If you have faith in an invisible and metaphysical God, then you simply are, and cannot avoid being, delusional… In fact, you have ignored the advances of modern science, lazily inserted God in place of the unknown that science has yet to discover, and you are spreading this poisonous and regressive delusion by telling others to believe in your imaginary God… At least, that is what several atheists have said to me, almost verbatim. I understand that not every atheist may think exactly this way, but that is a summary of my experience with some of their mainstream objections thus far. It’s funny how when someone tries to convince us “people of faith” that we believe in an imaginary “friend”, we actually almost give room for doubt, if not concede to doubt. You may ask yourself, “Is that really what I believe? Has my mind created a delusion to cope with my reality? Is my religion un-enlightened and outdated?”. Well… No.
A Caricature Christianity
I understand that you may be an atheist, agnostic, skeptic, or a religious person yourself. But as promised, I will honestly speak of the Christian faith in particular. However, the matter of faith should be of interest to all non-religious and religious people who seriously object or submit to faith in a God. As a person of faith, particularly a Christian, the objections that were listed above are not what we actually believe.
When someone paints a picture of a person’s point of view to be different from what it actually is in order to more easily attack their claims, they are committing the “strawman” fallacy. This fallacy, mixed with emotionally charged people, creates quite a caricature out of religious people and their beliefs, especially Christians. Very often I have encountered strawman arguments against Christianity. Not that some of the premises of those arguments are entirely unfounded, but they indeed attack an easy and misconstrued target. I believe that this is so common because:
1) People are naturally offended by what Christianity represents and therefore demonize its beliefs and adherents.
2) The shallow or hypocritical versions of Christianity that are being mass-produced by many who claim to be Christian are not giving a fair representation of genuine Christian belief, and therefore many critics feel it should not be taken seriously.
3) People are far more reactive than they are interactive today due to a decline in conversational and critical-thinking capabilities.
Certainly, in part, some Christians (or at least those who claim to be) are helping to caricaturize our faith. And unfortunately, as a result, the true doctrines of the Church are being caricaturized as well. A few bad apples can cause people, especially in this rather presumptuous social climate, to think that the whole tree is rotten. But the tree that is our Christian faith remains rich in the Word of God and we need to hold fast to our foundation. While we are often pressured in our overly sensitive and politically correct Western society to not go on the offensive when this misrepresentation and ideological attack happens (which appears to itself be quite the double-standard), I believe that it is our duty to stand firm on what we believe to be the truth and to keep those who would seek to dilute the actual beliefs that we hold honest. In order to keep these objectors honest, we need to really know what we believe, lovingly speak up, and respectfully challenge false claims and misrepresentations of our faith.
For example, there is an egregious difference in the concept of having an imaginary friend and believing in a God. An imaginary friend is very clearly an imaginative creation of the mind, hence “imaginary”. This is a free act of our volition! To speak for myself, I tried having an imaginary friend when I was a boy once, and it didn’t work out very well. My reasoning abilities even then would not allow me to create one. It seemed to be too much work and rather silly. Moreover, I don’t know of millions of people across history who have believed in the same exact “imaginary friend” or who have been willing to die for the belief that this imaginary friend exists and is who he claims to be. Also, there are justifiable reasons to consider that God exists based on what we can observe, that is not so with a figment of our subjective imaginations. Without going further, any reasonable person should be able to see the difference here.
Regarding God, I surely did not create Him. I heard about Him, but I initially did not know or claim to know Him. To be honest, I was “good”, so I thought, without Him. But when I heard of His truth, I encountered a God that was wholly “other” from myself. I did not create an imaginary being to respond to and be the master of my life. That would be a psychological oddity. This encounter happened in a truly metaphysical and subjective way once I chose to open up to Him. The metaphysical began to correspond with the physical and natural world around me. I began to see the full picture. I tried going back to my old sinful habits, and could not. Answers to prayer HAPPENED! And the possibility of those prayer’s coming to fruition in such specific and inconceivable ways was far too much of a coincidence to logically be counted as such. God has His ways, such as answering prayer, to strengthen our faith and grow us in our assurance of His real interaction in our lives!
