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Questions: Have Atheist Content Creators Won the Day Over Christian Apologists?


Every year or two, I ask readers to submit questions they want me to answer. That time has arrived once again. Any question. Any subject. Please leave your questions in the comment section or send them to me via email. I will try to answer them in the order received.

I look forward to reading and answering your questions.

Long-time reader Geoff asked:

How do you feel the ‘argument from reason’ is going? YouTube is awash with atheist presenters, much of it pretty poor, but there’s a core of really convincing channels, very moderate in approach, and with ever-increasing subscribers. I’m thinking especially of the likes of Genetically Modified Skeptik, Alex O’Connor Cosmic Skeptik, and Rationality Rules. Previously Matt Dillahunty and Atheist Experience was perhaps the main source, but Dillahunty’s abrasive style and the awful quality of the phone-ins surely put many people off, and there was certainly little in the way of developing nuanced arguments.

Anyhow, I feel that the argument from reason is now so overwhelmingly in favour of the atheist case that I feel apologetics is almost dead in the water, but perhaps it’s simply that I’m immersed at ‘the wrong end of the pool’. What do you think?

Go to YouTube these days and you will find a plethora of atheist creators putting out content that challenges Christianity, using philosophical and scientific arguments to do so. YouTubers such as Alex O’Connor, Steven Woodford, Drew McCoy, Matt Dillahunty, and others are well-schooled in philosophy and the various arguments for the existence of God and other arguments used to justify Christian belief. I thoroughly enjoy their videos, although I have reached a similar point to Geoff, that there are no more new arguments to be made; that much like Samson slaying 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, these defenders of rationality, skepticism, and reason have slayed virtually every argument used by Evangelical and Catholic apologists to defend the existence of God and the claims of Christianity.

If I have one point of criticism of these atheists it is this: when it comes to theology and the Biblical text itself, they often display a shallow or Fundamentalist understanding of what the Bible says and what Christians really believe. Some of them just regurgitate what they have heard other atheists say, while others lack sufficient education to have complex, informed discussions about the Biblical text and Christianity. Sometimes, I will email them when they make glaring errors, hoping to educate them on the subject in question. Unfortunately, I have yet to have one of them respond to me. If you are going to make content deconstructing what it is that Christians believe, it would be helpful if you actually KNOW what they believe. And Christians are just as bad. They can be woefully ignorant about the Bible and its teachings, and when it comes to church history, ignorance is the norm.

There indeed is a lot of atheist-created content on YouTube and TikTok. Juvenile, elementary-level critiques — long on rhetoric and ridicule — can be found everywhere on social media. I used to challenge such things, but I gave up. Some of the creators are in the “angry atheist” phase of life, so I know that no amount of calm, rational criticism will change their minds. It takes time for wounds to heal.

Have atheists won the day? Perhaps, but there’s still a place for well-spoken, thoughtful atheists to produce content for public consumption. As I have pondered starting a podcast (I know, I know, I have been pondering for so long we are in a new decade) I ask myself, “What can I add to the discussions that atheists and Christians might find helpful?” My thought as of today — subject to change — is to start a podcast that specifically focuses on the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement. There’s very little content on this subject, and since my expertise lies here, I thought the IFB might be a worthy subject of a new podcast. While I can intelligently discuss the existence of God and I have a rudimentary understanding of science, a philosopher and scientist (in an educated sense) I am not. I know what I know, and I certainly know what I don’t.

I watch or listen to The Atheist Experience, Talk Heathen, Pangburn, Truth Wanted, SciManDan, MythVision, Dan McClellan, Bart Ehrman, Belief It or Not, Data Over Dogma, Digital Hammurabi, Gutsick Gibbon, James Tabor, Jon Perry, Kip Davis, and several programs on The Line Network featuring Matt Dillahunty as host. (I also listen to some political, science, and sports podcasts.) I agree that Dillahunty has become increasingly angry and argumentative over the years, but I do love his content, especially his debates or table discussions with various atheists and Christians. (The Christians who call in to atheist talk shows are generally dreadful, lacking in solid theological training and understanding of church history.) I really enjoyed his recent debate with Than Christopoulos on the resurrection of Jesus. Wonderful discussion. Both men were thoughtful and polite.

Video Link

I deconverted sixteen years ago. Since then, I have interacted with countless Christians, especially Evangelicals. It has been years since I have heard a new or original argument for the existence of God and the nature of the Biblical text. I am far less patient these days due to having to answer the same questions, arguments, and challenges over and over and over again. It does get old after a while. I suspect some of the creators mentioned above will one day reach a similar place. Contrary to what Evangelical apologists say, the Bible is not an inexhaustive book. Eventually, there’s nothing more to say on the matter.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    Most people don’t get into religion due to logic or science, but logic and science can help people who are going through deconstruction. I dint know what starts a person’s deconstruction – likely it’s different for each person. I know I felt caught between the push of constant indoctrination and the pull of feelings like “this doesn’t make sense” or “this doesn’t match with what I observe in real life” or learning something in a class that destroyed a concept I was taught in fundamentalist evangelicalism. There’s a place for all these different types of atheist content – people’s deconstruction stories, angry atheists, teachings of scholars, political discourse shining a light on Christian nationalism, etc. As our journey progresses, the content we need changes.

    I’d love it if you started an IFB podcast. “Surviving BJU” and its successor “Beyond BJU” go into detail about IFB, but they’re quite specifically centered around BJU.

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    I don’t follow any of the YouTube atheists you mention (Gutsick Gibbon good, but lacks brevity. I always thought Matt Dillahunty was abrasive). Typically I don’t care about the Christian vs. Atheist debate, in my mind that’s been long settled in my mind. Instead I prefer atheists that talk about other things, for example Thunderf00t or AronRa. You didn’t mention (Thinking Atheist) Seth Andrews, though I think he is one of the better ones since he was a fundamentalist and did apologetics as a radio host. Nor did you mention Hemet Mehta the Friendly Atheist, who is interesting because he was a Jain rather than a Christian.

    That’s a keen observation that Biblical ignorance and Christian practice aren’t well understood by either side. There’s also the fish in the water problem. Religion (or more properly religious culture) can be so ubiquitous that you don’t even realize you’re swimming in it.

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