Atheism I

On the 30th of September 2007, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens sat down for a first-of-its-kind, unmoderated 2-hour discussion.

It’s interesting for process theists to watch, because it shows that in order for atheistic arguments to succeed, the discussion has to center on traditional (classical) theism, and looked at from the process point of view, the discussion employs many erroneous assumptions and strawmen:

Erroneous assmptions/strawmen:

–The God of religion (God in general, and esp. the Judeo-Christian notion) is omnipotent.

–In general, they’re speaking against radical religion. (They’re arguing against jinns, Hamas, 72 virgins, etc.)

–Religion equates to supernaturalism.

–Astrology equates to religion.

They also assume a few issues a la Charles Hartshorne:  God is absolutely perfect therefore unchangeable, and, God is omniscient. 

The discussion turns to “faith” at several points, and they argue two things: 1) theists claim that pure faith is OK to support their own religion, and atheists should let them be, and 2) religionists accept their own position purely on faith (thus it’s irrational) but reject another religion on rational grounds. This kind of reasoning, of course, is entirely inconsistent.

Now, I don’t hold a grudge against these Four Horsemen, because they’re only responding to the run-of-the-mill, uninformed, classical theistic arguments, and seem to focus on the more radical end of religion (probably because that’s the material of the current news media and is the view of the Great Unwashed).  But I’d love to see them sit down with Hartshorne and Whitehead and Griffin.  Now that would be a great discussion.

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