As philosopher Edward Feser has pointed out, some atheists are simply not intellectually serious. They may be very ignorant or uneducated, directly dishonest, deeply confused, ill-informed, willfully obtuse, ideologically dogmatic, or just plain stupid; the end result is the same: it is not possible or fruitful to have a serious, rational discussion about God with such people. Here are some red flags which will alert you that you are dealing with an intellectually dishonest or defective atheist:
Many people are mistaken about the etymology of the word “atheism.” They think it comes from an alpha-privative negation a- joined with theism, that is, they think
atheism = a- theism
atheism = the negation of theism
That is not where atheism comes from, however. ‘Atheism’ is in fact an older word than ‘theism.’ It comes originally from the Greek ἄθεος meaning ‘godless’ or ‘without god’. The -ισμός is a later addition, which means “doctrine of” or “teaching of.”
Something that doesn’t get a lot of attention today are actual atheistic arguments, arguments for the position “God does not exist.” This is the result of an odd situation that occurred in the mid-20th century in which atheists essentially did two things:
(1) they admitted their position could not be defended and gave up trying to do so, and
(2) they still did not abandon their indefensible position, but instead shifted their position to a much more defensible one, agnosticism—except they did not do this honestly and openly, but redefined ‘agnosticism’ and ‘atheism’ so that they two words are now supposed to mean essentially the same thing (despite the fact that ‘agnosticism’ had been coined in explicit contradistinction to atheism, and also despite the fact that the loud atheist minority did not bother to ask permission of the agnostics before forcibly co-opting their identity).
What are the arguments that God does not exist? How strong are they? There are only four, to my knowledge, and if you suspect they are not very strong, given that atheists themselves recognized their complete failure, you would be correct.
1. The Argument from Evil – Read more at Eve Keneinan’s blog – Last Eden – https://lastedenblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/atheistic-arguments/
This is a response to Noel Plum’s YouTube video “Dean Esmay’s “Escaping Atheism” Project”.
Hi. I’m Eve Keneinan. I’m a philosopher by profession and an Orthodox Christian by way of adult conversion. I’m also part of the Escaping Atheism project. I know Dean Esmay, via the internet, but Escaping Atheism is more a volunteer confederation than a monarchy (we gave Dean the title “Patriarch”—I’m sure you can see why that’s funny), so this is just my thoughts on what you have to say. Dean was one of the folks who proofread it, and had a couple corrections to the parts where I mention him, but this isn’t in any way from him. It’s basically all me. Sorry I couldn’t answer you on YouTube, but I don’t really make YouTube videos (unless occasional screen captures count), so my blog will have to do. I’m afraid I didn’t work out whether this was going to be a commentary on what you had to say or a reply where I spoke directly to you, so it ended up a bit of both. I’m going to offer some critiques of some of your points, agree with you sometimes, and sometimes when you particularly address Dean, just not say anything at all.