Encountering Atheists and Skeptics


Four Major Worldviews:

  1. Monotheism
  2. Pantheism
  3. Material Naturalism
  4. Secular Humanism

Understanding the varieties of atheism:[1]

  1. Material naturalism
    1. What is it?
      1. All things ultimately can be reduced to process.
      2. Only scientifically verifiable statements can be considered _______.
      3. Nothing that we love, hate, or desire has any_________ .
      4. Examples: Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, Peter Atkins,
  1. Why is it wrong?
    1. It cannot prove its own basic principle by its own criteria.
    2. It is not true science, but rather _________the belief that science is the sole arbiter of truth in the modern world.
    3. The conflict is not between , but between science and                                                                    .
    4. If everything we think is the result of random brain activity, why would we think that this theory is anything more than                                                       that has no meaning? Why would we assume our minds are reliable?
    5. Natural selection is all about the appropriate behavior for , not for discovery of truth, so I shouldn’t expect to find truth, if naturalism is true.
  1. Who can I read to help answer this worldview?
    1. Mary Poplin, Is Reality Secular? (InterVarsity, 2014)
    2. Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism (Oxford, 2011)
    3. David Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions (Basic Books, 2009)
    4. John Lennox, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (Lion Hudson, 2009)
  1. Secular humanism
    1. What is it?
      1. Secular humanism places faith solely in upon which to build a progressive society, morally, culturally, and intellectually.
      2. Human reason is sufficiently reliable and just to guide the course of our lives—individually and collectively—without any consideration of divine authority.
      3. Since human reason ought to guide our collective lives, religion must be kept out of the because of its very nature.
      4. Human reason is the instrument and servant of the , and not clouded by religious dogma.
      5. Religion causes evil in the world through oppression, intolerance, and bigotry.
      6. Tolerance leads to free thinking, but only thinking that .
      7. The Marxist version says that by overthrowing the upper classes, an ideal society without                   would emerge and cooperation would be natural.
      8. Examples: Christopher Hitchens; Secular Humanist Manifestos of ‘33, ‘73, & 2000.
  1. Why is it wrong?
    1. Hunter Baker—Secularism acts like a reporter reserving the right to question others without itself _____.
    2. If human reason is the instrument and servant of the will, it is under no obligation to choose the path of                                                      .
    3. Most secular aid organizations are funded entirely by ______, whereas most Christian aid (which functions on a far larger scale) comes through donations of Christians and churches.
    4. Some of the most sweeping social transformations have begun from the conviction of the ______. Example: William Wilberforce and the abolition of slavery; Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.
    5. Marxism resulted in unprecedented poverty, government oppression, dehumanization, genocide, and totalitarianism.
    6. When Marxists cry out for redistribution of wealth they really want the government to help the poor, not that they would have to serve the poor themselves.
    7. Humanists can never seem to come to any agreement on anything                                     to enforce the opinion of certain humanists.
  1. Who can I read to help answer this worldview?
    1. Hunter Baker, The End of Secularism (Crossway, 2009)
    2. D. A. Carson, The Intolerance of Tolerance (Eerdmans, 2013)
    3. Tim Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (Dutton, 2009)

[1] Adapted from Mary Poplin, Is Reality Secular? (InterVarsity Press, 2014).



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