Before I chose to have faith, He was there, knocking at the door to my life. Although, I had not yet let Him in. At first, I did not desire to change my life to conform to God’s standards and live for Him whatsoever. Certainly not under my own volition! As I considered if it was really God on the other side of the door, I realized I had to make a choice; Humble myself in faith to open the door, not knowing if it was really God for certain, or wait until the knocking went away. I willfully responded by opening the door. God certainly could have broken it down and come right in, but He willed for me, and all people, to have the ability to freely open up to Him. I experienced, and continue to more fully experience and understand, God and His goodness only because I chose to have faith.
The Subtlety of Faith
Within our worldviews, we each have many things that we believe to be true. Although, we may not be certain that those things in which we believe are indeed true. For instance, there are many who presuppose Darwinian Evolution, a view of Naturalism, and the “Big Bang” Theory in their worldview. Now, to start at the foundational points of this view, how exactly would the entirety of the Universe and the very creation of matter come from nothing? How could life (complex) come from nothing (simple)? How could the simplicity of nothingness somehow, over time sitting in nothingness, decide (or rather not decide) to produce/become/create matter and then create a living single-celled organism? And how did that single-celled organism become a fish? Did it swim around for a billion or so years and decide to become a fish? Was it somehow intelligent? But then where did the intelligence come from out of non-intelligence? You see, these kinds of presuppositions are often explained by theories that attempt to fill in the gaps, much like a big incomplete puzzle, in this worldviews argumentation. Do the pieces of the puzzle really fit together? Is the image of a worldview made to look like what we want it to be or what it really is? How do we really know?
Some who come up with theories to fill these gaps in our knowledge, which may be based on an unproven theory itself or lack of evidence, may well use science as a cover to make their theories (or philosophies) of life’s meaning and origin seem more “reasonable”. Big words may give an appearance of coherence and credibility, but we must pay attention to the reality and implications of what is actually being said. Now, I don’t mean to say that all of these theories would be impossible, improbable, or even false. But this heavy trust in “expert” theories, that are likely from people we’ve never met or evidence we haven’t personally seen, upon which we would use as a foundation to construct an entire worldview, would require quite a formidable amount of faith, wouldn’t it? Can we then, without real certainty, trust in these theories to inform us about our present reality? Perhaps, but to what extent?
Furthermore, consider the New Testament. It is the most historically attested and accurate ancient document that we have. We have 5,686 copies of the Greek New Testament alone (For more on this click here!). Therefore, we can very reasonably trust that we are reading what the first Christians really compiled. This allows us to place reasonable trust in the events that the New Testament documents recorded. But how do we really know that many of the facts or documents that we have, with far, far, less attestation and historical credibility than this, are in fact accurately portrayed and true? Perhaps the archaeologists and historians were off about something? Or would we fully trust these experts in all cases because they are beyond the human fallibility that we all share given their title and claims to champion “science”…? And no, I am not advocating a complete distrust in the experts! However, we all should honestly evaluate what we put our trust in. It is evident that we all do have faith in many things which are foundational to our worldview. If we are delusional for having faith in God, then certainly the same argument, perhaps an even stronger argument, can be made for the hypocrisy of the faith that the accuser who does not believe in God is approaching us with.
Now, I understand that as a Christian I similarly place my faith in the Word of God. I understand that there are observable truths about the reality that we live in that we can study. I understand the valuable merits and methodologies of scientific study. In fact, I really enjoy science! But the question is, if we put on the “lens” of whichever worldview we adhere to (Naturalism, Christianity, Pantheism, etc.), then which system carries the best evidence for the most reasonable explanation of the reality that we live in? And to formulate a coherent worldview, we need to understand what the faith claims that we hold to are and how they correspond to reality.
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe” – Augustine
If God created the world, then the reality that we live in will provide powerful evidence for this truth. And of course, God gave us reasoning abilities to discover this evidence. This truth would be understood when we observe our reality. While science does a pretty good job explaining and observing what is, does it really do justice in explaining why it is? It seems that science only points to an answer. So if we look at the progress of science, what does it really point to? Does it point to a Creator, or a… well, I guess fill in the _____________?
