Saturday, July 4, 2015

Atheism Revisited

 
 
     This article is an in-depth examination of atheism and its affiliated worldviews. This particular subject is of great interest to me because, as a Christian, understanding atheism assists in understanding the foundations of my worldview. Obviously if God does not exist then my entire faith crumbles into a grand delusion. There can be no "Thus sayeth the Lord" if there is no 'Lord'. My goal is not only to give an adequate definition of atheism, but also to reveal some of its key presuppositions. By the end of this work I will conclude the following:

(1) Atheism is not just a mere lack of belief in God.
(2) Agnosticism is limited in argumentation.
(3) Atheistic arguments shouldn't be 'religion-centric'.
(4) Naturalism is dubious at best.

                                                           An Adequate Definition

     The prefix a- usually means not or without, as in 'atypical'. The word atheism, similarly, means without theism or not theism. However, this isn't particularly helpful unless we understand what theism is. There can be slight variations, but theism typically refers to any belief in a god of the universe. There is some debate as to how particular variations should be categorized. For example, should we consider pantheism (i.e. the belief that 'all is God') as a subclass of theism, or an entirely different class altogether? For the sake of brevity, I will not delve deeper into the classification of theism, as it is ultimately irrelevant when dealing with atheism. Consequently, I define atheism as a belief that there is no God or anything like God.

     There is no doubt that this definition will be controversial. There has been a strong push to define atheism as a 'lack of belief' in God. However, if we take this route then we enter tricky waters. Although atheism entails a lack of belief in God, it must be more than this in order to be presentable. For example, there are many groups of people that could say the following: "I have a lack of belief in Yahweh." Hindus, Buddhists, Deists, Sikhs, and Atheists would all agree. Excluding atheists for the moment, all have their specific reasons for rejecting Yahweh. Any statement that affirms X is at the same time denying its negation. If I say, "I am 27 years old" then I also have a lack of belief in the statement "I am 24 years old (i.e. not 27 years old)" Similarly, an obedient and knowledgeable Buddhist, believing in the central tenants of Buddhism, must lack a belief in Yahweh.

     An exception to this would be found in agnosticism. It is here that the confusion is most prominent. Again, as in atheism, agnosticism possesses the prefix a-, meaning not or without. It is followed by the Greek word gnōstikós, which means 'knowledge'. Quite literally, then, agnosticism means "without knowledge". Whereas a 'lack of belief' came about as a result of affirming some other proposition before, here it is derived from disinterest, ignorance, or any other reason that allows one to withhold judgment. For example, when I became a Christian, I was ignorant of the concept of baptism. If someone were to ask me at that time, "Do you believe in paedobaptism or credobaptism?" then I would have confessed my ignorance by saying, "I'm sorry, but I don't have an opinion because I lack the knowledge to affirm either one." In this example I lack a belief in both credobaptism and paedobaptism, but only as a result of my ignorance. Unlike atheism, agnosticism can be, and often is, unrelated to belief in God. One can be agnostic with regard to any proposition. Moreover, it is a personal statement and not a position about reality.

     Therefore, those who equate atheism with agnosticism are making a categorical error. Although both an agnostic (with regard to God's existence) and an atheist both have a lack of belief in God, they arrive at that lack of belief by very different means. The former arrives there by some sort of ignorance and the latter by means of affirming some metaphysical or methodological proposition. Agnosticism, moreover, is very limited in argumentation and ought to be an impermanent position in one's life. Besides pointing out formal fallacies in their opponent's arguments, an agnostic is very limited in what they can assume in their critiques and still walk under the 'without knowledge' banner. Those claiming to be mere agnostics, and yet mercilessly mocking those holding theistic beliefs, are either bullies or atheists in disguise.

                                                           What is Being Affirmed?

     What, then, is atheism affirming? To answer this we must delve into the difference between 'god' and 'God'. The former is referring to a substance whereas the latter is expressing a specific person. By substance, I mean the essential, nonpersonal, properties of God shared by both deists and theists alike. For example, God's omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, spacelessness, and eternality are all impersonal properties. God (in the Christian sense) possesses specific personal properties that a generic deistic god would lack. For example, God is all-loving, is perfectly good*, walked with Abraham, and forgives sin.

