Atheists are great at being atheists when they only talk to other atheists or construct strawman theists and show how easy it is to set them on fire. The latest example is in the premiere episode of the second season of HBO’s Crashing.
A conversation develops between Penn Jillette and Pete (who appears as a Christian in the first season) over the existence of God. The conversation is scripted. It’s not a real. I could make an atheist look like an idiot if I write the dialog for the atheist. The Christian’s responses are downright stupid. They could only have been written by an atheist who has never debate a real theist. I suggest that Penn listens to “The Great Debate” between Greg L. Bahnsen and Gordon Stein and the short video Cruel Logic as starters:
Pete: Jesus is still my co-pilot. He’s great. He doesn’t drink either.
Pete: Very — Very smooth flight.
Penn: I thought there was the wine thing. Isn’t there the wine?
Pete: Ahh– You know– it was one miracle…The rest of the time he was pretty dry.
Penn: You really do believe?
No intelligent Christian would ever make such an argument. But when you’re trying to ridicule Christians, atheists try to make them dumb as a bobblehead. I don’t know any Christian who would support their belief in God by claiming that Jesus did not drink wine.
The staged conversation continues:
Penn: Now, I don’t wanna be dismissive, but you actually believe that there’s a being that cares about, forgive me, but your masturbation? Cares about everything you do?
Pete: Yeah, you– you know, we make—
Penn: And you don’t have any gnawing doubts about that? You don’t think that maybe you’re– you’re letting things slide by you that could be more beautiful?
Pete: Like what?
Penn: Like life?
Pete: So you don’t– you don’t believe in something watching us, something keeping all of this going?
Penn: I’m not sure there’s no God, but I don’t know. The most important revolution in human history, more important than agriculture, more important than writing, is the scientific revolution. Came down to three words: I don’t know. And no institution, no church, no king, no power structure had ever said in history, “I don’t know.”
This is typical of Penn Jillette, to bring up something like masturbation. It’s a red herring. My questions to Penn would be: “Is there anything in the atheist worldview that ultimately cares about anything? Does the cosmos care whether Penn Jillette lives or dies? If someone put a gun to Penn Jillette’s head and blew his brains out, would the evolved carbon unit that pulled the trigger suffer any eternal consequences? If so, by whom or what? And does it matter? Does anyone have to adhere to any cosmic moral (personal or impersonal) judge?”
A true atheist could never live consistently with his or her atheism. If someone came out of a crowd and killed Penn, there is nothing in the darkness of space or in the atomic structure of the cosmos that could or would say that the act was a grave moral evil. Penn’s permanent end would be no different from that of history’s greatest mass murderers since there is no one to judge beyond the grave. Hitler and others may be vilified on this side of death but not on the other side. At death, all the mass murderers of history would be morally equal to Penn.
In fact, the best Penn can say about moral arguments is ” I don’t know.” This makes his opinions on morality suspect.
Penn says he’s interested in “life,” but he can’t account for life. He knows that matter does not spontaneously appear, and yet, he believes in a worldview that life did exactly that…