Unfortunately, it is not the God of classical theism but a demiurge that we find modern atheists most concerned with. A demiurge would not be the source of all existence, but merely a cosmic craftsman, or, as it’s more conventionally understood, a being — an intelligent designer — simply endowed with superhuman powers not unlike the characters inhabiting comicbooks and theaters.
The analogies skeptics use give them away. This god, to them, is no different from the tooth fairy, father christmas, zeus, or any of the other thousands of gods now in the dustbin of history. None of them seem to understand, much less have written about, the God as understood from the scholastic age to Aquinas. And writers like Dawkins, Sam Harris and the Hitch, can only reasonably claim to have laid out arguments against a demiurge, a cosmic and malevolent despot, who has not a whit in common to the God of Aristotle.
Intelligent people rightly find illogical the proposition that such a being (or beings) exists. And the problem is that both the religious and the skeptic have little time to parse through the metaphysical obscurities — or, as Dennet would say, “deepities” — of theology in order to get a better conceptual framework with which to view God. Unsurprisingly they are left ill-prepared to see Him as nothing more than a divine tinkerer, or, more famously, as Paley’s watchmaker. This is why we often see a theology that is more akin to that of Pat Robertson and Kirk Cameron than to that of Alvin Plantinga or Edward Feser; this is why we see intelligent design theorists claiming that irreducible complexity points to divine handiwork; this is why we see Christians and skeptics alike who think Darwin’s theory to be theism’s coup de grace.
The ill-informed religious laymen will keep providing the skeptics with strawmen to burn down, it seems.
I fear it will take a lot to upset this cycle of attack and defense of these army of strawmen. Especially in this age of twitter and facebook, where information must be bite-sized, and therefore almost always ephemeral and useless, to be worth listening to. Scarcely anyone has the time, nor even the aptitude or desire, to read theological treatises on religion that expound on the God of the old scolastics. While much of the abled seem content to resigning themselves to their ivory towers.
I have no doubt that we Christians are at the losing end of a cultural war. And I fear that in a post-Christian era, once the illogic of humanism becomes apparent (since a humanism predicated on naturalism needs to eschew the annoyingly amorphous concept of objective morality, without which the whole humanistic enterprise can be said to be floating on thin air) morality will be Nietzschean in its manifestations.
Which is to say the shit will hit the fan.
Can we, as Christians, really even doubt this? — it has all been written.
But hope springs anew, since it has also been written that every knee shall bow. So perhaps even the most Dawkinsian will, at some point — and whether he desired it or not — bend.
So, perhaps, a less charitable, smug, seemingly juvenile yet inarguably fitting response to the skeptic would be to say, in the words of Vox Day:
‘You can do it now, or you can do it later. But bow, you will.’