The Necessity of Faith
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that faith is a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof: complete trust”. As anyone would concede, there is no complete and total proof for the existence of God that we can gather, although that does not mean that there is not very strong evidence for His existence! Although, God does not give us complete proof because then we would not need to have complete trust in who He is. And thus, we would not have faith in Him. We would be able to measure the parameters of God, and He would essentially cease to be “God”. He would be reduced to nothing more than a subject to His own subjects of whom He gave the ability to meet or surpass Him in knowledge and power. Why would a God, if He truly is God, do such a thing? But this is not the case. God is powerful and magnificent enough to create the vastness and beauty of space, Earth and its wondrous, natural, and life-giving systems, and even the fine-tuned complexity that we know of as the human body. These are things that we can only attempt to fully comprehend!
Faith in God requires complete trust in who He claims to be and what He promises to do. While He does provide us with an abundance of evidence that logically points to the fact that He does exist (fine-tuning of the Universe, existence of morality, biblical testimony, historical corroboration of biblical accounts such as Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, the unconventional growth of Christianity and its impact on people and the world, etc.) we cannot absolutely know because we do not see Him… at least not in this life. The purpose behind this is to produce genuine faith!
There is not a more selfless, humble, and genuine act of obedience than faith. By placing faith in God, we wholly trust the entirety of our being, including our fate after death, to another, even though we only know of His promises and goodness in our lives without absolute objective certainty that it will happen aside from His Word. When Jesus’ disciples told Thomas that they had seen Jesus risen from the dead, he said “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25, ESV). Jesus then appeared to him and Thomas was put to shame for his unbelief. Jesus allowed Him to touch his scars and He said:
“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29, ESV)
Are you waiting to have absolute proof of God’s existence in order to believe? Are you not fully satisfied with the evidence that is before you for the existence of God Himself, Jesus’ life and ministry, and His resurrection? If you have searched and indeed you see the stack of evidence, you see that God’s existence is reasonable, and you feel deep within you that it is true, then what are you waiting for!? If the claims of Christianity are true, and God is who He is, then now is the time to act. The choice is to either have faith in Christ, or wait until you have __________ occur. It may well be that this “thing” you are waiting on will never come.
Consider the parable that Jesus told of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man, who never aided the suffering man, Lazarus (who was diseased and always outside of his flourishing residence), finds out about the reality of God’s truth regarding the afterlife. He finds himself in a place of torment and judgment and wishes for Abraham (who is in Paradise with Lazarus) to send a miracle to his family members to save them from sharing in his fate. But Abraham responds saying “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31, ESV). Aside from the evidence from observing our reality (natural revelation), the living Word of God (Logos; Bible) and the resurrection of Jesus Christ are what God has intentionally given to us for saving faith (special revelation). As you read this, God is literally knocking on your door, will you open it?
The truth of the matter is, faith is necessary. We all put our trust in something that cannot be certain in order to formulate our worldview. Therefore, it is reasonable to have faith. In fact, given the evidence, the Christian faith itself is very reasonable and, I believe, corresponds best with our reality. If God made our reality, then it would follow that our reality corresponds best with who He is. I have mentioned several claims of Christianity, several arguments for God’s existence and particularly Christianity’s claims, but how can we know the Christian God is the true God? Are there not many gods? What about the Jewish and Muslim God or other monotheistic religions? Don’t we all worship the same God and find Him through our own path? These issues will be discussed in the next article in this Bridging the Gap Series.
Please follow, like, share and comment! I would love to hear your feedback. Here is the previous article Bridging the Gap (Pt. 3): Love Re-Defined
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Because I can no longer comment on Mel’s blog, I wanted to ask you what you meant and to give some examples when you said, “The volume of false dichotomy’s that atheists will sit on, as if it boosts their argument, never seizes to amaze me.” Could you demonstrate on what issues this amazement is based?
I also notice on the one hand you claim atheists who criticize Christianity do so on the basis of creating a straw shouldn’t do this because it is illogical, yet on the other fail to understand your apologetic position relies on the No true Scotsman defense. Funny, that.
