Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Futility of Atheist Arguments?

I recently read a review of The Impossibility of God. It's a very dry, long, multi-authored meditation on god and his various forms and, in total, concludes that God is impossible. It's right, basically, so why don't more people stop believing?

The reviewer takes a rather pessimistic stance, basically saying that people cannot be swayed at all in their beliefs, and complex, well-formulated physical arguments is like using an Xacto knife to cut brick. Not only is it too refined, it's the wrong tool entirely.

I feel ambivalent. I like to think that most people would accept arguments if given to them, but at the same time, most people believe in a very loose sense. They've never really thought about what they're supposedly worshipping. They primarily just live their lives, and religious belief is something that operates in the background and is brought out only when needed. As such, trying to argue against it is like trying to argue about the importance of preserving wild rice swamps in Japan to someone who lives in Chicago.

That's a problem, but instead of seeing it as the end and not bothering to go further, I see it as the issue that must be overcome before further discussions can take place. This book's failure is that it jumps straight to part #2 before addressing the nature of the audience. So, in the end, I guess the reviewer is correct. This books is written for a very small group of people, and as such, why bother existing?

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