Wright 1 Michael Wright Dr.

Dew Philosophy 201-B13 12 October, 2011 The Psychology of Atheism: A Response to McCloskey Atheism, as most basically defined, is a doctrine or belief that there is no God. (Dictionary.com n.d.) While the first public individual to articulate the existence of this view was probably the Roman Philosopher Cicero, the concept clearly goes back much further as evidenced by the Hebrew book of Psalms; at the beginning of the fourteenth chapter states “The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”1 Atheism as a movement in large part grew out of the 18th Century French Revolution (University of Cambridge Faculty of Divinity, PRRG 2008) with influential individuals such as Frederick Nietzsche, Emmanuel Kant, and David Hume articulating the idea as a reasoned belief system. As the Socialist movement motivated by political and social revolutionaries such as Feuerback, Stirner, Schopenhauer, and Marx consumed Asia and much of Eastern Europe, atheism began to find a wide variety of support in other movements, such as Communism, Feminism, Existentialism, Secular Humanism, and Nihilism. Soon a “Rationalist Movement” formed in the West with proponents such as Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Dewey, a man who all but removed religion from the American school system. (Biggs. 2004) Today Atheism has taken on a new, more aggressive stance in New Atheism, led in large part by the success of Richard Dawkins’ New York Times bestselling book “The God Delusion” and ideologues such as Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hutchins, often dubbed “The Four Horsemen.” This movement is not so much interested in spreading the ideals of the atheist, but a belief “that religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized and exposed by rational argument wherever its
1

As rendered by the New International Version. It may be worth noting the word “fool,” represented in Hebrew as the word “nabal” can also mean “stupid,” “wicked,” or “vile person.”

Wright 2 influence arises.” (Hooper 2006) The movement has not been as successful as they may wish to claim however due to the efforts of Dr. William Lane Craig, Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology. Craig, author of over 30 books and countless scholarly articles has been a respected debater for so long he is considered “the foremost apologist for Christian theism of our time,” and during a debate with him Sam Harris admitted that Craig was “the one Christian apologist who has put the fear of God into many of [his] fellow atheists.” (Sun 2011) The comment was most likely due to the recent controversy over Richard Dawkins adamant refusal to debate Craig, a decision that not only has fellow atheists accusing him of cowardice but caused other prominent atheists to drop out of debates after realizing they “hadn’t realized the nature of Mr. Lane Craig’s debating style.” (Green 2011) While Craig contends that the reason for the cancellations are that atheists “can be very brave when they are alone at the podium and there's no one there to challenge them.” But when faced with a challenger and an audience that is allowed to make up its own mind they feel very intimidated. David Silverman, president of The American Atheists, made a very interesting comment in response to this. “The fact is some people get tired of debating Christians because of the same arguments over and over again. And sometimes it’s a lot like arguing with a wall." (Green 2011) While the majority of this paper will address a specific article from 1968, addressing this particular objection should prove productive in the continued conversation over the theist versus atheist debate. Stepping back in time, the intention of this paper is to examine the arguments of Australian Philosopher H.J. McCloskey in his article in the February 1968 Question Magazine titled “On Being an Atheist.” Dr. McCloskey has written a number of books on the problem of evil and currently is listed as a professor of Philosophy at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia where he holds a Doctor of Letters in recognition of his published works. The article in question regards numerous epistemic arguments for the existence of God, to which he refutes. The primary purpose of this paper will be to examine those objections.

