He truly is, and I enjoy his style. But in this case, it is entirely unintentional.
I came upon this video through Reasonable Faith, which is a website and a ministry everyone should know about. More on that another day; suffice to say that Dr. William Lane Craig is a true scholar, a true gentleman, and even he loses his patience with the platitudes and inchoate assertions made in this video.
For example, Gervais says that he thinks determinism is sound, then goes on to say that he feels that he has free will. And then says it doesn’t matter either way. And then says that, of course, people have to be locked up when they commit crimes, we can’t just have murderers going around unchecked.
If you’re not laughing or at least shaking your head, you might be an atheist. Listen here and here for Dr. Craig’s responses.
This could-might be a spoof done to troll Christians. Maybe Gervais is being funny on purpose, after all. One can hardly be sure, because it’s devoid of logic, and deluged with bottom-of-the-barrel witticisms and so much hand-waving you’ll catch a cold. Dr. Craig’s reply to one of these assertions sums it up: Is there any need to refute this silliness?
There isn’t, except that children may be taken in. It is a well-known claim that Dawkins thinks religious education amounts to child abuse; it is well-nigh obvious that he ought not to be considered an authority on the subject.
So much for the spokesmen. Who is it who lauds these men, and what are they saying? Dear reader, enjoy the comments.
With 267 votes of confidence, Tony Hall writes:
To believers of all religions. Since all of your different gods claim to be the “creator of everything”, you have to ask yourselves “so who created your god?” and if you say “no-one did”, then you have to admit the most incredible thing of all. Your god does not believe he had a creator. So your god……. is an atheist.
No, let’s be charitable. Old Tony worked hard for this bit of …insight?
First, there’s the really biting LOWER CASE G! which just oozes with disdain. Tony, that hurts, bro.
Second, as a believer, I’ve never troubled myself asking, “Who created your god?” so you got me there. Why didn’t I think of that?!?!
Ah yes – because I realized, as a child, that the question was absurd. But for Tony, Dawkins, and Gervais, it’s magicians all the way down.
Third, Mr. Hall performs his own sleight of hand, unbeknownst even to Mr. Hall, one assumes. I say unbeknownst, because he concedes enormous ground to the believer.
To get to his point, he has to admit that the chain of creators – Who created you? And who created that? And who created that? – ends in “our god,” or else his stunning conclusion will have no impact. The astute believer will say, “Very well,” and now we all agree that the chain of creators ends with G/god, who was not created by anyone else.
So Tony is not an atheist.
Surely, though, Mr. Hall would protest that this is just a thought experiment, to show the absurdity of believing in God. Very well, says the believer, what have you got?
Well, says Tony, if no one created G/god, then surely G/god will look around and say, “Well, if I don’t have a creator, there must be no G/god. Therefore I am an atheist.”
If God looks around, and sees He has no creator, He concludes…that He doesn’t exist? Is this not about the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard?
Tony, Tony…if you looked around the room and saw that there were no other Tony’s…would you conclude that you did not exist?
Of course not. You just are Tony, and it doesn’t matter if there’s any other Tony-ness going on.
Likewise, God just is God, and the fact that He is uncreated does nothing to change whether “a God” exists. Of course He exists, He’s the one observing that He has no creator.
To Tony’s credit, he is the only one who even attempts to demonstrate a provable point. We have Sarge Izzard playing on words for some laughs (“If the Lord is your shepherd, then that makes you mutton.”), which is absolutely not beneath me. In his case, he simply thinks too highly of himself, or the joke would be humorless.
NotEnoughLions – courting controversy with respect to Cecil? – engages in some pop psychology, which is more or less aimless and, like the eminently more interesting Freud, also assumes atheism is true. One sees how narrowly read the atheists are when they make claims like this; they don’t realize that plenty of Christians already have acknowledged their point, and made it more forcefully.
Of course, as one commenter notes, “All atheist videos have the same comments,” and it’s only a matter of time before someone trots out the whopper:
Any time you are under the delusion that an invisible, all seeing, all powerful, all knowing power is influencing your choices it is dangerous because whatever enters your warped mind may be interpreted as the command of that influence. It is dangerous!
This from Anthony Rizzo, who is also hitting home runs for the Cubbies. I wish he’d stick to what he’s good at – a point Dr. Craig makes about Gervais and Dawkins, as a matter of fact.
The time it takes to unravel the tangles of meaning (are we talking about the genuinely deluded, or are you assuming atheism is true?) and the cherry-picked observations from history is not at my disposal here. Suffice to say: Even if Stalin, Mao, and many others did not commit their atrocities in the name of atheism (arguable), they certainly did not commit them in the name of God. As their crimes dwarf any religious death tolls you can bring up, by orders of magnitude, we can at least say this:
Perhaps belief in God is not the thing which causes the most human suffering, or inspires the most violence. If we were to prioritize our efforts in order to prevent the greatest atrocities repeating themselves, perhaps there are other variables to consider first.
This is an extraordinarily modest claim. If you cannot find your way to agreeing with it, you’re probably a new atheist, and there’s little reason to refute your silliness.