Thursday, August 31, 2017

God Delusion #13 - The Ontological Argument

Way back in 2006 I made close to fifty posts on Richard Dawkins's book The God Delusion. I mentioned the book tonight in my philosophy of religion class, in reference to Anselm's Ontological Argument for God's Existence. 

Here's what I posted in 2006.

Dawkins' handling of the Ontological Argument for the existence of God shows that he does not understand the argument. Even his response that comes from his misunderstanding is poorly written and logically incoherent.

Here, briefly, I will show that and how Dawkins seems not to have a clue about OA. 
And note: to show that Dawkins' criticism of OA fails miserably should not be construed 
as my arguing that OA proves there is a God. To really enter into the philosophical dialogue 
re. OA, begin here.

Then, go here.

Then, here.

Now, some thoughts on Dawkins and what he writes about OA.

He calls OA an "infantile argument." But Dawkins does not understand OA (as we shall see). 
And note: Dawkins is an emotivist who loves ad hominem abusives. Such abusive 
emotivism adds nothing to his "argument" against OA.

Dawkins quotes Bertrand Russell as once saying, "Great Scott, the OA is sound!" 
What Dawkins misses is precisely why Russell would think this.

Dawkins quotes philosopher Norman Malcolm as critical of OA. It is true that Malcolm 
agreed with Kant that "existence is not a predicate." But Malcolm himself put forth 
a version of OA which can be attributed to Anselm. Anselm, says Malcolm, had two 
versions of OA, the second of which puts forth "necessary existence" as defeating 
Kant's objection. Dawkins "quote mines" Malcolm for his own purposes, perhaps not 
realizing that Malcolm actually supports Anselm's second version of OA as proving the 
existence of God. 

But all of this is simply common knowledge to philosophers, of which Dawkins is presumably 

Dawkins cites Anselm's contemporary Gaunilo, who offered a criticism of Anselm's OA. 
Dawkins then cites the supposed refutation by Douglas Gasking, which is similar, says 
Dawkins, to Gaunilo's objection. Gasking's idea that a most perfect being would be even 
more perfect if it created a universe without itself existing is a non-logical possibility, 
like "square circle." This because Anselm argues that it is greater to exist in extramental 
reality than in the mind alone. "Existence," for Anselm, is a great-making property; thus, it is 
more perfect to exist than to not exist.

Gaunilo thinks Anselm believes we can just imagine a most perfect 
"anything" and that thereby that thing must exist. Such as, e.g., a "most perfect island." 
But of course "existence" is not an essential attribute of "most perfect island," but arguably 
it is of "a being a greater than which cannot be conceived." Both Gaunilo and Gasking miss
 the point of Anselm's argument. Kant understood Anselm; they do not.

Dawkins closes his "refutation" of OA with some "funny 'proofs'" of God's existence. 
But no matter how entertaining Dawkins is, these add nothing to his "argument" against OA.

Dawkins, in arguing against OA, has set up a straw man, knocked it down, 
as his colleagues stand in awe of just how "bright" people can really be without God.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

ONE-HOUR SEMINARY TONIGHT - Is Jesus the Only Way to God?


"Why I Believe Jesus Is the Only Way to God"

Presentation followed by Q&A

Tonight, August 29

9-10 PM EST

Facebook Live

God Has Not Given Us a Spirit of Fear (Sermon)

Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio

My sermon - "God Has Not Given Us a Spirit of Fear" - can be heard HERE.

My Powerpoint notes are included.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Let Go (of What?) and Let God (Do What?) - The Presence-Driven Church

Saugatuck, Michigan
A key to the presence-driven life and presence-driven leadership is, simply, let God lead, and follow. This is easy to understand, hard to do, counter-controlling, and rare to find. This is because so many cannot handle the uncertainty and unknowing that is required (faith and trust).

This is crucial, because unless the Lord leads, we are going in vain, building in vain, doing in vain, speaking in vain.

Let go and let God. "Let go"... of what? Control! "Let God"... do what? Lead! Get your hands off the wheel and let God steer the ship.