Wright 3 At the outset, two observations can be made of the article in general, and we will begin with one and end with the other. First and foremost, Dr. McCloskey repeatedly refers to Theistic arguments as “proofs.” While access to Dr. McCloskey’s additional works is restrictive enough, let alone that of the fellow theists to which he is referring, one cannot sufficiently address that regard except to say that from a standpoint of Epistemology, we generally don’t regard anything as “proof.” When dealing with subjects that are not strictly material in nature (and at times even then) we find that the burden of proof lies on either objective or subjective evidence; that is to say evidence that can or cannot be evaluated for yourself. For example objective evidence can be used to evaluate the question “Do I have ten toes?” or “Will my car start?” You can take off your shoes and count how many toes you have, and you can go outside, put the key in and if your engine turns over and continues functioning that’s a good sign. Subjective evidence is rarely helpful in building truth claims, for instance if someone just saw the Archangel Michael who told them to go out and do something odd, there’s no way to evaluate whether that person is lying or suffering a mental defect. It is worth using the word “rarely” however because subjective evidence may be all you have to act on as a medical doctor, if for instance someone says they have Fibromyalgia there is no scientific test yet invented to diagnose that disorder. But there are eleven points on their body you can put light pressure to and observe whether or not you have induced a disproportionate pain reaction in them that is at least a good indicator that the individual may respond to one of many treatments for that disorder. That person’s positive reaction to that treatment at that point then becomes the only objective evidence. For many of the same reasons there are those in the scientific community unwilling to throw around the word “proof.” For instance Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen co-wrote a paper in 1935 suggesting that quantum mechanical theory (which is widely considered to be a law of nature, and even at the time strongly supported) was incomplete due to the EPR paradox, a challenge to the Copenhagen interpretation that you can only know the position or momentum of a particle with certainty, but not both. The EPR Paradox deals with the measurement of physical quantities of one system

Wright 4 being required to affect the physical quantity of another or the description of reality given by wave function is incomplete. Without diving in too much (and too late perhaps) the result many years later was the discovery of quantum entanglement, that molecules that interact physically and then become separated inherit a type of interaction in which when the quantum state of one molecule is altered, the same (or opposite) alteration will occur on the entangled molecule. Quantum entanglement is still considered a theory however as even though it can be demonstrated in a lab environment, the underlying mechanics of the phenomena are still not entirely understood. Also the interaction is instantaneous over an apparent infinite distance, which appears to completely destroy Einstein’s theory of relativity and the speed of light constant. Thus when regarding even more complex issues such as the existence of God we tend to look for the best explanation given the evidence at hand, using the best rational arguments we can make based on our understanding of how what we can observe works. Therefore it is more appropriate to label our presentations as arguments for the best explanation of God rather than the proof of God. There is however a paradox to be reconciled with any epistemic argument for God, which Dr. McCloskey gives several observances of but does not outright identify. As he states in his article, A Christian colleague and friend has often observed to me that our philosopher colleagues attribute too much importance to the role of the proofs of the existence of God as a basis for religious belief, that most theists do not come to believe in God as a result of reflecting on the proofs, but come to religion as a result of other reasons and factors. ... Proofs such as the ontological argument carry no weight with the ordinary theist. And while such proofs may confirm a doubting theist in his belief if he accepts them as sound, they seem not to be causes of the initial religious belief, even in those who take them seriously. (McCloskey 1968)

If you replace all the instances of the word “proof” or “proofs” with the word “argument,” then I believe McCloskey has noted a very relevant perspective… none of the epistemic arguments point to the God of Christianity. Simply arguing for an uncaused cause or design alone does not bring you to the personally knowable God or Jesus Christ who atoned for our sins… they may just as well argue the case for Allah or the god of the Jews or Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses… Proof of existence alone does not

