Common objections to atheism and counter-apologetics
With the growing rise of "new atheism", non-believers have seen an increasing hostility from theists. Common criticisms of atheism and counter-apologetic arguments are made to support the theist's position. These usually fall into one of three categories.
Appeals to emotion
Since the removal of mandatory prayer in American schools, atheism has been the focus of an increased political and media reaction in the form of fear and smear campaigns. These appeals to emotion have been escalating in frequency, coming from politicians such as Monique Davis, who stated that, "It is dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists."
- Why are you trying to tear down other people's faith?
- Why can't everyone just have their own beliefs?
- Why do atheists inspire such hatred?
- What about all the good things religion has given us?
- Hitler was an atheist
- Stalin was an atheist
- Mao was an atheist
- Pol Pot was an atheist
The most common argument against atheism and counter-apologetics from the theistic ranks, is probably a straw man depiction of the atheist position. These can range from misrepresentations of evolution such as leading questions like, "if we came from monkeys, how come monkeys are still around today,"; assertions that science is as much of a religious faith as Christianity; and/or misrepresentations about atheism and secular humanism being synonymous with immorality, communism, and/or mass murder.
- You are a communist
- So you believe in nothing?
- You just want to sin
- It takes more faith to disbelieve than it does to believe
- Atheists worship materialism
- Science is a faith
- Atheism is a religion
- Atheism is based on faith
- The Purpose and Meaning of life
- Atheists believe that everything is an accident
- Atheists are just in denial
Often, these straw man arguments result in accusations of atheist hypocrisy.
Appeals to solipsism
Perhaps the most interesting of the three categories is the increasing problem of appeals to solipsism. The idea that we can't know everything (or anything, depending on how far the arguer wishes to take it), and thus we can never completely rule god out. It constitutes a 'god of the gaps' argument. However, this line of argument would seem to create more questions than it solves. If we take this assertion to its ultimate conclusion, i.e. that "we can't know everything," or that, "we can't know anything for certain," then how can we claim to know anything about god?
- What are your qualifications?
- God can't be defined
- Science can't touch god
- You can't prove God doesn't exist
- That might be true for you, but its not true for me
- Religion is another way of knowing
- Faith is a virtue
- You'd have to be skeptical of skepticism, ad infinitum