NOTE: This post is part of a series on The 6 C’s of Atheism
Many of us Christians may be familiar with the “Seven C’s” overview of the Christian World View, but it seems that there is a Six C’s of Atheism, as August Berkshire, . Berkshire also calls his list the ‘virtues’ of atheism. After the jump, listen to him talk through the points.
The 6 C’s of Atheism
Here’s Berkshire’s explanations:
Yes, atheism is a conservative position. We accept statements only so far as there is reason and/or evidence to back them up. Anything else is speculation. We make no leaps of faith. If there should some day be a compelling reason or piece of evidence for a god, then we would acknowledge it and change our views. This is also known as intellectual honesty.
Berkshire means that religion is a top down view (argument from revelation), while atheism is a ‘bottom up’ view – that is, atheists argue from the facts and reason on up. The problem with this position is, though I agree with his use of the word ‘conservative’ here, he is basically arguing for a materialist, empiricist approach. Not unreasonable, and from an intellectual point, defendable. However, I think that such a position is conservative to a fault – almost to the point of being fearful.
An atheist possesses clarity in his or her thinking processes. We are able to identify those things for which we have evidence and separate them from other things that are merely wishful thinking.
This is merely an ad hominem attack on the use of faith and reason together. It a priori discounts all faith positions, though ignores it’s own lack of faith position and materialist assumptions. And besides, I’m right because I use Latin phrases in italics. For a really good explanation of faith and reason, check out these links:
- The Weslyan Quadrangle III – Scripture and Reason
- ‘Reason is the Devil’s whore’
- Faith and Reason – Link Dump
An atheist is also consistent. We apply our skepticism equally to all supernatural claims. We do not say, ‘All prophets, saviors, or gods are false – except ours.’ We make no exceptions or special pleadings.
The problem I’ve seen is a classic atheist error – he says somewhat rightly that people of various faiths are not skeptical of their own faith, but they are of others. This may be true, but this has little bearing on whether or not theism is true, nor does it validate a blanket rejection of the supernatural.
And the atheist is making an equally bad logical mistake – he finds all faiths equally implausible, failing to discriminate between supernatural claims. This is, again, because he has rejected all faith claims that he can not validate with empiricism.
What he has failed to do is to also use reason to reject the various faith claims – such as using historical and archaeological means of rejecting various faith claims, using rules of internal logic to reject faith claims, etc. The Christian, who does not share the atheist’s blanket rejection of the supernatural, DOES use these latter tools to reject religious pretenders.
As I argued in Pascal’s Wager – Part III: Evaluating the gods, you absolutely CAN eliminate pretenders with reason and logic, even if you can not, as the atheist would like, prove the affirmative existence of God – though you can provide reasonable evidence that is outside of bald empiricism.
Anyway, listen to Berkshire espouse hit II for my continued analysis of points 4-6.