Ten Things Christians Should Keep in Mind When Debating Atheists – Edited, John Loftus

1. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Consequently, the burden of proof is on the theist rather than the atheist.

2. Science has radically altered how we understand the universe, so theism must grapple with the implications of science before offering prescientific beliefs as truth.

3. There is a gap between natural theology and revealed theology. Arguing for a prime mover is not the same thing as arguing for any faith tradition.

4. An atheist is under no obligation to take your theology seriously. It’s your belief, you need to justify it in secular terms. Just as a Hindu or a Scientologist would.

5. The problem of miracles is a serious challenge that must be overcome for any testimony or private revelation of the divine to be taken as verifiable.

6. Faith is not an [sound] epistemology, and the retreat to faith is a concession of the failure of the belief to be defended on rational grounds.

7. The link between theism and morality has been conceptually (Euthyphro dilemma), empirically (evolutionary ethics), and culturally (morality existing without theism) discredited. Thus coupling God with the notion of Good is not only misleading, but trying to own a fundamental aspect of the human condition.

8. Atheism is not materialism. Materialism is a scientific doctrine, while atheism is a stance on the position of gods. Arguing against materialism is not going to make the case for theism.

9. Atheism is a conclusion, not a worldview. Atheism is not an answer to life, the universe, and everything – just the conclusion that theism isn’t.

10. Attack the arguments for what is said, not what isn’t. Though this should apply to everyone – not just theists. Arguing against interpretations not in the text is setting up a caricature, as is arguing against uncharitable interpretations of what is said.

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About Ed Anderson

I am "non-religious", not an atheist as some suppose, since after reading what I have written many wonder if I believe in "God", I just don't have a name for the concept, "God", nor do I have an origination story or theological mystery tour to stretch your faith. (I have no proof of what I believe and I wonder if my belief in "God" is supportable as I have increasing doubts.) I just can't accept an inflexible point of view that says, "I know what you need, and I know what you should know and here it is, you can have it too." Religionists present yet another obstacle to finding "truth" as they claim to have succeeded exclusively in finding it. Having been a part of the religious scene for years it is clear to me how easily duped we are to believe in something we have no proof of, has caused an abundance of divisions, and "territorialized" people into believers and non-believers. Furthermore, my belief in "God" equates to the larger perspective which includes an awareness of "God" in everything. I speculate at times whether or not consciousness is "God" So, my belief in "God" does not necessarily match up to the Christian/Judaeo tradition of a being existing somewhere in the beyond or in one's "heart". If there is a "God" he/she/it could be anywhere and in anything. Though I believe in God, it is not a belief in the God of Scripture. Too many “holes” in Scripture to satisfy my inquiring mind. It may indeed point me in the right direction but I find it not only unreliable but full of plagiaristic thought and re-writing of some of history’s interesting solutions. I much prefer to trust the minds of men and women who conjecture on the basis of what we now know of our universe than those men and women who trust the minds of ancient spiritual guides who, in turn, contributed to a book allegedly “inspired” by God. It is all unprovable, either side of this argument, but I prefer to invest most of my thinking in current ideas rather than those that show little support in logic. Do I hear an "Amen"? View all posts by Ed Anderson

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