Wright 5 equate with the character of God or systemic faith in that God. And when you turn the argument around, you realize the paradox… an argument or “proof” of the existence of God actually means nothing unless we have an argument for the personably knowable God… If God is to exist, then for His existence to hold any meaning for us His intentions must be knowable, whether he expects some sort of appeasement or died on the cross for our sins with no requirement of works; without that argument you may as well live as an atheist, because the only thing that is proven is a divine intelligence with the will to create the world as we know it. However, the combination of Christian Apologetics and these arguments, which is typically how these arguments are presented, would in fact lead us to the personally knowable God. So it is conceded that these arguments are not irrelevant, merely incomplete on their own. Granted any objector would not hesitate to argue that using two arguments for the existence of God is a Conjunction Fallacy, as the argument for the existence of God would likely appear stronger under one of the first arguments alone. First of all in doing so they would have to acknowledge that the existence of a stronger argument would just be an admission of the existence of God, and second it is only a Conjunction Fallacy if one of the arguments of its own accord fulfilled the unique description of the God of Christianity, and neither fit that description alone. That said, McCloskey repeatedly appeals to the reader that “an all-powerful, perfect being” cannot be argued on the basis of the Cosmological and Teleological arguments. He also often points to the problems of evil and suffering in the world as refuting the existence of such a being. This is precisely why the God of Christianity requires two arguments, one or both of the Philosophical brand and one of the Apologetic. The Philosophical arguments are limited in the aspect that what they argue is necessarily general. Upon reaching the topic of the Cosmological Argument, McCloskey argues that the “mere existence of the world constitutes no reason for believing in such a being.” He also claims the causal argument “does not entitle us to postulate an all-powerful, all-perfect, uncaused cause.” McCloskey

Wright 6 initially sets out to define the Cosmological Argument as “an argument from the existence of the world as we know it, and not as it is often set out as simply an argument from the existence of something.” (McCloskey 1968) As the Cosmological Argument argues that God is the best explanation as a first cause, necessary uncaused being, (Evans and Manis 2009) the argument can be explored from the standpoint of the universe as a whole, particular objects or one object in particular, so it would appear McCloskey is speaking of the universe as a whole. An observation of atheistic arguments shows that conservative definitions are often presented in a less than clear manner, or redefined entirely. In a very general sense the Cosmological Argument is an observation that objects in our universe appear to have no natural process or rational explanation for how they came into being. We call these objects contingent, as they must require a necessary being, something that cannot fail to exist and to which no further explanation is required. Formally stated if contingent beings exist, it is necessary to say that there is a necessary being that is the cause. Since the Deist holds that God is the only Necessary Being, God is the cause of the universe. Before getting into McCloskey’s objections it would perhaps be prudent to speak of the Temporal and Non-Temporal versions of the Cosmological Argument. The Temporal version refers to a Universe that has a beginning, and as we have now scientifically and sufficiently proven the Big Bang Model, it is reasonable to assume that while some arguments for this version are refuted, it is proper to state that this is the nature of the universe as we know it today. The Non-Temporal version of the Argument applies to whether the universe had a beginning or not, and many variants of this Argument are still quite valid. However, basing these arguments on an infinite universe model is now fallacious. As the Islamic theologian al-Ghāzalī argued, it is impossible that there should be an infinite regress of events in time, or that a series of past events should be beginningless. For one, the series would have to come to an end in the present; however there cannot be an end to the infinite. One may argue that the series moves infinitely back in time from the present, but Ghāzalī’s point may be that if the regress of past events were infinite, it would be impossible for the present moment to arrive. And yet, here we are. (Craig 2008)

Wright 7 McCloskey’s first objection is a bit nebulous but can be taken in one of two ways, in that 1) the existence of the universe cannot possibly have an explanation, or 2) the universe exists necessarily. In the first instance, claiming the universe has no explanation seems fashionable as any kind of explanation would require some sort of prior state of existence, thereby requiring a cause (such as a necessary uncaused cause) for the existence of the universe. But then to say that the universe is all that exists is just the same as saying there is no universe. Such a line of reasoning makes no logical sense, primarily because it caters to the assumption that atheism is true in the first place. This is Begging the Question, essentially arguing in circles. (Craig 2010) In his second objection McCloskey tells us we are not even justified in assuming “an allpowerful, all-perfect, uncaused cause.” Once again McCloskey loads his assumptions with contextomy, or the Fallacy of quoting out of context. The Cosmological Argument only points out an uncaused cause, or a Necessary Being as it were. The Argument says nothing of that cause holding the attributes of omnipotence or infallibility. The Cosmological Argument is simply a stepping stone in pointing out the universe has a cause. (Evans and Manis 2009) As stated earlier, additional arguments will identify that cause as God, or more specifically the God of Christianity. Another philosophical argument McCloskey tackles is the Teleological Argument, or as it is referred to as the argument of designs, recognizing that nature exhibits a purposeful design. McCloskey feels the Argument can’t even get moving because the theory of evolution has cut the legs out from under it. One manner of approaching this is to look at the conditions upon which he demands the Argument show in order to be accepted, in that design must be indisputable. Ironically McCloskey fails to mention, hint at, or in any way explain in what way his dismissive argument, the theory of evolution is indisputable. Here is at least one contention in which that theory is disputable; the existence of a mutation or evolutionary process that naturally increases information in a genome. An oversimplification of this argument is how do you go from a simple organism to a complex one, which can actually be answered by any number of systems, for example how does the human brain develop from a child-like state to an adult

