Atheism and Occam’s Razor (& Why Christianity Makes the Cut)

September 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

A recent dialog.

Atheist:

I think you might misunderstand atheism if you think I need proof that it is true. Atheism is a nonbelief. Atheist simply don’t believe that there is any god. We are making no claims, and therefor have no burden of proof. It is the same thing as not believing in Bigfoot. There’s really no need or way to produce evidence that it doesn’t exist. All you can do is discredit the “evidence” for it. If indisputable evidence comes along, then you would be foolish not to believe it. Atheist simply need hard evidence of god’s existence before they will believe.

I agree with you that we need to make some basic assumptions to be able to argue anything. Or else we are left with nihilism or we are living in a computer simulation or something…haha. But your argument just adds unnecessary assumptions. You said that your authority for using reason is because a god created us and he has reason. We are still left with the same question, just on a larger scale now. Who created god, or where did his reason come from? Did god create reason, or is reason something outside of god that he simply conforms to? Let’s keep things simple, and using Occam’s razor cut out the unnecessary assumptions.

My morality is not a list of 10 (or however many) black and white rules that were given by an outside source. It’s basically grounded on the assumption that all humans are equal and should be treated with the dignity that I myself would desire (unless they do something to violate another in some way). Basically the old golden rule and common sense. It is circumstantial, subjective and not set in stone.

Christian:

I think I do understand that atheism is another belief system. Instead of God, the atheist worships something like human reasoning. It seems as if you would like to portray atheism as passive non-belief, but non-belief requires belief in something, as you plainly reveal in your statements: “Atheism is X” is a claim, and so is “We are making no claims.” I don’t deny that “we need to make some basic assumptions to be able to argue anything,” that’s absolutely true. What can’t be done on atheism however, is explaining WHY we make the assumptions. You unknowingly borrow from Christianity.

If I had made the claim that a Creator God requires an endless regress of Creators, I would most definitely be multiplying assumptions. But I haven’t made that claim, you have. The God of the Bible is the eternal first cause, which is by nature a necessary being that is uncaused. God didn’t create reason nor did He adopt reason, but reason is a part of His nature. That is by far the more simple and parsimonious answer.

You say your morality is grounded in certain assumptions; How does that put atheism on firmer ground than theism? What you assume is that all humans are equal, should be treated with dignity, and how we would want to be treated. I agree, as those happen to be Biblical principals! Do you not assume that these rules are objective and should be relevant to everyone else? You label them subjective in speech but not practice. And why do you assume them in the first place? I don’t suggest that you necessarily get them from reading the Bible, but I do suggest that they are moral values that we can’t NOT know because we are made in the image of a moral God, another Biblical principal. To explain our real world experience of reason and morality on a worldview of origins in mere matter and motion is to multiply assumptions far beyond what is necessary.

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