Living a fulfilled life without God
I don’t make a habit of spending this kind of time watching debates like this, but I sometimes feel an obligation to listen to the claims against my position. Here is a link to the debate to which I’m referring.
In this debate, the conversation was supposed to be around proving God’s existence. The title was “Does God Exist?” However, as I’ve seen in other debates, William Lane Craig gets the opening remarks and sets the stage for what the debate is supposed to be about. His first argument is to set the stage that it is the burden of Mr. Hitchens to prove that atheism is true. He then went on to give arguments for why he felt God did exist. He continually criticized Hitchens throughout the debate for not offering reasons to prove why atheism is true. The problem is that his setting of the stage with the burden for Hitchens to prove atheism’s truth value distracted from the actual question. Here’s my very summarized take on this debate.
First of all, it has been said numerous times that the burden of proof remains for those who are making a claim. In reality, atheism is typically a rejection of the assertion that there is a God. It’s not typically an assertion that one can prove that there is no God. It’s usually just the idea that you won’t accept that belief without some evidence. As Carl Sagan said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Atheism is typically in the more specific category of agnostic atheism. Richard Dawkins introduced a scale in “The God Delusion” which explained some of this. I personally am of the idea that proof of God’s existence or non-existence is not something that we can currently prove… and possibly will never be able to prove.
Second of all, all of his evidence that his assertion was true, wasn’t really evidence of proof. Having cosmological or design arguments only leaves room to make assumptions. There is no way to get to the idea of a god without making assumptions. Assumptions could be made that there is a single god, multiple gods, or that aliens created us. There is no way to go from Dr. Craig’s arguments to the specific idea that there is a single God without assumptions. Even if he wants to refer to this as some sort of deduction, the deduction could go in many different directions.
I really feel like this is two hours of my life I will never get back and in no way am I recommending this debate. It was an absolute waste of my time that offered nothing to the question of the debate. I think that’s because I don’t think this debate is going to be won. I don’t think there will be proof one way or another on this question. However, I don’t see atheism as an assertion that there is no God rather that it’s a rejection of the claim that there is. If there had never been the assertion that there was a God, then there is no need for the rejection of such a claim. I am also an aleprechaunist for what it’s worth. I can’t prove that they don’t exist, but I’ve yet to see evidence that they do. When I refer to myself as an atheist, this is all I mean. I simply mean that I’ve yet to see evidence of God and therefore reject that claim pending such evidence. I understand that my lack of evidence and lack of belief logically yields nothing to the truth value of the subject of God’s existence. However, I’m comfortable rejecting the assertion since no one has been able to offer proof thus far.
I won’t write a lot about this subject as it’s tiresome for me. I really don’t get into this a whole lot, but I was especially annoyed with Dr. Craig’s attempt to shift the burden of proof to the person rejecting the claim. However, while I often shy away from this broad argument of God’s existence, I do like to see what authors like David G. McAfee will do with specific religious claims. Mr. McAfee has a great book that lays out a logical basis for the rejection of the specific claims of Christianity. As he illustrates, it’s much easier to pick apart the fallacies of a single religion then to address the broad question of God’s existence. If you haven’t ever read his book, It’s a great, short read. Here’s the link: Disproving Christianity and Other Secular Writings. Believe me when I say that this would be time much better spent than watching this pointless debate. Watch the debate, if you like. Just don’t look for anything earth-shattering to come from it. I liked some things Hitchens had to say, but it was just evident early on that it wasn’t going anywhere.