     I argue that atheism isn't merely a rejection of a person-specific god, like the God of Christianity. Instead, the rejection is against supernatural beings. If atheism was simply the rejection of Yahweh, for example, then it is grouped with all the various non-Yahweh worldviews and religions out there. This adds unnecessary confusion and turns atheism into a meaningless term. If an atheist claims that he has a lack of belief in Yahweh, then does this mean that he doesn't have a lack of belief with regard to Allah, or Krishna? Obviously this isn't what atheism means. Instead, if atheism is a rejection of supernatural entities, then the term is referring to a worldview that would exclude itself from Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The term would tell us something very specific about its views on reality, just like a person claiming to be a Christian gives us a satisfactory idea of what they believe about reality in general.

     Studying popularized arguments in favor of atheism will reveal this. One doesn't have to go far on Youtube to witness how atheists typically argue. Most of their initial wave of arguments, the face of the attack, is against religious beliefs. However, I maintain that religious categories are irrelevant in terms of arguing for atheism. Obviously miracles are ridiculous, silly, and unrealistic if you don't believe in a God that can feed His power into the natural system. Atheists don't believe in God. Therefore, their attack on religion is uninteresting and irrelevant. A religion is merely a set of beliefs about what God has said and done in history, or any revelation about reality believed by a group of people that cannot be known by pure observation. An atheist has to admit that if God exists, then changing water into wine is possible in the broad logical sense. They might reject it historically, but to go on about how silly it is doesn't do much other than to spin their wheel of circularity.

   Consider the reality of those who believe in deism (generic monotheism). A typical Youtube atheist wouldn't fare well against one with said convictions. The atheist could go on and on about how silly miracles are, how petty it is for God to be concerned with sin, and so on. The entire time a deist might nod his head in agreement, but he nonetheless believes in a god of the universe. If an atheistic argument falls flat against a deist, then that argument ceases to be an atheistic argument and only becomes an irrelevant jab. Only by engaging with deism can atheism be a presentable worldview.

                                                                    Naturalism

     An atheist successfully deals with theism (specifically deism) by defending and arguing from the worldview behind their atheism. This worldview is almost always naturalism; a worldview which claims that only material causes should be sought (methodological naturalism) or the view that reality is ultimately, and objectively, physical. Arguing from this position allows the atheist to refute theism as a whole. Obviously God cannot exist if only material things exist, because God is essentially immaterial. A problem occurs, however, when one realizes that naturalism lacks a robust philosophical foundation.

     The arguments in favor of naturalism are few, because most of the popular ones prove to be question-begging. For example, a popular argument in favor of naturalism comes from the promotion of science. It is said that science is the most reliable way of knowing about reality and has consistently yielded material causes for phenomena once thought to have supernatural causes. However, science is merely a method of discovering truths about the natural world, and it takes a worldview to piece together the evidence it discovers. Naturalism just so happens to be one possible assumption behind science. Therefore, it doesn't help to suggest that science confirms naturalism when the one making the claim is assuming naturalism in their science from the start.

     The reason for assuming naturalism in science could come about through a rejection of 'God-of-the-Gaps' reasoning. Historically, it could be argued, primitive man has created supernatural explanations for phenomena he didn't fully understand. Perhaps this offered him reassurance and comfort in such a dark, dangerous, and confusing world. I say 'perhaps' because saying this is mere speculation from a historical standpoint. However, the argument goes that as we sought to look for causes within the material things themselves, we began to understand the world more accurately, which led to the development of better technology.

     Fair enough. However, I think this is too much of a cookie cutter argument and fails to understand what theists meant when they used God as an explanation. Aristotle, a primitive man by naturalist standards, recognized four types of causation in the world. A material cause concerns the 'stuff' that makes up something. A formal cause concerns the arrangement of a thing (often in a mathematical sense). An efficient cause concerns the interaction between two objects (i.e. a carpenter causes the table). Lastly, a final cause concerns the telos (or end goal) of a thing or what it's purpose was for. The point of all this is to suggest that the ancients (or 'primitive man') didn't merely see the world through supernatural eyes and claim "the gods did it." Even when they did say this, it most likely was referring to final and efficient causes.

