But Would a Buddhist Agree With You?

out_of_left_fieldAn argument in favor of Islam or Hinduism is not an argument for atheism.

I make a point of this because so many people I’ve encountered seem to think otherwise. Specifically, arguments showing the frailties of materialism are often met with statements to the effect of “But that doesn’t prove that your religion is the right one.”.

Well, no. It doesn’t.

But that’s a separate conversation. It seems completely odd to me that many seem to think this is a point in favor of atheism. I know of no logical series of steps,  for instance, that will take me from “I don’t know whether Christianity or Islam is more likely.” to “I suppose I should just accept materialism, then.”.

So, unless the materialist in question is giving up on supporting his position, and admitting that we should move on to discussing which religion is the true one, this objection doesn’t make any sense.

Rather, it seems to be one more case of the completely unfounded belief that materialism is some sort of “default” position, to be embraced so long as there is reason to doubt any particular religion. Even if there is more reason to doubt materialism.

But this is no more reasonable than my demanding that, until the materialist can disprove platonism, Christianity is true. Arguments for God (like many other things) frequently begin from the general and get more specific as they advance. One can’t reject the more general arguments simply on the ground that they aren’t getting to the conclusion of Christianity fast enough for one’s personal tastes.

Or, at least, one can’t rationally do this.

This, along with the fact that the “there is no evidence” argument is without any logical force, means that the two most common objections given to theists’ arguments are completely invalid. This sets a pretty low bar for the theist who wishes to show that her position is better supported. Thoughtful atheists do what they can to distance themselves from these arguments.

But this, if one follows the argument far enough, means offering good reasons why materialism is true. And, so far, I’ve been completely unable to find such reasons.

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