It could be said that all professed unbelievers are being intellectually dishonest in a sense because of their suppression of the truth as it says in Romans chapter 1. But what I'm wanting to look at here is those atheists who are unwilling or unable to engage in an honest discussion with Christians.
I think that the dishonest tactics become much more obvious when atheists are faced with a presuppositional apologetic approach because they know that they don't have good answers to defend their atheistic beliefs at a foundational level.
Again and again I find atheists resort to insults and evasive tactics.
|One of my "admirers" using a whole bunch of logical fallacies, insults, and dishonest tactics crammed into one short post.|
As for evasive tactics - avoiding questions and stonewalling is a common resort of those who have no good answers but don't want to admit that this is the case or look at the fact that their worldview is fundamentally flawed. Wikipedia has a good page on the art of evasion under the title of Question Dodging http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Question_dodging. Many atheists will be very familiar with this art (taken from Wikipedia):
The form of a dodged question, this example being "Why are you here?", could be:
- Refusing to answer ("No comment.")
- Changing the subject ("Your shoelace is undone.")
- Explaining redundant things to distract one's focus ("Well I arrived here 10 minutes ago and I decided that...")
- Creating an excuse not to answer ("I'm feeling sick, I can't answer now.")
- Repeating the question ("Why are you here?")
- Answering the question with another question ("Why do you think I'm here?")
- Answering things that weren't asked ("I'm in the corridor.")
- Questioning the question ("Are you sure that's relevant?")
- Challenging the question ("You assume I am here for a reason.")
- Giving an answer in the wrong context ("Because I was born.")
I also found this interesting web page which includes a list of 54 intellectually dishonest debate tactics. http://www.johntreed.com/debate.html. I think I've seen pretty much all of the 54 used by atheists, but some of the more common ones would be:
1. Name-calling (e.g calling creationists "cretards")
2. Changing the subject (evasively avoiding difficult questions)
24. Theatrical fake laughter or sighs (e.g. You believe that? Lol)
40. Mockery (e.g. Christians are idiots)
45. Claiming well-defined words are ill-defined (E.g. God)
One example I've encountered recently of someone who uses evasive and dishonest tactics would be Atheist Lee (See my blog here and one of our Google plus discussions here). I tried again and again to get straight answers from her on Google plus, but was met continually with a barrage of insults and evasion of the issues. I asked her repeatedly if she could be wrong about everything she claims to know - and she gave an answer that was a non-answer talking about how she could be wrong about many things and how science is supposedly constantly refining her beliefs. I never did get an answer as to whether she knows ANYTHING at all for certain.
The other thing to point out too is that when atheists do this they are being consistent with their worldview which has no moral absolutes. Why not lie if there is no God holding you accountable? If truth is not a priority for you, but merely keeping your ego intact, then why not use dishonest tactics? This is a fundamental difference between Christians and professed atheists - for the Christian one of the highest priorities in any discussion is truth - but for the atheist their highest priority is usually winning the debate and protecting their ego.
In relation to this, a good book I read years ago was 'People of the Lie' by M Scott Peck. While I don't endorse everything he says or believes, the book was an eye opener for me in helping me to more clearly realise how some people actually prefer living a life founded on lies and self-deception - those kind of people have no interest in finding truth or growing as a person.
The Bible warns that in the last days we will see an increase in those who hate God and hate truth in 2 Timothy 3:1-9
"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone."
|An example of some intellectually dishonest atheists|
At the end of the day professed atheists who use evasive and dishonest tactics to avoid engaging presuppositionalists (or any Christian) in open and honest discussions are just exposing the bankruptcy of their worldview. Avoiding questions and then mocking presuppositionalists does not equal winning a debate - no matter how much you claim that that is the case.
Professed atheists will argue that Christians use dishonest tactics too. I don't believe this to be the case, but if it were the case we would be acting inconsistently to what the Bible teaches. In contrast when atheists behave dishonestly they are being consistent with their worldview that has no moral absolutes - no God to guide them or motivate them to be respectful or honest in their behaviour.
I'd also like to point out that this particular blog post is not attempting to prove that God exists. The proof that God exists is not that Christians are morally superior to atheists. From a human perspective many professed atheists may even be much better people than many Christians - but that's not the issue. The proof that God exists is that without him you could not prove anything. (See my website here for proof that God exists).
- 9 Signs That You Might Be An Intellectually Dishonest Atheist | The CMV Blog.
- Master List of Logical Fallacies.