11 oct. 2011

Bad Arguments: Nobody Believes It Literally So What's The Big Deal

This argument states that the atheist's target is a straw-man. Most religious believers believe "moderately" or not at all. They like the incense, or the family values, or whatever and don't trouble themselves with whether it is true, or with nicer points of theology. Theologians, on the other hand, have developed super-sophisticated models in which you don't really have to believe any of it literally. It's all metaphor. Everyone knows you shouldn't take it all that seriously, and it only the earnest and naive atheist who makes the mistake of actually looking at religion as though it were something to believe in. (Oh, and a few "fundamentalists" who are like the atheists in the extremity of their position.)

Do I really have to demolish this argument? It is the classic bait-and-switch. Once you criticize religion, it dissolves into nothing, but once you stop your criticism it rises up again triumphantly.