The Trouble with Atheism
Not too long ago, I watched an interesting documentary on Google Video called "The Trouble with Atheism" by Ron Liddle. You can catch it here.
This is a UK production and it features some famous and learned men like Prof. Richard Dawkins, Prof. Peter Atkins, Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne and Rev Dr. Alistair McGrath. The presenter, Ron Liddle, isn't trying to argue that atheism is wrong and Christianity is right, but he seems to be advocating fence-sitting. Perhaps he's pro-agnosticism?
The subject of belief and disbelief is always interesting but I find that the documentary failed to present any strong arguments. One of his points is that the world will not be a better place if everyone became atheists. He tried to show how some atheists are arrogant and as intolerable as religious bigots. I think that is unfair because atheism has never claimed that it can and will solve the world's problems. Atheism isn't a faith, rather it is a lack of faith.
A major part of the documentary was used to attack atheism's over-reliance on science. He argued that since science cannot prove or disprove the existence of God, it is a matter of personal choice whether to become a believer or a disbeliever. This is very true, but it does imply that before you decide whether or not to believe in God, you first need to read both the scientific and religious texts. So much science. So many religions. How many people actually do that? Most people do just the opposite. They first decide whether they believe or not and then they let their decision determine the books they read. I remember Sam Harris mentioned that over 90% of the members of the National Academy of Science are atheists while 90% of the US population are theists which reinforces my point that majority of people don't know enough science to make an informed decision about their personal belief in God.
Next of course, you can't talk about atheism without mentioning Darwinism. Ron Liddle says atheists are pushing Darwinism too far, when they're using it to explain everything, for example, using memes to explain morality and the survival of religion (He should first read The Selfish Gene). He says that one day in the not too distant future, Darwin's theories will be comprehensively rewritten and accepted by the scientific community as such i.e. a paradigme shift. Honestly, I don't quite get his point here. It really doesn't matter if Darwin's theories get rewritten, as long as they are backed by evidence. You certainly can't say the same about religion. Today, we see so many religious sects and denominations just because some people had divine 'visions'.
Finally, Ron Liddle talked about the history of eugenics and its links to Darwinism. Today, we don't actively engage in eugenic practices because we have ethics. It's true that science doesn't offer us any moral guidance so atheists are looking to derive moral codes based on reason and those moral codes may change with time. Again, I don't quite get his point because I don't see this as a problem with atheism. I don't believe in an absolute moral code. Don't forget that atheism hasn't been around that long, compared to the religions of the world. Despite some hiccups, our moral code does improve gradually. Just look at racism, feminism and gay rights.
So, at the end of the day, fence-sitting is fine... but Ron, fence-sitting won't solve the world's problems either!
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