Ken: "Is it correct to define atheism as the claim that 'no god or gods are real' or that 'no god or gods actually exist'?"
The atheist eventually agreed.
Ken: "If atheism asserts that 'no god is real' or that 'no god actually exists,' then isn't it making a universal claim about 'all reality' and 'all existence'?"
Ken sums up the purpose of his poignant questions this way:
In other words, as a point of logic, doesn't the atheist, for his claim to be valid, have to know all about reality and existence to rightly exclude any and every god? For example, to claim with any validity that there are no entities of a particular type (gods) in a given circle ore set (reality), doesn't a person need a complete or comprehensive knowledge of that circle or set (reality)? I concluded my remarks by asserting that the atheist position could be valid only if atheists could justify their implicit claim to have a comprehensive knowledge of all reality and/or all existence. This position of seeming omniscience is, of course, beyond the capacity of any human being.
Atheist: "An incoherent god could not exist regardless of humanity's limited knowledge."
Ken: "That may well be true, but then in order to maintain one's atheism, a person must bear the burden of showing that every conceivable concept of God is actually incoherent. This feat seems beyond the atheist's capacity."
Though there are some who dispute this reasoning and particular critique of atheism, Ken breaks down the sound logic of his position as follows:
However, according to the logical rules relating to categorical propositions, to say "no god are real" by necessity makes reference to all members of the predicate class, namely, all that is "real." In other words, the statement "no gods are real" means "no gods are among the class of all real things." In the universal negative proposition (form E: No S are P ["No God or gods are real"]) the predicate term is distributed. An assertion is being made about every member of the class denoted by the predicate term.(2)
For a skeptical response to Ken's argument, see Jeffrey Jay Lowder's paper "Is a Sound Argument for the Nonexistence of a God Even Possible?"
Make sure and check out Ken's book A World of Difference for solid Christian worldview-thinking.
(1) Kenneth Samples, A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2007), 39-40.
(2) Ibid., 281-282.