Young Theists Just Have Not Thought About It Yet
by Jason Wisdom
A self described “atheist, anti-theist, humanist” recently posted the following thought on Twitter: “Every time I talk to an intelligent young theist, I have hope that they simply haven’t thought about it yet.”
It struck me that this sentiment is a very clear and succinct expression of how many atheists view theists. For that reason, I think it is worth consideration. I am actually going to purposefully avoid providing a follow up evaluation. I will let you draw your own conclusions. I just want to mine out what I see being expressed in this phrase so that we (both sides) can get a good look at it. It may seem strange, but I want to examine it from the end and work backwards.
NOTE: If you are an atheist, your gut reaction will probably be to take issue with what I’ve said below. However, I would encourage you to consider what I have said, and offer constructive thoughts where you think I have erred in my analysis. Please know that this post is not intended as an attack. Rather, in the interest of having better conversations, I think both sides need to learn to avoid insulting and/or overreaching rhetoric–which is mainly what I am aiming to expose here.
“I have hope that they simply haven’t thought about it yet.”
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The author of this tweet hopes that the person they are talking to “simply” has not “thought about it yet.” The presence of the word “simply” adds an air of triviality to whatever the pronoun “it” refers to. Even if we only had this second clause, we could conclude that whatever it is, it must be something painfully obvious. If only a person would simply take the time to think about it, they would most certainly come to a particular conclusion about it. The author believes the correct response is so obvious in fact, that the best hope for someone who disagrees is that they simply have not yet thought about it. So, what is it? The pronoun refers, although indirectly, to theism. If a person (a theist in this case) would only do the elementary task of thinking about theism, they would surely draw the same conclusion as the author…