Avoiding a Hypocritical Trap

I fully admit there are atheists who, for emotional or personal reasons, do not believe in God and that is their personal conviction. I have no problem with those individuals who merely have a personal distaste for faith in God. But I do have a problem with individuals who try to wear the façade of intellectualism and sound reasoning while engaging in intellectually dishonest practices.

There is an intellectually dishonest and hypocritical trick that neo-atheists are playing on theists and young Christians. It creates an uneven playing field and a disingenuous argument against the existence of God. It is important that those who engage in the area of apologetics, whether particularly Christian or theistic in general, learn to avoid this trap and help others to avoid it. The argument goes like this:

A: There is no God

B: Logical and empirical evidence must be provided to prove there is a God

C: There is not enough logical and empirical evidence to prove there is a God

D: Therefore, there is no God

Now, this is not always the exact structure this argument takes, but it usually takes a similar structure. The first problem with this argument which very few people are able to logically understand (because most people in our society are not trained to think) is that the lack of evidence doesn’t disprove anything. A mere lack of evidence does not prove something which could or could not be true. Let me give you an example. If I were unable to prove that a certain day was a certain day of the week it would not mean that it was not that day of the week. Let’s say it is Wednesday. If I could not prove it was Wednesday on any given Wednesday it would not cease to be Wednesday. What most people don’t understand is that evidence doesn’t make something true, it only verifies something which is already true. So my ability or inability to prove something doesn’t change the truth value of the statement which I am proposing.

Second, in using logic and morality in any argument against God the individual is making a truth claim of their own. They are claiming that logic and morality can exist apart from God. Therefore, there is a burden of proof on them to demonstrate that a mechanism exists under a naturalistic, materialistic worldview which accounts for both morality and the laws of logic - and this argument must be made without using the laws of logic or morality to demonstrate the existence of logic or morality. There is a burden of proof on the atheist to demonstrate that his system can account for the features which they are borrowing from theism in order to disapprove theism. Now the atheist’s own rules of engagement need to be used on him/her in order to point out the burden of evidence they bear in any conversation related to the existence of God. The atheist must be held to the same rules which they are forcing the theist to play. It is the height of intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy for an atheist to demand that the theist must play by rules that he or she is unwilling to subject themselves to.

If the atheist will not demonstrate a mechanism which accounts for the features of logic and morality in the universe, then any argument they raise must be considered self-defeating and be immediately tossed out. Specifically, and more importantly, Christian apologists must learn to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. This means unmasking the dishonest practices used simply to manipulate minds and to put forth an agenda without the intent for honest intellectual discussion.