How to Be an Atheist Apologist, Part 2

Five years ago I wrote two satirical pieces: “How to Be a Christian Apologist” and “How to Be an Atheist Apologist.” I’m now inspired to write part 2.

11. Corollary to #2: Assume that all atheist biblical scholars are credible because they have no agenda, but zero Christian biblical scholars are credible because they do have an agenda.

12. Corollary to #4: Loudly proclaim that all moral arguments for God’s existence can be refuted by the Euthryphro dilemma, along with an appeal to Biblical atrocities.

13. Clarification of #12 and corollary to #3: When we say “moral arguments” (plural) we really mean “moral argument” (singular), since the differences don’t matter. By definition, all moral arguments for God’s existence can be refuted by the Euthyphro dilemma and Biblical atrocities. Therefore, there is really just one moral argument for God’s existence.

14. If someone protests that their moral argument for God’s existence has nothing to do with voluntarism and so is not vulnerable to the Euthyphro dilemma, see rule #13. Chant with me! “There-is-really-just-one-moral-argument-for-God’s-existence.” Can I have an “amen”? Hallelujah! Praise be to the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

15. If an atheist claims to be a former Christian, believe him, but if a Christian claims to be a former atheist, don’t believe him. Once again, you can have your apologetic cake and eat it too!

About Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16360897119962486447 Andyman409

    Happy I'm not the only person who noticed this trend amongst certain "new atheist" types.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16901780479265480819 seedster

    I am amused by the seemingly vacant comments of this post. To start off, no. 11 is purely false. To say that any person has no agenda is always untrue. To have no agenda logically means that there is an agenda to have no agenda. But to respond directly to the argument, an atheist’s use of the Bible is just as agenda-filled as that of the Christian’s. In fact, it can be said that the atheist has to do acrobatics in order to use the Scriptures against the Christian. For one last thought on this subject, to say that an atheist has no agenda in using the Bible, is to make the claim that there is no absolute truth, thus to disprove the Scriptures, which posit that there is, is to say absolutely that there are no absolutes.
    Secondly, all moral arguments for God cannot be refuted by the Euthyphro dilemma. In the Christian worldview, God does not act morally as though He were under some sort of law, He defines what is good, what is holy, what is beautiful. For an atheist to “disprove” moral arguments on the basis that Christian morality is based not upon what is objectively moral, but what is defined by God as being good because it displays His character and attributes, is really pointing a finger at him/herself. After all, once again, to stand against morality (right and wrong) is to make the claim that such a thing is wrong, which is yet another morality claim. Any thoughts?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10289884295542007401 Jeffery Jay Lowder

    Seedster — Of course 11 is false. The entire piece is satire.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04760072622693359795 Francois Tremblay

    "If an atheist claims to be a former Christian, believe him, but if a Christian claims to be a former atheist, don't believe him."

    I fail to see the error here. Do you have any credible examples of such a conversion?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10289884295542007401 Jeffery Jay Lowder

    Hi Francois —

    Think of it in terms of probabilities. What possible reason or justification is there to believe that an atheist's claim to be a former Christian is somehow automatically or intrinsically more probable than a Christian's claim to be a former atheist? As far as I can tell, the correct answer is, "None whatsoever."

    Of course, one can imagine all sorts of reasons why a Christian's claim to be a former atheist might be false. But one can also imagine all sorts of reasons why an atheist's claim to be a former theist might be false. I can't think of any good reason why we should treat the claims of atheists-turned-Christians as less credible than Christians-turned-atheists.

    So the request for "examples" of such a conversion misses my point. But to answer your question, consider Lee Strobel. Lee Strobel claims to be a former atheist. In the absence of a good reason to reject his claim, I think that by default we should believe it to be true.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04760072622693359795 Francois Tremblay

    All right, I consulted the info on Lee Strobel's deconversion and he did say "I thought that the idea of an all powerful, all loving God was just silly." So it seems he actually was an atheist.

    You've got one example. I'm actually pleasantly surprised, as I didn't know any such thing even existed. However, this still does not disprove the extreme asymmetry of conversions between atheism and Christianity, as well as the fact that *almost* everyone who claims such a conversion lies. We've just gone from 100% of liars to 99.99% of liars.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10289884295542007401 Jeffery Jay Lowder

    Hi Francois —

    You wrote:

    You've got one example. I'm actually pleasantly surprised, as I didn't know any such thing even existed. However, this still does not disprove the extreme asymmetry of conversions between atheism and Christianity

    I'm not sure what you mean by "the extreme asymmetry of conversion between atheism and Christianity." Can you say more about that?

    as well as the fact that *almost* everyone who claims such a conversion lies.

    Does "such a conversion" mean "a conversion from atheism to Christianity" or any conversion (e.g., atheism to Christianity, Christianity to atheism, etc.)?

    We've just gone from 100% of liars to 99.99% of liars.

    I don't understand why you think this. Why do you think that 99.99% of them are liars?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04760072622693359795 Francois Tremblay

    "Does "such a conversion" mean "a conversion from atheism to Christianity" or any conversion (e.g., atheism to Christianity, Christianity to atheism, etc.)?"

    From atheism to Christianity, yes.

    "I don't understand why you think this. Why do you think that 99.99% of them are liars?"

    It's common knowledge that these "testimonies" are fabricated or vastly exaggerated. Christians stand up in church and try to establish their credibility by making up these extravagant stories of conversion (I was on heavy drugs, I was in a heavy metal band, I worshipped Satan, I sacrificed small animals, etc). None of it is credible and reads more like what Christians think about atheists.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10289884295542007401 Jeffery Jay Lowder

    Hi Francois — Sorry if I am being dense or even brain dead, but I'm not following you.

    It's common knowledge that these "testimonies" are fabricated or vastly exaggerated.

    I'm not sure that is common knowledge, but let's assume it is. I have two thoughts.

    1. In order to justify treating atheist deconversion stories as intrinsically more probable than Christian "testimonies," we need statistical evidence about both so that we can measure the ratio. Even if it were the case that 99.9% of Christian testimonies were lies, by itself that doesn't justify the differential skepticism of Christian testimonies, unless the percentage of atheistic stories is less than 99.9%.

    2. The claim that "99.9% of these 'testimonies' are fabricated or vastly exaggerated" is an empirical claim. What is the empirical evidence to support it?

    Christians stand up in church and try to establish their credibility by making up these extravagant stories of conversion (I was on heavy drugs, I was in a heavy metal band, I worshipped Satan, I sacrificed small animals, etc). None of it is credible and reads more like what Christians think about atheists.

    Even if we grant, for the sake of argument, everything in the paragraph above, there's a huge logical leap from "none of its credible and reads more like what Christians think about atheists" to "the testimonies are false." I do not find justification for making that inference in your post.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04760072622693359795 Francois Tremblay

    I'm not making a logical argument. I'm sorry if that is what you were looking for.


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