Preparing Our Children to Defend Against Atheism

Preparing Our Children to Defend Against Atheism The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show

There are two kinds of atheism. The first scientific, the latter moral. Both kinds share a common thread, man sitting in judgment over whether God is in the right.

My neighbor two houses down was recently listening to a podcast in which William Lane Craig was being reacted to. There was a video clip of this Christian apologist with a more formally academic and philosophical type bend being asked about the first eleven chapters of Genesis. And Craig was explaining that he does not believe this first part of Genesis should be taken as literally true.

JP tells me the striking thing the podcast reactors pointed out was Craig’s tone. He seemed to be trying to appease atheists who cite the first eleven chapters of Genesis as why they cannot take anything in the Bible seriously.

Now I would remark that from my vantage point this kind of scientific atheism is not as prevalent these days. Ten to fifteen years ago, internet debates with militant rhetoricians possessed by an evangelistic fervor for disbelief in God were a weekly or monthly occurrence. Now we are more beset by social justice warriors and critical theory proponents.

But since we are on the topic, now is a good time to stop and point out that there are at least two kinds of atheists. 

I call the first kind the scientific atheist. In this camp belong those who lead with the claim that modern Science has debunked the claims of the Bible, therefore we must reject the Bible and God as backward and outdated.

The second kind of atheist I would call the moral atheist. And in this category are those who charge that the God of the Bible is a villain, and that those who believe in God and the Bible are oppressed and oppressive by virtue of their faith.

Equipping to Defend

The question JP asks therefore is this: 

Which kind of atheism do we need to spend more of our time and energy equipping our kids to defend against?’

In answer, I would say that we should deal with both kinds of atheism – scientific and moral – in equal measure by getting at the root. Whether the objections to the existence of God are primarily scientific or moral, the core presumption is the same. Namely, man sits in supreme judgment over the Creator determining whether the ways of the Most High are right.

By all means, we should teach our children to think critically about scientific truth claims, and to ferret out whether and where arguments are on shaky ground or else wholly unsubstantiated except by force of will and cleverness of rhetoric.

Just so, teaching our children that God does not submit to some higher standard of right than himself is comprehensively indispensable.

But from this latter root come all sort of more pernicious and subtle challenges to Christian life and thought. And whether we always recognize the same as atheistic, the sentiment has a great deal in common with the ambition which got Lucifer and a third of the angels evicted from Heaven.

If we can teach our children to think rightly about God and themselves in terms of position and who has preeminence and authority, then we will take most of the challenge out of dealing with whatever kind of atheist they encounter in life.

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32 Comments

  1. Yup, Jesus is coming back on his flying dinosaur to save the children from Atheists! It’s funny that Islam thinks they have the one true God and by not believing in Allah, you are an Atheist.
    If the religious weren’t so obsessed with imposing themselves on non believers, then most of the worlds problems would disappear overnight. The existence of Atheism isn’t the threat, you are the threat to freedom, justice, democracy and truth.

      1. I’m not imposing anything, however using force, intimidation, authority, and malice to impose your beliefs is not ethical…especially on defenceless children.
        Both Christian Zionists, and Jewish Zionists impose their beliefs violently on the non believer Palestinians. Muslims impose their laws on authors of books(Salmon Rushdie) and comics(Charlie Hebdo) on non believers in bloody acts of terrorism. The US government with military bases all over the world actively imposes it’s so called values on unwilling foreign countries! That’s what “ Impose” means! Posting a comment isn’t imposing anything on anyone, it’s free speech!

      2. How do you know what is ethical and what is not? For all you or I can say, commenting disagreement on the internet is imposing and all those other examples you cited are not imposing. On whose authority, and by what standard do you say that this or that thing is fair where some other is not?

      3. The ten thousand year old development of ethics reveals to me what is ethical and what isn’t. You can start with Hammurabi’s Law code,and move on through the trials and failures written in blood and crimes. The revelations of Spinoza who established the fundamental principles of advanced Liberal democracy. Authoritarianism based upon lies is not a valid approach to ethics. The simple facts that revealed religion is based upon faith which is belief without proof means these are not valid and are basically fairy tales.

      4. I would contend that you take your position on faith as well. Only the object of your faith is different. Otherwise, you are taking a great many things on the authority of others who have not proven their claims to you so much as you have found their construct convenient insofar as it represents the current status quo and what you are familiar with.

      5. I know that I have five fingers on my right hand. I have been educated by people who know how to count and I do not doubt this knowledge. When I was very young my parents told me that I was their natural child. I took this on faith and authority. As I grew older I accumulated evidence to support my parents claim. And even though some parents have lied to their adopted children and done so successfully. Over time and assembling the evidence I have no doubt they were not living and the position that I was adopted creates absurdities, not simplifications.
        If you are not sure who to trust, then open yourself up to the evidence.

