Atheistic Compartmentalization

These are the closing statements made by Kelly of the Rational Response Squad in a recent debate on ABC’s Dateline. 

Christian beliefs are irrational and do not harmonize with the type of rigorous thinking that is required in science, so it is said. According to Kelly (at the 40 second mark), Christians can act as valuable contributors in scientific studies (or any other field in which intelligent Christians participate) only because they mentally “compartmentalize.” According to Kelly, Christians who do engage in science do not operate with these religious convictions within the four walls of the laboratory. Christians have a “God-box” where they won’t “let their logic seep into.”

Is this true? Do Christians secretly operate on atheistic grounds when intellectually contributing to the world in general, or doing science in specific?

I think not. In fact, what’s most ironic to me here is that Kelly’s statement is the exact opposite of what is the case.

The naturalistic worldview believes one way about reality (all is matter in motion), yet it adherents function in their everyday lives based on beliefs that contradict their atheistic philosophy. When Kelly argues that Christianity is irrational, how does he account for rules or laws of rational thinking? Are they merely things that people agreed on? If they are, then we’re free to break them. Are these laws of logic universal abstract “things”, objective features of the universe we live in? But in the naturalistic worldview all things are physical. Are the laws of logic physical things that we can touch or taste? And why ought we to obey these “laws”? What ethical obligations do we have to either a social convention or physical matter? If Kelly and her partners cannot account for rules of logic, how then do they even begin to make sense of the notion of debate?

It’s the atheist that “borrows” aspects of their thinking from the Christian worldview. It’s the atheist that “compartmentalizes” in their thinking. Why do I say that? Because the atheistic scientist accepts beliefs about the nature of reality (the uniformity of nature, i.e. that the future will be like the past), knowledge (the validity of the inductive principle), truth and ethics (we ought not to lie in the recording of data) and logic that simply cannot be made sense of in a naturalistic worldview.

  • UPDATE: In a disturbing turn of events, it turns out that Kelly now works as a pornographic film actress. Please pray for Kelly. Pray that God would open her eyes to her real value as the image of God. Pray that God would open her eyes to the glory and beauty of Christ. Pray that she would not go through with her plans to market her body for Mammon. And pray that she would be surrounded by mature Christians that can love her well and point her to Christ.
  • For more on how my claims here actually play out in an apologetic dialogue see my piece Faith vs Faith at Reformed Perspectives e-magazine.

Posted on June 28, 2007, in Applied Apologetics, Atheism, Video Clips and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. logic is a human (or intelligent being) construction, a way to look at the world and make choices — logic doesn’t actually exist as a ‘thing’, although it is material since it’s based in our thoughts,

    • You can’t have it both ways. First you say “logic isn’t a ‘thing'”, then you say it’s a material thing. Exactly where, if it is a material thing, is the law of non-contradition in the human brain? Can it be weighed? On the other hand, if it is a material thing, then it’s decidedly not a human social construction.

  2. Just because a person doesn’t believe in logic, however stupid that may be, does not mean they don’t believe in any sort of structure at all, and that every random thing now applies to them.

  3. I would agree. But I would probably chalk that up to inconsistency. If, for instance, the law of non-contradiction doesn’t describe a real state of affairs in the universe then all kinds of nonsense can be true.

  1. Pingback: Introducing the New Apologetics Q&A Page | KINGDOMVIEW

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