Atheology

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The atheist Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "But now God is dead. You superior men, this God was your greatest danger. Only since he is in the grave, have you risen again. Only now comes the great noontide; only now the superior man will be – Lord!".[1]

The picture of Nietzsche above was taken in 1899. Nietzsche died in 1900.

Atheology is a resistance or aversion to theology.[2] [3] Atheological arguments are arguments against the existence of God (see also: Rebuttals to atheist arguments and Responses to atheist arguments and Analysis of atheism and common objections to atheism).

The French atheist Georges Bataille coined the term and concept atheology to express his notions on the “science of the death or destruction of God.”[4] See also: Atheism and science

One of the fundamental reasons for the conflict between the atheist worldview and the theistic worldview is their frequently incompatible views concerning naturalism and supernaturalism (see: Atheism and the supernatural).

The Christian philosopher and Christian apologist Alvin Plantinga wrote concerning atheology:

[S]ome theologians and theistic philosophers have tried to give successful arguments or proofs for the existence of God. This enterprise is called natural theology… Other philosophers, of course, have presented arguments for the falsehood of theistic beliefs; these philosophers conclude that belief in God is demonstrably irrational or unreasonable. We might call this enterprise natural atheology.[5]

Daniel Lowe, a student at Fuller Theological Seminary, wrote about theology and atheology:

Theology and atheology are systematic ways of thinking and talking about god-concepts, religious symbols, religious beliefs, religious traditions, and how they relate to human society. Whereas theology begins by taking basic religious beliefs for granted, atheology begins by questioning them and challenging their validity. Theologians believe that the basic truths of religion can be known; atheologians believe that the claims of religion are questionable at best and may be proven false.[6]
Dr. Greg Bahnsen became known as "the man atheists fear most" due to Michael Martin's cancellation of their scheduled debate.[7][8]

In 1990, the atheist philosopher Michael Martin indicated there was a general absence of an atheistic response to contemporary work in the philosophy of religion and in jest he indicated that it was his "cross to bear" to respond to theistic arguments (See: Atheist apologetics).[9] Yet, in 1994, Michael Martin was criticized for his eleventh hour cancellation of his debate with Greg Bahnsen (see: Greg Bahnsen and debate and Bahnson-Martin debate press release).

There is a considerable body of evidence and argumentation for the existence of God and for the validy of Christianity (see: Arguments for the existence of God and Evidence for Christianity and Rebuttals to atheist arguments).

In the beginning of the 21st century a militant form of atheology called New Atheism developed in the Western World but that movement quickly began to decline within seven years and then quickly died out (see: Decline of militant atheism in the West and Decline of the atheist movement).

The theology professor Malcolm Yarnell III indicated concerning New Atheism that such antipathy toward God is "as old as man’s rebellion against God... Atheism is not new and neither is its result: divine judgment on such foolishness. The new atheists will discover that the God they say does not exist will remain the same living God long after their vain attempts to build a godless civilization have collapsed into ruins.”[10]

Eric Kaufmann, an agnostic and professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, whose academic research specialty is how demographic changes affect religion/irreligion and politics, wrote in 2010:

Worldwide, the march of religion can probably only be reversed by a renewed, self-aware secularism. Today, it appears exhausted and lacking in confidence... Secularism's greatest triumphs owe less to science than to popular social movements like nationalism, socialism and 1960s anarchist-liberalism. Ironically, secularism's demographic deficit means that it will probably only succeed in the twenty-first century if it can create a secular form of 'religious' enthusiasm.[11]
Atheism is in decline worldwide, with the number of atheists falling from 4.5% of the world's population in 1970 to 2.0% in 2010 and projected to drop to 1.8% by 2020.[12] See: Global atheism statistics

On December 23, 2012, Kaufmann wrote concerning 21st century global desecularization:

I argue that 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious.

