What If Atheism Really Is Just A “Lack of Belief in God”?

Many atheists claim that the proper definition of atheism is, as Austin Cline of the Atheism channel on About.com states, “simply the absence of belief in gods.”

But if atheism is a lack of belief and not a positive affirmation of what is real, good, and true, then the atheist immediately runs into serious problems.

This post is divided into two sections:

  1. Prominent atheists do define their worldview as “lacking belief in God” and
  2. The troubling problems this definition creates for the atheist, as defined.

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I Told Me So by Gregg Ten Elshof – A Book Review

In a culture that often prizes authenticity above all else, there is no greater sin than self-deception. Ironically, this facilitates self-deception, because the intensified pressure to be authentic significantly raises the cost of admitting to our ongoing self-deception. So says Dr. Gregg Ten Elshof in his witty, enjoyable, and yet immensely convicting book i told me so: self-deception and the christian life.

In other words: wake up. Self-deception is a major problem in our culture and we are… deceiving ourselves when we ignore and dismiss this important truth.

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Is Christianity The One and Only True Faith?

One of the most common questions I receive is on the topic of the unique truth claims of Christianity. This is also known as the problem of pluralism. The basic issue is that there are many religions that claim to be valid ways of knowing God. But Christianity claims it is true and the other ideas are false. Isn’t this a bit arrogant and intolerant? And probably false and stupid too?

There are many related questions on this topic. Let’s look at them in turn.

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Why I Love Being Wrong

One of the most common phrases I hear about research scientists is that they love to be wrong. Why? Because when they are wrong, it means there’s a good chance they have discovered something new. This new data, which does not fit the current paradigms, can lead them to a breakthrough discovery. So being wrong can quite literally lead to fame and fortune.

By contrast, of course, the common perception seems to be that Christians absolutely hate to be wrong. Rather, Christians (especially conservative, evangelical, or fundamentalist ones) appear to have a high need for certainty that they are right.

Think about it: don’t these words all seem to go together?

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Five Ways To Answer A Question

Christians seem to have a poor reputation for answering questions.

Would you like to know why people don’t listen to our answers? And do you want some ideas for changing this situation? Then this post is for you!

Let’s start by understanding the problem a little better. There are at least three reasons why people are not always interested in our answers:

  • For one, sometimes we are offering an answer when no one asked us a question.
  • Two, sometimes we seem to have only one way of answering questions: by giving a lecture. People start to doze off, frustrated that their mild curiosity has been taken advantage of and that they are now subject to a rambling theological discourse and a full-bore presentation of, say, the gospel message. It is like asking to see a movie trailer and being shown the extended Director’s Cut version.
  • Finally, the mismatch between our lives and words – this is called hypocrisy – means that others don’t really care what we think. They see our lives, they are unimpressed, and they decide they aren’t interested in what we have to say.

So today let’s break out of the box and look at five different ways to answer a question!

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Theological Disobedience

Jesus was once asked what the most important commandment of all. How did he reply?

The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:29-31).

Professional theologians and everyday Christians have long recognized that the second commandment is dependent upon the first and primary commandment: as you grow in love for God, you are to grow in love for your neighbor.

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Is God a Mystery?

Many people think that God is basically mysterious.

This is both a pop sentiment, like, “OMG! God is like, so, you know, mysterious! I mean, God is GOD, so that’s BIG!”

And it seems to be the careful explanation of sophisticated thinkers. For instance, a famous hymn by William Cowper begins with the stanza:

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

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Unicorns and Morals: Let’s Be Consistent

Imagine overhearing someone say:

“I love my unicorn Billy. He is the best imaginary friend! He always encourages me when I’m feeling down and he makes the rainbow shine so bright. Billy is the best unicorn friend ever!”

Clearly, this is a delusional set of beliefs and it sounds simply crazy. Why? Because Billy the Unicorn does not exist. Unicorns in general do not exist. Neither do Flying Spaghetti Monsters. As Richard Dawkins explains:

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Moral Clarity and Richard Dawkins

Moral confusion is a common problem. When a conversation begins about the difference between right and wrong, everyone can feel the tension, because admitting you’re wrong isn’t just about saying you have bad reasons, but can become about whether or not you are a bad person. Sometimes we argue past each other because we’re using the same words to mean radically different things. Sometimes we agree with each other, but we don’t even recognize it. This article is an attempt to offer conceptual clarity so we can have fairer, more intelligent conversations with one another about the pressing moral issues of our day.

For the sake of further clarity, I’ve divided this article on ethics into two parts. In the first part, using the metaphor of a house, I offer a brief overview of the categorical differences between behavior, ethics, and meta-ethics. The second half of the article explains the implications of this metaphor for the ‘New Atheist’ worldview, as exemplified by Richard Dawkins.

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Christian Hypocrisy and Unbelief

The problem of Christian hypocrisy is a major reason for unbelief. As Ghandi perceptively noted, “If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today.” In the same line of thought, one …

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