So, there’s us and all the others
You can split the world in two—
A dichotomous arrangement:
Theirs are false and ours is true.
They can all be grouped together
As “the ones we know are wrong”
(Though historical connections
To our own beliefs are strong)
We dismiss them, a priori,
Cos the bible says we must;
Never tempted to examine them
In God, of course, we trust
And the atheist religion
Is the same as all the rest—
In the heap with all the others…
As opposed to us… the best.
Spoiler–it’s not “atheists vs believers” Nope, the good folks at “C. S. Lewis Debates” show us the proper way to examine religions other than your own:
I should start by saying Atheism is one of those other religions. The dichotomy Atheists seek to present between themselves, and all others whom they call “religious,” is a false one.
Well, yeah, ok, clearly atheists have more in common with, say the other Abrahamic religions than those religions have with Christianity. The most important element of any given religion is simply “is it us, or a member of the monolithic group ‘not us’?” Once we know they are “not us”, the problem is solved:
The Christian response to other religious claims, is not to suggest that a person read about them all, refuting them one by one. Rather, the Christian looks to God’s word (Romans 10:17) and the Holy Spirit (John 15:26) for the surety of their faith. In other words, the Christian knows Christianity is true, (and the other religions are false), through spiritually seeking God.
I’m actually really glad to have found a site that says this outright. See, it addresses a popular atheist saying that, catchy as it is, I never quite liked. It’s Stephen Roberts’s “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” These Christians dismiss all the other gods for the simple reason that their God tells them to… and that is not why I dismiss theirs.
By the way, this post showed up on my aggregator; I had never seen the site before. I was expecting, based on the “C. S. Lewis” reference, that the author(s) respected the highest level of apologetics writing. But then, I looked at the blogroll to the right. Discovery.org? Answers in Genesis?
And suddenly the level of intellectual inquiry in to the historical roots of differing faith communities made perfect sense. The dichotomous us/them that throws “not real Christians” into the same pile as atheists (and every other religion other than the narrowly defined “true Christians”) is the only defensible position. Opening a book, asking the most basic questions, harboring the merest shadow of a doubt? Any such flicker of critical analysis displays a heretical failure of faith.
I do wonder, though, whether they will still claim a Christian majority.
C. S. Lewis says
Nice talking with you. :) You asked:
“I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so I will just ask–those who prove a god by saying the universe had to have an original cause, some unknown, unpersonalized unmoved mover (a claim clearly at odds with the Old Testament’s very personalized God)…do you think they help or hurt your claim?”
I think it helps my claim a little, because it necessitates the existence of a God. However, I think the Kalam Cosmological Argument necessitates the existence of a personal God, as explained in the second argument presented in this article:
As with the Duckman debate, the Kalam Cosmological Argument makes a logical claim which is necessarily dependent on axiomatic assumptions that do not reflect the world as we know it. If we assume that everything has a cause (which claim is clearly beyond our ability to discern, and which claim is at odds with any system that has nondeterministic/random/chaotic elements to it), then we can conclude that things that don’t have any evidence of a cause actually do have a cause. It’s logic at work. Oh, and that cause, if we call it God, doesn’t need its own cause, because reasons.
If you search this site, you’ll see William Lane Craig’s argument is not well respected here. But that’s only because they consist of circular arguments and special pleading, rather than logic.
Pierce R. Butler says
… the Christian knows Christianity is true, (and the other religions are false), through spiritually seeking God.
And the Christian knows the Christian is right because the Christian is so wonderfully humble!!!1!
C. S. Lewis says
Thanks for explaining your view of Kalam Cuttlefish. In response, I would ask you if you apply the same skepticism in any other area. Ask yourself honestly, are you rejecting Craig’s axioms because they don’t make sense, or because the conclusion they lead to is unsavory to you? Would you reject those same axioms in any other context?
Further, you said, “Oh, and that cause, if we call it God, doesn’t need its own cause, because reasons.” Yes because reasons. Of course. Craig doesn’t arbitrarily say that God doesn’t need a cause, he gives reasons for that claim. If you’re timelessly self-existent, if you do not begin to exist, then you don’t need a cause external to yourself.
Thanks again for responding Cuttlefish, take care.
chigau (違う) says
If you’re timelessly self-existent, you’re probably Santa Claus.
or The Easter Bunny.
C.S., it is my job (I mean, my real job) to pick apart logical fallacies like that. Craig assumes his conclusions, plain and simple. It’s bad logic.