Thomas Merton understood this. he wrote:

"This is my big aim—to put everything else aside. I do not want to create merely for and by myself a new life and a new world, but I want God to create them in and through me. This is central and fundamental...   I must lead a new life and a new world must come into being. But not by my plans and my agitation. (Merton, A Year with Thomas Merton, Kindle Locations 4356-4359)

I am nearing completion of my coming book Leading the Presence-Driven Church.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Laptops and Texting Banned In My Classes

This fall I'm teaching one class in MCCC's Philosophy department: Philosophy of Religion. (I'm done teaching Logic after doing it for eighteen years.)

On my syllabus I put a skull and crossbones, with the words: No texting or laptops allowed in this class!

I am Bilbo Baggins, standing against the social media orcs. 

Most students do not know what to do if they cannot text while in class. This feels like a violation of their human rights. It's like I am cutting off body parts.

My response is: no one can learn philosophy as one of a multitude of ongoing tasks. In fact, no one can learn anything, to a deep degree, by multitasking. Multitasking is the enemy of all learning and all relationship.

Obsessive multitaskers are shallow people, hollow people. (See T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men.") Addicted to neural linking, they cannot go to the depths learning requires. (Call this omnimultitasking which, like the zika virus, produces tiny-headed offspring.) For example, no one can multitask Alvin Plantinga's modal version of the Ontological Argument for God's existence.

Nicholas Carr supports me here, nicely. He writes:

"A pair of Cornell researchers divided a class if students into two groups. One group was allowed to surf the Web while listening to a lecture. A log of their activity showed that they looked at sites related to the lecture's content but also visited unrelated sites, checked their e-mail, went shopping, watched videos, and did all the other things that people do online. The second group heard the identical lecture but had to keep their laptops shut. Immediately afterward, both groups took a test measuring how well they could recall the information from the lecture. The surfers, the researchers report, "performed significantly poorer on immediate measures of memory for the to-be-learned content." It didn't matter, moreover, whetrher they surfed information related to the lecture or completely unrelated content - they all performed poorly. When the reseachers repeated the experiment with another class, the results were the same." (Carr, The Shallows, Kindle, 2,236-43)

Blessed are the mono-taskers, for they shall see God. And, perhaps, learn some philosophy on the side.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

My Philosophy of Religion Class at MCCC

Fisherman, on the river off my back yard.

Tonight I begin another Philosophy of Religion class at Monroe County Community College. I've stopped teaching logic (after seventeen years), and will enjoy backing off to one class.

This class excites me. I'm teaching material very familiar to me. My ongoing growth includes continuing study in this area.

I'll begin section one of the class, on Philosophical Arguments for the Existence of God. Tonight - the Ontological Argument for the Existence of God. I'll present Anselm's version, and may introduce students to the Modal Version of the Ontological Argument. Which is...

1. God is, by definition, a necessarily existent being.
2. A necessarily existing being is possible; i.e., it exists in some possible world, W.
3. Since it is true in W that this necessarily existing being exists, it is true in W that this being exists in every possible world.
4. The actual world is a possible world.
5. Therefore, a necessarily existing being exists in actuality.

Heads will be twisting tonight as I explain such things to my students. In this class I will teach students to think!

(For another version of the Modal Ontological Argument, see E.J. Lowe, "A Modal Version of the Ontological Argument," in Debating Christian Theism, Moreland, Meister, and Sweis, eds.) 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Why Do So Many Ministries Finish Poorly?

Downtown Monroe

Why do so many pastors, and ministries, finish poorly? Dallas Willard describes the sad process this way. (From The Great Omission, Kindle Location 1419. I'm mostly just quoting Willard - it's such good stuff.)

  • Intense devotion to God by the individual or group brings substantial outward success.
  • Outward success brings a sense of accomplishment.
  • Outward success brings a sense of responsibility for what has been achieved - and for further achievement.
  • For people looking on, the outward success is the whole thing.
  • The sense of accomplishment and responsibility reorients vision away from God, and onto what we are doing and are to do. This happens usually to the applause and support of sympathetic people.
  • The mission becomes the vision. It becomes what we are focused on.
  • The mission and ministry is what we spend our thoughts, feelings, and strength upon.
  • Goals occupy the place of the vision of God in our hearts. We find ourselves caught up in a visionless pursuit of various goals, to keep the thing going.
"This," writes Willard, "is the point at which service to Christ replaces love for Christ. The inward reality of love for God, and absorption in what He is doing, is no longer the center of the life, and may even become despised, or at least disregarded." (Ib.)

