Archives for December 2017

Analyzing Atheism & Critiquing Modern Atheist Tactics, by Landon Freeman

Landon Freeman[

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Landon Freeman is a very intelligent young man and talented writer with quite a few interesting things to say on a variety of topics, so I’ve invited him to share some of those thoughts here at my website. I hope you will enjoy reading his articles as much as I normally do.]

I frequently encounter and converse with atheists on my Facebook group, “Evidence for Creation”. I have to say that, unfortunately, most atheists that have been in the group have since been banned.

It is rare for a Christian and an atheist to have a reasonable conversation. If they do, it usually doesn’t last long, turning into a vitriolic shouting match after awhile. Why is that, though? While I do have to deal with troublesome Christians quite often as well, I’m amazed at the attitudes and the anger many atheists display.

There are usually three types of atheists I encounter on Facebook. The first is usually made up of those content with not believing. They may argue with Christians or other theists, though they are usually respectful and present arguments in an attempt to build a strong case for their position. It’s usually rare to encounter an atheist like this, however.

The second group is made up of atheists who may be respectful for the first few comments and/or posts. However, soon after they begin behaving unnecessarily aggressively, usually mocking Christians while presenting no valid argument of their own.

These atheists are quite common.

The third type of atheist is usually a troll from the start, not even attempting to present their position in a reasonable and respectful manner. This type is a little less common than the second type. I also encounter some agnostics who most closely fit the description of the first type mentioned above. I have often pondered why so much of the modern atheism movement has devolved into such a mockery-filled, anti-intellectual tirade against theists (namely Christians) and religion (namely Christianity).

The issue with the attitudes of many online atheists is that their position is seemingly built upon emotion. Emotion can be a great thing. However, if not controlled, emotions can get in the way of logic and reason. This goes for everyone, both Christians and atheists alike. For instance, while I completely disagree with the key tenets of both Islam and Hinduism, I see no need to troll Muslim and Hindu pages because I’m confident in my belief system and I believe both the Muslim and Hindu positions to be incorrect. I may argue with one if the event arises, though to convince anyone of my position I should be respectful, courteous, and understanding.

While many Christians definitely aren’t as polite and understanding as the should be, Christian apologists overall take a much more professional and intellectual stance when conversing with atheists and people of other faiths. This is something many atheists have yet to begin doing, besides a few more prominent atheists who have partly argued in a professional manner, such as the late Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris.

In the past, a Christian would expect to hear actual semi-reasonable arguments from atheists such as Nietzsche and a variety of others. Today, however, most of my encounters with atheists are anything but reasonable, thought-provoking discussions.

Through my numerous interactions with trolls, most of them atheist, I have concluded that the reasons why they are against Christianity may be more personal, rather than evidential. I know, this will likely anger some atheists, but many atheist arguments are filled with emotion, and are directed more towards God’s morality than the existence of God Himself. Some Christian apologists, in contrast, usually begin by discussing evidence for God’s existence first, and then move on to discuss morality.

Many atheists also mention how they used to be Christians, which is impossible, but I won’t be discussing that right now. It definitely seems possible that many atheists have had bad experiences with Christians, which has led to anger, bitterness, and resentfulness towards Christians, Christianity, and God. Some of the atheists who do present arguments tend to present arguments built upon the hate of, or at least a major dislike of Christianity. I’m not writing this to demean and mock atheists.

Not at all. I’m pointing out the issues with the tactics many modern online atheists use. If you are an atheist reading this, I and many other Christians will be glad to have reasonable discussions with you regarding all aspects of faith and evidence for God’s existence, treating you with love and respect along the way. However, approaching a Christian with preexisting anger in your heart and an us vs. them mentality won’t lead to anything positive (these criticisms do apply to the attitudes of some Christians as well), and you can’t expect Christians to listen to you if you shout them down and mock them at every chance you get.

