However, the atheist is claiming that naturalism is the true worldview. The default position in naturalism, though, is not atheism, as they believe. The default worldview of a person is relative to the culture in which the individual grows up. If the person grows up in an atheist home, and chooses anything other than atheism as their worldview, they have denied their default position in favor of another (be it Hindu, Islam, Christianity, or whatever). However, if a person grows up in a Christian home and remains a Christian, they have stuck with their default position.
Many atheists are fond of claiming that many people are Christian only because of their western up-bringing. The implication is that the "western" Christian has not thought through things before committing their life to Christ. Although there are many issues with that claim, I want to focus on the inconsistency with the default position. Atheists claim that it is wrong for someone to not investigate their worldview (I agree). They also claim that it is bad for us to abandon our "default" position (what they think is atheism).
I see a few issues. Not understanding the sociological effects of their worldview (which produces a relative default position- see above) allows for the issues. If it is so bad for someone to leave their default worldview, then, properly understood, naturalism teaches that westerners should remain Christian if they were brought up that way. In fact, naturalism prefers sticking with the default position instead of investigating. Ironically, that's what the atheist accuses the Christian of doing when they decide to commit their lives to Christ. Furthermore, the atheist is going against their own worldview by denying their default position (if raised in a theistic home) by committing their lives to atheism.
This is a glaring inconsistency that springs from not understanding the implications of naturalism. Naturalism goes far beyond just the biological and astronomical realms; it effects sociology and psychology. Since we live in a universe that is subject to the law of non-contradiction, a true worldview is not tolerant of inconsistencies. I believe that the atheist can adjust their worldview to be consistent in this regard, but they will have to sacrifice an emotionally and rhetorically powerful tactic in their attacks on theism. I predict that such an adjustment toward consistency will not take place, due to their hearts being so set against God (and leading others away from Him) that a consistent worldview may be sacrificed. Truth is not the ultimate goal in naturalism. It is survival, even if by manipulative control (the "fittest"). Evolution meets sociology.
The correct naturalistic response to that supported accusation should be a shoulder shrug and a smirk. If the atheist rises up to defend against that position, then they recognize that "survival by manipulative control" is objectively wrong. Which they would then need to borrow from theism to ground their defense (another inconsistency). Instead, atheists should embrace this implication. It has shown them to be the intellectually fittest of the human species (see my short series "Human Equality and Naturalism"). Their intellectually fittest genes will survive to the detriment of the intellectually unfit genes of others. That is both intellectually and emotionally fulfilling to any true atheist.
If knowing that your genes will survive is not a fulfilling notion, you desire intellectual and emotional fulfillment more than a rejection of God, and ultimately you prefer to have an accurate and consistent worldview, perhaps it is time to investigate the reasons to believe that a personal God does exist and desires to spend eternity with you. I recommend these resources:
- PleaseConvinceMe.com's Theism page
- Apologetics 315
- Reasons to Believe's Astronomy and Biology pages
- and William Lane Craig's popular and scholarly articles on Jesus Christ
Other Great Posts on This Topic:
- Jonathan Morrow at Think Christianly posted on this issue coming from a religious pluralist perspective
- Carson Weitnauer at Reasons for God looks at the fallacy in making the claim in his post "If you were born in another country, would you still be a Christian?"