of God's existence. Jason already mentioned the argument from prophecy. Here are some monographs that give you a good overview:

    T. D. Alexander, The Servant King: The Bible's Portrait of the Messiah (Regent College Publishing, 2003)

    J. Alec Motyer, Look to the Rock: An Old Testament Background to Our Understanding of Christ (Kregel Academic & Professional; 1st ed., 2004)

    O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Prophets (P & R Publishing, 2008)

    Michael Rydelnik, The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic?

  5. Thank you Jason and Steve for the helpful links and resources! :-)

    I'll avail myself of those, and also keep in mind that such questions are never asked to receive a reply, but to demonstrate a hard-hearted, closed-mind.


  6. Cory,

    In addition to the works that Steve has noted, there are two more important works on that subject that are supposed to come out this year:

    Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel's King by Herbert Bateman IV, Gordon Johnston, Darrell Bock


    The Gospel According to Isaiah: The Identity and Mission of the Messiah in Isaiah 53
    Darrell Bock, Mitch Glaser

    Also, Craig Keener's book on the miracles of Jesus should be out this year as well:

    Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts by Craig Keener

  7. Thanks S&S :)

    Those sound like great books!

    I just have to laugh when people say, "Well which God? Thor? Zeus? Any number of the hundreds of Hindu gods? Which god and why?"

  8. So, could this guy be cured of his atheism by taking the Outsider Test for Infidels?