A Seed of Understanding


by Jeffrey Drake

There are as many different types of atheism as there are Christianity.  What I learned from then until now, is that the difference between atheists and Christians differ primarily in how you try to answer the question, “How do I determine what is true?” I hope to answer that question from the atheist perspective here.

If you listen to any form of media you will often find out about a group of outspoken atheists that have been termed the “New Atheists”. This group includes Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins among others. On YouTube™, you can find many videos where atheists are “debating” the religious. Often not much is accomplished through these videos.

But what does come out in these videos are ideas about what is right and true. Bertrand Russell said in a 1959 interview that he sees no evidence for the Christian dogmas. Upon his analysis of all the stock arguments for the existence of God, he found none of them logically valid. You can summarize his thoughts with the statement, “there cannot be a practical reason to believe what is not true.”

I can respect Bertrand Russell very much for his position, but the way he thinks about truth and the way I may probably differs.  A practical man may look at the world and see only what is visible. Upon study, even science provides a plausible (but not complete) picture of how things came together.  On this point there are many religious people that would disagree with me, just take any discussion of evolution as an example. Another man may take the position, that there are other things that we cannot see. This man may even decide that God did it.

In conversations between people who differ on this point, I have learned that nothing is usually accomplished when one tries to convince the other that their position is the correct one. Some subjects you can provide honest evidence to a person and change their minds, but this subject is not one where we can do that. That is because there is no proof, and there never can be any proof.

Both sides feel passionate about the subject. I may not be an atheist any longer, but I understand the mindset. We have diversity for a reason, and I believe it is so we can learn from each other. The way we learn is by trying to understand why other people hold the positions they do.

I hope I have helped plant a seed of understanding.


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