There is on the rise something called the new atheism. It has come on the scene thanks to books like Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation and of course our friends the rational responders. Though there really is nothing new in the atheistic belief system itself, since most of them are naturalists, nor in the arguments they are presenting, what seems to be new is that these preachers of atheism have become much more dogmatic in their stance. Some of them are even preaching doom and gloom if religion or belief in God is not eradicated. Most of them though center in on one thing, and that is that they simply want to know the truth, instead of buying into some myth, and this is what everyone ought to be doing.
This idea that everyone ought to be doing this raises a problem though. Putting aside the question for a moment of whether or not there is a God; let us look at this claim of “oughtness” from within their naturalistic worldview. As Ravi Zacharias has so aptly pointed out, “wherever one finds “oughtness,” it is always linked together with a believed purpose in life. Purpose and oughtness are inextricably bound.”
What he is getting at is that the only way we can ever say that something is not as it ought to be is if we know what its purpose and function is. For example, the only way anyone can say that a watch is not working correctly, is if they know how it is supposed to work in the first place, or in other words how it was designed to work. If the watch has no purpose or proper function assigned to it, than there is no way to say that it is functioning incorrectly.
But this is exactly the problem that the naturalist runs into. Since naturalism cannot account for mankind’s purpose or proper function, it has no way of saying how it ought to be. Within the naturalistic worldview, mankind was not designed for any specific purpose; we are the product of a “blind watchmaker” which has no purpose in what it is doing. This lack of purpose makes any real statement of what ought to be, absolutely groundless.
These new atheist with their strong focus on reason and being logical seem to be making blind leap of faith from a purposeless creation to what they think ought to be. It seems like the responders are not being as rational as they had hoped.