It is remarkable...
Just recently, in one of the discussion boards I used to frequent, an atheist lamented about the fact that, to paraphrase the words of Rodney Dangerfield, Christians "just don't give me any respect."
This follows after the person in question related a fairly normal atheist tale. Grew up in a "religious" home, started investigating on his own at the age of 15, "studied" religion for about 4 years, and then concluded that it was all a load of bunk. Stories like that abound in non-believer circles. They then proceed to try and convince you that God does not exist, based on their years of study.
Well, I'm sorry if I stand a tad skeptical towards these types of arguments. And if that is construed as a lack of respect, then you ain't gonna get any either.
Because here are the problems with that type of argument:
1. Has the person in question examined all the evidence, everywhere? If the person claims that, I will venture that he is slightly mistaken. And if not, then we have to ask why the person wishes to make an absolute claim based on partial evidence? And any starting assumptions need to be shown as necessarily true.
2. The opinion or conclusions of that person, or any other human, has very little to do with the objective truth of God's existence. Even if everyone, everywhere, at all times believe that God does not exist, He still does.
3. These types of arguments rely on assumptions that are unprovable from the atheist perspective. On what grounds, for example, would an atheist purport to be feeling insulted about getting no respect? If deterministic chance is the ultimate cause, then no-one can be blamed, and no-one can feel aggrieved. If the standards are social, then where did the social standards come from?
4. It relies on vicious circularity. A starting assumption of the human need to skeptically investigate "religion" will inevitably lead to atheism, with rare exceptions. The unregenerate cannot find the truth through investigation of any sort.
So, I'm sorry to say that our atheist friend will not get any respect, because his arguments are unsound. They are firmly grounded in the relativist vagrancies of the human ego.
In stark contrast stands the witness of God through creation, revelation and grace. In Him we are firmly grounded. However, Christians don't deserve respect in this sense either, only God deserves it. We just give it to the deserving One, and through Him we respect our fellow believers.
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