Of course I know that the sort of intellectual arguments that I have been talking to you about are not what really moves people. What really moves people to believe in God is not any intellectual argument at all. Most people believe in God because they have been taught from early infancy to do it, and that is the main reason.
This is the oft repeated argument from indoctrination. A favorite argument among the New Atheists has been the idea that people believe in God for no other reason than that they were told this in childhood.
At this point, I think it has become clear that this argument is so beloved of those that use it because it allows them to explain why clearly intelligent people disagree with their position without admitting to the fact that there are good arguments on the theist’s side.
My main trouble with this isn’t that it is almost entirely fictitious (though it is), nor that it completely overlooks the very large end to which these same people have been indoctrinated into their own beliefs (though it does), but that “you’re indoctrinated” has become a common excuse to avoid seriously engaging with theists’ questions.
In fact, Richard Dawkins seems to have abandoned arguing with adults altogether. He refuses to debate not only William Lane Craig, but presumably anyone else described by the long list of reasons he gave for not debating Craig. Instead, he’s written a book promoting materialism to children. The American Humanist Association, likewise, has launched a website designed to inculcate children in an atheistic worldview.
When these same people are recommending that we use ridicule, sarcasm, and other playground tactics to “promote reason”, this sounds less like disgust with the idea that children are being indoctrinated and more like outrage that they are not the ones doing the indoctrinating.
Looking at their behavior, it is hard not to conclude that “the champions of reason” are interested in any means of promoting their agenda – save logical engagement with the relevant questions.