Episode 049: Why don’t more people believe?

atheism podcast Theology / Biblical Studies

If there are good reasons to believe, then why does the Christian faith have some really vehement detractors?

That’s the question I look at in this episode. It was originally given as a talk at the end of a church camp I was speaking at. Having already explained in previous talks that faith and reason work together and that there really are good intellectual reasons to believe that the Christian faith is true, I wanted to essentially prepare the audience for disappointment. You’re not going to walk out there and blow everybody away with the brilliance of your arguments. There are a number of reasons why people don’t believe, and in the time allowed for a wrap-up talk, I discussed some of them.

Glenn Peoples

 

Similar Posts:

If you liked this post, feel free to help support this project.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Mike July 9, 2013, 5:21 am

    It annoys me to no end that these two are the face of intellectualism and science. They are both pop science writers with CVs stuffed full of awards from atheist societies. What a joke.

  • James July 9, 2013, 7:48 am

    Glenn,
    Might you have any highly-recommended resources that attempt to address the problem of divine hiddenness ?

  • Patrick July 9, 2013, 12:51 pm

    @ James,

    Here is a link to a bunch of different papers on divine hiddenness:

    http://www.lastseminary.com/divine-hiddenness/

  • James July 9, 2013, 2:41 pm

    Patrick,

    Thanks for the link ! I saw Paul Pardi on the list. Has he since changed his beliefs about Christianity ?

  • Patrick July 9, 2013, 2:45 pm

    James,

    I don’t know. Honestly, I never heard of Paul Pardi until you mentioned him now 🙂

  • Tucker July 10, 2013, 1:03 pm

    @Glenn:

    You find yourself wanting to live a certain way, all of a sudden you start thinking, ‘Uh, maybe this Christian faith isn’t true. Maybe these arguments that people have been using against it, maybe they’re quite good! Wouldn’t that be convenient?’”

    Yes, I’ve been saying this for years and years, but of course I’m hardly the only one to have noticed it. Jim Speigel has a whole book centred on the idea. What’s striking is that many outspoken atheists will very skillfully argue as though their intellectual doubt appeared first, but in my experience it almost always, virtually always, if you dialogue with them for long enough, eventually comes out that the real reason for their unbelief is either anger at God (e.g. “why did my mom die?”) or else an unrepented sin. It’s fairly easy to see this effect in one’s own life, even if one is a strong Christian – just fall into a sin of some kind and see how long it takes you to start wondering if those atheist arguments might have some value. Not that I’m actually advocating this as an experiment, mind; but the experience likely rings true for many readers.

    I think all of this is a reason for the decline in religious faith in our era. The sexual revolution came first; then the apostasy.

  • Glenn July 10, 2013, 9:46 pm

    Hey Tucker – I cited Jim’s book in this episode. 🙂

    I want to be cautious about terms like “virtually always,” so I stick to saying that it’s one of the dominant factors in the equation. 🙂

  • mike July 12, 2013, 4:41 am

    Hi Glenn,

    Great work as usual.

    Is there any hope of a podcast on the devil, demons, angels, etc and how a Christian physicalist / annihilationist “deals” with these aspects of Scripture? It seems that you would be at odds with traditional interpretations of these topics which would make for an interesting podcast.

    Thanks

    Mike

  • Glenn July 13, 2013, 1:09 pm

    Hi Mike! I hadn’t planned to have an episode on that. But I don’t really see why a physicalist view of human beings would be at odds with what other Christians think about angels / demons etc. Not everything is physical just because we are.

  • Haecceitas July 13, 2013, 11:15 pm

    While I agree that physicalism isn’t completely at odds with the Christian view of angels and demons, I think there may be some aspects for which dualism would give a better account. For example, the idea of demon possession seems to make more sense if we assume a dualist view where a body is normally under the control of a non-physical soul of the embodied person. The idea that some other non-physical person could gain control over certain aspects of that body would at least seem to fit more naturally within such a view, as opposed to a view where any kind of control of a physical body by a non-physical agent is totally alien to the normal course of events.

  • Glenn July 14, 2013, 7:42 pm

    Haecceitas, I’m just not seeing it.

    If a dualist wants to say that a “demon” can’t influence a purely physical person, surely it would only be if they think that there’s a problem of interaction: That non-physical things can’t interact with a physical object. But that would be a disaster for a dualist, since it would imply that dualism is not only false but impossible.

    Even among dualists, I have not encountered the view that a person can be possessed in such a way that a demon simply replaces the soul. Instead, the view is that the entity – whatever it is – exerts an influence over the creature. Think for example of the occasion when Jesus sent the evil spirits into the pigs. Do you think that this means it’s more natural to think of pigs as having Cartesian souls?

  • Mike July 24, 2013, 4:52 am

    I guess I was thinking more along the lines of Haecceitas.

    I definitely lean towards physicalism but never really decided where that left demons and the like. I think that you are correct in saying not everything is physical just because we are. However, the idea of demons interacting with purely physical beings just doesn’t sit right. I always thought of the devil and demons being more of a personification of sin…not necessarily beings themselves.

    Also, if there is no hell then the devil is homeless. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Remember: All comments should conform to the blog policy and you must use your real name. Comments that do not conform may be removed in whole or in part. You can review the blog policy here.

 Characters remaining