The effects of the initial fire of God are valued over the fire. "The fire of God in the human soul will always look foolish to those who like its effects but do not understand where those effects come from." (Ib.)
  • At this point a pervasive consciousness of one's rights and perks may set in.
  • The mission and its goals have replaced the original vision.
  • The initial success of the movement has slowly replaced the treasure of Christ as the center of attention and devotion in their lives.
  • The fall is complete.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Difference Between "Christian" and "Follower of Jesus"

The German mathematician and philosopher Gottlob Frege, in discussing his linguistic theory of sense and reference, showed how two different terms could have the same reference, but different senses. His famous example is "the morning star," and "the evening star." Both terms refer to the planet Venus. So, they have the same reference (denotation). But, they have different senses (connotation). (See here; scroll down to 3.2.)

The terms "Christian" and "follower of Jesus" used to have the same reference, with different connotations. Such is the case no longer.

At one time, "Christian" meant "follower of Jesus." "Follower of Jesus" was, perhaps, a subset of the broader category "Christian."

It was assumed, in the first century of Christendom, that if a person was a "Christian," then they followed the life and ways and teachings of Jesus. This is why Christians were martyred, like Jesus was. This is why Christians were peacemakers, and lovers of people, even their enemies. This is why Christians forgave one another, and why they served one another, since Christ came to serve, not to be served.

No longer is this the case.

Many self-refer as "Christian," but have little or no intention of actually following Jesus. I point out, e.g., that they must love other people, even their enemies, and that they must forgive others from the heart and not hold on to bitterness, and that they must not accept relationship division, since Jesus calls us to be reconcilers and peacemakers. Which means, to go after these things, behaviorally. Many, it appears to me, want the name, but not the cross.

Today, it is possible to think of oneself as a Christian, but not give Jesus the time of day. You can be a Christian and not follow Jesus. You can be a Christian but have no time to pray. You can be a Christian, while popping in and out of church. Your entire family can be a bunch of Christians, yet your hearts are won over by secular commitments.

Which means: "Christian," and "follower of Jesus," have neither the same sense, nor the same reference.

This is why we must abandon the word "Christian," and decide whether or not we will be disciples of Christ, people who hear Jesus' voice, and obey.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Carrying a Promise With Me Today

I began today by reading out of Psalms and Proverbs.

I wrote Ps. 92:12-14 on a 3X5 card.

It's in my pocket, staying close to me today.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Saturday, August 12, 2017

If You're Racist, You're Not a Follower of Jesus

Image may contain: sky, cloud, ocean, twilight, outdoor, nature and water
South Haven, Michigan

Linda and I just returned home from a week away, celebrating 44 years of marriage.

I've been mostly disconnected from the news.

On the drive home we listened to the horrors and evil happening in Charlottesville, Virginia. Words fail to express how saddened and angry this makes me.

My anger is what the Bible calls "righteous anger." It's righteous, because the people doing this are, obviously, not followers of Jesus. You can't follow Jesus and be a racist.

Racism is evil, from the pit of hell, demonic. Racism is absolute darkness, and darkness has nothing to do with light.

"For God so loved the world..."

The world. All peoples. All races.

The hope of Israel was always intended to be for all the nations.

Racism is anti-God, anti-Christ. A racist is an antichrist. A racist is against Jesus. Anyone who claims to be a "Christian" and embraces racism is a wolf in sheep's clothing, a false prophet, possessed by a demon, ignorant of the Scriptures, or ignoring the Scriptures.

Real followers of Jesus understand this.

What color is God's skin? The question is nonsense, like "How long is blue?" God, being an immaterial Spirit, doesn't have skin.

When the skinless, colorless Word became flesh and dwelt among us, he inhabited skin darker than my Scandinavian flesh.

Self-Forgiveness and Inner Healing (Sermon)

Image may contain: sky, ocean, cloud, outdoor, water and nature
South Haven, Michigan

My sermon on self-forgiveness and inner healing is HERE.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Judgment Grows In the Soil of Forgetfulness

South Haven, Michigan

Today I am seeing how much I need to be preached to. Because I do not love like Christ loved. He had a pure heart of love; my heart is still being formed in love (Gal. 4:19).

I tend, too much, to react in judgment, than respond in love. I am asking God to rip this evil out of me.

