Al Stefanelli, who is the Georgia State Director of American Atheists, Inc, recently wrote an article entitled, “On Morals: Why Atheism Trumps Christianity,”. It’s a great article, I recommend it … but that is not why I’m blogging, it’s the response to this that has caught my attention. The Christian Post asked evangelist and bestselling author Jason Frenn to respond, and so of course this being the Christian Post and Jason being a famous evangelist, we can expect a well-reasoned, truly rational and robust reply, right? Yes, you guessed correctly, the correct answer is “No” OK, you can stop laughing now. Ah but wait, perhaps not, “Bestselling Author” … “Famous Evangelist” … ??? … I’ve never heard of him, and can’t find anybody who has, so I have a quibble with both of those claims, so you can carry on laughing after all.
In an almost content-free reply, we get to his first real counter point in the last line of the fifth paragraph (all that precedes this is waffle telling us how wonderful Jason Frenn is). He claims that, “it takes more “faith” for an atheist to believe in the evolution of life.“.
“The greatest leap of faith is assuming that order evolves out of complete chaos,” Frenn said. “Logically speaking, well-balanced ecosystems, reproducing organisms, and perfectly calibrated oxygen and carbon-dioxide levels do not simply manifest even over time. Such order implies a designer. The most biased and illogical choice is the refusal to see something as obvious as that.”
Sigh! … I need not point out how truly silly this is. We can of course make the observation that an attempt to debunk evolution is not related in any way to atheism and only illustrates the degree of ignorance here, however lets not skip over his silly rebuttal, but instead directly address it. Evolution has an almost countless number of scientific articles published in credible peer-reviewed journals that fully support it – all based upon evidence that can be readily verified. It is perhaps one of the most conclusively proven scientific facts we have today. In stark contrast, Mr Frenn has exactly zero credible bits of evidence to verify his belief in a supernatural entity intervening in human affairs. His failed attempt at a rebuttal basically boils down to an argument from ignorance, “Gosh its all very complex and I have no idea how it could have naturally happened, so God did it“.
So what comes next? Well, Mr Stevanelli made the (correct) observation on his blog that, “The belief that there was a divine man who died for the sins of the world is a grievous and immoral notion. It amounts to human sacrifice,”, so Mr Frenn, replies ““Nothing in life is free“, and then expands upon that, but does not in any way refute the original argument. It is not a rebuttal, but is instead just a bit of vague waffling.
Moving on then, Mr Stevanelli had argued that, “The basic problem with Christian morality comes down to it being little more than a primitive system of reward and punishment.“. Mr Frenn’s reply is to claim that his belief is different because he has “love and forgiveness“. No mention of hell, but since that is indeed a Christian Belief, then he is in fact confirming that Mr Stevanelli’s argument is correct, and is simply applying a very heavy sugar-coating in order to craft the illusion of its digestibility, which I must confess is a truly weird way to refute your opponents argument.
Mr Frenn’s final argument is to claim that Christianity holds the high moral ground. He writes:
“When Christianity is forced out of the public square, it ultimately becomes a naked public square, void of values and core principles that keep society healthy and moving in the right direction,”
What Mr Frenn fails to grasp is that basing your morality upon a bronze age text leads to highly immoral stances such as the anti-gay rhetoric that is so common within many circles of belief. Ensuring that religious kooks cannot impose their irrational beliefs upon others does not in any way reduce morality, it actually increases it and ensures that freedom of thought prevails.
So that’s it then, his entire rebuttal consists of exactly four silly counter claims. Mr Stevanelli lays down far more than four criticisms of irrational belief, so I’m not sure I actually understand how Mr Frenn can consider these four bits of vague hand-waving nonsense to be a viable rebuttal, and so perhaps it was rather wise of the Christian Post not to provide a link to Mr Stevanelli’s original article and so effectively protect their readers from any undue exposure to critical thinking and reason. It does of course cause me to wonder why Mr Frenn actually bothered at all, however perhaps the observation that the first five paragraphs are focused on telling us how wonderful Mr Frenn is, and then the last paragraph is used to push Mr Frenn’s new book and also tell us about his daily evangelistic radio program just might be more than a hint as to the real motivation.
- On Morals: Why Atheism Trumps Christianity
- The laughably silly and almost content-free rebuttal by Jason Frenn – Evangelist Counters Nonbeliever’s Claim That ‘Atheism Trumps Christianity’