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that modern Science has debunked the claims of the Bible, therefore we must reject the Bible and God as backward and outdated.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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34 Comments

  1. Yetzer Hara says:

    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. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

      And what are you doing here but imposing yourself on a believer?

      1. Yetzer Hara says:

        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. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        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. Yetzer Hara says:

        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. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        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. Yetzer Hara says:

        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. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

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

      7. Yetzer Hara says:

        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. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        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. Yetzer Hara says:

        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. Yetzer Hara says:

        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. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        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. Yetzer Hara says:

        Nope, I’m all about the truth.

      13. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        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.

      14. Yetzer Hara says:

        Reality is real, and Jesus ain’t coming back.

      15. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        We’ll all just have to wait and see, won’t we?

      16. Yetzer Hara says:

        Their always are the suckers that will!

      17. mosckerr says:

        Sue Love Run With It@wordpress.com His Plans for Us
        Greetings Sue.

        Your blog quotes: Jeremiah 29:10-11 For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

        First order of business, the Hebrew T’NaCH Books do not employ chapters and verses. The Xtian biblical translators they chose upon their own authority to add chapters and verses; to make reading and quoting scripture nifty and so much easier. But in the process the church threw out the baby with the bathwater. It requires logic to interpret the meaning of what a person reads. The church denies Oral Torah logic – the revelation of Horev (שמות ל”ד-ו’ ז). Logic fundamentally requires Order, comparable to: “Humans need air to breath”. The choice to arbitrarily impose chapters and verses upon the Hebrew T’NaCH came at a huge expense. The church biblical translators expunged from the Torah the Order of sugiot, which the Framers of the T’NaCH originally established. The Order of sugiot, they compare to the rules of grammar unique to each and every language.

        T’NaCH which lacks sugiot, in effect becomes castrated; impossible to learn any T’NaCH Book through the 13 tohor middot logic format. This logic system, revealed through the revelation of the Oral Torah, does not compare to the philosophies of logic the ancient Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle developed.

        Invalid biblical scholarship cherry picks p’sukim\biblical verses. Effectively this invalid method of scholarship, it “robs” the meaning of these up-rooted verses of their original k’vanna, as learned within, as part of its larger sugia contexts. Cherry picking p’sukim effectively “steals”, p’sukim – like a thief in the night. Mitzvot do not come by way of transgression. A man does not beat and rape a woman, with the k’vanna to raise children born through such a criminal union, as a married couple who live together in shalom.

        Talmudic common law, this format follows the precedent which the T’NaCH Books themselves established. Often, a T’NaCH sugia contains primary and secondary parts within the same sugia. The purpose of all sugiot within the T’NaCH — to instruct mussar to all generations. This mussar, it discerns and defines the distinction of what merits primary as opposed to secondary importance\priority.

        For example a sugia in Book of Israiah tells a vision, of a young woman. That she shall give birth as a sign of HaShem. That same sugia concludes with the most bitter of warnings. The invasion and ensuing destruction of Israel and the siege of Jerusalem, by the Assyrian empire. Why the two subjects? Primary\secondary: the sugia makes reference to a woman conceiving and birthing a child, a period of about 9 months, this time reference term serves as the Gate of Warning unto the invasion of the kingdom of Israel – by the Assyrian empire. The Gospel writers perverted the primary\secondary relationship and foisted the “virgin birth” rhetoric propaganda, because it served the interests of their theology religious rhetoric.

        Torah prophets do not fore-tell the future; they do not serve as soothsayers. The Torah strictly forbids this tumah through the negative commandment which prohibits the practice of witchcraft. The negative commandment of witchcraft qualifies as a Capital Crimes Torah transgression. Mitzvot do not come by way of transgressions.

        All T’NaCH prophets command mussar. Mussar defines the meaning of the word “prophesy”. Extolling T’NaCH prophets without knowledge of how the Torah defines “prophet”, qualifies as hanging a mountain by a hair. The “hair”, that key undefined term, in this case: “prophet”, upon which everything else hangs upon. The ancient Greeks referred to this “hair” as ‘the art of rhetoric‘ whereby the ruling elite control and govern the ignorant masses.

        The Order and organization of the T’NaCH Books into sugiot serves as the basis by which all later generations have the equal opportunity to employ the ‘comparison contrast’ Oral Torah logic system to interpret the k’vanna of T’NaCH and Talmudic mussar -as learned from Aggaditah.

        This discipline of learning, known as: ‘stand the Torah upon the feet of precedents‘. Both the T’NaCH and the Talmud learn through this identical precedents sh’itta\methodology. This rule of learning by way of precedents permits students of the T’NaCH to learn prophetic mussar. Learning by way of precedents compares sugiot against similar or contrasting sugiot. Something like how a person needs both eyes in order for the mind to see in 3 dimensions.

        Precedents permit later scholars to make a depth analysis of a prophet sugia; by folding the prophetic sugia upon other sugiot contained within the same Book; or by also comparing similar or contrasting sugiot located in other prophetic Books. The Gemarah brings precedents from all 6 Orders of the Mishna in order to understand the k’vanna of a singular and specific Mishna. This style of learning follows a difficulty\answer format whereby the sages determine if the precedent merits approval or they dismiss that precedent as to far removed from the Case within the Mishna, which the Gemarah currently studies. Herein defines a succinct summation of how to correctly learn both the T’NaCH literature, and the Talmud through its Midrashim commentaries. This sh’itta of kabbalah, first taught by rabbi Akiva goes by the title פרדס, my Rav Aaron Nemuraskii taught this sh’itta of learning to me.