And finally, regarding this post and the backhanded criticism of evolution, I notice that, again, like any usual apologetic blog post where you start with your conclusion and work backwards to cherry pick whatever criticisms best suit your apologetic goal, you use a basis of equivalency (yet is clearly a false equivalency) between evidence-adduced belief (methodological naturalism) and faith-based belief to both be a philosophical starting point. No. This is absolutely incorrect in that evidence-adduced belief is a conclusion, a post hoc position, whereas faith-based is a premise, an a priori position These are not the same. Only faith-based is a presupposition. Apples, oranges. There is no equivalency between them. And we know this because the first method – methodological naturalism – produces knowledge, which we can then use as a basis for all kinds of therapies, applications, and technologies that work for everyone everywhere all the time… including the theory of evolution which has produced more knowledge than any other scientific theory. The second – faith-based beliefs – produces nothing equivalent, no therapies, no applications, no technologies. But it does seem to regularly and consistently produce this strange notion in those who use this faith as a basis on which to ground all kinds of opinions as somehow equivalent! Right there is a pretty good example of just how delusional faith-based belief is. So I don’t see how you can get around this charge that faith-based belief is delusional when the evidence for it is overwhelmingly in its support.
I appreciate your feedback and willingness to engage in dialogue about these issues, of which I intend to keep a cordial conversation. As for some typical false dichotomies, I suppose the God vs. Science and Faith vs. Reason issues are a few broad categories that trickle down into smaller issues.
I think that I am picking up what you are putting down for the most part. However, I would question what exactly, from your perspective, do you think I was trying to communicate in this article? Would you submit that your own worldview, of which I can guess but am uncertain, operates on a trust in certain fundamental faith claims? Furthermore, do you believe in the uniformity of nature ?
Also, I would argue that I did not actually claim that faith grants us knowledge, regardless of whether that is actually true or not.
I think religion and science are incompatible when both make similar claims about reality. I think only science – as a method of inquiry – offers us any means to know about reality and whatever causal effects it contains. I think religion when used to defend claims about reality, defend claims about what it contains, defend claims about what we should or shouldn’t do, defend what agencies are active in it, defend what mechanisms are in play, is utterly empty of any knowledge because the method used to support faith-based claims does not now, has not, and probably never will produce one jot or tittle of anything knowable. It is equivalent in all ways to wishful and/or imaginative thinking. When acted upon, religious belief based on faith is equivalent to delusion and because of this is in sum pernicious.
For example, the incompatibility arises for specific knowledge claims like creationism. For Christianity and Judaism and Islam, all agree that Man was made in the image of a very specific god. This is a knowledge claim. So, we follow the evidence about heritability and this leads us to knowledge about our lineage. This lineage does not lead to a creation event for humans. Indisputably, the evidence leads us to our evolutionary past that is definitely not human. Humans were not created. Humans evolved. The knowledge claim by means of faith – an a priori assumption – about special creationism stands contrary to, in conflict and incompatible with our collected knowledge about biology and how it changes through time by the various natural and unguided mechanisms… including humans. There is nothing but evidence in every avenue of scientific inquiry that leads us to this explanatory conclusion and, more importantly, there is absolutely no contrary evidence to it found in biology. All the evidence lines up with this evolutionary model and the knowledge we have gained from it impels therapies, applications, and technologies that work for everyone everywhere all the time in all kinds of related fields. It is against this mountain of mutually supporting evidence that special creationism is maintained not along side evolution but diametrically opposed to it… for no other reason than it is a faith-based belief necessary for religions to maintain in order to artificially connect humans to their preferred creator god.
This is not a false dichotomy, Jake, but evidence that religious belief empowers, and continues to this day, causal claims about reality – knowledge claims, directly confrontational with consensus scientific explanations – that are simply wrong, factually wrong, empty of any knowledge value whatsoever – but promoted nevertheless as if true, as if equivalently explanatory, equivalently possible.
Special creationism is not true. It does not fit the evidence. But maintaining the belief anyway demonstrates a profound disdain for both knowledge and reality by the believer. Reality is not the source of such belief for it possesses no evidence to support it; religion is. Although you can sometimes find some forms of religion without creationism, you will never, ever, find creationism without religion.
So the hypocrisy embedded in placing trust in faith-based beliefs as if these were compatible with evidence-adduced beliefs when they are not is obvious. You cannot say on the one hand that such religious beliefs are compatible with scientific explanations when they are not and on the other hand also say that religious belief values respect for reality and scientific knowledge. It doesn’t. In fact, both reality and the best means we have for gaining knowledge about it must be jettisoned to maintain belief in the fiction of special creationism.
You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. That’s why this dichotomy is quite real and not false as you suggest as you state.
