Sunday, July 29, 2007

The religious neutrality of atheism

Why is it that atheism is seen as default "religious neutrality"? In the linked article, a group of atheists are quoted as saying exactly that, and the writer then rightly points out what Van Til had to say on the topic.

Oklahoma Atheists and Religious Neutrality
I would even add that the atheists who claim that their position is the default "religiously neutral" position, are committing the usual host of errors.

1. Firstly, for atheists to be neutral, assumes a religious position to begin with. Religion is that which one is devoted to, and atheism clearly has its devotees. They consequently assume that religion is indeed valid, but it just needs to be "neutral". Of course, the belief system that they are devoted to is seen as superior, as every devotee of every belief system would propose.

2. Following from 1. the assumed superiority of their belief system somehow implies that they are in a position to judge the validity of all other belief systems and find them wanting. But that superiority is at best implied, and at worst pure nonsense, while uniformly assumed without proof. Surely if atheism is claimed as the yardstick for measurement, the burden of proof for its validity lies with them.

3. Atheism therefore has a slight dilemma. Before it can claim to be the neutral stock position, it must prove that all religions are invalid, a daunting task. Doing so will require one of two things, either disprove all other religions by internal critique (i.e. internally inconsistent), or by establishing its own set of standards that are internally and logically consistent and superior by which to measure all other belief systems.

Until 3. happens, all of their assumed superiority is just bluster and bravado. And efforts to impose their belief system is just as invalid as all others.

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