For those of you who have been following along, I presented some positive arguments for Atheism this week. 3 of them were part of the branch of deductive atheology while the last one was my personal favorite, the argument from nonbelief. Today I want to offer some additionnal information concerning these arguments.
I think first and foremost with the first 3 arguments it should be noted that the issue is entirely definitional. It is mainly about words and what these words mean. A typical example that I didn’t bring up would be omnipotence. Some people define it as the ability to do anything, others define it as the ability to do anything that is logically possible. Others might have another definition altogether. It is perfectly within the Believers right to define his terms as he chooses. I have the same right.
When talking about a being you should first get the definition in place. It won’t do much good to disprove the “ability to do anything” with the Question of whether God can create a rock so heavy that he himself can’t lift it. The Believer might retort, that omnipotence is defined as that which is logically possible. It is of course logically possible, I performed this task myself but if you talk past each other it won’t do anybody any good.
Concerning these types of arguments I also have some good news however: If you succesfully manage to refute a certain definition and the believer tries to ammend it in order to solve the issue then we can reasonably ask if the new definition is the God he/she believed in all along. In other words: Does that person know what exactly he/she believes in or does the person make stuff up as the debate goes along? At what point is it fair to ask whether the ammended definition is truly “it” and whether the ammended definition could also reasonably be called God?
I wouldn’t recognize a somewhat powerful, really smart Creator of the Universe as a deity. Whether this would do for a Theist is of course his deal.
Now for some additional warning concerning the argument from nonbelief:
First of all it’s not always applicable. If you use it against a Presuppositionalist, then he will flat out deny that there is such a thing as nonbelievers. On that basis you simply can’t debate with them because he flat out denies the very premise. Calvinism has immunity as well, since you’re predestined for Heaven or Hell and God chooses whom to save and has already done so with the Believers.
Additionally I strongly advise against its use as a deductive argument. It’s an inference to the best explanation as far as I use it. The reason for this is of course, that the Believer can always come up with a satisfactory reason, why God doesn’t make it universally known to everybody that he exists. In that case the argument is refuted. I don’t think that I will get an explanation that is satisfactory to me but I won’t rule it out. I can’t prove that there is no possible reason at all. All I can do is show why the Theists objection is unconvincing and unsatisfactory and posit mine, that God doesn’t exist as the best explanation for the problem that the argument raises.
Those were my thoughts.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation