In order to fight my ever present writers block, I have decided to start a series of blog posts on different arguments and fallacies that the atheist may run into in his/her dealings with religious folks, specifically creationists. The purpose of these posts will not only be to argue against these common points of contention, but to also to attempt to make sense of why these arguments seem conducive to the believer. I fully intend to use my experience as a former believer and apologist to explain what I now know to be illogical and unreasonable. In my experience with atheists there is a tendency to think, “how stupid are you?” when confronted with some of these arguments in favor of creationism, and the atheist is more prone to uncontrolled outbursts of anger and frustration, often leading to a worthless tirade against the opponent. Not only do these arguments give atheists a bad name, but they also ruin the environment of discourse. Though I, too, have been guilty of such dismissive tirades, these posts will attempt to give atheists a more involved and intelligent means of discourse when dealing with religious people and creationist worldviews.
I know that many current atheists are also former believers, and many were quite devoted to their faith. As true as this may be, I think that I represent a very rare breed of atheist in that I have, as I have explained many times before, experienced god in ways that seemed entirely logical at the time, yet I was able to comprehend my own psychological failings in order to reject my faith and the inane arguments of creationism. Creationists do not lack reasoning all together; they simply lack the desire or ability to accept a point of view that endangers their belief in god. I have been through such a dilemma myself, and as much as I regret the years I spent in service to god, I must pull from that experience in order to better defend a realistic understanding of the world.
The Worldview Argument
Some of the most visible proponents of Creationism use this argument tirelessly. Ken Ham, Dr. Jason Lisle, and others define a Biblical Worldview as a way of seeing the world, nature, and origins through the uncorrupted lens of the Bible (what they consider to be the “Word of God”). This worldview, more often than not, requires that the believer accepts Young Earth Creationism. This doctrine dictates that the earth is less than 12,000 years old and was created by God during the 7 days of creation as described in the Book of Genesis. It also requires that one believes that Jesus Christ is the son of god, and came to Earth to save mankind from the original sin committed in the Garden of Eden. The Worldview Argument is truly nothing more than a circular argument with the intent to use its premise as the proof of its conclusion. For example: My worldview is best because the Bible says it is, and everything the Bible says is true, therefore my worldview is best. Sadly, any argument based on the Bible will fall into the category of circular logic as it relies on a self important book to prove any point made. Rarely is any outside or unbiased evidence provided for said arguments.
As I stated previously, I have experienced this worldview in the utmost way. Just a few years ago these beliefs transcended my logical institutions. However, this self deceit, though entirely my fault, does not seem nearly as illogical when I take the time to remember how I felt at that period in my life, and how I understood my beliefs. My beliefs were emotionally bound to the Bible and my fear of god, and the possibility that the Bible could be wrong was intense enough to supersede any logical faculties I had. You see, religion in its essence is entirely based on emotion: you begin with the feeling of guilt because you are a sinner, you feel hope because Jesus is willing to save your wretched soul, and you feel a connection to god that very much feels real once you have “accepted” him into your life. All of these things occur before one ever takes time to study or validate the claims of the Bible, and therefore the very root of your faith will be entirely founded in emotion. However, once you do start to pick up an apologetic study of the Bible and actually attempt to logically understand your faith, your worldview is so caught up in that emotional paralysis that you simply cannot accept any information that contradicts the Christian worldview. It is the fact that believers do not generally convert through apologetic means, instead converting through an emotional experience, that makes this worldview so difficult to overcome. New Christians come to the faith after an emotional barrage of guilt and the need for redemption, crippling their minds to the point that most never overcome it and therefore will never allow reasonable conclusions to prevail in their minds.
Believe me when I say that the devout Christian can indeed overcome this crippling mindset, but only after deciding for oneself to put away the emotional stimuli of their relationship with god and accept whatever argument comes at them after they have done so. This is very much the decision I was required to make when all I was trying to do was to better understand my god and further devote myself to him – the end result was a separation from the emotional cloudiness, resulting in a full acceptance of the facts I was so afraid to embrace for the duration of my Christian walk.
I encourage my Christian readers to attempt this. But I must warn you, the results can be painful until you become comfortable without that emotional attachment to god.