On the other hand, the secular West and East Asia has very low fertility and a rapidly aging population. The demographic disparity between the religious, growing global South and the aging, secular global North will peak around 2050. In the coming decades, the developed world's demand for workers to pay its pensions and work in its service sector will soar alongside the booming supply of young people in the third world. Ergo, we can expect significant immigration to the secular West which will import religious revival on the back of ethnic change. In addition, those with religious beliefs tend to have higher birth rates than the secular population, with fundamentalists having far larger families. The epicentre of these trends will be in immigration gateway cities like New York (a third white), Amsterdam (half Dutch), Los Angeles (28% white), and London, 45% white British. [13]

Decline of atheology in Western World philosophy departments

See also: Religion and education

In 2001, the atheist and philosopher Quentin Smith declared:

Naturalists [atheists] passively watched as realist versions of theism … began to sweep through the philosophical community, until today perhaps one-quarter or one-third of philosophy professors are theists, with most being orthodox Christians…. God is not 'dead' in academia; he returned to life in the 1960's and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments."[14]

The majority of philosophers of religion, or those who have extensively studied the issue of the existence of God, are theists (72 percent).[15]

In 2004, Professor Alister McGrath, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University, who is an ex-atheist, declared, "The golden age of atheism is over."[16]

Ratio Christi is launching Christian apologetics clubs at college/university campuses. The Trinity Graduate School of Apologetics and Theology initiative which offers quality Christian apologetics for free to third world country students and charges extremely low costs for others.

Atheology vs. theism debates

See also: Atheism debates

As far as atheism debates, the majority of the public debates are Atheism vs. Christianity debates (although there have been a few Atheism vs. Islam debates).

Although atheists commonly claim there are reasonable arguments for atheism, the quality of atheist debate has been quite poor from the proponents of atheism. In recent times, there have been a number of notable cases of atheists being unwilling to debate (see: Atheism and cowardice).[17][18][19]

William Lane Craig is a Christian philosopher and Christian apologist who is well-known for debating prominent atheists. The atheist Sam Harris quipped about William Lane Craig that he was "The one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists".[20][21]

The atheist Luke Muehlhauser wrote about Craig:

William Lane Craig is a prolific Christian philosopher, apologist, author, and public debater. He is the best debater – on any topic – that I’ve ever heard. As far as I can tell, he has won nearly all his debates with atheists. When debating him, atheists have consistently failed to put forward solid arguments, and consistently failed to point out the flaws in Craig’s arguments.

I’m not the only one who thinks Craig has won nearly all his debates. For some atheists, it is rather maddening.

Craig is a skilled debater, an encyclopedia of facts and quotes, and a careful rhetorician. If you make a logical mistake, Craig knows exactly how to skewer you for it (and for this, I respect him). He holds prepared and persuasive responses to everything an atheist might say, and atheists usually fail to clearly point out the logical flaws in what Craig has to say. Also, Craig does a great job of summarizing the points and counterpoints that have been raised during a debate, and presents them in a way to show he has decisively won. His opponents are never that organized or clear.

This is especially embarrassing for atheists because Craig’s arguments and debates are easily available, and he uses the same arguments all the time.[22]

William Lane Craig debates:

Social science research related to atheologists

See also: Antitheism and antisocial behavior and Atheism and narcissism and Atheism and anger and Atheism and social skills

Social science research indicates that antitheists score the highest among atheists when it comes to personality traits such as narcissism, dogmatism, and anger.[23][24] Furthermore, they scored lowest when it comes to agreeableness and positive relations with others.[23]

Atheology factions

See also: Schools of atheist thought and Atheist factions and Decline of the atheist movement

The essay A theory of atheology. Reason, critique, and beyond indicates "atheology is pluralistic in essence. There is no “one true” atheism, which is to be represented in a secular “Good Book,” despite Grayling’s attempt."[25]

An ex-atheist wrote: "As an Atheist for 40 years, I noticed that there is not just a wide variety of Atheist positions, but there exists an actual battle between certain Atheist factions."[26] See: Schools of atheist thought and Atheist factions

The Journal of Contemporary Religion says about schisms within atheism:

The persistence of internal schisms and regular outbreaks of in-fighting within the atheist movement also ensure that much energy is effectively wasted on parochial concerns and further undermine attempts to establish a genuine sense of group cohesion.[27]

In terms of politics and atheist infighting, there is friction between right-wing atheists (and right of center atheists) and secular leftist. See: Atheism and politics and Western atheism, schisms and political polarization

Books on atheology

  • Atheology: The Implications of Atheism by Daniel Keeran, Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 22, 2016), ISBN-10: 1534858466
  • Systematic Atheology: Atheism’s Reasoning with Theology (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) 1st Edition by John R. Shook, Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 6, 2017), ISBN-10: 1138079987
  • Erring: A Postmodern A/theology By Mark C. Taylor, Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (April 15, 1987), ISBN-10: 0226791424

