Atheists are uneducated according to Dr. William Lane Craig

I recently read a post by the Christian blogger "Wintery Knight," who quoted Dr. William Lane Craig after the April 7, 2011 debate with Sam Harris at Notre Dame University. Dr. Craig is apparently trying to do the old "switcheroo" by claiming that the "new atheists" are "blue collar, and uneducated." I had to lol.....

This is what Dr. Craig said:

"I wonder is something culturally significant is going on here. Several years ago, I asked the Warden at Tyndale House in Cambridge why it is that British society is so secular when Britain has such a rich legacy of great Christian scholars. He replied, “Oh, Christianity is not underrepresented among the intelligentsia. It’s the working classes which are so secular.” He explained that these folks are never exposed to Christian scholarship because of their lack of education. As a result there is a sort of pervasive, uninformed, village atheism among them. I wonder if something like this could be happening in the States. I was surprised to see the number of blue collar folks from the community buying Harris’ book and thanking him for all he has done. They didn’t seem to have any inkling that his views had just been systematically exposed as logically incoherent. The intelligentsia have almost universally panned Harris’ recent book (read the reviews!). Yet it is lapped up in popular culture. Wouldn’t it be amazing if unbelief became the possession mainly of the uneducated?"

The reason why I began my blog at aisforatheist5760.blogspot.com, and I go to conferences, and write papers, and talk to people in general at Socrates cafes, book stores, or to anyone anywhere interested in religion and philosophy, is to give everyone the opportunity to learn what religion, and Christianity in particular, is all about--the educated and the uneducated alike.  Note, that I am offended that Dr. Craig implies that the uneducated are too ignorant to understand what is going on.  Oh, quite the contrary.  Once, on the way to a conference, I was invited to stay at a bishop's home, and I did.  It was a beautiful home, and he took me around to show me all the beautiful things in it--from marble floors to exquisite art work.  He tried to enlist me to join his ranks, as I would have much more power, money, and influence to change society in the direction that I was working towards, such as equality, and rights for women.  I told him that it was my duty and goal to inform as many people that I could of all the arguments and explanations as they relate to religion, and Christianity in particular, and philosophy in general, to invoke reflectivity, with the hope that people would choose the truth for themselves once they heard all the arguments and explanations.  The bishop said to me, "Oh, the poor ignorant peasants don't need to know too much.--and that is is why originally the bible was in Latin in the first place, and was not translated into other languages, so that less people could read and understand it.  The poor ignorant peasants would be too confused, and it is for their own good not to know."  He offered me the opportunity to earn a PhD of theology at their seminary, and said I could choose ANY church in his domain, including Jamaica!!--lol.  Of course, I rejected this, and told him that he should be ashamed of himself for deceiving the masses.  The so-called "uneducated peasants" ARE able to understand and choose the best arguments and explanations when they are provided with all the information.  This is my goal, and I have converted many educated and uneducated people. 

Besides the fact I have already exposed some of Dr. Craig's arguments as being fallacious in this blog (and I will continue to do so as time allows) Dr. Craig obviously did not read Ravi Zacharias' book "Beyond Opinion" as another prominent theist, Alister McGrath, said quite the opposite. Mr. McGrath made the comment that the increased atheism in the West is due to the "Enlightenment" i.e. EDUCATION and knowledge. It is only in oppressed nations such as those in Africa, where Christianity is gaining new converts by giving followers what I claim is "false hope":

""Interestingly, atheism has very limited influence outside Western culture. The only African nation in which it has any significant presence is South Africa, predominantly among the white population. This is a telling indicator of its Western roots, and therefor its predominantly Western appeal. But there is more to this observation than at first seems to be the case. It is not simply that atheism is a Western product/ It is actually a product of one specific area in Western culture: The Enlightenment, or modernity."
(Beyond Opinion, Ravi Zacharias, p. 27)


In fact, I was a theist myself, until I went to college and took every religion course offered. I also took philosophy, where I learned logic, and how to think critically and reflectively, and I believe small children should be taught this skill as well. Today, children and adults go by the rote method, and most do not have the skills to think reflectively or critically, which is why people believe and do things without questioning why--which is dangerous.

While in college, I also learned multiple explanations for biblical text, and the inconsistencies, interpolations, and contradictions, led to the realization that it is nothing but badly written mythology--plagiarized mythology at that. According to Wintery Knight's blog, theists would like their mythology taught as fact in schools, and are encouraging educated Christians to become part of the system to create a "theocracy" in the US:

"It seems that if we had a individuals …with full-on Christian worldviews who have risen to the highest levels of authority in places like the educational system, that they could make just as much impact as what is happening now."

--We cannot allow that to happen if we wish to continue to "evolve."

Christianity became mainstream due to "the sword, or the noose, or various methods of torture" around the world in areas such as Africa*, South America, and of course North America** and Europe***; but now we have a different methodology--education.  Education is a factor that can lead to atheism--I am living proof of that. Western culture and the "Enlightenment" is also showing this to be true. Keep it up people.  Let's put the "fear of atheism" into them....lolol.....

