I was skimming through the comments on an article by Jimmy Akin on Strange Notions when I came across the following exchange.
8 months ago
Brandon wrote to me, as his suggestion of a good objection from atheists to Christians:
“From what I can tell, and please tell me if I’ve misunderstood, you believe A. But I guess I just don’t see how you could believe A in light of B. The latter, if true, would seem incompatible with A.”
You’ve confirmed my point for me.
You gave a schematic example of a failure of logic, as if this is what most atheists believe is the problem with Christian beliefs.
But, my point is that few if any atheists (not a single one among my acquaintances) think that the problem with Christianity is simply that Christians have simply made a logical error, have simply misevaluated evidence, etc.
It seems obvious to me, and to most atheists I know, that Christians are not guilty of a mere slip of logic but rather are choosing for some strange reason to adopt a patently absurd, obviously ridiculous, and monstrously evil system of beliefs.
And, I think the strange reason they are doing this is rather clear: “religion is a badge of group identity.” The obvious absurdity of Christianity is not a bug; it is a feature.
Just as a new frat member proves his loyalty to the frat by tolerating the absurdity of “hazing,” so also the Christian proves his loyalty to the Church by publicly adhering to beliefs that are obvious nonsense.
As I said above, “I get the impression that you think that many atheists view Christianity as at least semi-plausible, with some significant degree of credibility, but just not totally convincing. For better or worse, I can’t think of any atheists with that perspective.”
Your response confirms my point: you seem to think that there are a significant number of atheists who think that Christianity merely suffers from a few logical errors or some modest misinterpretation of the evidence.
No. I, and nearly all atheists I know, think that Christianity is so obviously wrong that all any adult of normal intelligence has to do is stand back from his group allegiances and look at Christianity and start laughing.
But, most Christians very much do not want to stand back from their group allegiances.
8 months ago
“religion is a badge of group identity”
St. Anthony the Anchorite would have had a good laugh over that one. I find it rather comical myself.
8 months ago
JefZeph wrote to me:
St. Anthony the Anchorite would have had a good laugh over that one.
I take it you do not actually know much about Anthony?
He was a bit of an ancient rock star: He ran a community of monks near the end of his life. Villagers helped feed him when he was lazing around out in the desert. Etc.
Joining a social group does not mean you spend every moment with the group: it is a matter of identity not hangin’ with your buds every single minute.
And, Mad Anthony clearly did choose to identify with the group of Christians. He could have chosen the group of Manichaeans, or perhaps the Mithraists.
Or he could have chosen to be sane and just lived his life himself without committing to any of those groups.
But, sadly, he chose the badge of group identity of Christianity.
This has got stuck on my mind, and I’m not quite sure how I would answer this argument. How would you answer it?