The current virulent strain of evangelical atheism does a disservice to many of the arguments of traditional atheism. I am thinking here of the latest efforts by the new Apostles of Atheism, Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation), and Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything). It certainly does not advance the atheist position to have a proponent like Dawkins rambling around the world arguing that if one raises a child to be “religious,” then one is basically raising them to be an axe murderer and/or a terrorist. Dawkins’ extremism alone has led renowned atheist Michael Ruse to confess that “The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist.” (1)
This article summarizes the arguments of traditional or “classical” atheism-i.e., atheism as it has been presented since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. The articulation of these arguments also serves to cover the essential arguments of the new Apostles of Atheism, without the need for dealing with their hysteria from which even other atheists such as Ruse are beginning to distance themselves. Next, each argument is separately analyzed and found to be wanting in evidence and in logic. Finally, since one has hardly proved enough by ending at the existence of God if God has chosen to be silent, the importance of the case for God’s specific entrance into the human situation is put forth.
My vocation is one of a trial lawyer. The assertions of atheism-as well as the assertions that God is there and has not been silent-will, therefore, be implicitly tested by legal canons of evidence employed in law courts for almost a millennia as a means for arbitrating competing factual claims.
We only note in passing that God does not believe in atheists because, as pointed out by trial lawyer John Warwick Montgomery, in the end there really are no atheists and never have been in the history of the world. In fact, everybody has what Paul Tillich called an “ultimate concern,” something that gets first place in one’s life when the chips are down. That “ultimate concern” is that person’s religion, regardless of whether they formally consider themselves to be an atheist. More importantly, that ultimate concern is their god-whether it be their intellect and ability to reason logically, a girlfriend, a Ph.D., buffed abs, an Academy Award, a toy poodle, or season tickets to Green Bay Packers games.