Hello everyone. It’s good to be back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! I had a highly enjoyable time at the Conference and I hope some of you were there. Tonight, we’re going to wrap up our look at Victor Stenger’s book “God: The Failed Hypothesis.”
My conclusion to this is that this book should be called instead “Stenger: The Failed Philosopher.” Now some of you might be saying “But he’s a scientist! He’s not writing philosophy! False. There is scientific data but the interpretation of that data is working out inferences to the best possible explanation. Now if he’s studying natural causes, then yeah, science is being done. He’s not. He’s talking about realities beyond matter. Now granted, he doesn’t believe those realities exist in actuality, which is his point, but to speak beyond matter is to speak out of his area. He is no longer doing science at that point, but philosophy.
Note this. I am not against science. I am also not against philosophy. However, I believe whichever one we do, we should do well. Our ability in one area does not necessarily lead to skill in another. Atheists often wish theists who are ignorant of science would stay out of the debates on science. I agree entirely. The problem is, as I have said before, that the atheists don’t return the favor. They in fact often speak on Christian theology without any understanding of it.
Do you think this is a baseless assertion? If you do, then simply go to a bookstore and get a book by the new atheists. You don’t even have to purchase it. Just open it up and look in the bibliography. Go through and see how many evangelical scholars you see listed. Contrast this by going to many an evangelical Christian work questioning atheism and see how many non-Christians they cite.
Stenger’s research methods I believe are poor. Now it could be his skill in physics is better, but as a philosopher, I question the very idea of something coming from nothing. The reason for his poor research I believe is that he is dealing with pop Christianity. If atheists think Christians believe things without evidence, we Christians must admit that it could be because several Christians have sadly given that impression.
Unfortunately, this has also led to atheists thinking Christianity is nonsense prima facie. I don’t just mean that they think it’s wrong. They think it’s nonsense. There’s really no content to it that’s worth studying. If you were an intelligent person, you’d just look and realize that it’s nonsense.
Unfortunately for them, this is not the case. I do not believe Islam is true for a second, but at the same time, I also believe that it’s important to study Islam if you want to evangelize Muslims. In fact, one of the strangest religions I know of is Mormonism, but yet, I don’t ignore the arguments of them. I have a number of books here so that when I dialogue with the Mormons, I can get their beliefs right.
The new atheists like Stenger don’t do this. This lets them go after the gullible who sadly could be Christians, Christians who have not been raised well and do not know better. This is also the fault of the Christian church. After all, if we say “Our children are not being raised Christian” who are we going to blame that on? We may not control what goes on in the school system, but we surely have some control over what goes on in our own households.
It also affects atheists who seem to repeat without considering it what the new atheists say. I don’t know how many atheists I’ve met who are skeptical that I’ve read The God Delusion. Why be skeptical? Because if you had, how could your faith survive? Isn’t Dawkins devastating? You just didn’t understand it if you read it.
The problem is I did understand it. I understood it was terrible argumentation, but the atheist has often written this off prima facie. The Christian cannot have a good answer. He just can’t! Why? Because atheism is true! Everything else is just nonsense on its face and so there’s no point in studying it!
In the end, atheism is a position of faith and frankly, the kind of faith Stenger believes in.
And in the end, Stenger is a failed philosopher and his case does not hold.