As we’ve already seen, many of the attacks on Christian theology are centered around terrible understandings of what it is that Christians actually believe. And none of them justify atheism.
In his “Top Ten Reasons Why I’m an Athiest”, Smalley continues to make these mistakes:
6. If the Christian god[sic] created humans as sinners, how could it rightfully expect us to believe the corrupt messengers it[sic] has sent to teach us the way of life?
On the one hand, I don’t doubt Smalley’s sincerity. On the other, it is very hard for me to imagine how he could have made even a half-hearted attempt to find the answer to this question without finding it. This seems more like something that occurred to him as he was writing, rather than something he’s actually asked of a person educated on the subject.
Most obviously is the fact that I don’t know what believer in God actually claims that humans were created as sinners. Rather, God created humans with the choice to sin or not. But, as far as who is to “teach us the way of life”, Smalley doesn’t even consider the idea that a Christian might think that Jesus Christ and God’s spirit would help with that. He can argue that such things don’t exist, but this isn’t a reason to disbelieve in them.
Yes, Christians are often corrupt, immature, and hypocritical. But the personal life of a corrupt scientist, counselor, philosopher, or inspirational speaker doesn’t keep people from realizing it when their words are correct, even if their actions don’t fit with them.
Jesus himself spent quite a lot of time criticizing the religious leaders of his day. He instructed his followers to do just as the Pharisees said, but not as they did. This is necessary advice in any generation.
So, again, we see why someone ought to understand a topic before presuming to pronounce wholesale judgment on it.
But many do seem to have trouble differentiating between “I don’t like how you’re living” and “Your claim is false”. This is why so many have listed bad things done by Christians as if that were evidence that God doesn’t exist.
But Smalley isn’t exactly doing this. Rather, he seems to be blaming God for the fact that people often commit this logical fallacy. Somehow, he thinks it is God’s fault if people don’t realize that a statement isn’t untrue simply because the speaker isn’t perfect.
Personally, I find “God doesn’t exist because people reject him for irrational reasons” a little hard to swallow.
But, if this is a terrible objection to theism, the next is much better. I’ll get to that soon.