      6. And have you opened yourself up to the evidence on the question at hand?

      7. I’ve spent the last seven years studying Judaism. My conclusion is that the Christian texts are the most corrupt religious texts that the world has ever seen. So, yes I have opened up to the evidence, have you or are you a sheep?

      8. On what account do you say the Christian Bible is corrupt, much less “the most corrupt religious text that the world has ever seen”?

        With respect, I have studied God’s Word longer than you have studied Judaism, and I have been a Christian in earnest for half my life; besides that, I have been a Christian more broadly for another dozen years. And what I have found is that it is very easy to make a claim like you just did, but that it is hard enough to prove it that no one yet has.

        And that is why I say in this podcast episode that you can deal with all the satellite complaints – apparent contradictions within the text, apparent disproof by science, supposed immorality or unfairness on God’s part – and you will never change the mind of someone who wants their reasons to reject Christ at the end of the day.

      9. Yes, you’ve studied the way you were taught to study. Firstly there is no Original sin, no Satan, no afterlife, no hell and no vicarious redemption in Judaism. The Jewish Law are 613 behavioural based commandments passed from HaShem to Moshe on Mt Sinai. These are the core of Judaism.
        St Paul blasphemed against the Torah several times in his epistles and established Christian theology. Christianity has rejected all of these laws and in turn resolved itself to thought crimes. Christianity in every aspect is an inversion of every concept in Judaism.
        The Septuagint is the first corruption of the texts. The Hebrew was intentionally mistranslated, misinterpreted and doctored.
        There is no eternal life even suggested at in the Torah. Sheol was translated into Hades. And eventually into Hell. Sheol is a pit, your grave, it’s neither Hades or Hell. Hell is a Germanic word.
        The problem with Christians is they don’t know how to read!

      10. The Judaic religion is not reconcilable with the Christian religion. So if you want to invent a religion out of thin air then that is what Christianity amounts to. And not only that it is openly hostile to Judaism.
        Can you ever imagine the all edged Jewish Messiah blaspheming the Torah(Jewish Law)? Of course you can’t, so Jesus of the gospels was a Torah observant Jew, but Paul from Tarsus, a Roman citizen did claiming a vision. So Jesus changed his mind after he allegedly appeared to Paul? Christianity is such a cum guzzling joke, maybe you should raise your kids atheists instead to teach them morality!

      11. Of course, you are entitled to your opinion. I’ll leave you to it. You apparently are not here for honest or respectful discussion.

      12. If that were true, you would not be engaging with me in the manner you are. It clearly is not true when you say rude, nasty, unsubstantiated things in answer to my reasonable questions.

    1. One would certainly think! My experience has been surprising in that regard, though.

      1. Then again, by definition, such people would not be Atheists, but rather, failed, apostate Christians, pretending to be, or believing themselves to be, something that they are not. 🙄

  2. Garret, you seem to think morals come from your god and are objective. This poses a problem since if a moral is objective, then it holds for all time and for all actors.

    We have in your bible that your god repeatedly does things that one would hope you would find horrible if a human did them. If these morals don’t hold for your god, then all you have is a subjective morality of might equals right, nothing more

    so, this claim “Just so, teaching our children that God does not submit to some higher standard of right than himself is comprehensively indispensable.” is nonsense.

    I also think you are confused with what atheists do. We do not believe in your god so we cannot debate if it is wrong or right. We *can* look at what Christians do and debate that with those Christians.

    1. Do you really hold that there must be a transcendent moral authority which is higher than God, to which God must give an account? What, pray tell, would you call such an authority if not the actual God?

      1. No, not at all. There is no moral authority at all, except for humans.

        It does amuse me to the core that you have utterly failed in your claims that your god is some source of morality.

        “Meh” indeed. 😀

      2. If there is no moral authority except for humans, then might makes right, and there really is no such thing as morality.

        But then it would be a wonder that you are objecting to what a God you claim does not exist does, whether you approve or not.

        You can’t have it both ways.

      3. nope, not at all, Garrett. Humans are a social species and we have many more tools than might makes right. There really is morality, it’s just subjective, changing as humanity gets a clue. For instance, most humans decry slavery and genocide.

        Alas, you cannot show that Christian morality is anything more than might equals right. You are stuck with the ignorance from a couple of thousand years ago.

        Anyone can demonstrate that a fictional character is despicable and wrong. Your god hits those things quite well with its desires for genocide and slavery.

        I am not having it “both ways”. I am pointing out how Christianity is nonsense and that Christian claims of objective morality from its god are no more than lies.

      4. I’m sure that’s a very convenient position to take for you, but your confident claims do not make themselves true just because you wish them to be.

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