Every day social media users, especially those identifying as agnostics, atheists and skeptics, are subjected to a barrage of religious spam from true believers. This tends to be repeated, day in, day out, several times a day with no attempt to engage or discuss the matter. It’s spam, plain and simple. Some groups even seem to use small botnets, multiple accounts or proxies to spam hundreds of identical or similar messages all in one go.
Let’s look at some, all from one afternoon and evening on Twitter and only a small sample…
Atheism & the Denial of Reason
This charming individual even has their own special definition of atheism, which they conflate with materialism and various other factors. While it is common that atheists are also materialists, rationalists, skeptics etc it is by no means guaranteed and the definition of atheism is just ‘I don’t believe in god/s’. Anyway, moving on with the article…
The article is actually nothing to do with ‘reason’ but to do with determinism. It attempts to suggest that as an atheist (as they define it) one must necessarily believe that anything and everything is deterministic and that there’s no free will whatsoever. From there it somehow tries to suggest that determinism denies reason.
There’s several problems with this.
1. A deterministic ‘clockwork universe’ is an old-fashioned, Newtonian view. It does not mesh with modern understanding via chaos theory and quantum mechanics. The tiniest changes in a complex system can lead to different results and things are in constant flux.
2. Determinism wouldn’t deny that we’re rational agents anyway. Computers work entirely deterministically and operations only work if they are logical, with correct syntax. A rational conclusion is one reached via the evidence given. A logical conclusion. Damage the mind, bias it and it won’t come to logical conclusions. You could consider religion akin to a computer virus in this instance.
3. Religious beliefs don’t allow for free will. An omniscient agent precludes free will. You can either have an omniscient deity or free will, but not both as they’re logically incompatible. This either results in no human free will (Calvinist approach) or an imperfect or non-existent god.