The Dallas Morning News published two related articles on the subject of atheism which are somewhat unique. One deals with an atheistic church--an interesting concept that will be dealt with later; the other discusses atheistic opposition to religion. Both stories appear under the bold headline banner of "Atheists: Defenders of Nonbelief" on the Irreligion page dated November 11th.
Nicole Piscopo wrote the article entitled "They Oppose Religion in Public Life." The reader seeks in vain for a clear thesis; the journalist simply slings out a few diverse ideas, connected by the common thread of atheism. Our approach, therefore, will be to comment on some of the major emphases.
One point that atheists seem eager to affirm is that atheism "is not a self-centered endorsement of hedonism or immorality that many atheists say they are accused of practicing" (6G). As was pointed out in previous articles (see #19 and #20), no one ought to accuse atheists of being those things; but to accept their philosophy opens the door to such practices, which they cannot logically defend.
This column begins by whetting the reader's appetite. The "co-president of the nationwide Atheistic Alliance," we are promised, "tells how he became an atheist" (1G). Since he had a religious upbringing in the Greek Orthodox Church, we become curious as to how and why he changed his mind. But all we are told is: "By his early teens, he had his doubts. By 16, he and theos had parted ways" (1G). Why, how convincing. It's a wonder 90% of people are not atheists instead of just 10%!
Actually, the article goes on to delve much deeper into the co-president's psyche. We are informed that for him "the idea of God touted by most religions goes against all rationality" (1G). Oh, really? So how does the idea of God contradict rationality? Mr. Tzanetakos (whose first name ironically is Christos) fails to say (or maybe he did say, but the journalist failed to mention it).
So, he charges that the idea of God is irrational, BUT then asserts that "energy, not God" created the universe. "The question is, what is energy?" No, Mr. atheist, the question is, "Where did energy come from?" Was it created? No? Then it must be self-existent. But if energy can be self-existing, then why can't God be self-existing? One must start with intellect, matter, energy--something. Whatever we call it, it was either created (which fails to solve the problem) or eternal.
"We as atheists simply state our ignorance, but we're not going to create an imaginary entity" (1G). What an admission!! He states that as an atheist he has no explana- tion for the origin of all things (while theists do). Then he goes on to confess ignorance. [Of course, we already knew that. "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God,'" (Ps. 14:1).] But if you do not know how something occurred, how can you rule out one of the alternatives? The only way to eliminate God as being the Creator of all things would be to disprove His existence. Possessing a few doubts scarcely qualifies as convincing evidence for his case.
The next atheist whose views are featured is Dr. Tim Gorski, an obstetrician. [This occupation seems grossly incongruent with atheism. How can anyone monitoring life in the womb and bringing newborns into the world even doubt the existence of God, let alone deny it?] "The mind revolts" against the concept of God, he affirms. What does such a statement imply about the vast majority of people whose minds haven't revolted?
"I started picking the minds of the priests, but I found they didn't have any good answers," the doctor says of his Catholic youth (1G and 6G). So, because the priests didn't want to be bothered with questions from a snot-nosed, ten-year-old, he became an atheist. That makes sense. Or maybe his questions were so intense and crucial that the priests couldn't handle them. Even Jesus was twelve before He astounded the teachers of the law (Luke 2:41-47). Besides, we could ask atheists like Mr. Tzanetakos some questions about the origin of all things, and he would plead ignorance. Based on his inability to answer questions, perhaps all atheists should become theists.
Gipson Arnold, president of Atheist Network, thought even as a child that Bible stories were too "far-fetched." "Jonah and the whale sounded like Jack and the beanstalk"; "And isn't being a virgin and being a mother mutually exclusive?" (6G).
First of all, what are the similarities between Jonah and Jack? Jonah's mother isn't even mentioned. "Jack" is a story of fantasy and never pretends to be true. Jonah was a real man living in historical times who attempts to avoid his commission to preach to real people in a known country (Assyria). Jack lives "somewhere," and the seeds he casts out the window grow up over night into a beanstalk, which arises through the clouds where a giant lives. Right! No wonder atheists are termed foolish--when they can't discern between make-believe and a descriptive narrative.
Of course, mothers are never virgins. That's what all the excitement is about, Gipson! Mary was the only woman who was both! Get a grip; try to distinguish the virgin birth from Cinderella. It's not that hard if one possesses a smattering of objectivity.
*Send comments or questions concerning this article to Gary Summers. Please refer to this article as: "Ignorance and Rationality (Part 1) (12/3/95)."