Turning the table on atheists
Here’s the text of my recent interview with the Catholic news service ZENIT on the question: What would happen if Christians turned the tables on atheists and challenged them on their belief that God doesn’t exist?
This is the premise of the book The Godless Delusion: A Catholic Challenge to Modern Atheism, written by Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley (Our Sunday Visitor), in which the internal contradictions of a non-belief in God, as well as the various incoherencies in the atheistic worldview, are exposed.
According to Madrid, “atheists are not accustomed to Christians subjecting atheism to a rigorous critique on its own merits. This is why our primary goal was to take a different approach by providing a philosophical critique of atheism itself.”
Madrid is the author or editor of 16 books, the director of the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College, the publisher of Envoy Magazine, and host of the Thursday edition of EWTN Radio’s “Open Line” broadcast (3-5 p.m. ET). In this 2-part interview … Madrid discusses the primary goals of writing The Godless Delusion, as well as the precarious foundations of the naturalistic morality of atheism.
ZENIT: As you state in your book, atheists have been around for years, but there have also been various Catholic and Protestant responses to atheism. What is unique about your approach to atheism and your understanding of atheists?
MADRID: Given that other Catholic books have already decisively refuted atheism’s major arguments against God, when Kenneth Hensley and I began outlining chapters for The Godless Delusion, we knew it wasn’t necessary for us to write the same sort of book (three superb examples of which are: The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism, by Edward Feser, Handbook of Catholic Apologetics, by Jesuit Father Ronald Tacelli and Peter Kreeft, and Theology and Sanity, by Frank Sheed).
Atheists are accustomed to being the aggressor when engaging Christians. They attack and Christians defend. But atheists are not accustomed to having the tables turned, and to defend atheist principles. They are not accustomed to Christians subjecting atheism to a rigorous critique on its own merits.
This is why our primary goal was to take a different approach by providing a philosophical critique of atheism itself — one that would highlight its internal contradictions and incoherencies and demonstrate what we believe to be the atheist worldview’s abject inability to account for various immaterial realities we all know and experience, e.g., love, knowledge, goodness, evil, self-awareness, memory, human rights, etc.
Second, we wanted to subject atheism to a strictly rational, philosophical critique that would not rely on evidence for the existence of God found in divine revelation: Christ, Scripture, the Church, miracles, etc. Those things are, of course, rejected out of hand by atheists as wholly irrelevant and inadmissible, so we felt it would be useful for our readers to understand how to critique and refute atheism without ever having to engage in directly proving the existence of God.
At the outset of the book, we specify a premise with which all atheists would agree: Either God exists or he does not exist. There is no possibility of a third option. Thus, if it can be conclusively proven that God does not exist, then atheism is true and we should all become atheists. The corollary is equally true: If atheism itself is false, then by default, God must exist. In The Godless Delusion, our fundamental goal is to demonstrate that God must exist, but only indirectly, by showing that atheism is false. (continue reading)