(Redated post originally published on 20 October 2011)
In a recent interview with Christian philosopher and apologist Douglas Groothius, Lee Strobel asks, “What’s the strongest argument in the arsenal of atheists these days? And why does it fall short?” Groothius answers:
That’s a big question. Different atheists will use different arguments, but they often confront Christians with two things: (1) Darwinism has refuted the idea of Designer and so defeats Christianity (and every other form of theism). They claim that undirected, purely material causes and entities can explain all of biology. (2) The existence of the amount of evil in the world destroys the idea that there is a God who is all-good and all-powerful. No such God would allow this to happen. This is called the problem of evil.
Groothius is correct when he points out that “Different atheists will use different arguments.” In my opinion, the strongest arguments for atheism are evidential arguments for naturalism and against theism, based on facts about:
- biological role of pain and pleasure (Draper’s version of the evidential argument from evil)
- dependence of minds on the physical brain
- reasonable nonbelief (divine hiddenness, i.e., John Schellenberg’s argument)
I’m not going to fault Groothius for saying nothing about the argument from physical minds, but I am surprised he neglected to mention reasonable nonbelief.