I really don't like to get into word games or split hairs over semantics, some people kind of enjoy it, like a mental sport or game- a form of entertainment. That's not really "my cup of tea". My concern is for your happiness, not only in this life, but eternally. If you think about it, the truth is: your happiness hinges on whether or not you are right about the existence of God. I'd like us to look at this, not from a philosophical sparring match perspective, but from the reality that the truth is vitally important to all of us. What good is winning an argument because we're the best debater, if we somehow miss the truth, especially one as important as this!
I read an article written by an atheist, Austin Cline. I think he said he had thousands of pages on his web site, so I reckon he must be pretty deep into the defense of atheism. He was refuting the idea that you have to be "all knowing" in order to deny the existence of God. Mr. Cline defines an atheist as simply someone who doesn't believe in God. You obviously have a right to say you don't believe in God, and if you want to state that God does not exist, you have a right to say it, but you believing and saying it do not necessarily make it so. You could be wrong.
I am asking: how can you be sure? In the first two points of this article Mr. Cline's view was that the atheist doesn't have to have "certain" or have absolute knowledge that God does not exist. In other words, you can be an atheist and still not be really sure there is no God. Furthermore he said it is still reasonable for the atheist to say that God doesn't exist, even though he's not sure of that fact. If you're willing to roll that pair of dice, you must feel real lucky. You know that position is a dangerous one, and if you're willing to risk an eternity without God on a fact you can't be sure of, God will let you. He's given you that freedom.
To say you are sure there is no god goes beyond unbelief or a personal decision to live your life as though there is no God, it is declaring you know it as a fact. You are stating a universal negative.
I'll let Mr. Cline (atheist) explain it:
Third, it is not true that it is impossible to prove a universal
negative. Certainly there are some universal negatives which cannot be
proven absolutely and so can only be held based upon the weight of
omniscience — for example, the claim “No swans are orange.” We would
have to know the contents of the entire universe in order to make such
an assertion with certainty.
However, such knowledge is not necessary in order to make other negative statements. Examples of this latter type include “no married bachelors exist” or “no round squares exist.” We can prove each of them with logic, primarily based upon the definitions of the terms involved. To assert the opposite of either statement entails asserting something which is incoherent — and we are rationally justified in denying something incoherent.
At this point his thinking was perfectly logical, but then he goes on...
If an atheist believes that the statement “God exists” is similarly incoherent, then that atheist can say “no god exists” with certainty and without being omniscient.
Thus, we can see that it is simply not true that an atheist need to be omniscient or omnipresent either to hold to reasonable atheism or even to assert the nonexistence of gods. What's curious is that this myth is addressed on many atheism web sites; thus, if someone makes the claim without an explanation that indicates knowledge of the rebuttals, it's clear that they haven't done the slightest bit of research on the matter. They probably just heard it somewhere from a Christian apologist and are repeating it because it sounds good rather than because they found it rational and defensible. End of article
Unless I missed something, he is basing his whole argument for the rational justification of atheism (or "reasonable atheism") on the incoherence of the statement "God exists". His only reason given for it being incoherent is the fact that he believes it to be so. He gives no reason or logical explanation for his belief. He goes on to say that Christians aren't listening to him, but after listening- it sounds like his rational and defensible argument is that he believes God does not exist, therefore it is so. Click for More on the atheist's "reasons" for unbelief.
The proving of the universal negative "that there is no God" seems to follow more closely to the orange swan example he used. Which of course he already explained why we can't be sure there are no orange swans, the same holds true for the existence of God. You can't really say for sure there is no God. Trying to follow the latter examples he gives (round squares) just doesn't work. There is no inherent meaning in the definitions of the words God and exist that are contradictory or incoherent, such as is the case with saying there are no round squares. By definition of the words, we know there are no round squares, but by definition of the words in the statement "God exists" there is no contradiction. "God"-Creator has no direct relevance or contradiction to the word "exist", as opposed to the obvious contradiction in the case of "round squares". I am astounded at this atheist's article, it really points out something God said in the Bible. I think the fellow has a big blind spot in his reasoning- He went from presenting clear logical statements to all of a sudden declaring that what he believes is true- only because he believes it. That's kind of spooky to me- it almost seems a supernatural break in his reasoning ability; which is exactly what God said has happened to those who choose to deny Him- the enemy of our souls the "god of this world", Satan has blinded the hearts of the unbeliever. How else can you explain that such an obviously logical thinking young man, all of sudden makes such an irrational claim?
Please don't let these blinders remain on your eyes. If you are not sure whether or not God exists, just admit it. You can call that atheism or agnosticism, it really doesn't matter it's only semantics. The important thing to realize is that: if there is even a remote possibility that there is a Creator, and if it is possible that we are indeed eternal beings, then it warrants our wholehearted investigation. The whole concept of us having a spiritual dimension that is eternal; and the possibility of a coming judgment has vital repercussions on our lives not only now, but possibly forever. It is too important to dismiss "off-hand" without seriously considering it.
Choose your response: