The answers, perhaps predictably, have been less than convincing; each ultimately falling back on the cultural bedrock of childhood indoctrination, as opposed to any rational or verifiable evidence acquired in adulthood. Simple indoctrination, though, is proving a disastrous policy for the religious as “faith” (unjustified belief) cannot win in the marketplace of ideas. In his book, The Great Evangelical Recession, John S. Dickerson, notes: “260,000 [US] evangelical young people walk away from Christianity each year.” Those numbers are far higher in every other advanced country on the planet where reason has already supplanted superstition.
Following on from Ark’s investigation, I’ll ask the naturally accompanying question: What would you, the atheist, need to believe? What would convince you of the truth of any religion, including Christianity?
Now, this very question was asked to Bill Nye in his recent debate with Ken Ham, and his answer was as eloquent as it was brief: evidence. What, however, would that evidence look like? In the opening session of Moving Naturalism Forward Richard Dawkins noted that he had a “hard time even trying to imagine what anything but naturalism would look like,” and I have to agree with him on this point.
So the question stands: What would it take for you, the atheist, to believe?
For me I would be compelled to seriously look at any religion if one or two things could be established without any ambiguity:
- If it could be determined without doubt or hesitation that a religion had revealed anything to us, at any time, that we didn’t already know (meaning not a delusion or solipsistic error which has to be taken on “faith”)
- If any religion had emerged – or deity envisaged – twice anywhere on the planet, completely unassisted.