Richard Wade here.
A few days ago, Hemant brought to our attention an article written by Randal Rauser, “Atheism: A Cost/Benefit Analysis.” He is an associate professor of historical theology at Taylor Seminary, Edmonton, Canada. Hemant’s post brought on a small avalanche of well-crafted rebuttals both on this blog and over on the site where Mr. Rauser had published, the Christian Post.
Now it appears that Mr. Rauser has re-posted his exact same article, but all the comments and arguments that very adroitly countered his assertions have been deleted. My registration for commenting there, and apparently those of other people have been eliminated. So far, no new comments have been posted, if they can even be posted.
What a very courageous and honest thing to do.*
To his credit, at first Mr. Rauser responded several times to those who visited his site, but during the now-deleted back-and-forth with the atheist commenters, (which was much more interesting than his article) he flat out refused to even consider the real world evidence that refutes his remarks and makes them irrelevant, saying that he was arguing only from philosophical constructs, and that he had showed that atheist morality had no philosophical reliability. The fact that millions of actual atheists are living actual lives of exemplary morality is simply of no concern to him. (Ivory tower living will do that to you.) When several atheists appealed to him to consider the real world negative consequences that his remarks have on those whose ideas he thinks he describes, he said only that that was “regrettable.”
So if it works philosophically but not actually, that’s good enough, and if your elegant thought experiment hurts real people on the ground, oh well.
I guess a Christian theologian who apparently spends most of his time cloistered in a seminary and who builds his arguments only from whatever he finds while blissfully floating around in Plato’s Realm of Forms is going to become a little thin-skinned. When confronted by “the Solids,” you know, those scary three-dimensional beings who somewhere far away on Planet Earth practice the atheism that he so poorly pretends to understand actually got in his face, he did what so many theists wish they could do, he made them all disappear with a single click. Ahhh. So easy. It is as if they never were. Now Mr. Rauser can get back to his lovely, delicate philosophical embroidery, without any threat of it being messed up by those dreadful self-soiling creatures out there in the stormy, dusty, and oh-so philosophically inconvenient Realm of Material Things. Ugh.
* The asterisk indicates that the preceding sentence is heavily laced with deep, biting sarcasm. Read antonyms for the two adjectives.
UPDATE: Mr. Rauser has published two new posts, one saying that the deletions were due to a crash on the Christian Post site, and the other admonishing people like me to not think the worst of people.
Hey, if I’ve become too cynical of late, I’m glad to be wrong about the cause of the deletions. I’ll take a wait-and-see on that issue. My opinions about his rarefied philosophical head games being entirely irrelevant in the face of solid reality and being harmful to real people remain unchanged.