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: 182

Tags: Notre_Dame, Sam_Harris, William_Lane_Craig, debate

Comment by Bryan B on April 11, 2011 at 9:33pm
@Ryan yes you are right but imagine if he said those things about jews ot African Americans. I just hate that he gets to spew that kind of hatred at unbelievers and get away with it.
Comment by Albert Bakker on April 12, 2011 at 1:17am
Looks to me like he's digging his own hole. Maybe it's better not to interfere or even encourage him a bit to dig deeper. Maybe we're at the brink of seeing the apologists disappear in their own gaps, trying desperately to hang on to one last faulty syllogism.
Comment by Tom Margolis on April 12, 2011 at 5:48am
Wikipedia has a good page about the relationship between intelligence and atheism, and between education and atheism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religiosity_and_intelligence

BUT - There may be a genetic predisposition for belief in the supernatural, regardless of intelligence/education:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/belief-and-the-brains-god...

There are brilliant Harvard Divinity School professors with outstanding analytical abilities - except when it comes to religion. A good friend of mine is an extremely intelligent and analytical scientist with a Ph.D. in molecular biology - but he has a blind spot about God. So I wouldn't assume that theism arises from low intelligence or lack of education; emotions and cognitive filtering can drive theism.
Comment by Keith J. on April 12, 2011 at 11:10am

I'm only in Calc 1, still have two semesters left after this.  I've only finished two semesters of Chem, and I haven't even started my Physics yet.  I'm probably never going to take a Theology class... and while I did get an "A" in Philosophy, I never touched the textbook (I wonder how that approach would've worked out in any of my Maths or Sciences?).  My lack of education is a blight on me.

Comment by Dan on April 12, 2011 at 12:53pm

@Cathy Cooper

 

I find it ironic that you are offended by Craig and then make comments like this:

 

"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."

 

You call Craig a bigot because he suggested that some atheists are uneducated. Then you turn around and say that education leads to atheism--implying rather clearly that theists are uneducated. Let's at least be intellectually consistent here.

Comment by Cathy Cooper on April 12, 2011 at 3:21pm

@Dan

Yes, I was offended that he implied that atheists are "uneducated blue collar workers."  Whereas I claimed  that those that have been to college and those that have not, can reason for themselves, as long as they are given the proper information.

Personally, I became an atheist via education, and many people have done the same.  There are others, however, that never became theists, or became atheists on their own.

 

For Craig to infer that atheists are "ignorant uneducated blue collar workers" is ignorant and bigoted.  Anyone can be an atheist, but I stand by my statement that education CAN lead to atheism.  It does not necessarily lead to atheism, but it certainly CAN lead to atheism.

Comment by Dan on April 12, 2011 at 3:33pm

@Cathy Cooper

 

Given what I quoted above and the following sentence--"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."--it sounded to me as if you are implying that "better conclusions" and "best explanations" equal atheism. There are undoubtedly many who apply logic and reason, yet reach a different conclusion.

 

Of course, you have to admit that there are uneducated and ignorant atheists as well as theists, neither of whom have critically thought through their positions. Perhaps Craig didn't mean to imply that all atheists are uneducated. Perhaps, seeing that you would like me to give you the benefit of the doubt regarding what you meant in the quotes above, you could do the same for Craig.

Comment by Cathy Cooper on April 12, 2011 at 3:42pm

@ Dan--No--I said they could make better decisions and decide for themselves when they had all the arguments and information.  I said my education led me to atheism, but that is not necessarily so for everyone.

I will not give Craig the benefit of the doubt--he said what he said. What Craig said implies that he is an elitist, and a bigot.

Comment by Dan on April 12, 2011 at 5:53pm

@Cathy Cooper

 

OK, I tried to be diplomatic about it. Again, you said "...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." Your statement is equally as offensive as Craig's, and for exactly the same reason. But more damning for you is your inability to understand that or to accept it. If Craig is an elitist and a bigot, then you are too. But you've shown that you are dense and/or arrogant, as well. 

Comment by Cathy Cooper on April 12, 2011 at 6:38pm

@ Dan

As a scholar, I never get tired of promoting reflectivity.  In this case, you would do better to read and think about what you are saying before you say it.  Furthermore, what I said was workers who have not been to college or have no formal education, will have this same tendency when provided with ALL of the information and explanations and all the various arguments.  Your ad hominem attack phases me not, as sticks and stones may break my bones, but your ad hominem can never hurt me---nor my argument---as arguments aer judged on their validity and soundness.

 

It was Craig that used the term "uneducated", to make reference to blue collar workers, as I pointed out above.  In response to this, and what the bishop told me, I said:

"The so-called "uneducated peasants" ARE able to understand and choose the best arguments and explanations when they are provided with all the information."

 

In response to Bryan on the previous page I stated:

"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. "

 

And to top that off, my favorite philosopher, John Stuart Mill, did not have a degree in philosophy!!  All I care about is the arguments--not petty ad hominen attacks.

 

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