     Think about it: If God exists, then he is the ultimate cause of things. With regard to the universe, God is its efficient cause and any purposes for it are its final causes. A scientist is mostly concerned with the local causes of a thing, like its material and formal causes. Therefore, one who accuses another of using God-of-the-Gaps reasoning is failing to understand what the theist is saying. The only groups of theists that might have a problem here are those who embed the divine into the world like pantheists. But generic monotheists, even the primitive ones, can maintain their view that God is behind all things while accepting, and even promoting, material and formal causes. Naturalists are erecting a false dichotomy by saying otherwise.

    At the end of the day their naturalism isn't justified by appealing to the success of science or by pointing to the ignorance of the past. There are scores of scientists who are theists and who have contributed a great deal to the discipline as a whole. I see no contradiction in saying "God created the universe and gravity causes this stone to fall to the earth." The latter is a local cause while the former is an ultimate and higher order cause. The only way to cite a contradiction in the aforementioned statement is to adhere to metaphysical naturalism, or the claim that only material things exist.

     Metaphysical naturalism, however, is extremely difficult to defend. Many seem to ride methodological naturalism as far as it can go and jump to the conclusion that metaphysical naturalism is true. This is unwarranted, however. There is no direct path from methodological naturalism to metaphysical naturalism. Instead, a metaphysical naturalist must rely on philosophical arguments. However, this is precisely where they run into problems.

                                                                Metaphysical Problems

     Naturalists, like everyone else, have two possibilities when it comes to classifying things. Either something is necessary or it's contingent. Something is necessary in its existence if it exists in all possible worlds (not to be confused with different dimensions)*. It follows that necessity entails that a particular thing has always existed and could not fail to exist. On the other hand, something is contingent if it does not exist in all possible worlds. It also follows that a contingent thing could fail to exist and consequently derives its existence from some prior state or event other than itself.

     Reality is all that is. The highest level of physical reality for a naturalist would be the universe*. Therefore, the question becomes, is the universe necessary or contingent? Another way of phrasing it: Has the universe always existed or did it come into existence? Most naturalists tend to support the former, but I argue that both are contradictory if you call yourself a naturalist.

     The latter explanation, that the universe is a created thing, runs into a serious problem. What preceded the universe such that it caused its existence? Was this thing physical as well? If so, then what caused that thing? Ad infinitum. The only other options a naturalist can take is to suggest that (A) the universe came from nothing or (B) that which created the universe isn't, or wasn't, physical. (A) Is patently contradictory because nothing (nonbeing) has no causal powers (otherwise it would be something). (B) is to concede that naturalism is false.

     Claiming that the universe has always existed runs into a deep metaphysical problem that tends to be downplayed or overlooked altogether. The typical defense against theists is to say something like the following: "You say that God has always existed and doesn't need a cause, but it's much simpler to say the universe has always existed and doesn't need a cause. There is no need for the God hypothesis." Carl Sagan made this argument often. What one should focus on, however, is whether the universe is compatible with being necessary, or being eternal for that matter.

     Did the totality of space, time, and matter exist eternally, that is, infinitely in the past? No. Not only do the latest models of cosmology contradict this, but it is inherently problematic even without scientific evidence. Briefly, the standard big bang model of the universe is the best supported model of the universe's first moments; it's even supported by the likes of Stephen Hawking. There is also evidence to suggest that the universe is speeding up, which counters oscillating models.

     Regardless, the idea of an actual infinite series of events in the universe's history betrays logic. Matter is in constant flux all the way down to electrons orbiting the nucleus (some argue even further down than this, which we'll get to later). This change is measured, and experienced, with what we call time. A series of events must have a non-arbitrary starting point, such that "1" or "A" designates the earliest in the series. All other units within that series are justified by either extreme in the series, and receive their identity in relation to these extremes. For example, "2" is logically understood as occurring directly after "1", while "5" is understood as coming before "6" and after "4". We typically exclude "0" from the series, since it's more of a redundancy. If "0" and negative numbers were included, it would still remain the same concept. However, even if one wanted to arbitrarily start the series at "34", for example, it wouldn't change anything. Either, "34" is used equivocatively to mean "1", or it's understood that 1-33 exist, but aren't under consideration for whatever reason.

