How to convert an atheist:
Supplement - Creationism / Intelligent Design

Index | Prepare to make the case | Cause the atheist to believe in your god(s) | Cause the ex-atheist to practise your religion | Supplement - Creationism / Intelligent Design | Discussion

This page applies if you have adopted a specialised version of a religion, especially Islam and Christianity, that has views of the universe that contradict the views provided by science. You necessarily refute those aspects of science that contradict your specific religious views.

Reversing scientific beliefs?

I'm not sure how Creationism (including Intelligent Design) should fit into this framework. The hurdles described elsewhere were primarily concerned with adding to what the atheist believed. We all add to what we believe occasionally.

I think that for a scientifically-illiterate atheist, the "3 hurdle" method described elsewhere may work, because no (scientific) beliefs have to become unbelieved - none are believed!
[Discussion: What about evolution?]

But, for a scientifically-literate atheist, becoming a Creationist (including the Intelligent Design variant) is likely to mean subtracting from what the atheist believes. The classic example is that at least Evolution has to be rejected. But how does someone disbelieve what they already believe, without good reason? And if the "good reason" normally needed by Creationists is "God" or "Allah", how can that apply to atheists?

A 4th hurdle?

I speculate here about an extra hurdle.

4 hurdles model

This hurdle is associated with one of the main 3 hurdles, and combines both the conversion to believe in a specific god with the hurdle of losing belief in some area of science. Presumably you will need extra resources to help the atheist over this hurdle, probably in the form of evidence refuting that area of science.

In principle, any of the "combinations of 3 hurdles" can be modified in this way. However, your specific beliefs may determine where you will position hurdle 4.

For example, you may know that there is an Intelligent Designer, and have the resources to cause the atheist to believe this. But you may not at this stage be able to show convincingly that the Intelligent Designer must therefore be the Christian God (or Allah, if you are a Muslim). So you may link hurdle 4 to the hurdle 1, and cause the atheist to believe in a god that created the universe and created living forms or helped them adapt a little. Then, the ex-atheist can be caused to believe in your listening, caring, god, using other resources.

Or (say) you may choose first to help the atheist over hurdle 3, then help the ex-atheist over hurdle 4. Your reconnaissance of the atheist may help you choose.

(I wonder whether a scientifically-literate atheist has ever later become a Creationist, whether Christian or Muslim or other?)
[Discussion: Science versus religion | Where are suitable arguments and evidence? | "You need to open yourself to god"]