Wright 8 one, science is pretty good on this one. But that is not the question, the question is under what natural process does a genome gain information. The answer the evolutionist will give is through gene duplication and mutation, and there are examples of this phenomena. (Isaak 20033) The problem with this answer is that mutations as described can both add and subtract information and are entirely random, it is in no way natural. Now to contend with McCloskey’s specific objection, genuine indisputable examples of design are required. I hesitate to use the words “that’s easy,” but perhaps due to their proclivity to use evolution as an explanation for everything atheists often make arguments based on naturalistic examples. In this case however cosmological constants fit quite well as they are indisputable. We call this the “Fine Tuning” argument, as specific conditions in the universe must and in fact do exist in order for intelligent life to exist. (Evans and Manis 2009) An argument often thrown against this is that our universe is possibly one of an infinite set of universes, and ours just happens by chance to be the one that permits intelligent life. If by some inane chance that were the case you still have to explain how an infinite set of universes came about, leading you back to the Cosmological argument. It has also been argued that “some natural set of circumstances brought about conditions in which multiple universes were created.” Again if that were the case that set of circumstances would have to be Primarily Necessary, thereby insinuating the existence of God. (Craig 2010) One last item I will address on this objection is the idea of “indisputable evidence.” Consider a football game in which there is an interception by the opposing team, and the officials on the ground rule it as valid after reviewing the different angles of play they have access to in instant replay. However the television audience just so happens to have an angle the officials do not, which shows the ball hitting the ground before the ball was secured. This being the case, the ruling would in fact be incorrect given the actual events of the game, but valid to the officials who do not have the view showing the ball hitting the ground. In this instance, how do you measure indisputable evidence? Is it subjective or objective? In this case you would have to say it is subjective, and if that were the case in arguing the Teleological Argument

Wright 9 then you can’t argue indisputable examples. They may be entirely indisputable to you but disputable to anyone with an entirely different perspective. (Low 2009) The last or perhaps I should say common argument McCloskey makes has to do with the existence of God as related to the problem of the existence of evil and suffering, which to this day happens to be the most predominant argument made not only by atheists, but skeptics, neutral academics, even theists. There are three reasons why this argument is so strong and in many ways appears valid; the first is a combination of confusion of definitions and agreement over the nature of morality. This often presents in the form of the question “How could a loving God permit evil?” The second reason often presented is the involvement of religion in some of the most unspeakable horrors in history. Whether it is the oft presented Crusades, jihadists and terrorism, or brainwashing cults that result in atrocities such as the Jonestown Massacre, religion is often blamed for the moral ills of society. Though in truth while these things have certainly occurred, to continuously accuse belief in God as the reason for evil ultimately amounts to nothing more than ad homonym attacks on Theists. And the third reason simply cannot be answered by Epistemic arguments, because there is a very strong emotional component to suffering. Unbelief in this case is not born of refutation but rejection due to a very genuine, personal conviction about suffering in an individual sense, for example people in genuine morning. Generally speaking it is best at the very least not to lay down arguments that will simply come across as superficial, weak, or at worst insulting at a time when such arguments cannot be received. (Craig 2010) As Christians we should take heed of 2nd Peter 3:9; “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” As the Lord shows patience and mercy with us, we should do the same with others, and for this reason the emotional component will not be further discussed. As stated the first issue generally has to do with a misunderstanding of terms. It is perfectly logical to assume that a perfectly good, omniscient, omnipotent being should wish to eliminate all evil as far as able, and with that definition evil would not exist. (Evans and Manis 2009) After all does this not fit

