Greta Christina and John Loftus have recently posted regarding how atheism cannot win due to cultural and biological factors. Below are some points made by these authors and by this blogger on the matter:
- For survival, our brains have evolved to look for agency, even though there may not be such. Thus, it appears that our brains may be hard-wired for the default position of superstition. It requires "different" thinking to combat this "natural" tendency.
- Also for survival, we are programmed from infancy to believe parents and other authority figures. And, again, it takes "different" thinking to question authority as we mature.
- We are living in a Christian culture, with all of the reinforcement that it provides. It is difficult to "break away" from the group that offers such belonging and comfort.
- As long as there will be the unexplainable, there will be room for faith.
- Atheism cannot offer the carrot of eternal hope nor the stick of eternal hell.
- Psychological defense mechanisms (confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, etc) will cause rationalization away from evidence against theism.
- Atheism cannot offer a universal, absolute, unchanging grounding to morality. To an atheist, morality is determined by multiple factors found in each situation and is essentially based on the Golden Rule and doing the greatest good for the greatest number.
- Atheism cannot offer an eternal purpose for people. To an atheist, purpose is determined by the individual and his/her relationship with others while alive in the material world.
- Believers, as a whole, are ignorant of the teachings of their religious institutions. Thus, it is difficult to have a discussion regarding the particulars of their faith.