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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Angry Atheists With Nothing To Say

Mar 16, 2014

How can you write an 855-word essay and manage to say basically nothing of any significance? It is not difficult if you are an atheist, and especially if you are writing for the leftist Melbourne Age. The trouble is, the Age runs opinion pieces like this all the time: vacuous, uninformed and rather ugly rants.

And of course angry atheists are a dime a dozen nowadays, and their petulant fist-shaking at God simply becomes so tedious and banal after awhile. They really have nothing new to say here. Indeed, they never really had much of anything important to say: just the same old tired clichés, red-herrings, straw men and ad hominem attacks.

Yet papers like the Age soak it up. They think they are so cutting edge and so avant-garde. But all that these trendy papers and atheists do is prove the old saying that those who seek to be with the times are forever out of date. These very lame arguments against God are just so old-fashioned.

They of course have been answered time and time again but some atheists seem to make a living out of simply regurgitating these failed ruminations against the divine. And the secular lefties at the Age are quite happy to just keep churning out this tired old clap-trap.

atheistToday we had yet another of these predictable pieces being run as space-filler in the Age. This time it was Melbourne writer Anson Cameron taking juvenile pot-shots at Tony Abbott and his God. The first half of the piece is just a lefty green rant, blasting Abbott for daring to take a different view on how to best manage our environment in general and our forests in particular.

By daring to speak to an audience of loggers, Mr Cameron has Abbott right up there with the Anti-Christ (although he of course would not believe in such an actual character). And what sort of rational discourse do we find here? Why none of course, just plenty of name-calling and mud-slinging.

Abbott must be “deluded,” he “wage[s] war with greenies,” and he is involved in “a scorched earth policy”. Um, thanks for all the logical and rational discussion here as to his actual policies, and why they are wrong. But attacking the person is the routine way in which so many of our lefty atheists operate.

But it is his anti-God tirade that also must be examined here. And we get all the usual straw men and red herrings thrown in this short article. He hates the fact that Abbott is appealing to God – after all, it is 2014 he reminds us. Yes, I think even Age readers are aware of the year. So what’s the point?

This is the foolish atheist notion that old beliefs must be wrong, and new beliefs must be preferred. But as many great minds have argued over the centuries, since when is truth determined by the pages of a calendar? Since when is fact decided by the hands of a clock? If something is true, the mere passage of time makes no difference whatsoever.

Our atheist buddy then informs us that “The religious justification of political acts sends a shiver down my spine”. Oh really? Any political and social act, undertaken with a religious motivation, is of necessity a frightening and possibly terrible thing to even contemplate?

So does he get shivers running wild when informed that it was primarily people with religious motivations who worked tirelessly to see slavery ended? Does he get the hairs on his neck going ballistic when informed that civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr were overwhelmingly motivated by their religious beliefs?

He then quotes “the English philosopher A.C. Grayling”. He does not bother to tell us that Grayling too is a leading atheist. But truth in advertising does not seem to apply here. He is simply a philosopher, so he must be reliable here. But in that case, I can site plenty of theistic philosophers, whether English or not.

Why does he refuse to cite what someone like Richard Swinburne might have said on such topics? Or perhaps Alvin Plantinga? Or William Lane Craig? Or going back just a bit, folks like C. S. Lewis? Or the late ex-atheist Antony Flew? I guess the selective quoting of experts is how atheists like to operate here.

And of course we had the mandatory “science vs faith” baloney thrown at us as well, just for good measure. Never mind that world-class authorities such as Alfred North Whitehead and Robert Oppenheimer have argued convincingly that modern science as we know it was the direct outgrowth of the Christian worldview, with almost all of the earlier great scientists being biblical Christians themselves.

Of course the biggest furphy in all this piece is the undeclared assumption that religious people have skewed agendas they are pushing based on skewed worldviews. If we can just be free of all prior pre-commitments and worldviews, everything would just be rosy.

Um no, sorry but it does not work that way. The simple truth is, everyone has pre-commitments to certain fundamental beliefs. Everyone has a set of basic worldview commitments. Everyone, in other words, is at bottom overwhelmingly religious.

Yep, atheists are just as religious as anyone else. They have as many pre-commitments to various core beliefs which are not – and cannot be – proven, but are simply acts of faith, as anyone else. It takes as much faith to be an atheist as it does to be a Christian – maybe even more.

The atheist has decided ahead of time that only matter matters, that only the empirical is a reliable guide to truth, and that there is no god or supernatural. These are all philosophical pre-commitments, not something discoverable or proven decisively by science or empirical research.

They have embraced philosophical naturalism as their default worldview, and work off that starting set of premises. They assume ahead of time that God does not and cannot exist, and judge everything in light of those preconceived ideas of materialism and naturalism.

Secular humanism is as much of a worldview, even a religion, as are any other belief systems. Yet this guy runs around in his cloud of smug superiority, whinging about those who dare to let their worldview influence what they say and do in the public arena.

Yet it is quite alright for Mr Cameron to allow his worldview to influence everything he says and does in the public arena, including sophomoric opinion pieces for the Age. And of course such smugness means he can play fast and loose with the facts here as well.

Early on he claims that “a quarter of Australians have no god”. Wrong again bud; not even close in fact. What our most recent Australian census found was that 22 per cent of the population specified ‘No religion’ when it came to their faith commitment.

Having no religion is of course not at all the same as being an atheist. All sorts of non-religious folk who believe in the deities, in the supernatural, would fit in here, be they New Agers or whatever. So if you combine all of them with all the others who did have a religious preference (64 per cent alone being Christian), we find the overwhelming majority of Australians are indeed theists at the very least.