Greg Boyd writes:  “Most Christians tend to walk more in judgment than they do in unconditional love… In so doing, we are forsaking the most fundamental job description God gave us: to love others as he has loved us.” (Greg Boyd, Repenting of Religion, 98) 

It is sobering to remember that "he has loved us" not because we were so ridiculously cute and lovable, but while we were against Him, while we were his enemies. Romans 5:10 says, "For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"

How important is this? Paul wrote, "The whole law is summed up in a single commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." (Gal. 5:14-15)

I think we are all "hard to love" people, from our subhuman point of view. We think we're not like those "other people." Our tendency to judge others grows in the soil of forgetfulness. We have forgotten:

1) Who we were when Christ rescued us; and

2) that we are now on Jesus' rescue team, with love as our job description.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hearing God (PrayerLife)

Hearing God is to be part of the normal Christian life. Dallas Willard writes:

God has created us for intimate friendship with himself—both now and forever. This is the Christian viewpoint. It is made clear throughout the Bible, especially in passages such as Exodus 29:43-46 [God will meet with us], 33:11 [God spoke with Moses face to face, as one speaks with a friend]; Psalm 23 [God shepherds us]; Isaiah 41:8 [God is our friend]; John 15:14 [Christ is our friend] and Hebrews 13:5-6 [God will never leave us or forsake us; God is our helper]. As with all close personal relationships, God can be counted on to speak to each of us when and as it’s appropriate." (Willard, Hearing God, Kindle Locations 108-111)

God loves you...
... desires to meet with you...
... speaks to you as a friend...
... has not left you alone...
... helps you.

Using Willard's book Hearing God, here's how to do it.

Focus on the God-Relationship

I suspect many would like to hear God speak to them for the sake of guidance. While this is one aspect of hearing God, it is far from the only aspect. Hearing God is richer and more textured than that. And, hearing God is just one aspect of the deeper, more inclusive Jesus-life.

Willard writes: "Hearing God is but one dimension of a richly interactive relationship, and obtaining guidance is but one aspect of hearing God." (Willard, Hearing God, K125)

Willard's strategy and counsel is to focus on cultivating the God-relationship, out of which hearing God will emerge as a byproduct. For example, it's our ongoing, sustained relationship that provides the environment for Linda and I to really hear and understand one another. When it comes to hearing and understanding God the same relational rules apply.

"Ultimately, we are to move beyond the question of hearing God and into a life greater than our own—that of the kingdom of God. Our concern for discerning God’s voice must be overwhelmed by and lost in our worship and adoration of him and in our delight with his creation and his provision for our whole life. Our aim in such a life is to identify all that we are and all that we do with God’s purposes in creating us and our world. Thus we learn how to do all things to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31; Col 3:17). Learning the two-way communication between us and God will develop as a natural part of such a life." (Kindle Locations 81-86)

To learn to hear God don't focus on learning to hear God. Instead, focus on the most important thing, which is: "You are an unceasing spiritual being, created for an intimate and transforming friendship with the creative Community that is the Trinity. Learning to hear God is much more about becoming comfortable in a continuing conversation, and learning to constantly lean on the goodness and love of God, than it is about turning God into an ATM for advice, or treating the Bible as a crystal ball." (Kindle Locations 87-89)

Being Comes Before Doing

"Hearing God only makes sense in the framework of living in the will of God." (Willard, Hearing God, K125)

For Willard "doing the will of God is a different matter than just doing what God wants us to do." (Ib.) It is about being in the will of God; or,being (living) in the heart of God. Living in the heart of God includes doing, but is in the first place about being. "Generally we are in God’s will whenever we are leading the kind of life he wants for us." (Kindle Location 135)

It is possible to do all the things that God wants us to do and still not be the kind of person God wants us to be. A religious person, for example, might do all kinds of things without having a heart of love. "An obsession merely with doing all God commands may be the very thing that rules out being the kind of person he wants us to be." (K136)

Love comes first, from which appropriate obedience emerges.

First, live life "in Christ." This is the great Pauline imperative. Hearing God's voice will be one byproduct of a Christ-abiding life.

Abiding Includes Conversing

In his final conversation with his disciples Jesus told them that he and his Father "would come to them and make their home in them." (John 14:23) How weird it would be if God did this and never, ever talked with us, especially given the fact that God is an all-loving Person who loves us with an everlasting love. There may be persons in our home who despise us and never talk to us, but God, essentially, is not that kind of Person. 

