Ok, so it’s a quote of a blog on a review of a book but there’s a point here not often made.
Sproul starts the book by investigating three atheists who sought to explain religious belief as a result of psychological factors.
Before tackling the psychology of atheism, Sproul spends a chapter on the psychology of theism, from the perspective of Freud’s question “If there is no God, why is there religion?”11 What follows is an overview of various psychological explanations of theistic belief: Feuerbach’s “religion is a dream of the human mind.”12 Marx’s belief that religion is “due to the devious imagination of particular segment of mankind.”13 And Nietzche’s idea that “religion endures because weak men need it.”14 The author properly reiterates: “We must be careful to note that the above arguments can never be used as proof for the nonexistence of God. They can be useful for atheists who hear theists state that the only possible explanation for religion is the existence of God.”15 That being said, Sproul also reveals what these arguments presume:
Their arguments already presupposed the nonexistence of God. They were not dealing with the question, Is there a God? They were dealing with the question, Since there is no God, why is there religion?16
Sproul points out the weaknesses of each of these approaches and says “there are just as many arguments showing that unbelief has its roots in the psychological needs of man.”
Wow, could that really be true? What are the real reasons why people reject God? Does the Bible have anything to say about what those reasons are?
I remember talking to someone who was an unbeliever, but had had extensive discussions with a solid christian flatmate.
He was convinced that there may well be a God. But he didn’t want to give up “living in sin”.
Later, Knight talks about an earlier survey he’d undertaken of some atheists.
By the way, did you all see my survey of atheists that I did a while back? It’s relevant because one of the questions I asked to my volunteers was “How you begin to follow Christ if it suddenly became clear to you that Christianity was objectively true?”. I got some very strange responses that dovetail nicely with Sproul’s book.Here are a few of the responses:
- I would not follow. My own goals are all that I have, and all that I would continue to have in that unlikely situation. I would not yield my autonomy to anyone no matter what their authority to command me.
- I would not follow, because God doesn’t want humans to act any particular way, and he doesn’t care what we do.
- I would not follow. Head is spinning. Would go to physician to find out if hallucinating.
- I hope I would be courageous enough to dedicate my life to rebellion against God.
- I would not have to change anything unless forced to and all that would change is my actions not my values. I would certainly balk at someone trying to force me to change my behavior as would you if you were at the mercy of a moral objectivist who felt that all moral goodness is codified in the Koran.
- He would have to convince me that what he wants for me is what I want for me.
This is all part of my series discussing whether morality is rationally grounded by atheism.
Yes, they really think like that! Just ask an atheist those questions and you’ll see how “objective” they really are. Ask them how much time they’ve put in to studying to see if these things are really true.
So let me get this straight. If there were revealed an all-powerful God, all-knowing and all-wise, love being his very nature, creator of all things, your average atheist would refuse to do anything meaningful about it.
“If There’s A God, Why Are There Atheists?”. Good question.
Atheist readers should feel free to answer the survey question above in comments.