*"European Christianity and the Atlantic Slave Trade: A Black Hermeneutical Study," By Robinson A. Milwood, p.30

**"Introduction to Christianity" By Mary Jo Weaver, David Brakke p. 164
***"The dark side of Christian History" - Helen Ellerbie 
  

 Addendum--Wintery Knight has not published the comment I made to his posting--I don't wonder why.....

Views: 226

Tags: Notre_Dame, Sam_Harris, William_Lane_Craig, debate

Comment by Dan on April 11, 2011 at 4:46pm

"Mr. McGrath made the comment that the increased atheism in the West is due to the "Enlightenment" i.e. EDUCATION and knowledge."

 

Did McGrath explicitly equate the Enlightenment with education and knowledge? I ask because I would be very surprised if this is what he meant. My guess is that when he spoke of an increase in atheism being due to the Enlightment, he was referring to modern philosophy in which reason and the scientific method came to be regarded as the best, if not only, source of truth.

 

Comment by Tiago Martins on April 11, 2011 at 5:26pm
Doing a little research, yes, I have to agree with Dan, McGrath refers to Enlightment as the belief that truth only comes from rational thinking. And he doesn't say this in a good way.

Besides that point, great article. I'm having trouble even considering a though for these claims. Seems that being educated in their terms is to be able to rationalize your instincts and feelings, and that atheists are only such because they don't know religion. This is like a jab at all the years it took me to unplug my rationality from all the misconceptions i grew up with. It's hard to debate people that already have all the social benefits, now they're also making us the uninformed side.
Comment by Bryan B on April 11, 2011 at 6:26pm
Wow, this crosses the line. Last time I checked to classify a person as uneducated based on their beliefs it was called bigorty and hatred.
Comment by Cathy Cooper on April 11, 2011 at 6:37pm

@Bryan

I too said I find what Dr. Craig said was offensive, and you are right, it does cross the line, and is bigoted and hateful.  I believe that those who have been to college and those who have not, deserve to hear all the arguments and explanations that are provided at university and seminary on the question of religion, and Christianity in particular.  Whether or not a person has a degree in philosophy and religion is neither here nor there for me.  I only care about their arguments one way or the other.  Even if I was walking by a homeless person, who explained he had never been to school, but asked me to evaluate an argument he constructed with chalk on the sidewalk, I would give it the same consideration as if he had graduated from McGill, Harvard, or Oxford, or any other university.  Malcolm X is an example of a great scholar who had no formal secondary schooling--he was mostly self taught. 

Comment by Cathy Cooper on April 11, 2011 at 6:50pm

@Dan & Tiago

Whether it be the Enlightenment of earlier times, or the modern Enlightenment, when people are allowed to think and be reflective, and they have access to all the information, i.e. education, then you will have a rise in atheists and agnostics because the inconsistencies and contradictions within religion, the belief in gods and goddesses, and Christianity in particular.  When people are able to apply deductive and inductive logic and the H-D method, they are more apt to come to better conclusions, and choose the best explanations.

Comment by Bryan B on April 11, 2011 at 7:27pm
Imagine if he had of talked that way about african americans or jewish people, he would be virtually ruined. What a a narccisstic asshole.
Comment by Walter Maki on April 11, 2011 at 7:48pm
My own (non-theist) father had no formal secondary schooling either and dropped out of high school to help his parents out. He was highly intelligent and self taught who had no problem holding his own around scholars. He was blue collar by choice because he liked working with his hands. I have a college background with a wide variety of intellectual interest but due to the area I live I had to fall back on blue collar roots. I happen to enjoy working with my hands even though I had a computer repair shop around ten years ago. I have went toe to toe with other intellects with no problems. This type casting is bullshit just because I'm poor does not make me ignorant. I have met others who are not scholars or well to do that can reason and comprehend just fine.
Comment by Ryan E. Hoffman on April 11, 2011 at 8:15pm
@Bryan and @Cathy he's trying, once again, to pull a straw man, ad hominem argument to limit the damage done during that debate. He was absolutely annihilated. Everything that proved him wrong was not relevant. He kept retreating to claims of, "well that's ontology, i'm talking epistemology. Or that's this, I'm talking about that." It was pathetic. He's trying to garner his base into thinking they're more educated when they're clearly not in order to sell more books. It's the same canned responses over and over again. You listen to WLC long enough and you start to be able to make the arguments along with him. There's no new thinking.

In short, he's just a sore loser.
Comment by Gaetano on April 11, 2011 at 8:37pm
I went to a private Roman Catholic school and learned more about the world, people, the universe and where we come from as an adult and on my own accord than I did all throughout high school...
Comment by Cathy Cooper on April 11, 2011 at 9:08pm
@ Walter  It is a shame that people like William Lane Craig try to make such a distinction between white and blue collar workers.  I have met many "scholars" who do not have degrees.  As I stated above, Malcolm X was brilliant.  This type of maneuver used by Craig has been used to promote and maintain the status quo, and divide the different groups of workers, by race, sex, age, education, and so on. --and yes, even religion!

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