Wright 10 the description of the God of Christianity? Buddhism would have a far easier answer in stating that suffering and evil are merely an illusion. This is probably why you don’t find many of them in places like Kenya or Rwanda. Finite Theism is one thing that has been suggested, regarding God as limited in some fashion that prevents Him from stopping evil. But somehow I suspect the God that stopped the Sun for Joshua to finish a battle without burning up half the planet and freezing the other is somehow incapable of knocking off the mosquito population, which carry a principal of a dozen infectious diseases that kill at least 2 million people a year. Or at the very least mutate them in a way that prevents them from spreading these diseases. Often a Theist or Christian will point to sin and the fallen nature of the world as reasons for the problem of evil, to which the atheist will challenge knowing full well the answer will be that God would prefer beings that chose to love Him out of free will rather than being forced to love Him. The atheist will then point out that a perfect, all-powerful being such as God ought to be capable of creating an optimal world where people both express free will and chose to make morally positive decisions, thereby negating evil. This suggestion is inherently wrong however, as an all-powerful God still must adhere to logic, He can’t make a circle square or make someone freely chose to do something. (Craig 2003) What if it were the case that God created a world with people capable of free will who exercised it with nothing but pure evil? God would have to remove their free will, so it is logical that any scenario in which God creates people with free will some level of evil will express itself. The question is, to what extent would God allow that to continue? Is it possible that some good requires the existence of evil in order to be expressed? This is certainly an observable phenomenon, but what about evils that seemingly result in no good outcome? This especially accounts for the free-will argument, as it can be said that moral freedom is a greater good that outweighs the possibility of evil, and yet people chose to express their free will in morally reprehensible ways. For if humans are to be morally responsible agents then they must be accountable to someone, in this case God, and therefor answerable to those actions. Therefor as Alvin

Wright 11 Plantinga argues, the fault of immoral action is on man, not on God. Ultimately it is sufficient to know that there are at least possible reasons why God allows evil when shown that the occurrence of evil and existence of God are not logically contradictory. (Evans and Manis 2009) In his final arguments McCloskey claims that atheism is more comforting than theism, that if for instance your daughter were inflicted with meningitis it would be better to believe she was simply at the mercy of random chance than inflicted because she was somehow “evil” and God needed her suffering to show the world He required their worship. As William Lane Craig once stated Loren Eisley writes, "Man is the cosmic orphan. He's the only creature in the universe who asks, 'Why?' Other animals have instincts to guide them, but man has learned to ask questions: 'Who am I?' 'Why am I here?' 'Where am I going?'" Ever since the Enlightenment, when men threw off the “shackles” of religion, man has tried to answer those questions without reference to God. But the answers that came back were not exhilarating, but dark and terrible: you are the accidental byproduct of nature - the result of matter, plus time, plus chance. There is no reason for your existence; all you face is death… And the universe, too, faces a death of its own, scientists tell us that the universe is expanding, and the galaxies are growing further and further apart. As it does so it grows colder and colder as its energy is used up: eventually all the stars will burn out, and all matter will collapse into dead stars and black holes - there will be no light at all… If there is no God, then, man and the universe are doomed like prisoners awaiting execution; we await our inevitable death. There is no God. There is no immortality. And what is the consequence of this? It means that life itself becomes ultimately absurd.2 In 1942 a French Philosopher by the name of Albert Camus published an essay entitled The Myth of Sisyphus in which Camus suggests that the world exists as nothing but meaningless abstractions, and that absurdity occurs when man’s need to understand life meets with that meaninglessness. The only true answers are suicide, religion, or atheism, to which Camus suggests all must be rejected and absurdity embraced in the forms of revolt, freedom, and passion. Ultimately Camus suggests that life should be lived in relation to the Greek god Sisyphus who, in punishment for capturing death is forced to push a rock up a mountain, only to have it roll back down so that he might start over. Man like Sisyphus “works every day in his life at the same tasks, and this fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious.” (Camus, O'Brien and Knopf 1991)