"Certainly this abiding of the Son and the Father in the faithful heart involves conscious communication or conversation in a manner and a measure our Lord himself considers to be appropriate. It is simply beyond belief that two persons so intimately related... would not speak explicitly to one another. The Spirit who inhabits us is not mute, restricting himself to an occasional nudge, a hot flash, a brilliant image or a case of goose bumps." (Kindle Locations 331-334)

Connect with Jesus now.

Abide in Him.

Abiding includes conversing with God.

Our Motives Make a Difference

Our motivation for wanting to hear God speak to us can determine whether or not God will speak to us. Surely God is uninterested in simply telling us what we want to hear. Willard quotes F.B. Meyer:

“So long as there is some thought of personal advantage, some idea of acquiring the praise and commendation of men, some aim of self-aggrandizement, it will be simply impossible to find out God’s purpose concerning us.” (p. 33).

God is not going to cooperate with this. We must therefore have a different motivation for hearing God's voice and knowing his will for us.

Love God with All Your Heart

Our primary goal in life is not to hear God speak to us, but to be in a loving relationship with him and our brothers and sisters in the kingdom of heaven. Only if we are maturing people in a loving relationship with God will we hear him correctly. How weird it would be to want to hear God speak to me while not wanting to be in relationship with him. That would be using God for our own selves. Which would be futility, since God will not be used by anyone.

"Only our communion with God provides the appropriate context for communications between us and him. And within those communications, guidance will be given in a manner suitable to our particular lives and circumstances. It will fit into our life together with God in his earthly and heavenly family. Again, this is our first preliminary insight to help us in our learning to discern God’s voice." (p. 42)

The Precondition of Humility

A humble heart is a necessary condition for hearing God. Dallas Willard writes: Humility is a quality that opens the way for God to work because God resists the proud (1 Pet 5:5). (p. 52) 

Psalm 29:5 says, of God: He guides the humble in what is right  and teaches them his way. From this it follows that God does not guide the proud, for the reason that a proud heart is unguidable.

Willard writes:

"God will gladly give humility to us if, trusting and waiting on him to act, we refrain from pretending we are what we know we are not, from presuming a favorable position for ourselves and from pushing or trying to override the will of others. (This is a fail-safe recipe for humility. Try it for one month. Money-back guarantee if it doesn’t work.)" (Ib., pp. 52-53)

In my book Praying I have a chapter on Hearing God.

How to Hear God's Voice

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

You Are a Reconciler and a Peacemaker

Image may contain: sky, tree, ocean, outdoor and nature
Warren Dunes, Bridgeman, Michigan

If you are a follower of Jesus, then you are a reconciler and a peacemaker. You bring people together. You are not satisfied with division. You are not part of division.

Peacemaking is not the same as peace-loving. Many people love it when there is peace. Peacemaking, however, is hard work requiring depth and discernment. Nonetheless, that is what you are called to be and do. God works through you to heal and restore relationships.

Why does God want to work through me to bring peace? Because:
1) This is what God has done for us, in Christ.
2) We are God's children.
3) We are to do the things Jesus does.

Romans 5:11 tells us to boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Because of Christ's atoning sacrifice, the breach between you and God has been bridged. You have been reconciled to God; thus, you have peace with God. The cross is about many things, not the least of which is reconciliation to God and peace with God.

This is what God does. God brings puzzle pieces together. God makes ways where there seem to be no ways. As one of God's children, you are to do the same. Is this easy?

It's not about "easy" or "hard." The road to Golgotha was not easy for Christ, right? It is about obedience.    2 Corinthians 5:18-20 says,

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.

You have a ministry and message of reconciliation. God makes his appeal through you. So, how is this going for you?

You are a peacemaker. As a result, you are blessed. Few things in life give me the joy of being a part of God bringing people into relationship with him, and bringing people into loving relationship with one another. As Jesus predicted,

Blessed are the peacemakers,    for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

Are you looking like one of God's children? You are, if you are a peacemaker. And if you are a peacemaker, you are blessed.

The best book I have read on peacemaking and reconciliation in the church is Making Peace: A Guide to Overcoming Church Conflict, by James van Yperen.

