Let’s be Honest Here

lincolnSmalley, in his “Top Ten Reasons Why I’m an Athiest”, gives us a bonus reason:

11. I simply refuse to be a hypocritical, disingenuous Christian. I could go through the motions, attend the churches, shake the hands, follow the rituals of whichever religion or denomination of Christianity I liked the best, sing the songs, and help with the luncheons. That still wouldn’t make me a believer. It would make me a pretender. I am honest with myself and those around me that these things don’t make sense to me. That doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me an atheist.

I don’t begrudge anyone the desire to live as they see fit. But the key point here seems not to be a reason to be an atheist at all. Rather, it is simply the statement that he wants to be honest about being an atheist.

I’m very much in favor of honesty, but I think that we should also emphasize the importance of being honest with ourselves.

I don’t know Smalley, personally. Perhaps no one was there to point out his misunderstandings of Christianity to him before he wrote his list. Perhaps he’s all but forgotten it. But anyone who actively thinks that this list offers good reason to reject Christianity, let alone all theism, is very naive. It is based on a terrible misunderstanding of Christian beliefs, and attacks strawmen.

So, no. Being an atheist doesn’t make one a bad person. But attacking horrible distortions of an idea in order to justify rejecting it does make one either ignorant or dishonest. I suspect that it is nearly always the former. And, while that is the less repugnant of the two, it is hardly commendable.

While it is good to be open about one’s atheism, a deeper honesty will offer better reasons for one’s position than this list does. The intellectually honest person will either reject Smalley’s list as a horrible distortion of Christianity, or admit to ignorance about what it actually teaches.

What one cannot do is genuinely study theology while accepting these reasons as valid.

11 responses to “Let’s be Honest Here

  • Arkenaten

    The single foundation that Christianity is based upon is that Yeshua was rose from the dead.
    Without this there is no Christianity.
    Anyone who rejects this is not a Christian.
    It is as simple as that.

    Atheism is a rejection of belief in gods.

    • Debilis

      No argument Smalley gave even attempts to show that the resurrection didn’t happen. It is perfectly easy to believe in the resurrection while not believing in the weird distortion of Christianity Smalley rejects.

      Beyond that, however you define atheism, Smalley has not defended it. Much less has he defended the materialism that is the basis of the currently popular “rejection of belief in gods”.

      • Arkenaten

        It is no distortion of Christianity.
        The claim that Jesus was divine and rose from the dead supersedes every other consideration; doctrine, interpretation – everything.
        This is what it all boils down to. And the essence of atheism is the rejection of this and every other idea of gods. Period.

        • Debilis

          I’ve not denied that the divinity of Jesus and the resurrection are basic to Christianity. I completely agree with that.

          I only said that this has nothing to do with anything Smalley said. His statements are the distortion of Christianity.

        • Arkenaten

          Great so for arguments sake let’s say Smalley is wrong in HIS approach.
          That still leaves you with the untenable task of proving your position is correct. Something you will never, ever, be able to do. So what the heck is the point?

        • Debilis

          The point is that Smalley’s position (and yours) is untenable.
          Every time I show the reasons why this is, you want to change the subject to make the (unsupported) claim that my position is.

          If you completely agree that your own position is untenable, and have no argument against any of the reasons why this is so, then I have no idea why you exude such a tone of confidence.

          And given that I’ve supported my position, and have never been given a good reason why it is false, it seems the much more reasonable.

        • Arkenaten

          How can my position be more untenable than someone like your who believes a man came back from the dead and went up to heaven?

          [message edited for off-topic personal comments]

        • Debilis

          I’ve explained, in great detail, how your position is untenable.

          I’ve given a number of reasons, and the only response has been mockery. The logic hasn’t actually been dealt with.

          You’ve not dealt with it in this comment, to be sure. Simply mocking me some more doesn’t change the fact that my logic hasn’t been addressed.

      • paarsurrey

        Smalley has to prove Materialism Atheism true irrespective to whether Christianity is true or false. That evidence he has failed to provide. I agree with you.

    • paarsurrey

      “Yeshua was rose from the dead.”
      Jesus did not rise from the dead; he never died on the Cross in the first place.

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