Yet Mr Cameron wants all these folks simply to go to hell. Well, he does not believe in that either, but he does want them to just sit down and shut up, because they have no right to speak in public on important political and social issues of the day. Only he and his atheist buddies are allowed that right it seems.

Sorry, but such arrogance and contempt for the overwhelming majority of Australians is enough to make most people quite suspicious about this narrow and scary agenda, and these dodgy opinion pieces. Indeed, reading misotheistic rants like this really should send a shiver down the spine of most thinking Australians.

www.theage.com.au/comment/mr-abbott-keep-god-out-of-politics-20140315-34u51.html

[1337 words]

10 Responses to Angry Atheists With Nothing To Say

  • These people remind me of the dwarves in CS Lewis’ “The Last Battle”, who preferred to remain in the stable refused to be “taken in”

  • “Indeed, reading misotheistic rants like this really should send a shiver down the spine of most thinking Australians.”

    It would have, except the stupidity contained within the piece gave me momentary paralysis.

  • Exactly right, Mr Cameron is engaging in a blatant double standard, among other errors. How does this schlock pass for good writing?

    So I composed this letter to the Sunday Age:

    Oh no! Tony Abbott mentioned God! Run for the hills! Eeek! How disastrous for Australia! In 2014 of all times too! It’s positively calami-terribil-inappropri-horrendi-scruppy-dallie-wiggly-wolli-docious!

    Sigh. If there’s one thing that demonstrates an actual fervent need for God to be considered again as relevant in all Australian life, it’s when self-appointed elitist misotheists froth at the mouth promoting totalitairanism in Australia by telling everybody what they can and can’t do in public. For if this is their brand of ‘tolerance’, they’re doing it really, profoundly wrong. The hard irony is that in presenting his argument, Anson Cameron (Opinion, 16/3) must first assume he is possesser of “final truth”! But he is obviously blind to how his position is so briliantly self-refuting.

    Furthermore, the basis for most of the freedoms all Australians enjoy is the Judeo-Christian moral system. Ignorance of this does not make it any less true. One of the Australian Constitution’s co-authors, Sir John Downer, declared that: “The Commonwealth of Australia will be, from its first stage, a Christian Commonwealth.” Another co-author, Alfred Deakin – our second PM – offered this prayer in conjuction with its composition: “Thy blessing has rested upon us here yesterday and we pray that it may be the means of creating and fostering throughout all Australia a Christ-like citizenship.”

    Also, I could provide substantial evidence of the importance of Jesus Christ to such important Australian historical figures as Captain Cook, Caroline Chisholm, Charles Sturt, Mary Reibey, Henry Parkes, Matthew Flinders, John Flynn, and William McKenzie, to name just a few. To declare mentions of God off-limits is to rewrite Australia’s rich and blessed heritage. There’s a reason why Christian church buildings exist in most postcodes in Australia.

    A Christian has a perfect right to present their beliefs in Australia’s free society, as taxpayers and voters. Publicly. As politicians even, no less. Unless of course, your core motivation is hatred and the ultimate goal is to eradicate them.

    Mr Cameron does nothing to allay fears that there are people in key positions of power who do not care for basic freedoms like free speech, particularly those which can be delineated logically from a belief in Jesus Christ. That is something that even Australians ambivalent to Christianity should fear. After all, governments who reject God have a very bad track record, just ask the tens of millions who died under such ideologies in the 20th Century alone.

    I based some of it on this great article:
    newsweekly.com.au/article.php?id=56470
    (But I’m so confident it won’t be published I’ll buy you a slab of Dr Pepper if it does. lol)

    Further reading about key Australian historical figures here:
    atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com

    Furthermore, here is a great video (even with a few misspellings and poor production quality) arguing that the existence for God is actually very easy to deduce from even the most seemingly unremarkable objects. I’ll take Dennis Polis’ affable manner of persuasion and argument over Anson Cameron’s narrow-minded intolerance any day.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJUIxaSDfU0

    Also, (sorry for the plethora of links), this new movie looks great, taking on the subject of environmentalism; God and man’s mandate to manage nature. It expands on the theme from director J.D. King’s previous film Crying Wolf.
    www.bluebeatsgreen.com

  • “a quarter of Australians have no god”

    ALL Australians have a God – Its just that they choose not to acknowledge him and prefer rebellion

  • So just where will his atheism get him? I don’t think he is a very happy chappy.

  • Well said Malcolm Witney, I love how you put that and will definitely be using in the future

  • The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

    Being a fool may make one angry.

  • Remarks above about atheists being in a certain sense “religious” in devotion to their ideological presuppositions remind me of words I heard in a debate between an Australian Communist law professor and an evangelical Christian – The professor summed up the essence of the debate thus: “You Christians believe in God. We Communists believe in Man.”.

    The “God-is-dead” brand of empiricist scepticism ultimately leads the serious atheist to doubt all ethical and epistemological values – to become trapped in a world where only “appearances” [phenomena] can be apprehended and not the actual realities behind those “appearances”.

    In a world where doubt and unbelief are the “cornerstones” of a new creed of received folly, surely some might even be tempted to distrust their doubts and doubt the sanity of their “unbeliefs”!

    As a Christian, I find it ironic that the pagans of the Roman Empire once referred to their Christian neighbours as “atheists”!

  • Well said, Bill. The second part of your article (from ‘Um, no sorry…’) sums up the materialist’s problem very logically & succinctly.

  • I don’t have enough ‘faith’ to be an atheist!

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