Review of the book Systematic Atheology: Atheism’s Reasoning with Theology by John R. Shook

Philosophy Professor Chris Tweedt, who teaches at Christopher Newport University, wrote a review of the book Systematic Atheology: Atheism's Reasoning with Theology by John R. Shook.[28]

An excerpt of his review is given below:

This book, "composed mainly for the edification of atheism's defenders," (p. 37) is an attempt to understand and defend atheism in an organized way. The book is divided into three sections. The first attempts to define 'atheist', 'atheology', and their relationship by tracking historical uses of the terms. The second is an extensive history of atheistic and atheological western philosophers, and the third, which occupies the last half of the book, is an attempt to systematically undermine every kind of argument for the existence of a god.

The book's primary strength is its extensive historical summary in chapters 5-6. Though not in depth and sometimes (though rarely) inaccurate, the summary would be an excellent starting point for those wishing to familiarize themselves with the history of atheism and atheology among western philosophers. (For the sake of brevity, this section is not addressed in the more detailed review below.)

The book's primary weaknesses are its lack of clarity and its absence of fair representation and careful analysis of theistic arguments. The third part contains simplistic versions of theistic arguments and cursory dismissals with significantly less carefulness and charity than one should expect from an academic philosophy book. It is worth noting that the level of care and effort in faithfully representing, objecting to, strengthening, and reexamining theistic arguments typical among philosophers of religion is not modeled by the brusqueness displayed in the second half of this book.[29]

See also

External links

Video:

Notes

  1. Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, In Michael Curtis (Ed.) The Great Political Theories, Vol. 2 (New York: Avon Books, 1962, PP. 261-262). Cited in, Christopher, J.R., G.G, Wittet, Modern Western Civilization. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1991, Pages 232, 233
  2. Atheology, Merriam-Webster dictionary
  3. Atheology, Collins dictionary
  4. Atheologies Reading Group, Princeton University website
  5. Does “Atheology” Exist? by Dr. Edward Feser
  6. What is Atheology?,Daniel Lowe, a student at Fuller Theological Seminary
  7. Pushing the Antithesis on Greg Bahnsen
  8. Bahsen at the Stein debate by John Frame
  9. Open Questions: Diverse Thinkers Discuss God, Religion, and Faith by Luís F. Rodrigues, page 201
  10. Southwestern releases journal on atheology By Benjamin Hawkins on Dec 13, 2011
  11. Shall the religious inherit the earth? - Eric Kaufmann
  12. Global Study: Atheists in Decline, Only 1.8% of World Population by 2020
  13. 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious, Tuesday, April 30, 2013
  14. Theistic critiques of atheism by William Lane Craig
  15. Does it matter that many scientists are atheists?
  16. http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/bpnews.asp?ID=18837
  17. Christian Philosopher William Lane Craig Is Ready to Debate, but Finds Few Challengers, Fox News by Lauren Green, August 19, 2011
  18. Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God, The Telegraph, May 14, 2011
  19. Boston University Professor Runs from Debate, Press release
  20. William Lane Craig Puts the Fear of God in Atheists, video clip of the William Lane Craig vs. Sam Harris debate
  21. The God Debate II: Harris vs. Craig, University of Notre Dame YouTube channel
  22. William Lane Craig’s Debates (Reviews)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Science Shows New Atheists to be Mean and Closed-Minded
  24. Why Sam Harris is Unlikely to Change his Mind by JONATHAN HAIDT, February 3, 2014 8:36 pm
  25. A theory of atheology. Reason, critique, and beyond
  26. An atheist new world order? Is the Rational Response Squad making an attempt?
  27. Divided We Stand: The Politics of the Atheist Movement in the United States by Steven KettellJournal of Contemporary Religion, Volume 29, Issue 3, 2014
  28. JOHN R. SHOOK, Systematic Atheology: Atheism's Reasoning with Theology, Reviewed by Chris Tweedt, Christopher Newport University
  29. JOHN R. SHOOK, Systematic Atheology: Atheism's Reasoning with Theology, Reviewed by Chris Tweedt, Christopher Newport University