A Critique of Atheism: A Case Against Atheism Part 5

Smith asserts “anyone who claims, on the one hand, that he is concerned with human welfare, and who demands, on the other hand, that man must suspend or renounce the use of reason, is contradicting himself. There can be no knowledge of what is good for man apart from knowledge of reality and human nature—and there is no manner in which this knowledge can be acquired except through reason. To advocate irrationality is to advocate that which is destructive to human life” (x). This is Smith’s position in a simple syllogism:
a) If one is Concerned for Human Welfare
b) But Renounces Reason
Therefore, HE HAS NO RIGHT TO HAVE CONCERNS FOR OTHERS.

If anyone has the slight capacity to solve this enigmatic conundrum it is certainly not Dr. Smith. Let’s assume for a moment that Christianity is irrational; does that in any way deny the philanthropists from the Christian religion over the last 2,000 years and prior? Of course not! Not even the most irrational of all people will succumb to this line of thinking. And why does contradiction play any role in this? If I am concerned for my fellow man, why must I consider the logic of my concern? It appears that at this moment my love for my brother or sister is superior to any Aristotelian formulations.
I am continually bewildered by Smith’s constant attachment of irrationality to the Christian faith. This matter has been briefly addressed in previous articles, but it needs to be dealt with once again. How come Dr. Smith does not define reason? Further, why and on what basis does he assume the irrationality of Christianity? It is clear here that he has no plan to even consider the role of reason in Christianity. He assumes automatically that since Christians believe in God therefore they must be irrational. This is simply another form of circular reasoning. Now, it will be evident that soon he will begin to pose a case for atheism (as the title suggests) but notice beforehand that his argumentation already presupposes at least a few things about the Christian message: a) It is contradictory and b) it is not grounded on facts.

Smith continues: “There can be no knowledge of what is good for man apart from knowledge of reality and human nature—and there is no manner in which this knowledge can be acquired except through reason” (x). Why does Smith consider our position contradictory? Well, because according to his thinking, understanding the human condition and nature requires reason. This seems bizarre and Smith is obviously amused by his own stupidity. If reason is required to know about human nature how does Smith reason about human nature? We are left with no answer. Further, on what basis does Smith know what is “good” for man? “Good” implies something objective and so what is the source of “goodness?” That is not answered either, not even hinted.

The Christian worldview knows human nature not merely because it experiences human nature but because Scriptures are clear in this matter. Human nature is sinful from Adam (Genesis 3) and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). It is because we are made aware of this fact through special and general revelation that we pursue in giving comfort to the needy and love to the despised. If history teaches us anything it is that excessive emphasis on reason leads to despising human condition or welfare. Hitler’s Germany was heavily influenced by Darwin’s objectivity about the origin of species; Fidel Castro’s evil dictatorship is based on the objectivity of Karl Mark. In the end, it is atheistic reason that leads to a denial of basic human rights.

There is no better quote to end this piece than Dr. Smith’s: “To advocate irrationality is to advocate that which is destructive to human life.” Indeed, Smith is correct: he is irrational and his irrationality leads to the destruction of human life.

Part IV

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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2 Responses to A Critique of Atheism: A Case Against Atheism Part 5

  1. Pingback: A Critique of Atheism: A Case Against Atheism Part 6 « Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

  2. Teabean says:

    “There is no better quote to end this piece than Dr. Smith’s: “To advocate irrationality is to advocate that which is destructive to human life.” Indeed, Smith is correct: he is irrational and his irrationality leads to the destruction of human life.”

    So at least we are agreed that irrationality is detrimental to (human) life. The important distinction between theists and atheists, then, seems to be between what they consider to rational thought. Were we to take the “proper” or “pure” form of Christianity as described in text (or the Christian instruction manual, if you will) and as is being discussed here (from Part I), then can we really say that it has helped humanity reach its current station in the world? The many advancements in the world have sprung from human ingenuity and rational thought (plus a whole lot of sweat), not the sheep-like acceptance of instructions. God did not leave behind plans for, say, a toaster oven within the scriptures… no, some engineer had to think that up through the careful application of reason and rationality. Love for Christ and regular church attendance did not produce the jet liners of the modern age. Yes, theists were involved with pretty much every endeavor through the ages, but there is a distinction between recognizing the human contributions from such individuals and the theistic contributions to such achievements (of which there are few and none that come to mind). If we were to take a look back at history, I think we would find that adherents to theistic beliefs have overwhelmingly stifled advancement, particularly since theistic scripts tend to call for the murder of those that speak contrary to doctrine (and a whole slew of others!). To stress that fact… such killing and abuse of human rights resulted not from an abuse of the texts, but from a careful observance of their contents.

    On the other hand, Hitler and Castro applied “reason” or “logic” in their governance (though they probably waved “reason” as a propaganda tool), but the soundness of their arguments were questionable at best (deeply flawed, is more like it). To condemn Darwin and Marx (who I think was wrong in his conclusions anyways) for Hitler and Castro’s misapplication would be a fallacy. To go one step further and condemn reasoning and the scientific process for Darwin and Marx’s conclusions which were misapplied by Hitler and Castro is, well, a bit of a stretch, particularly when there are clear examples of the scientific process producing immeasurable benefits to humanity (say… modern buildings, modern medicine, the internet, modern agriculture, and so on and so forth).

    Anyways, at the end of it all, I’m glad you agree that irrationality is undesirable. That is, I think, the first step in understanding the atheist’s viewpoint. To understand the rest, you need only understand why atheists find theistic beliefs to be irrational.

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