Welcome to the third installment of Stuff Atheists Say, a series dedicated to bad arguments used against theists. (Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2!) This article will discuss three quick slogans, two aimed at mocking religion (and thus religious people) and one centered around a logical fallacy. Let’s begin:
Bad “argument” #3: Religion is a crutch.
Quick response: Maybe. So what?
Maybe religion offers people meaning and comfort. It gives them strength and helps them through life. So what? The broader issue is whether or not your religion is true. That’s all that matters. There are many slogans that New Atheists use that I wholeheartedly agree with, like “It doesn’t matter what you believe if it isn’t true.” And that’s what we’re about, showing the truth of Christianity, not just how it can make you feel good about yourself.
For further discussion of this objection, check out this brief article by Greg Koukl.
Bad “argument #4: You’re only a Christian because you were born in America.
Quick response: Maybe. So what?
I might be a Muslim if I was born in the Middle East. Or a Hindu if I was born in India. So what? This is a prime example of the genetic fallacy, which confuses the truthfulness of a belief with the origin of that belief. And as Tim Stratton says, “an argument based on a fallacy is no argument at all.” And unfortunately, fallacious arguments are raised against theism all the time!
Maybe it is true that I’m a Christian because I was born in America. But why I’m a Christian and whether or not Christianity is true are two different things. Luckily, I think Christianity is the worldview that matches reality.
Bad “argument” #5: You believe in a magical being who does magical things.
Quick response: Um, what?
If this statement is an attempt to say that God is just some imaginary, magical being, I’ve covered that already. But if the skeptic thinks that it’s magic to create a universe from nothing, fine, he can call it that. Because that’s exactly what God did. What’s the alternative, that the universe popped into existence uncaused from nothing? As William Lane Craig says, that’s worse than magic because when a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat, at least you start with the magician and his hat. But on naturalism, you begin with absolutely nothing!
Supernatural events fit into the theistic worldview because it centers on a supernatural being. Call it magic if you wish. Again, this says nothing about whether or not such a supernatural being exists.
You think religion is a crutch? Maybe it is. Is God a magical being? You can call him that if you want. Would I be a Christian if I was born in a different part of the world? Maybe, maybe not. Notice how all of these slogans are directed at me and my beliefs, not whether or not God actually exists. They are distractions to avoid rational discussion instead of to foster it. For the skeptic to avoid having to provide evidence why he doubts God’s existence.
So there’s another three empty slogans down. Next time I’ll discuss the recent and popular (and cowardly) trend of redefining atheism as a lack of belief in God. Don’t miss it!