The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Something For The Evangelical Atheists To Contemplate

Posted on | March 3, 2014 | 23 Comments

— by Wombat-socho

One of the most annoying things about the new crop of evangelical atheists – the people who not only don’t believe in God but are insistent that you shouldn’t either – is their ingrained belief that no intelligent person could possibly believe in God, and therefore anybody who does is stupid. This says more about their smug ignorance of history than anything else; the history of Western Civilization is rife with learned men who were also men of God, Roger Bacon and Gregor Mendel being merely two of the most prominent. The landscape is also studded with universities founded by Catholics and Protestants alike, many of them ranked among the greatest in the world, while one can search in vain for colleges founded by atheists that have accomplished anything of note.

This came to mind over the weekend when I was visiting Smitty in search of relief from the drudgery that the FMJRA had become, as he had a copy of Donald Knuth’s Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About. For those of you that don’t recognize the name, Dr. Knuth is one of the foremost computer scientists; he holds a doctorate in mathematics, is a professor emeritus at Stanford, and has a list of accomplishments as long as both my arms. He is not, by any sensible definition of the word, stupid; rather, the man is a genius, and a humble, humorous one at that. He is also a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, which came as a shock to me since the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans are more than slightly hardcore, and precisely the sort of people the atheists tend to mock as being dumb Christer sheeples.

Perhaps another useful example of the type is the famous science fiction writer (and scientist in his own right) Isaac Asimov. Dr. A saw no conflict between science and religion, and in fact published a well-regarded guide to the Bible despite being an avowed atheist and humanist. His ire was reserved for superstition and pseudoscience, as opposed to organized religion and its adherents. There are many others like Knuth and Asimov, but I just wanted to throw a couple of examples out there to illustrate the type rather than provide an exhaustive list.

Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: The Old Testament
Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About
Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: The New Testament


  • smitty

    Try not to get too buried in the snow, Wombat.

  • richard mcenroe

    To look at the universe is to come to one of two conclusions: either this is a magnificent creation that could not possibly have come into being by random accident — or that everything, from the stars themselves to the Mona Lisa to the deepest philosophical thoughts of our wisest men and women is nothing but a random interaction of particles to which it is folly to import any meaning and frankly an act of foolish self-abuse to endure one second longer than necessary.

  • concern00

    …and hence the left’s courtship with euthanasia, so they won’t be forced to endure any longer than necessary. And abortion, so that those poor children won’t be subject to the abuses of life.

  • DaveO

    Evangelical Atheism (the new brand of Satanism) is still in its explosion phase, like the Islamic jihads following Mo’s death. Next comes the Purification Phase, in which Asimov is purged as a Christian plant.
    Mathematically, none of this existence is possible, which is why there are folks who believe we are a computer simulation. I supposed the Matricists are the Atheists’ Mithraic cult.

  • Wombat_socho

    I’m staying home, since the tax mines are closed.

  • Adjoran

    American Atheists, the group designated to be “dis-invited” from CPAC this year, was originally founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair. Yes, her.

  • maniakmedic

    My personal favorite explanation for why we are here despite the mathematical impossibility of our existence is the multiple universe theory. Hey, if there is more than one universe, it ups the chance of life spontaneously arising in one of them. Makes perfect sense. *eyeroll* But let’s remember: as long as you call it science and can get the fashionable people to agree with you, you can make up anything and call it fact; if you are the least bit religious, you are stupid and you should be made to endure vile verbal and occasionally physical attacks because shut up.

    And I always get a kick out of people who make fun of the “Jesus freaks” but are completely serious about aliens being upset and possibly wiping us out because of global warming. Good times.

  • Wombat_socho

    Asimov was from a Russian Jewish family, but wasn’t raised in the faith.

  • DaveO

    If it almost impossible, mathematically, for 1 universe to exist as it does, how much more impossible for multiple universes?

  • Greg Hlatky

    So, to the evangelical atheist:
    Bad scientists: Michael Faraday, Henry Eyring
    Good scientists: Trofim Lysenko, Elena Ceausescu

  • DaveO

    Yes, but like Trotsky, Asimov won’t escape denunciation for his tolerance of Christians.

  • JackOkie

    And then there is Oriana Fallaci, a confirmed atheist, who was such an admirer of Pope Benedict that she left most of her archives to him.

    More here:

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  • maniakmedic

    Therein lies the question.

  • Wordygirl

    As a WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) member, it was a bit humorous to hear us described as “hardcore”. A more passive group of Christians you have yet to meet. One of my pet peeves with our systemic teachings is that God forbid (pun intended) we Christians should fight back against the tide of the secular world.

  • Quartermaster

    I can’t speak to the mathematics, but the improbability of the universe existing by sheer happenstance is utterly improbable. There is far too much complexity to have simply happened from a random expansion from a singularity.

    Paul, writing about AD 45, saw the problem of the evangelical atheists long before they were born,

    “because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,….” Romans 1:19-20.

  • richard mcenroe

    If they actually had the courage of their convictions, they wouldn’t be calling for the deaths of the elderly and innocent when one bullet would solve their problem neatly.

  • Wombat_socho

    Maybe it’s the Missouri Synod I was thinking of. It sure isn’t the ELCA.

  • RS

    I strongly recommend Answering The New Atheism by Scott Hahn and Ben Wiker, both philosophy professors. It’s an accessible treatment of the math behind Dawkins and his ilk. It also explains in detail how Dawkins deliberately misstates what “chance” is in order to make it an agent of creation instead of merely a descriptor of a certain set of properties. Really good stuff.

  • RS

    The Mo Synod is conservative; The Wisconsin Synod is moreso. But you’re right, ELCA is bad news.

  • maniakmedic

    I have a friend who has always considered himself somewhere between atheist and agnostic but was one of the few such who held no ill will toward religion and actually was understanding of it’s importance in helping people balance their lives. Then he started reading Dawkins. Now he has been moving toward the militant “all religion is bad and should be eradicated” wing of atheism. I don’t particularly enjoy seeing the transformation but my opinion counts for nothing because I believe in God.

  • Scott

    No, WELS is certainly hardcore when it comes to scripture, you are correct. I’ve been in the church since I was a child, and I love that it is one of the more intellectual churches that I’ve been to. But there was a reason Michelle Bachman left the church after being excoriated for WELS teaching.