 

Exceeding expectations

On February 10, 1980, the Russian national hockey team absolutely demolished the U.S. national team in an exhibition game in Madison Square Garden just prior to the Olympics, by a 10-3 score.

Arguably the game hadn’t even been as close as the score. The Russian team looked a lot like the Harlem Globetrotters on ice, and the U.S. team appeared to be significantly less competent than the hockey equivalent of the Washington Generals. They didn’t even look as good as the Mighty Ducks (meaning the team coached by Emilio Estevez, not the NHL version.)

After that brutal and humbling loss, U.S. coach Herb Brooks made a very interesting observation. He said: “Sometimes a real butt-kicking is good for a quality team, or a quality athlete.”

Incredibly, less than a month later the U.S. national team managed the unthinkable and defeated the Russians in the far more-important “Miracle on Ice” rematch in the Olympics.

Do you believe in miracles? I do.

I happened to watch that 1980 hockey game in the SAE fraternity house in Athens, Georgia as it happened, in real time. And yesterday I witnessed a similar sports miracle. Georgia won the SEC Championship by three touchdowns by the same team that had beaten them by more than three touchdowns, only three weeks earlier.

Don’t pinch me. If I’m dreaming, I don’t want to wake up. The University of Georgia Bulldogs are the 2017 SEC Champions.

Say it again, out loud and proud. Go Dawgs! Sic ’em! Woof woof woof woof!

Who could have believed it, before this season started? Heck, who besides our players and coaches believed it was possible, after previously losing to this same team by more than three touchdowns?

After the ugly loss against Auburn on November 11th, I’ll freely admit that I had my doubts. True, Georgia didn’t look like the 9-0 team that pummeled what are normally quality SEC opponents such as Mississippi State, Florida, and Tennessee in that first meeting (where Auburn held home field advantage.) Even so, it was tough to tell whether UGA looked that bad or Auburn looked that much better. Their solid victory in the Iron Bowl two weeks later suggested that Auburn had looked that good. Our defense struggled against the balanced offense of Auburn in that first game, and their defense dominated our offense.

We even made uncharacteristically silly mistakes on special teams that cost us points. While I expected UGA to play better in the SEC Championship Game than they had in the loss at Auburn, I never imagined this team making such a profound turnaround in less than one month. Play better, sure. But to win the game convincingly, by 21 points? To absolutely dominate the team that had done the exact same thing to UGA less than a month ago? No way.

Kirby Smart deserves a lot of credit for yesterday’s victory. And I hope the “fire Jim Chaney” sliver of the Dawg Nation population has been silenced for the foreseeable future, but if fans could award a game ball to the coaches for yesterday’s victory, mine would go to Mel Tucker.

His defensive game plan had accounted for everything Gus Malzahn would try to do in the SEC Championship Game, and shut it down. After their first and only scoring drive of the game, our defense suffocated Auburn’s offense, with a turnover literally turning the tide of momentum in the game.

While it’s true that I write novels (which make excellent Christmas gifts), I could never make up a script like yesterday’s game because I personally ascribe to the theory that a story’s plot line must be not only be plausible, but totally believable. The storyline from yesterday’s championship game is the sort of nonsensical crap that Hollywood often tries to sell. It only works when the story is true.

Even so, a 43-point turnaround is positively surreal.

Okay, so who’s next? The pundits believe it will be the Oklahoma Sooners in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. Win, or the season will end.

Coach Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs have already exceeded my expectations for the 2017 season. I expected them to win the SEC East, but not to sweep their SEC East opponents and win the SEC. I expected them to play well and have a better season than 2016, but not to flirt with an undefeated season. So my expectations for this year have been met, and exceeded.

This year’s UGA football team has already achieved great things, and only two games remain. They are the 2017 champions of SEC football, which is almost as good as being “champions of life” (with no apologies to Butch Jones.) There’s only one thing left to do…become national champions as well.

Now it’s time to get greedy.