        The sugia of the prophet which holds your cherry picked p’sukim ירמיה כט:י- טו. A precedent sugia ירמיה א:ד-י. This second sugia closely resembles the aggaditah of Moshe at the burning bush. HaShem chooses prophets. A persons just do not up and decide one day to make themselves prophets. Both sugiot thus compared share a common denominator of ‘command & response’. Even Bil’am traveled to Moav – at the commandment of HaShem – and not by his own egotistical whim or desire. Weaving NaCH mussar together with Torah commandments, a unique Torah wisdom, which fundamentally defines Oral Torah based T’NaCH and Talmudic scholarship.

        Cross reference your sugia with the comparative sugia ישעיה ט:ז-י:כב. Both g’lut & geulah HaShem determines. Neturei Karta condemns Zionism. They claim that HaShem, not Man determines when and how the Jewish g’lut ends. Zionist like myself respond: ”the Shoah revealed the curse of g’lut comparable to the spies and the decree of g’lut in the days of Moshe. HaShem, not Man opens the eyes, ears, and other senses of awareness by which Man perceives Divine revelations. The victory by Israel who fought and prevailed in two Wars of national independence – 1948 & 1967 – exposes the revelation of the finger of HaShem in this world!

        Man does not operate independent from the Will of HaShem. Man lives life expressed by either blessing or curse. Justice Justice pursue. Failure to rule the land (through righteous courtrooms which either establish or fail to comply with the fixed Torah obligation to rule the people with justice), with just governance, results in the curse of g’lut. The mussar of this sugia learns from the arrogance of the king of Assyria. That king assumed that by his might and power alone, nations collapsed and surrendered before his conquering Will. Yet at the end of the day, all the armies of Assyria died besieging the walls of Jerusalem, the Assyrian king fled, and his own children later assassinated him.

        Another precedent cross reference שמואל א יג:א-יד, this sugia resembles the impatience of the nation waiting for Moshe to return from mount Sinai. The rejected king moshiach, he feared the Philistine armies more than he feared the prophet Shmuel. Therefore ואתאפק ואעלה העלה translated “I could nor restrain myself from offering a sacrifice”.

        This statement defines in a negative manner, the mitzva of Moshiach. (The people originally demanded from the prophet that he anoint a king as the moshiach, so that this anointed would lead and fight the wars fought against foreign nations). The anointing of Moshiach: prioritizes obedience to obey prophetic mussar commandments over dedicating sacrifices upon an altar.

        The church by stark contrast, prioritizes the tumah murder of JeZeus on the cross, murdered through the tumah of an evil eye, and totally corrupt courtroom justice. Church theology prioritizes this “sacrifice” above obedience to prophetic commandments, specifically not to dedicate upon the altar of HaShem a bruised or deformed animal as a korban. The apostle Paul preached in Damascus, another example, that brit melah no longer qualified as a Torah commandment that merited obedience.

        The moshiach דאורייתא of the house of Aaron, likewise dedicated holy to HaShem, upon the יסוד\foundation that Aaron obey the mussar commandments of Moshe the prophet. Something like the famous ‘chicken and egg argument’ – of which came first. First obey the mussar commandments of the prophets and only then thereafter compel your Yatzir to offer oath sworn sacrifices. At the golden calf, Aaron feared the mob of the people like Shaul feared the Philistine army. Later prophetic mussar commandments always (comparable to the golden rule) spring from the Torah יסוד/foundation commandments.

        This hard fast prophetic mussar, exists as the kingdom of heaven yoke of faith. The mitzva of kre’a shma Yidden in all ensuing generations accept this sworn oath obligation equally upon ourselves and the lives of our children. By stark contrast, the religion of Xtianity has determined that its יסוד\foundation of faith, so to speak, stands upon the 10th floor of a multi storey high rise apartment. (משל\נמשל) the new testament has replaced the old testament, as the foundation of faith upon which the hopes of church Creeds, theology and dogmatism stands. The church trusts these theories of faith, developed during the early Dark Ages over and above the revelation of the Oral Torah at Horev.

  2. If you must teach your children to accept that killing children is okay, then you’ve already lost the contest.

    1. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

      By all means, go on.

      1. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        Meh.

  3. Archon's Den says:

    By definition, Atheists do not believe in the existence of God. They would hardly sit around debating whether or not He was right. 😯

    1. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

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

      1. Archon's Den says:

        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. 🙄

  4. 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. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

      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. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        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. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        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.

  5. dolphinwrite says:

    This will be short and to the point. I’ve referenced Pinocchio before. There’s a very important message there, and I wonder how much Walt Disney knew how hard he hit the nail on the head.
    In the movie, Pinocchio, in not following the words of his “maker,” the clock maker, and his conscience (Jiminey Cricket), who wanted the best for him, he found himself with a lot of other kids/teens that were rebelling against what they also knew was right. And as they listened to the wrong voices, the wrong “influences”, it became more difficult to do what was right. They were “becoming” part of a different life. A wrong life.
    In the movie, something I didn’t catch in my youth (I wished I had.), these kids/teens were turning into donkeys. The more lost they became, the less they could talk, and probably, understand. There’s another term, and it starts with Jack…, but I don’t want to distract. But that was the point. They were travelling the road of destruction. And that, I believe, was the message Walt Disney shared.
    It’s kind of like this, as I understand. It’s where your heart is. It’s a daily walk. What choice do you make, daily? Is having a nice car more important than honesty with your family? Is having more, even top quality health insurance, more important than telling the truth? It’s a choice. All of life is. Daily. And with most, perhaps all, prayer. I believe, prayer is part of the road. But that is for each person to discover. I am just one person.

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