“Tildeb”, it appears that you have not directly addressed the questions that I asked in my previous response. I would greatly appreciate if you would do so. They are as follows:
1) What exactly, from your perspective, do you think I was trying to communicate in this article?
2) Would you submit that your own worldview, of which I can guess but am uncertain, operates on a trust in certain fundamental faith claims?
3) Do you believe in the uniformity of nature ?
4) * I will add this question as well, do you have any personal moral convictions?
It is also apparent that you have a lot to say, especially about the issue of evolution theory vs. creation theory. I have limited time to interact on such complicated matters in huge chunks at one time. However, I am willing to discuss it. I believe this issue was triggered by my mentioning of God vs. Science as a false dichotomy, which is a broad category, of which creation vs. evolution may or may not qualify as one of the subcategories depending on the presuppositions and methodological approaches one addresses the issue with. I say this because there are theories wherein the Big Bang (used as the moment of creation) operates as the beginning of creation within the timeline of millions of years (or other variants) and there are highly disputable claims regarding evolution theory as to its scientific “proofs”. More specifically I am referencing issues with actual evidence for macroevolution rather than simply propositions fundamentally based on other unproven propositions.
Since you stated that “I think only science – as a method of inquiry – offers us any means to know about reality and whatever causal effects it contains” I will assume that you are a “science above all” kind of person. So unless something is systematically observable, then it cannot serve as basis for belief in correspondence with reality. However, for having such a high view of science as a methodology by which one must approach our reality, I see you have asserted many opinions and conclusions about your views without much, if any, evidence to support your claims.
I do have a few observations from your responses.
Regarding your statements:
“there is absolutely no contrary evidence to it (Creation) found in biology”; “Special creationism is not true. It does not fit the evidence”
– What about the complexity of DNA, the uniformity of nature and biological functions, the knowledge of immaterial and unobservable coded information being processed at a logical and fundamental level in our Universe, and of course there is the problem of dark matter consisting of over 90% of the Universe (if true), etc. These could all more reasonably be explained as evidence for God rather than evidence of a system of simplicity to complexity. The contrary has been the pattern, wherein it seems that complexity (and likely intelligence) has generated more complexity.
“you will never, ever, find creationism without religion”
-Are you familiar with the modern surge of interest amongst the scientific community regarding intelligent design? I’m rather confused as to why you appear unfamiliar with this and several other legitimate arguments/evidences for a Creator.
Your use of the term “religion”, almost as if it is a methodology itself rooted in ignorance, is for one, without much credibility because each “religion” is very different, especially on a philosophical level. And secondly, “religion” is not a presuppositional method. I can see how faith-claims could be. But that begs the question, are “religious” people the only ones who base their foundational presuppositions about our reality in faith that a particular unproven conclusion is true?
Jake, my first comment was a question to you about what you meant regarding a false dichotomy used by atheists. You referred to a general dichotomy regarding science and religion to be compatible and that atheists were susceptible to being under the impression that were not. So, using a portion of this blog post about evolution, I explained why the two were indeed incompatible methods that produced incompatible beliefs. In other words, there really is no false dichotomy as you claimed: science and religion are incompatible because they produce incompatible results that really do maintain a pernicious influence of ignorance on a vast majority of Americans in understanding why evolution is true. This is not a belief I hold; it is a brute fact. Religious belief in special creationism for humans is incompatible with the scientific understanding of evolution.
Now, rather than recognize why this fact I have offered to you with an explanation how and why they directly confront your statement about a compatibility between science and religion that is misunderstood by atheists, you ask me a bunch of other questions. This indicates to me that I’m wasting my time and effort, that you don’t want to have a meaningful conversation about issues you have raised and claims you have made that are factually wrong but, in absolutely typical apologetic methods, simply want to use my commentary as a springboard for raising apologetic trope after trope after trope as you did in the comment above all of which have been long debunked as nonsense but that appear to support whatever apologetic claims you want to spread without rebuttal. It appears to me that you have no desire to either respect what is true if contrary to your religious beliefs or have any desire to align your beliefs with reality’s arbitration of them… unless they appear to agree with your religious assumptions. That means one can not have an honest, open, or grown up conversation with you because your mind is already sealed against incursion and so you show that you have no desire to replace your ignorance with knowledge or learn a damn thing if it doesn’t first align with your religious beliefs. That’s your loss.