2

The Absurdity of Life Without God, a lecture by William Lane Craig presented at Biola University, March 5th 2002

Wright 12 Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, and stands as the shortest lived individual to hold that prize. On January 4th, 1960 Camus had made plans to travel by train with his wife and twin daughters, but instead accepted a last minute invitation to travel with his publisher and family. At roughly 2 o’clock a fine rain slickened the roads and for reasons still unknown the publisher swerved into a number of trees. Camus was killed instantly and the publisher would die a few days later. Amongst the debris was a briefcase with a handwritten, incomplete manuscript titled Le Premier homme. While the surviving family felt that publishing the work would destroy his reputation, thirty-six years later his daughter Catharine Camus transcribed and finished the work, translated in English as The First Man. The book is roughly autobiographical, and expresses a deep level of emotion as Camus revisits his childhood and questions the ideas tied to his name, existentialism and the absurd, ultimately revealing a boy without a father and a fatherland. Even in its incomplete state it is regarded now as his finest work. (Brombert 1995) Any atheist would argue that what Camus left behind was a remarkable legacy, and in truth one might agree. However, his greatest work was in fact completed by his daughter thirty-six years after his death, and had it been published at the time of his death would have undermined everything his followers in the Algerian revolution believed about him. Even if that were the case, if atheism were true; for all of his accomplishments made in life, to say that his greatest came to fruition nearly four decades after his death is to say that everything he did in life was ultimately meaningless. In a sense Camus set out to prove the very thing he came to reject posthumously. To say that he succeeded might be appropriately regarded as absurd. Craig points out in his lecture that Camus, though an atheist wrote of a flash of insight that life has no meaning, and that there is no God to give it one. “Thus if there is no God, then life becomes ultimately meaningless. Man and the universe are without ultimate significance.” (Eden 2002) Craig ultimately gives three points upon which it is absurd for life to exist without God, that there is no meaning

Wright 13 without immortality and God, that there is no ultimate value without God and immortality, and that there is no ultimate purpose without immortality and God. Craig ends his lecture thus; Now, I want to be perfectly clear that none of this shows that biblical Christianity is true. But what it does show, I think, is to spell out clearly the alternatives. If God does not exist, then life is futile. If the God of the Bible does exist, then life is meaningful…. That is to say, it seems to me positively irrational to prefer death, futility, and despair to hope, meaningfulness, and happiness. As Pascal said, "we have nothing to lose, and infinity to gain." The cosmic orphan can come home. As we come to the last, it is perhaps proper to contend matters yet addressed under a single argument. As we examine the credentials of prominent atheists such as McCloskey, Harris, Dawkins, Silverman, what we find about those making these arguments is that these people are not your average every day college professors. These are top of their field experts in philosophy, biology, neuroscience, computer science… all arguing against the existence of God, in a manner that comes across as utter gibberish. McCloskey for instance holds a Doctor of Papers, a highly prestigious recognition and yet in his article, and in fact all of Dawkins’ work and likely the works of most atheists they hold evolution as a concept that requires no defense. This in the face of the Miller-Urey experiment, considered by many evolutionists as evidence of abiogenesis (non-living matter spontaneously transforming into living organisms), but criticized by numerous biochemists as full of errors. Professor Francis Crick, an ardent defender of the accidental origin of life on Earth admits “The origin of life appears to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions that had to be satisfied to get it going.” (Peet 2005) But if we were to consider that Evolution were in fact true, how does it account for the existence of the universe as we know it? By nature it can’t, strictly speaking Darwin’s concept of evolution is biological, not cosmological in nature. Even so, playing the Devil’s Advocate what if evolution were true? Assuming life on Earth did evolve from natural processes, is that necessarily proof that God had no hand in the process? Even Darwin was not an atheist, ultimately he claimed in light of his own view to be an agnostic. (von Sydow 2005) Such a concept falls under the category of Theistic Evolution, which ironically is disputed under the same pretenses as the Problem of Evil. Perhaps one of the greatest responses to Evolution in general