For dealing with interpersonal conflict see David Augsburger, Caring Enough to Confront.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A Plague of Lovable Doofuses Become Know-It-Alls

Green Lake, Wisconsin

Linda and I are celebrating our anniversary week at one of our favorite vacation spots. After breakfast we'll head to the beach, set up our umbrellas, unfold the beach chairs. I'll have a large cup of coffee. We'll get out our Kindles. And I'll begin reading the new book I just downloaded - The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters, by Tom Nichols.

This book is about the current, expanding, "cult of knowledge," of internet know-it-alls. For example, my doctor (a great scholar who did his medical degree at University of Michigan) has told me to stay off the internet when it comes to diagnosing myself. I have counseled internet genius-atheists to get off the internet and engage in real, hard-working, scholarly, time-invested scholarship. Go after a real, labor-intensive degree if you want to know the stuff! (You would not believe the amount of hours, in libraries, pouring over books like Gadamer's Wahrheit und Methode, Husserl's Experience and Judgment, Ricoeur's La M├ętaphore Vive, and on and on and on....  for years and years and years... This is different than googling information.)

"What used to be a lovable doofus pontificating in a bar has spread way beyond that. We’ve become a country of know-it-alls, convinced that having all the information at our fingertips means we’re knowledgeable. “I can Google it” has become synonymous with “I understand it.”
We’ve become extremely annoying.
In his book “The Death of Expertise,” Tom Nichols addresses what he calls “attacks on established knowledge.”" ("Amateur Experts: A Modern Plague," thank you Beth H.)

I look forward to beginning Nichols's book today.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Village Atheists as Moral Policemen


A few times, while in online dialogue with an internet atheist, I have been called "dishonest," or "intellectually dishonest."

This internet atheist is like Nietzsche's "village atheist"; viz., they mostly don't know what they are talking about. One sign of their ignorance is resorting to ad hominem tactics (mocking, ridicule). That is, whenever an atheist mocks, ridicules, moralizes, psychologizes, or combines all of the above (quite a sight to behold!), it is a clue that they are low on reasoning capacity, at least in the area of philosophy of religion. Probably, they have read little or nothing of the literature someone as myself has been professionally engaged in for over four decades.

I find this interesting. As a philosophy student and professor, I have had countless discussions with people who claim atheism as their worldview. Some of my professors were atheists. In discussion with me, they never resorted to ad hominem "arguments," since 1) they understood such to be fallacies of irrelevant premises, and 2) they knew their own position well, and were emotionally secure enough to have a civil dialogue. No need to abuse when you know your stuff.

I have seen village atheists abuse Christian theists, calling them "intellectually dishonest." This is the atheist as self-proclaimed moralist, as well as psychoanalyst. To call someone "dishonest" is to make a moral claim. Further, since dishonesty is an intentional act, the village atheist claims to know the intentions of the human heart. This is stunning, aware as I am of the hard problem of consciousness and the difficulty of addressing the Mind-Body Problem (first- person and third-person knowledge). 

A basic village atheist is not my moral policeman.

But, what if I make an error in speech, or say something stupid, or contradict myself? It is not only possible, it happens. "Intellectual dishonesty" is not the only possible explanation for misspeaking. It could be bad reasoning. It could be a simple error. It could be tiredness. It could be an inconsistency, to be retracted upon notification. It could be a slip of the tongue. It could be a semantic issue. It could be any number of informal logical fallacies (equivocation, e.g.). It could be a formal logical fallacy (fallacy of affirming the consequent, e.g.). It could be a pizza with anchovies. None of these require dishonesty.

If the village atheist only knew how difficult it is to construct an ethical system on atheism (esp. atheism as naturalism), they would hesitate to moralize. They should spend time on studying and constructing an ethical worldview consistent with their atheism. Even I might like to see that. Or, perhaps they might adopt utilitarianism. Then they might call the acts of religious believers good, since "good" on utilitarianism means what makes most people happy most of the time, and religious belief makes a whole lot of people happy.

If morality doesn't even exist (emotive ethics, e.g.), then for a village atheist to act as moral police officer is contradictory. Indeed, many intellectual atheists conclude the non-existence of morality. How silly, then for an atheist to moralize. Even then, I wouldn't call such an atheist dishonest, just ignorant. As I am, of most things.