Thursday, May 24, 2012

The One Less God Argument

Richard Dawkins and some of the new atheists are fond of saying that everyone is an atheist, and that atheists simply believe in one less God than we do.  It occurred to me last night while thinking about this that there can be dozens of parodies of this argument.  For example:

"You believe the Steelers alone will win the next Super Bowl.  I simply believe that one less team will win."

The point of the parody is to show that it may be the case that some God or other must exist, just as some team or other must win the Super Bowl.  Obviously, this contention may be disputed, but that's where the debate ought to shift to the arguments of natural theology.


  1. And, of course, part of the utter stupidity of the "One Less God (pseudo-) Argument" is that we have reasons for rejecting both the denial that there is any God and the assertion that Zeus is a God.

  2. I think a good measure of how bad an argument is is whether there are any good arguments in its vicinity. By this standard, the "one god further" objection is so hopelessly vacuous that I hesitate to even dignify it with the title "argument." So many ways to dismantle this piffle:

    (1) That's not what the word "atheist" means.
    (2) There's an infinite difference between someone who acknowledges a supernatural foundation to the universe and someone who does not.
    (3) We are "Christians" with respect to other gods. Exclusivity is inherent within the label.
    (4) Your reason.
    (5) Ilion's reason.
    And so on.

    I know this objection was all the rage amongst New Atheist types several years ago, but has it still retained its popularity??

  3. The supposed continuum Polytheism<->Henotheism<->Monotheism is utterly false -- and I really do wish that Christians would get it through their heads that referring to Judeo-Christian theology as "theism" merely serves to play into the hands of certain intellectually dishonest New Atheists and related types who like to:
    1) pretend there is a continuum from the Olympians to God;
    2) studiously ignore the reasons why/how we know that God IS, and that Zeus is not God.

  4. Yes, I mean, we have good reasons to believe Zeus does not exist. On the other hand, we have good reasons to believe the Christian God (which is monotheistic) does exist.

  5. No, it's not that "we have good reasons to believe Zeus does not exist", it's that we know, and we know that we cannot be mistaken about this, that Zeus is not, anc cannot be, God. Even had we reason to believe that Zeus did/does exist, we *know* he is not God, we know that he can no more be God than you or I can.

    Zeus (if he ever existed) was an effect of "Nature" -- he "arose" in much the same way that atheism assert that all things did. Zeus is not the uncreated Creator of the world, he does not transcent the world, he is "contained in" (or, "trapped in") the world.