Wright 14 happened during a debate between Craig and Frank Lutz3, in which Craig quoted from John Barrow and Frank Tipler’s book The Cosmological Principle, saying that if evolution did in fact occur despite the enormity of time necessary for the conditions laid out by Barrow and Tipler for the evolution of mankind to occur the Sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and burned up the Earth. Therefor if evolution did occur, it would have been a miracle and therefore proof of the existence of God. That such prominent people can hold on to such indefensible ideas and lay out what they consider to be arguments for atheism that are nothing more than arguments against Christianity is a topic R.C. Sproul terms “The Psychology of Atheism.” The atheist may ask “if there is no God, why are people so religious?” As Sigmund Freud wrote in his work Civilization and It’s Discontents, he states that religious needs spring from an infant’s helplessness and longing for a father. Sproul answers that rather atheists deny the existence of God in order to escape the helplessness one feels in the presence of the holy and superior power of God. (Sproul 2003) In conclusion, the arguments made by H.J. McCloskey are not only unconvincing, the mere fact that they have changed very little from arguments made by atheists since 1968 only further shows the weakness of the atheistic position. As they enter the arena of debate they expect that their view requires no defense, as any rational person would accept them without challenge. And yet time and again this has been shown not to be the case. So when people like David Silverman say they are arguing against a brick wall, I would agree with them. However I would humbly submit that the brick wall they think they are arguing with is not the Christian Defender, but rather the inner refusal to accept that there really is a rational argument for the existence of God, and that their quest to rid the world of “the shackles of religion” is quite likely a futile enterprise.

3

The debate entitled “Atheism Versus Christianity: Where does the evidence point?” occurred at Willow Creek Community Church in June of 1993, was moderated by former atheist Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ.

Wright 15

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Wright 16 Hooper, Simon. "The rise of the 'New Atheists'." http://www.cnn.com. 11 8, 2006. http://articles.cnn.com/2006-11-08/world/atheism.feature_1_new-atheists-new-atheismreligion?_s=PM:WORLD (accessed 10 10, 2011). Isaak, Mark. "Claim CB102." The TalkOrigins Archive. 9 25, 20033. http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB102.html (accessed 10 11, 2011). Low, Chris. "What does indisputable evidence really mean?" SEC Blog. 10 31, 2009. http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/5337/what-does-indisputable-evidence-really-mean (accessed 10 11, 2011). McCloskey, H.J. "On Being an Atheist." Question, 1968: 51-54. Peet, J H John. "The Miller-Urey experiment." Truth in Science. 11 2005. http://www.truthinscience.org.uk/tis2/index.php/component/content/article/51.html (accessed 10 12, 2011). Sproul, R.C. Defending Your Faith. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003. Sun, Eryn. "Dawkins defends decision not to debate apologist William Lane Craig." Christian Today. 30 9, 2011. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/dawkins.defends.decision.not.to.debate.apologist.william.l ane.craig/28709.htm (accessed 10 10, 2011). University of Cambridge Faculty of Divinity, PRRG. "The French Eighteenth Century to the Revolution." University of Cambridge: Investigating Atheism. 2008. http://www.investigatingatheism.info/historyeighteenth.html (accessed 10 10, 2011). von Sydow, Momme. "Charles Darwin: A Christian Undermining Christianity? On Self-Undermining Dynamics of Ideas Between Belief and Science." Science and Beliefs: From Natural Philosophy to Natural Science, 2005: 141-156.