Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Deceptive Sin leads to atheism

I teach a course in Christian Evidences at Amridge University, an accredited school that offers everything from an Associate Degree to a Doctor of Philosophy in Bible. I found this quotation in the textbook I thought worth sharing, considering the comment I made August 11 on "Rebellion and Amorality":

J. Budziszewski, a repentant former atheist says:

"Not many people disbelieve in God and then begin to sin; most atheists adopt some favorite sin and then find reasons to disbelieve in God. In this common sequence of intellectual events, an individual does not begin by denying God or even by denying moral law. Rather, he begins by denying a part of the moral law, perhaps even a single moral law. Perhaps he denies only the precept of chastity--that sex is a privilege of a marital union. Perhaps he denies only the precept of fidelity--that vows are to be kept. Perhaps he denies only the precept of filial reverence--that parents are to be held in respect. Or perhaps he denies only the precept of justice--that one must not seek unfair advantage."

He further argues:

"One eventually loses control of the 'no to just a part' gambit because it is impossible to reject just a part of the moral law. To affirm that the unitive and procreative power of sexuality may be used outside of matrimony is to deny a great many things about human nature besides. To affirm that a vow may be broken is to call into question the very idea of personal responsibility. To deny to one's parents their due respect is to reject the chain of obligation that links all generations. To maintain that one may seek unfair advantage is to unleash the gods of the jungle." ("Why I Am Not an Atheist" in Why I Am a Christian, ed. by Norman Geisler, 57).

Deception breeds deception, and self-deception breeds more self-deception. One lie must cover up another, until an individual is blind to his own soul and to his own God.

Sin breeds thanklessness and dishonor to God (Rom. 1:18-21). We must be aware that all sin has a vulnearability to self-deception.

Think about it,
Phil

4 comments:

Samuel Skinner said...

This is the classic "atheists really, deep down believe in God- they are just lying to themselves."

The problem with such thinking is it is the idea that people "don't really believe" what they say they do. It happens all too often and it is important to realize that people occasionally do mean what they say.

Another important chinck is the fact that the universal moral law can be taken apart and some sections discarded. A true moral law would have all the sections interconnected, and removing pieces would lead to immoral behavior. That isn't the case here. Atheists who have deconverted have removed sections wholesale without weaking the rest of the code. If something can be removed so easily, it is probably spandral.

Phil Sanders said...

In Budziszewski's defense, his essay was entitled, "Why I Am Not an Atheist." As a professor in a university in Texas, he taught his "practical atheism." Obviously there are theoretical atheists and practical atheists, but in both cases they substitute themselves for God.

The essay speaks of the very thing you are talking about with regard to taking out part of the moral law, while hanging on to other sections, which seemed to help him gain favor. He called this "plausibility gambits." In the end, he recognized that doing so had disadvantages, one of which was that disregarding moral law can easily get out of control. There is no stopping place.

Thanks for a good post.
Phil

preacherman said...

Phil,
Wonderful post.
Extremely intersting.
Thank you for sharing this with us.
Keep up the great work you do with your blog.

Steve Higginbotham said...

Phil,
Great article. Morals certainly do impact our faith. Typically, I would say that where you find "unbelief" you will find some pre-existing "pet" sin in which one is persisting.