Are Atheists and Materialists Guilty of Nihilism?
Atheists and materialists have a chronic problem. No, not the kind you see prescription drug commercials for. Their problem is that they hold internally inconsistent beliefs.
What's that mean? It means some of their own beliefs contradict some of their other beliefs. Their own believes contradict one another. Some examples:
The atheist says that you can only know what your five senses tell you…
Well, which of the five senses tells him that?
The materialist says his beliefs are founded on logic and reason...
Um, then what are his beliefs in logic and reason founded on? Logic can't be founded on itself, neither can reason.
The atheist says the only thing that exists is the material world...
So the atheist must not believe in consciousness, information, or logic, because those things are non-material.
At almost every turn, the atheist contradicts himself. He moans about all the pain and suffering in the world, but he cannot justify his concern. Why is suffering bad? Is it because most people think it's bad? That's not a rational argument. What if most people were masochists and considered suffering good? Would that then make it good? That's a poor argument, and certainly not a well reasoned one! For if the definition of bad depends on majority opinion, then the word "bad" simply becomes a synonym for "unpopular."
The atheist and materialist are stuck. They believe in non-material things like information, consciousness, and logic, but they contradict themselves by saying that only the material world exists. Which is it? If you believe in logic, you can't believe that it's simultaneously both material and non-material. The choices are mutually exclusive.
Either you believe that only the material world exists, or you believe a world outside of the material world exists.
Some atheists will now proceed to try to argue that consciousness, logic, and information are somehow material, or that they are illusions. Uh-oh, but an illusion isn't material either! They could say that consciousness is material, but that would be an irrational argument because no one has ever seen, touched, heard, tasted, or smelled consciousness. The atheist is back in a catch-22! He has to either admit that the non-material world exists, or he has to again contradict his own beliefs by affirming belief in something that is material, but undetectable by his five senses.
What the atheist begins to realize is that the more he tries to justify his position, the more ridiculous he sounds. Rather than reversing course and rethinking his entire worldview, the typical atheist cops out and tries to claim that some things just cannot be known. To which a sharp observer would reply, “How do you know that?" The atheist has no valid answer. He is again making a claim on grounds which his own worldview forbids.
The atheist and materialist are trapped. They retreat just a bit and begin running around the rim of nihilism, claiming that one can know almost nothing. This is their excuse. Rather than throw out their entire worldview and consider a different one, they cling tightly to their materialism but give themselves a convenient disclaimer they use to avoid addressing their internally inconsistent beliefs.