Hello, friends! I recently enjoyed an enlightening Twitter exchange that I participated in with a few Christian apologists and bystanders; and being the considerate person that I am, I thought I would share the love. The conversation resulted when I pointed out my thoughts on the abusive nature of the Christian message. Feel free to check it out for yourselves, but fair warning, it turned into a bit of a dumpster fire. Now, of course, they disagreed with me, but what I found most interesting was the shift that the conversation took. It quickly became an argument of philosophy, or better stated, an argument for the philosophical god. Why would that be? Oh, yeah…because the philosophical god is awesome and way easier to defend. Plus, if the philosophical god exists, as you’ll see, we atheists are just plain screwed, and we need to start acting like it! Here goes… (Short on time and patience? I’ve highlighted the common theme.)
Every worldview has to explain why evil & oppression exist in the world. Christianity says it's because humans are free moral agents & often choose evil. Darwinism says we're not evolved enough. Buddhism says we mistakenly think the material world is real. What's your answer? —@NancyRPearcey
Historian Paul Johnson said if there's no heaven or hell, then our choices have no ultimate significance. If when we die, we rot, then what we do does not ultimately matter. So the choice we all face is this: Either we are guilty or we are meaningless. —@NancyRPearcey
"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference”―Richard Dawkins Is this what you now teach your children? That their lives have no purpose? Their lives are ruled by blind, pitiless indifference? THAT is an abusive message. —@NancyRPearcey
Nancy is not saying that one’s beliefs give one’s life meaning. We are talking about objective reality-true for all people, in all places, of all religions. Either we were created for a purpose and have value or we weren’t. One’s beliefs do not change reality. —@MamaBrApologetics
You think it is abusive to teach a child she's a sinner? At least she has the dignity of moral agency. Atheists like Dawkins teach that we are puppets of our genes, robots of blind material forces, meat machines--without free will. THAT is dehumanizing. —@NancyRPearcey
What's your alternative? If no God, there is only matter. We are the result of random particles bumping around in the void. What is the source of purpose or meaning? Bertrand Russell was an atheist it but called it a message of "despair." Teaching THAT to a child is abusive. —@NancyRPearcey
We can all get by on small installments of meaning from short-term goals like earning a degree, landing a job, getting married, having a family. But atheists themselves agree that w/o God, there is no ultimate purpose. Wm Provine: "evo tells us....no ultimate meaning in life." —@NancyRPearcey
I'm not talking about what's meaningful "to me." If the world is the product of mindless purposeless forces, then objectively our lives have no ultimate meaning. Honest atheists say so, like the existentialists who said life is absurd &the only question is why not commit suicide? —@NancyRPearcey
If you don't believe in God, wouldn't you want to teach your children to face the truth, no matter how dark? —@NancyRPearcey
Philosopher Richard Rorty: I’m an atheist, a Darwinist—in the struggle for existence, the strong win out, the weak are left behind. So THAT cannot be the basis for universal rights. Instead it originated from “religious claims that human beings are made in the image of God.” —@NancyRPearcey
John Gray & Richard Rorty (themselves secular thinkers) are right to say that secular humanism borrows from Christianity. Secular humanism is a contradiction in terms. Materialism says nothing is real except matter--no free will, no dignity, no purpose. Therefore no humanism. —@NancyRPearcey
Rorty says he has to borrow the concept of universal rights from our Judeo-Christian heritage: “This Jewish and Christian element in our tradition is gratefully invoked by free-loading atheists like myself.” Even atheist thinkers are constantly “free-loading” from Christianity —@NancyRPearcey
Richard Dawkins-we are "meat machines," "survival machines-robot vehicles blindly programmed" by their genes. Marvin Minsky-the human mind is just "a 3-pound computer made of meat." Steven Pinker-a human is a "complex data processing machine." No basis in secularism for humanism. —@NancyRPearcey
Even secular humanists agree--William Provine: “What evol. biology tells us loud and clear [is that] there are no gods, no purposeful forces of any kind, no life after death…. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans.” —@NancyRPearcey
When I was agnostic, I wanted to be brutally honest abt the implications, to be like Bertrand Russell who said if there's no God, we are the result of "accidental collocations of atoms," everything we care about ends in the grave, we must build our lives on "unyielding despair." —@NancyRPearcey
If I found out that my belief system was false but continued to act as if it was true, would I not be a liar? I know something is false, but act like it’s true. Isn’t that situation of the atheist in regard to meaning? There is none objectively, but they act like there is? If not a liar, then at the very least dishonest. —TJ@Rmns58
So you are teaching your children to create their own meaning even though "meaning" is objectively impossible if your nihilistic atheism is true? Why teach them fairy tales instead of the actual consequences of your worldview? Let's be consistent. —@JimmyWinfreyRTM
Janet, It seems to me you have thought more about why you wanted to leave Christianity than about the logical implications of your new worldview. You aren't understanding what Nancy is saying...and these are things even many atheist philosophers acknowledge. —@Natasha_Crain
Well, that was fun. Now, most of these tweets came from Christian author Nancy Pearcey, whose most recent book is titled Love Thy Body. I’m guessing one can only truly “love thy body” if one believes in Nancy’s particular god, but I digress. The message of her tweets is quite apparent: the atheist’s life can have no “ultimate” meaning and purpose. Let’s consider the logic behind this argument.
*First of all, what denotes ultimate? Nancy’s life has ultimate meaning, but mine doesn’t. What’s the difference? Oh, right, the god belief. So, the argument becomes: one’s life can only have god-given meaning when one believes in said god, but isn’t that a bit circular?
*In which god would I need to believe in order for my life to suddenly have “ultimate” meaning? You know that just any old god won’t do. Since Nancy lives in North America, it must be the Christian god (aka Yahweh aka Jesus aka the Holy Spirit).
*Now that we know which god we’re really talking about, I’ll need Nancy to meet her burden of proof that ultimate meaning flows directly from her god, a completely unsubstantiated assertion. Okay, I’ll make it a little easier…how about the burden of proof that her god even exists, perhaps something besides the Bible tells me so?
*Nancy states above that “we are guilty or we are meaningless”. So, for Nancy, life presents us with only two options. I’m assuming she means guilty of original sin against her god. Obviously, this is a black or white fallacy, but if I had to choose, I’ll go with meaningless.
*The argument that ultimate meaning and purpose comes from god is essentially an argument from ignorance. For Nancy, if there is no god, then there is no ultimate meaning and purpose. However, she has not demonstrated how her specific god is responsible for this ultimate meaning. In other words, it’s true for Nancy because it’s not been proved to be false, and that is fallacious.
You see, it really comes down to ego. Does the universe care about me? No. Will the universe care when I’m gone? No. But for the Christian, this is unacceptable. And what irks them the most: Why do I get to act like I have meaning when I don’t? Why am I not wallowing around in misery and despair? Wouldn’t that be more consistent, more honest? Hmm…let me think. How has my life changed since losing my supposed ultimate meaning? Other than lacking a god belief, I’m the same person that I’ve always been, except I appreciate the “small installments of meaning” far more than ever before, because when they’re gone, they’re gone. And so, if that’s my reality, what purpose does a god-induced ultimate meaning actually serve, other than to stroke one’s ego with deluded self-importance? Why do Christian apologists need atheists to be miserable? Because it’s just not fair if they’re not.