In this episode from the Word on Fire podcast, Fr. Robert Barron addresses arguments raised between well-known podcast host Joe Rogan and infamous atheist/evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. In this clip Fr. Barron addresses the "one God further/everyone is an atheist" objection.
Publish Date: Feb 23, 2021
eligibility of the world apart from God, I think there you've got a much harder wrote a whole Okay, we'll move on to the next clip. And this one contains a classic Richard Dawkins argument. He features it in his God delusion book. It's an argument that Joe Rogan describes as quote a home run argument, presumably against God. So here it is. One of things that I really enjoyed about your book was when you explain to people that everyone who practices a religion is an atheist, you're just in atheist in regards to Zeus or Apollo 999. Yes, and that that's Ah, home run with this argument because, yes, but that really is a home run. Because this is this concept of, you know, I me and my friends jokingly, what would always say praise Odin when anything would happen? It was pretty good. Cool way, say, praise Odin and I started doing it online, and people really got in the saying Praise Odin about certain things. Some people get mad at me. They actually got mad that I was your mocking Christianity by saying pretty e wasn't even really I was just having fun e was having fun because the Odin seemed like a cool god. You know, it's a old school, God e mean the God of the Vikings. All right, well, Bishop, you know, I love Vikings. But bracketing the Odin question here, what do you make of this? It's very famous argument that that Dawkins helped popularize, often described as the one God. Further objection. He's trying to make it sound like, Hey, look, we're all atheists. It's just that I'm an atheist in regard to one more God than you. How do you respond to that? Yeah, I mean, home run. To me, it's just a total swing and a miss that argument. I'll get it two ways. One negative, one positive. The negative one. Is this whether you talk about Odin or Thor or serious or Zeus or Poseidon, you know any of these mythological figures would be beings in the world. So however you're imagining them, they're kind of super versions of finite things in the world. Their superhuman type figures what serious people mean by God has nothing to do with any figure like that. God is the unconditioned source of existence itself. God is the sheer active to be itself. God is not one being among many. God is the sheer active of being as such. Which means that holding any of these finite sort of figures, these mythological characters to be God is just sort of silly. Once you understand what serious people mean by the word God. So not believing in them has nothing to do with not believing in the true god. The true God has so little to do with figures such as that eso it's apples and oranges. It's not like, Oh, now just one more example of of debunking Osiris or Thor or Zeus. Those figures have nothing to do with what serious people mean by the word God. But here's the more positive way to do it, Brandon. It's simply not the case that, let's say a Christian would hold well. We're right and they're all wrong. Eso everybody else that's ever believed in any sort of God is wrong. No, no. On the contrary, Vatican two teachers, for example, that there are elements of truth in every great religion. There are rays of light. There are indications of truth in every major religion. We're not simply saying we got it. Everybody else has been crazy. No, no, they even the mythological religions represents some kind of aspiration toward the transcendent, some sense of the transcendent. There's something right in all the religions of the world. Eso It's not this stark either, or that they want to propose. And and the argument kind of hinges upon the either or equality of it. I wouldn't do in either or in this positive way. I'd say it's a kind of both and that we recognize the fullness of divine revelation contained in Christianity. But elements of the truth of it containing in all these great religions, um, so you could do it negatively that these figures have nothing to do with the true God. Positively, there's something right in all the great religions. So it's not this stark either, or that they want to propose. Here's another line from mentioned Tillich. Earlier, Tillich, responding to 40 Bach, said, Yeah, people project all the time, so I call them Idolatrous Forms of religion involved projections of God, Tillich said. But the one thing you can't project is the screen eso There's a screen upon which these projections they're happening. What's that? I would call that the fundamental religious sensibility. Now go right back to my first answer, the consensus Genc. Um, why has there been this consensus across the ages and cultures that God exists? That's the screen. If you want. That's that deep. Call it spiritually intuition that undergirds and runs through all the great religions of the world. That's what you have a much harder time explaining away. You can quarrel with the various projections if you want, but you can't really project the screen. You can't you can't, uh, quarrel with the screen. The screen is what's really interesting, I'd say in all the great religions of the world, whenever I hear this one God, further objection from many of my atheist friends. I also often respond with, ah, political analogy, I would say Suppose an anarchist comes to you anarchist, someone who rejects all form of government and says, Look, everybody is basically an anarchist, you know, you just embrace democracy, but you reject all other forms of government. So you're basically like me, an anarchist. I think most of us would see how how silly that is that just because you reject other alternatives doesn't mean you reject your the same is the one who rejects all of the alternatives. Okay, it's a swing and a miss that argument. And as a follow up, I should add on our website strange notions dot com. We have an article from Dr Edward Phaser I'll link to.