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Book Review: The Irrational Atheist, Part 2 of Many (What is an Atheist?)

In The Irrational Atheist, Vox Day begins by attempting to define what an atheist is. This is not very easy, because–as Vox points out in the first chapter–neither Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennett, or Harris can seem to agree on a definition.

Vox settles by defining Atheists in terms of High Church Atheists–intellectuals, academics, scientists, and other in high society who are open promoters of Atheism-and Low Church Atheists–common folks who either claim no religion (functional atheists) or who otherwise identify themselves as secular.

While most of his attack in TIA is restricted to the High Church Atheists (HCAs)–in particular Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and, to a lesser extent, Dennett–the inclusion of Low Church Atheists (LCAs) is also important in terms of understanding the obfuscations made by Atheists.

One such common obfuscation is that Christians are more likely to commit crimes than Atheists. In stating this, Atheists will point to the number of professing Christians in prison, compare that with the number of professing Atheists in prison, and–VIOLA!–Christians are thugs in the waiting!

In fact, Vox shows that including LCAs with HCAs, if you are a Christian in prison for a crime, your prison mate is more than four times more likely to be an LCA or HCA than a fellow Christian. (Which could make you–the Christian prisoner–more likely to be forced to be a prison wife.)

The only issue with which I take exception to Vox in this chapter is the first part of his opening chapter:

I don’t care if you go to hell.

God does, assuming He exists, or He wouldn’t have bothered sending His Son to save you from it. Jesus Christ does, too, if you’ll accept for the sake of argument that he went to all the trouble of incarnating as a man, dying on a cross, and being resurrected from the dead in order to hand you a Get Out of Hell Free card.

Me, not so much. I don’t know you. I don’t owe you anything. While as a Christian I am called to share the Good News with you, I can’t force you to accept it. Horse, water, drink, and all that.

I do care if you go to hell–I don’t even wish it on the radical feminists, communists, sexual predators, BATFE agents, and other degenerates whom I despise–although, as a Christian libertarian like Vox, I don’t care enough to attempt to force you to believe. After all, there is no Biblical precedence for forced conversion.

Jesus Himself even said that a man cannot come to him unless the Father draws him. (John 6:44) Even then, like Vox, I accept the premise that a man generally has free will to reject that invitation. (I’m more Reform than Arminian, but I am not a five-point Calvinist either.)

On the other hand, my worldview is quite congruent with that of Vox. My dad grew up in a country (Iran) that is today totalitarian. I am a Cold War Reagan conservative: government is the problem, totalitarian regimes are evil, and Christianity is congruent with more liberty and not less (II Corinthians 3:17).

However, the HCAs do not share an outlook that is conducive to liberty of thought. As Vox points out in his book–and I have on this blog–Dawkins has equated religious education with child abuse. In so doing, Dawkins appeals to national and international government frameworks that exist to combat child abuse.

Similarly, Harris has opined that mass extermination of people–on the basis of what they believe–could be justifiable. (Harris would head up the new Thought Police.)

What makes them a danger is not so much their case for Atheism–which really is nothing new under the sun–but rather their arguments against religion in general and Christianity in particular. It is those hypotheses against which Vox Day applies the scientific method, with results that are as devastating as they are academically and professionally embarrassing for HCAs.

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