On the statement that “we are all atheists”
by J.W. Wartick
“We are all atheists to other religions, we [atheists] just take it one step further.”
The phrase initially has some kind of shock value, and then it gets you thinking. As a Christian, it may have you thinking, “Wow, I never thought of it that way… maybe there is something to this ‘atheism’ thing.” As an atheist, it may have you saying “Yeah, you Christians are just as rational/skeptical as we atheists about other religions, why not just apply that same logic to your own?”
I’ve addressed this statement/argument/quip/whathaveyou before: here. Yet I keep seeing it pop up in everyday conversation and even from people like Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss in his debate with William Lane Craig.
There’s a problem though, in fact, there’s more than one problem:
1) The statement is false
2) The statement is irrational
3) The statement–as with many false or irrational statements–proves too much (or too little).
Let’s examine to each of these in turn.
The Statement is False
The idea that Christians are atheists to all other religions is simply false. As I’ve explained elsewhere, to other religions, I am not an atheist, I am a rival theist–an adherent of another religion. I’m not an atheist to a Hindu, I am a theist of a different tradition. To the Muslim, I’m not an atheist–I’m a rival theistic believer. So, simply put, the statement is false.
Atheism, by definition, is the belief that there is no God. Therefore, because I believe in a God, I am not an atheist, by definition. William Lane Craig addresses this statement here. The person who brought up the question curiously counters Craig by saying “That’s semantics.” Funny, considering that’s what the atheists are doing: making up semantic word games. Redefine terms to win a debate: atheism at any cost.
The Statement Is Irrational
As I’ve argued elsewhere, the statement is simply irrational. The atheist is literally saying that the theist is an atheist…
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