Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Are Atheists Dogmatic on the Question of God’s Existence?

Are atheists dogmatic? What is dogmatism? A dogmatic person holds to his chosen articles of belief with a tenacious will summarily rejecting all objections. Metaphorically speaking, a dogmatist locks up his house, closes the blinds and curtains, and locks all the doors and windows lest a stray thought break in. A dogmatist stays home and does not go wandering aimlessly about the countryside. That is how a dogmatist understands leaving his house: aimless wandering. Better to stay home than run the risk of losing the way home.

Continuing the metaphor, the atheist has a home, but he is free to move to another house. He goes out and about the countryside enjoying the scenery, saying hello to friends, and generally stopping to smell the roses. The atheist knows a freedom of which the dogmatist is ignorant. When the atheist moves house, the dogmatist accuses him of dogmatism for having left his old abode for a new one: you are the same as I! You refuse to remain in or even return to your old house with the same steadfastness with which I stay at home. The dogmatist is confused by the atheist’s seemingly constant changes in abode. He can only understand such changes as the result of adherence to some other dogma.

I might not be willing to die for my beliefs, but I very well might for the right to change my mind. Could a Christian ever say such a thing and remain a Christian for very long?

There is another reason atheists are not dogmatic as are Christians. The Christian demands complete and utter certainty for his most important beliefs. The Platonist-Christian invention of absolute certainty is a historical phenomenon. There was a time when it was unknown and there will be a time (hopefully) when it will be unknown again. It is a perversity of the Christian mindset to impute properties of itself to others. Because the Christian does not understand shadings of certainty in holding (important) opinions, he is forced by the paucity of his imagination to assume everyone is as he is: dogmatic and unwavering in his opinions.



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