     The problem with those who suggest that an actual infinite series can be traversed is when they arbitrarily pick a starting point to count forward from while ignoring those units prior and claim, "See? It can be done." It's like standing in an elevator that's moving up while saying, "See? I'm pulling myself up by my boot straps!" It doesn't work like that. Mathematically speaking, an actual infinite is logically incoherent when applied to nature. If I have an infinite series of green and red balls alternating one after the other and take away only the red balls, then I am left with an infinite amount of green balls. However, I took away an infinite amount of red balls. Therefore, in this case, infinity minus infinity equals infinity, which is absurd. Subtracting two like quantities ought to yield zero, and not itself. In fact, the only thing remotely close to the above contradiction is subtracting zero by zero. However, it's understood that zero isn't a quantity. It follows that an actual infinite cannot be traversed and, therefore, cannot be compatible with any physical system.

     Ignoring infinity for a moment, there is also a strong ontological objection to naturalism. As was mentioned before, something is either necessary or contingent. Each ontological horn, so to speak, limits what is and isn't compatible. I argue that if something is necessary then its essential properties are locked in place, for if those properties could change then so could the entire thing itself. If all the properties are gradually replaced over a specific time, then a very different thing comes about. This is contrary to what necessity entails.

     The universe is in constant flux and we know that it violently changed during its first moments. Properties emerged that were not present prior. So at T1 the universe displayed properties {ABC}, but at T2 it displayed {CDE}. From T1 to T2 there existed substantial change. However, saying "the universe is necessary" assumes a specific set of properties, or a 'thing' to be grasped. Consider something as small as an atom. If we were to freeze time, we would be able to make a list of properties that specific atom had. One particular property would be the location of its electron. If this atom were necessary in its existence then the property "located at X" would be necessarily true of it, such that the property "located at Y" would never come about and would not be true of it. If a lake is necessarily frozen, then saying it has the potentiality to melt into water is logically incoherent; it's akin to saying a married bachelor will get a divorce. Potentiality and change contradict necessity. The universe possesses potentiality and change. Therefore, the universe isn't necessary in its existence.

     Finally, another nail in the coffin against metaphysical naturalism comes from the discoveries in quantum physics. The primary conclusion: "There is no measurement prior to observation." In other words, consciousness is required for there to be physical objects. Particles exist in what is known as 'wave functions' prior to conscious observation. These 'waves' are but mere possibilities and lack any objective properties. However, upon observation these waves collapse into what we know as particles. How can the naturalist's premise "Reality is physical" be true or have been true if consciousness is required for collapsing waves? Consciousness must come prior to matter for any of it to make sense. However, here rests another problem: If my brain is merely a physical organ, and consciousness is a result of its assembly, then how is it that my mind exists within this system? How is my brain 'wave function' being collapsed if I'm not being observed? As the evidence for quantum physics increases, so does the truth of idealism and mind/body dualism. Realism, a metaphysical assumption behind naturalism, is incompatible with these findings.

     Naturalism fails because it does not provide an adequate account of origins. In response, it might be tempting to claim something like the following: "What you speak of preys on our scientific ignorance. Science continues to make discoveries about our world. The universe's origins will be known in the future." I call this response a "naturalism-of-the-gaps" argument. According to some, if something transcends our scientific knowledge then one merely makes the claim that science will one day know the answer. This line of reasoning fails to consider the fact that science has jurisdiction in the physical world only and doesn't have full range superiority over some disciplines. For example, how would the scientific method assist us in ethics? Scientists assume that falsifying data is wrong to do, but one couldn't prove this scientifically. With regard to metaphysics, science assumes the reality of the past, the reality of the external world, and presupposes mathematical truths (none of which can be proven by science). So why think science will be able to tell us anything about the universe's origins other than its physical first moments?

     None of what was said directly proves theism, nor was it meant to. It seeks to only show that naturalism is inadequate, dubious, and unsubstantiated. Since naturalism is a positive worldview used by many atheists to govern their thought process, I needn't prove theism true but only show that naturalism is false. With naturalism defeated, atheists lose the main thrust of their objections to God's existence, as well as justification for being an atheist. This, however, hasn't stopped them from taking another approach.

                                 Obscure Arguments Against Theism and Other Fallacies

     This section was almost omitted due to its being briefly dealt with in  'An Adequate Definition' section of this work. However, for the sake of providing a specific example, I wish to draw light to one particular argument that is said to be one of the most convincing arguments in favor of atheism. This argument is traditionally known as "The Problem of Evil". It also happens to be irrelevant in terms arguing for atheism, as it does nothing to refute deism or generic theism. However, by discussing this argument, attention will be drawn to an error atheist's make when they attack God's personal properties.

