Some questions for atheists (part 2 of 7)
|May 4, 2011||Posted by Joseph Keysor under Blog|
14. Which wars exactly have been started by religion? The Vietnam War? The Korean War? World War II? World War I? The Spanish American War? The American Civil War? The Napoleonic Wars? The Mexican-American War? The American Revolutionary War? The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? All of the countless wars fought under a Europe supposedly unified by Catholicism before the Protestant Reformation? The wars of the Roman Empire? The Peloponnesian War? The pre-WWII Soviet invasions of Poland and Finland? To quote Peter Hitchens, “Those who blame religion for wars tend to do so only when it suits them, and without paying much attention to the details” [The Rage Against God: how atheism led me to faith (Grand Rapids MI 2010), p. 133].
15. Since many wars have not been caused by religion, does not an objective (!) consideration of the evidence (!) lead us to conclude that more wars are caused by the desire for power, glory, revenge, adventure and territory? Also, since atheists have been among the most bloodthirsty killers of all, might it not be that resorting to violence is a human problem (like old age, disease, and death), and not a theist or an atheist one?
16. The Thirty Years War of 1618-1648 had a religious origin. Since, however, it quickly turned into an old fashioned power struggle along national lines of the sort that had been going on before the Reformation, with Protestants allied with Catholics against other Protestants and vice versa, are people who blame this all on religion (a) ignorant of history or (b) knowingly distorting the facts?
17. If there is a lonely old man in a rest home who feels that his life has been wasted, which mathematical formula or scientific theory can give him comfort and rest? Will some Darwinists come to visit him and give him a copy of The Origin of Species to cheer him up?
18. Why aren’t there any atheist songbooks?
19. Will scientific progress and discovery go on forever, or are there limits?
20. We all know about the benefits of science – the atheists are fond of reminding us. What are the problems science has introduced to society? Does concentrating on the benefits of science and ignoring or minimizing the problems show something less than detached and rational objectivity?
21. What if a nuclear physicist makes a dramatic new breakthrough that will on the one hand greatly increase our knowledge of the atom, but will on the other hand make it vastly more easy and inexpensive to make nuclear weapons? Should he publish the information without regard to the human cost, or should he keep his precious knowledge to himself for the benefit of humanity?
22. Has science given us knowledge and power we are too immature as a species to handle? To put it another way, wouldn’t we all be better off if Einstein had never lived?
23. Which atheist groups go into prisons to speak to the men there and give them books by Darwin or by today’s atheists in order to help them straighten their lives out?
24. Not long ago a group of local citizens prepared a lot of home cooked foods and held a special banquet for the men in a prison facility in their area. Was this (a) a Christian church group or (b) an atheist group?
25. If an atheist makes a moral judgment that something is objectively wrong, does this judgment come from himself (meaning it is arbitrary and not binding on others) or does it come from some higher standard beyond himself (in which case explain what that standard is). By the way, this is an inescapable dilemma for every human being, there is no way out of it. Trying to turn the tables and ask the same question of God without first answering the original question is a failure to answer the question and a transparent evasive tactic.
26. Billy Graham and Osama bin Laden both believe(d) in a God; in a holy book; in a day of judgment followed by heaven or hell. Those are three similarities between them. Can you think of three differences? To put it another way, is the assertion that all theism is dangerous the result not of objective consideration of fact, but of blind and unthinking fanaticism?
27. In evaluating the impact of religion on society, or of the Christian religion on Western societies, should we consider all of the facts, both positive and negative, impartially, or should we focus only on those aspects that support our views and ignore those that don’t?
28. Following is a list of secular groups that advocated and practiced violence in the 1960s and 70s:
Weathermen, Black Panthers, and SLA (USA); United Red Army (Japan); SWAPO (South West Africa); ALN (Brazil); Tupamaros (Uruguay); FLQ (Canada); PLO, PFLP, Black September, and DPFLP (Middle East); Baader-Meinhof, or Red Army Faction (Germany); Red Brigade (Italy); ERP and Montoneros (Argentina) [taken from Stephen R. C. Hicks Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Phoenix 2004), p. 168].
Why were there no such contemporary Christian groups? Also, does secularism, which includes the beliefs that there is no higher moral law and no accountability in the next life, encourage violence?
29. Is supposedly rational and scientific rejection of God the result of hidden personal factors unknown to the atheist? In an essay entitled “The Psychology of Atheism,” psychologist Paul C. Vitz has suggested that there can be psychological reasons behind the rejection of God, including lack of a healthy father image in childhood. He mentions other personal and social motives for rejecting God, such as academic, professional, and/or social peer pressure. [see A Place for Truth, Ed. Dallas Willard (Downers Grove 20010) pp. 135-152].
30. How and why are societies that emerged out of a Christian background different from societies that emerged out of other cultural backgrounds (Hinduism, Buddhism, African spirit worship, or Islam, for example)?