I have intentionally and openly responded to what you asked, built on the conversation, utilized examples of argumentation and evidence, and have asked you direct questions.
I mentioned the dichotomy of God vs. Science, of which I directly engaged to the extent I felt was merited at that point. You have switched the terms to science vs. “religion”. This is a different term, definition, and focus and thus, it bears a different meaning to the discussion in my perspective, and if you aren’t willing to hear that, or if you desire to keep re-framing the subject matter of the discussion, then that only makes it more difficult to get anywhere.
With as much grace and love as I can try to display to say this, you are accusing me of the very thing you are doing. That is being close-minded, only tolerating what is in agreement with your assumptions, and answering your own assertions/objections, not to mention being unnecessarily contentious. But hey, I forgive you!
The questions I asked have important implications for several likely unprovable presuppositions and methodologies that you appear to (or likely) place your faith in in order to operate within your worldview (Notice I am trying to avoid assuming too much until it is discussed!). For instance, the problem of the uniformity of nature and assuming induction (noted by Bertrand Russell as a major problem for atheistic belief). Perhaps reasons such as this are why you haven’t answered my questions?
I hope you have not assumed that I think you are entirely wrong on every point and have no basis for your claims, as it seems you have done to myself and all who claim faith in God (or a god), because I do not. I am not sure where your anger is really coming from, but I sympathize with your frustrations. These are not easy topics to deal with for anyone.
However, making opinionated assertions and going in circles with statements such as “this is absolutely wrong”, “so and so is incompatible with so and so”, “this is brute fact”, etc. mean little to an “open” dialogue if you cannot provide evidence or substance to support those claims. This does not mean every single thing needs explanation, but disputable conclusions do. That’s how dialogue between two people who are involved in inquiry about opposing positions works. Of course, that assumes both parties are actually inquiring.
I am willing to engage with you about the substance of our conversation. In fact, I enjoy good discussion!. But if your aim is to continue in contention, then I wish you the best!
And I will add that Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Either this is entirely false or true. The answer will have heavy ramifications for all of us. I hope and pray that you have and will continue to give careful and serious thought to these matters. God wants to bring redemption, peace, love, righteousness, and forgiveness into each of our lives, and that invitation is always open no matter who we are, where we come from, or what we’ve done!
I presumed you understood that the claim that some God exists is met by the vast majority of atheists as ‘unknown’… that is to say, agnostic in this knowledge matter. That is certainly Dawkins’ position as it is every New Atheist I have ever encountered. The honest answer to this question, “Does some god or gods exist?” is met honestly and openly with “I don’t know… and neither do you.” Because this claim is about knowledge of some god or gods, the correct comparison for a dichotomy would be between gnoticism and agnosticism.
But you didn’t present your claim this way, about atheist false dichotomies as gnostic vs agnostic. You presented it as a matter of non belief – atheism – which indicates the subject is about theism vs atheism. This claim of a dichotomy makes no sense if you refer to a gnostic claim (God – notice the reference to a proper noun, a real person with the capital letter you used) vs a theistic claim about not believing. The argument would be with agnostics. But you specifically referenced atheists. There can be no dichotomy at all if simply a matter of gnostic vs agnostic because there’s nothing to dichotomous. I am an agnostic atheist. Period. No dichotomy at all.
You are making a belief claim with your use of the term ‘God’ – a specific divine causal agency –
in order to reference those who do not share this belief; hence your use of the term ‘atheists’. Now we have the potential for dichotomy if you referencing the set of beliefs you hold to identify your God, and for your dichotomy to make any sense, it has to refer to faith-based vs evidence-adduced beliefs as if compatible. I already explained this with my first comment, that the two methods of inquiry are incompatible.
Claiming now that you really did mean God vs science as if a dichotomy is completely of your own creation. Again, even Dawkins readily admits to being an agnostic atheist, so I have no clue where you would encounter enough atheists to suggest that they actually think these two descriptors are in conflict and therefore incompatible when quite clearly they are not.
Do you want to try again describing where this supposed widespread false dichotomy atheists hold is present? Because it clearly exists when religious and scientific claims overlap (as well as between competing religious claims) and produce antithetical explanations.
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