                                                            The Problem of Evil

     Neal Tyson DeGrasse once responded to a woman who asked about his views on the Christian God. He gave a lengthy response involving the problem of evil. This is a very strong and frequently used argument. I say it's strong in the sense that it carries an intense amount of emotion with it, which consequently carries a persuasive flavor. We all have been affected by evil and sometimes reflect on whether God cares at all. DeGrasse, to his credit, represents the argument accurately and even applies it's conclusion modestly. Too often this argument is abused and taken to the wrong conclusion, so it's nice to see a nonbeliever apply it correctly.

    Before explaining why the problem of evil is fallacious, it's important to hear DeGrasse's explanation. He focuses his case around the great earthquake of Lisbon in 1755. This event, despite being catastrophic, is filled with a sad irony. The earthquake/tsunami took place on All-Saints Day (November 1st), which is one of the holiest days in the Roman Catholic calendar. Most of the important churches were destroyed along with the local Christians attending mass. It was one of the most devastating earthquakes in human history. Atheists, and most certainly theists from time to time, ask the question, "How could an all-powerful, all-knowing, good and loving God allow this to happen?"

     It's a fair question, no doubt. However, look closely at what it's seeking to prove. Notice that the argument, even if true, wouldn't put a single dent in deism or generic monotheism. A deist might agree with the atheist's conclusion, that God is not all good. However, since DeGrasse was asked his view on the Christian God, his application is correct given that a central belief in Christianity is that God is all good.

     The argument claims that there is a contradiction between the following:

(1) God is all-powerful (omnipotent)
(2) God is all-knowing (omniscient)
(3) God is all-good (omnibenevolent)
(4) Evil exists.

Traditionally theists would offer the free will defense to rebut this argument. The free will defense states that God's primary purpose for humanity was to enter into a loving relationship with them, and since one cannot be forced to love, God created man with free will. Robbing people of their free will would contradict God's good nature. Therefore, God cannot stop evil and protect free will while being consistent with His own nature. Fair enough. Although it has some merit, the free will defense shouldn't be the primary argument theists use to counter the problem of evil. Instead, a much better theodicy can be given in response which simultaneously deals with natural evil. Let's use a moral dilemma as a starting point:

Imagine waking up in a concrete room without any recollection of moments prior. Before you are two glass windows, one on the left and on the right. Beyond each window is another room similar to yours. However, the room on the right has 15 blindfolded people of mixed races and genders all around 30 years of age. The room on the left only has one person blindfolded who also looks to be around 30 years old. In between these two windows, attached to the wall, are two buttons with arrows pointing to each window. Suddenly you hear a voice come on the loud speaker behind you: "I see that you've noticed your fellow captives beyond the windows. Good. It's time for a moral dilemma! You must pick who lives and who dies. It's a large responsibility, I know, but you really have no choice in the matter since failing to play my game will result in all your deaths. In front of you, as you see, are two buttons. Press the left button, and the person in the left room is saved. Pressing the right button will save the fifteen. Whoever you decide to save will be set free into the world. You also will be set free. Not choosing, however, is choosing death for all. You have 30 seconds to choose. Good luck."

A tough choice, no doubt. However, it is at the same time so obvious which is the best choice. Most would choose to save the 15 people. Those who claim otherwise and say they'd save the one person are deliberately trying to be controversial and/or trying to reason from variables they know nothing about. Those who choose not to press any buttons do so for similar reasons. The rational and moral choice is to save the greatest number of people. We all have the basic idea that human life is highly valuable and, to many, sacred. Therefore, quantifyingly speaking, it seems obvious that 15 people are more valuable than one person. Of course utilitarians might claim that it all depends on what that one person contributes to society. However, it's best to leave them with the repercussions of that philosophy and remind them that all the prisoners in the hypothetical story were unidentified.

     Regardless, we make this decision on the basis of the 'now', with variables hidden from us. We do the best we can with what we have available, and it's all anyone can really judge us on. We have no idea what will become of the fifteen people or how they will impact others in the future. Perhaps they will live their lives, have children, and contribute economically to our society. However, it's also possible that many of them will live terrible lives and negatively impact those around them. "Only God knows" the old saying goes. Yes, indeed, and that's precisely the point of the hypothetical excursion.

