If you’re going to create a straw man argument to tear down your opponent, you should at least make it believable. But during a segment on the WallBuilders Live radio show yesterday (hosted by Christian pseudo-historian David Barton), co-host Tim Barton argued that atheists don’t even exist because (stop me if you’ve heard this before) they would have to have all the knowledge in the world.
Here’s the transcript from the show’s website:
… the majority of the people I have met or encountered who claim to be atheists are not atheist because they’ve actually done the research, which I think it’s worth noting.
The best you can be, if you’re going to be intellectually honest, is an agnostic saying, “I don’t really know if there is a god or not.” You actually can’t be an atheist. To be an atheist, you have to be able to make a definitive claim There is no god.
In order for you to make that claim, you have to have all knowledge; which, I’ve never met even an atheist who acknowledges they know everything there is to know. So, is it possible that there could be a god and you just don’t know it? Well, if they say, “No,” then they’re acknowledging they know everything there is; which, first of all is a problem.
But secondly, let’s say that you did have a great level of knowledge and understanding. Not only do you have to know everything there is to know to say with any kind of definition or definitiveness, “There is no God.” You also have to be omnipresent, be everywhere at the same time, because what if God is in South Africa while you’re in Switzerland?
And then, you go to South Africa, but God is now over in New Zealand while you’re in South Africa. You have to be everywhere at the same time to say that there is no God. So, the best you can be is an agnostic and say, “I’m not really sure if there is a god or not,” because you don’t have the knowledge you need to say that there is no God.Generally, what happens from people that are atheist, is [they’re] an atheist out of frustration, pain, the hypocrisy of the Church or of the people. It’s not because they’ve actually done the research.
There’s so much ignorance in here, I don’t even know where to begin. But just to respond to the biggest claim, atheists do not say “There is no god.” You can’t prove that in any definitive way. We get that. Unlike religious people, however, we don’t pretend to understand what we can’t possibly know.
The burden of proof is always on the people making the claim, so it’s up to religious people to prove their God actually exists.
This idea that all atheists are actually agnostics is a cheap apologetics trick that suggests we’re even closer to accepting God than anyone might imagine! However it’s never really a mic drop moment. All atheists — certainly the ones I know — are open to the possibility of God’s existence. Show us proof and we’ll believe.
Agnosticism, on the other hand, is all about whether or not we can ever know the answer. It’s a different question altogether.
Christian Pseudo-historian, Jr. chooses to ignore all these things. He’s saying the sort of thing you could only say if you’ve grown up around Christian apologists. He only knows how to talk about atheists because he’s obviously never talked to atheists.
It’s easier to sell lies to gullible Christians than it is to reckon with reality. He must have learned that from his father.