Dawkins Tells Atheists To “Mock Religion With Contempt,” And Ravi’s Response
Ravi is a great man.
“Atheism’s entire definition is that everything that is, is matter.”
This is why I don’t take this guy seriously. Atheism is simply the disbelief in gods—nothing more, nothing less. Descriptive atheism is, of course, more than simply that. However, an atheist that says that everything that exists is matter isn’t thinking too clearly. The wind isn’t matter; dark matter doesn’t seem to be ordinary matter; antimatter isn’t ordinary matter; dark energy isn’t ordinary energy. Thus, an atheist who does think clearly will say something like, everything that exists is made of or is reducible to matter. Wind, for example, is reducible to the tangible atmospheric conditions of a planet (see here). Consciousness is immaterial, but it is reducible to the brain; the same can be said of self-awareness. The utterance of language is immaterial, but it is reducible to mostly the trachea; people who undergo a tracheostomy cannot speak. Sound is immaterial, but it is reducible to the object making the sound (i.e. living organisms like birds, humans, rats; speakers; airplanes; nails on a chalkboard). Sound is also captured in material structures (i.e. ears; different forms of technology like bioacoustic instruments).
“Why not end up in nothing, including meaning?” Atheism isn’t in the business of deciphering the meaning of life (assuming there’s such a thing). Actually, Christianity is the ultimate form of nihilism (see here) and it is clear that Zacharias isn’t aware of this. Ultimately, championing this argument from ignorance doesn’t help the Christian case and it doesn’t harm the atheist case. Atheists are content in their justifiable ignorance when stating that the origin of the universe is unknown, but that modern day physics has a few plausible answers to the question. Christians are content in their unwarranted, arrogant and naive ignorance in stating that their god (and only their god) was the creator of the universe—all whilst discarding every other possible god ever abstracted by man (and let us not forget that there are thousands of possibilities if one wants to take that route!). I’ll take justified ignorance over their kind of ignorance any day.
He stated that the Nothing posited by physicists is actually a something, but then goes on to say that this Nothing violates the “fundamental starting point of atheism.” How? If the quantum vacuum is a different sort of nothing than the nothing of colloquial language and is actually a tangible something, how are we violating naturalism? The man is ranting and losing track of his own thoughts.
“He is driven by hate.” Ad hominem. “And that’s why many respected atheists want to separate themselves from him.” Who? Sam Harris? Daniel Dennett? Neil Tyson? Lawrence Krauss? Christopher Hitchens when alive? Jerry Coyne? Richard Carrier? Victor Stenger? AC Grayling? Sean Carroll? Alain de Botton? Botton simply disagrees with Dawkins; he isn’t attempting to separate himself from Dawkins. This is the issue with Zacharias’ assumption; he is generalizing atheists whilst thinking that we’re as homogeneous as most religious groups. Atheists are a diverse group of people; in disagreeing with one another, we’re not attempting to alienate one another.
“One day that anger will catch up with him.” In Hell I assume? Goes to show that most Christians are uncritical.
“He’s playing a very dangerous game.” Yes, let’s imply that some radical Christian is going to assassinate Dawkins!
That’s where I stop listening. Zacharias seems angry. He hates that his religion no longer has privilege. He hates that it can be questioned, mocked, ridiculed, etc. He hates that it can be critically analyzed and picked apart by rational people. He hates that his God isn’t wiping atheists off the planet. He hates that his religion is declining and he probably hates that another religion (Islam) is growing faster than his. You can see anger and frustration in this man every time he talks about atheism. He can stay angry and frustrated for all I care; what I want is for Christians to question their apologist heroes rather than cheering them on (no matter what) like some fan club. If need be, I would rip Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Botton, Coyne, Carrier and any atheist on Tumblr or in the world for that matter! I don’t agree with atheists because I’m an atheist; I don’t cheer them on because they’re on my team. Learn to do the same and not just when it’s convenient; “oh look at this preacher preaching heretical teachings.” It’s easy for Christians to criticize Christians on Christian matters, but if a Christian misrepresents atheism, Islam, Hinduism or any other worldview, rare is the Christian who will correct such misrepresentations. It’s shameful and it’s appalling.