Misguided or Misleading?
I’ve long held that the primary objections atheists have against Christianity are emotional in nature, rather than intellectual. This doesn’t make their objections any less valid, in my opinion. Emotional objections are very real, and usually more difficult to wrestle with than purely intellectual issues, no matter what you do or don’t believe. We’re all human, after all! Knowing where atheist’s objections are coming from can help provide context for a productive discussion, and may shed some light on the question behind the questioner. A recent entry in the Twitter Debate underscores this:
— Thomas Doubtmoore (@Doubtism) September 5, 2016
This claim is as heavy on emotion as it is weak on both logical and theological grounds. (Which may be why the author chose to remain anonymous.) His primary premise is built on the idea that all religions think all other religions are 100% “completely full of crap”.
A cursory bit of research on major world religions by the author would have revealed the fallacy of his premise. There is, in fact, a lot of overlap of beliefs between religions. For example, Buddhism is a subset of Hinduism. Hindus have no problem adding Jesus to their pantheon of 330 million other gods. The Bahá’í faith believes that all religions are true, and a continuation of a single story, with new prophets being introduced in different eras.
Or if you just look at the “Big 3” he mentions (Muslims, Jews, and Christians) none of these religions believes the other is 100% wrong. The Christian Old Testament contains all the same books that Jews use. Muslims agree with Christians that Jesus was born of a virgin, that He was a prophet, and He was raised by God into Heaven. The Big 3 all agree Abraham took his son to be sacrificed at God’s command on Mount Moriah. (Though they disagree on which son it was.)
The author’s secondary premise is built on the bandwagon fallacy of logic. As an attempted form of validation, he appeals to the fact that many people believe (or don’t believe) something. The flaw in this argument is that the popularity of an idea has absolutely no bearing on its validity. If it did, then the Earth would have made itself flat for most of history to accommodate this formerly popular belief.
The logic behind the author’s Hitchens quote is certainly accurate; namely that all religions cannot all be right, but they could all be wrong. However, this logic only goes as far as disproving the assertion that “all roads lead to God”. It does nothing to support or undermine the truth claims of any single religion.
Interestingly, the only faith group that claims all other faith groups are 100% “full of crap” seems to be atheists. (Perhaps that’s where most of the delusion can be found. 😉 )