     The God of Christianity is all knowing and this includes knowing the truth value of every proposition. If God were placed in the moral dilemma above, He might choose very differently than we do. Why? Because He knows all the variables necessary to make the decision and knows precisely what will come about. Since it's God's desire to bring about the good, this involves working around free will and considering that a greater good might only come about through the presence of evil.  God desires to punish all evil, but at an appointed time in the future. Since God is all loving and merciful, He is working to save as many people that will freely accept the atoning death of His son, the Messiah, Christ Jesus. Christians may not know precisely why a particular evil event occurred, but they know, given God's properties, He works to bring about a greater good, which may not become evident until several hundred years from know.

     This idea is similar to the concept of the butterfly effect, which uses a butterfly as an example of how the seemingly inconsequential flapping of its wings can set into motion forces that create a hurricane. It has the ring of truth to it given the fact that effects eventually become causes in a complex interconnected web. Just imagine the wealth of information available to God who knows absolutely what is, was, and will be. Yes, the atrocities committed by the Nazis was a terrible evil, but it's possible that it brought about, or is still to bring about, a greater good. God knows this. We don't.

     Back to Lisbon, it appears as though we put God on trial for not adhering to our moral responsibilities. But why should we? An atheist would have to say that it is impossible for God to have morally sufficient reasons for allowing over 10,000 people to die. What argument can an atheist give to satisfy this heavy burden of proof that wouldn't also assume his own finitude and ignorance of the necessary variables in the process? A theist merely has to argue that it is possible for God to have morally sufficient reasons to allow a particular evil, and that is all that he needs to refute the problem of evil.

     "Why would God even make earthquakes to begin with?" This rendition of their argument is, likewise, based on faulty assumptions. An earthquake lacks the property of being evil. It's only when humans are in proximity to them, and are hurt or killed by them, that we consider them evil. However, the assumption here is that man was ever in any danger from the start. Perhaps after the Fall, when man sinned and focused their faith away from God, they went into the wilderness ignorant of the world around them. After all, we were designed to love God and also to watch over His creation, which would explain why nature fell with us (something quantum physics might assist us in understanding). Again, natural disasters are a means to secure a greater good, as cold and heartless as that sounds. God allows, not necessarily causes, a certain city to come to ruins via an earthquake because He knows that the results of the event will bring about a greater good. Attacking God's means for doing this rather than that distracts from the important question dealing with why God does what He does.

     Although this is a valid refutation, it may do very little to comfort one who has went through a devastating loss. The problem of evil fails logically, but it succeeds in its emotional force. Atheists who base their beliefs on this argument alone will find that their atheism is unjustified, no matter how much they hurt inside. Their anger and sadness is directed at a false representation of God. If God is to be put on trial by us mortals, we best represent Him accurately.


                                                        A Final Word on Epistemology

     Briefly, there is also a problem with naturalism concerning the role of truth, knowledge, and the relationship between beliefs and behavior. Evolution is the only game in town for understanding these issues for a naturalist. However, with evolution considered, it remains problematic why we should, on the whole, be equipped with cognitive faculties that provide mostly true beliefs about reality. Evolution only cares about an organism getting its body parts to the right locations at the proper time. There are false beliefs, even those that exist upstream, that can bring about adaptive behavior. Truth is ultimately irrelevant since there is no need for true beliefs to be selected over false beliefs. Nature is blind; it could care less whether a person believes that a 50 foot fall will kill him or  by falling it will make his wife disappear. Both beliefs will prevent that man from jumping even if one is true and the other is false. Truth is not synonymous with accuracy in the evolutionary scheme. Likewise, a belief in naturalism would be selected for it survivability, not its truth value. Therefore, to believe in evolution and naturalism presents a defeater for naturalism.

                                                                      Conclusion

     Although it is something most of us flirt with at some point in our life, atheism lacks a robust philosophical foundation. Cultural atheists seem to focus on attacking religious beliefs when it does very little to justify their atheism. Miracles are unrealistic to them because they already don't believe in a God that can perform them. Digging deeper, it was shown that atheism isn't a mere lack of belief, but must assume some positive position about the world in order to be a coherent and presentable wordlview. Naturalism is the most popular worldview to justify atheism. However, arguments in favor of naturalism are few and lack any potency. Therefore, despite its followers claiming to be the guardians of truth and reason, atheism
is a weak position to hold.