International Cat Speculators Since 2006

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.

Brian writes:

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?

[emphasis mine]

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.

Comments on: "If there is a God, why are their Athiests?" (15)

  1. i think the question can also be asked back at you. if it were objectively proven that there is no god, would you renounce your faith? would you change your life in any way?

    personally; if it were proven god existed, i would believe he existed. would i change my life? probably not, i don;t like earthly authority that much to want to bend to an unearthly one.

  2. The reason why I ask the question is because I *would* change my life. That would be rational.

    And I believe that most Christians would answer similarly – if God did not exist we would not worship him. Most, I’m guessing, would continue trying to live good lives.

    I’m not in denial about what that would mean.

    But it seems that Atheists like yourself most certainly are in denial when it comes to the reverse scenario.

  3. While the question is reasonably valid for a given value of atheist, It does raise the question: “How do you define an atheist?”

    Isn’t an atheist someone who doesn’t accept the theist’s definition of religion and/or “God”. This doesn’t mean that all atheists subscribe to the Richard Dawkins version, or that they would necessarily reject “God” if he/she/it/them were proved to exist. But then accepting “God” doesn’t automatically mean worship.

    So if “God” exists, good on him/her/it/them. I shall continue to exist too thank you very much.

    There is also the question: “If ‘God’ exists, why would he/she/it/them necessarily be a christian god?”

    • I wonder if most (heck, any) Atheists have ever really considered what the true implications of there being a God (as taught by christianity).

      Seems like not.

      • What are the implications of there being a “God” (in your opinion)?

        I hope you don’t mean a Sodom and Gomorrah style massacre of atheists for not believing. ‘Cause it seems to me that you think that all atheists are amoral, when infact anyone can be morally good, no matter what they believe.

        If “God” exists, we should continue with our lives as they are since “God” is clearly fine with how things are going. It is people who say different.

      • But I’m also curious. Let’s get *really* hypothetical and say you accepted Christs. What do you think you would have to change in your life? If you’re already a moral person, what’s the big change you’d have to make?

      • I am prepared to accept that there could be some form of higher power. What I’m not prepared to accept is the church and all it’s bigotry. And I’m not prepared to accept that my idea of a higher power is what the church tells me to think it is.

      • Which really misses the assumption here – that “the church” is largely right (largely, since the church is never quite in sync with scripture), and any idea that you might have is wrong.

        You can’t say “I’m not prepared to accept someone elses idea of what a higher power is” when the person who’s telling you about that higher power is the higher power himself.

  4. I don’t think all atheists are immoral. I’m sure many are very good people by human standards.

    The problem is that God (as revealed in the Bible) relates to us that his tolerance for sin is zero. Zilch.

    “If “God” exists, we should continue with our lives as they are since “God” is clearly fine with how things are going.”

    Really? Not according to the Bible. God makes very clear that man is very sinful indeed, and you actually show that by this very sentence where you sneer at his message.

    Think of a business situation – Just because your manager doesn’t come in and correct you every time you do something wrong, doesn’t mean he’d be pleased with what you’re doing. Is that excuse going to cut it at your annual review? Of course not.

    My real point was that if there is a God, he might actually be interested in what his people are doing – though since he’s all powerful, he can be very subtle in how he tests them (how many movies or TV programs have the premise that a person or corporation is so powerful that they can manipulate a a person into doing something? Think “The Game” or the “Truman Show”. ) Have you ever considered that God might not be happy with the way things are going, but like any parent is coaxing people to the answer and letting them work it out themselves?

    But there’s another side, which is that what he’s offering – FOR FREE – is beyond price. There are several parables in the Bible where Jesus tries to explain just how valuable that gift is. There’s the Parable of the Lost Coin, or the Perl of Great Price (Matt 13:45,46), and others.

    If there is a God as revealed by the Bible, ignoring him is like tossing out a cheque for $10m just handed to you by Bill Gates because you’d rather roll in manure for 5 minutes.

  5. I’m disappointed. I was hoping for a well reasoned response, instead you blindly state that bible must be true because the church says it’s true.

    I will accept that Jesus had some good things to say about how we should live our lives, but to extend that to him being “the son of God” is a step too far.

    Also “The problem is that God (as revealed in the Bible) relates to us that his tolerance for sin is zero. Zilch.” is an utter contradiction, since the church teaches that “God’s” capacity for forgiveness is infinite. And you clearly think that too given “Have you ever considered that God might not be happy with the way things are going, but like any parent is coaxing people to the answer and letting them work it out themselves?”

    So given you are the type of person who tries to manipulate the bible in order to serve you own ends, I’ll ask you who you think the bigger sinner is? And I’ll expect you to say me, simply because you think it couldn’t possibly be you, you worship the “right” “God”.

    • Again, you haven’t considered what the question is really asking. The question is “How you begin to follow Christ if it suddenly became clear to you that Christianity was objectively true?”

      The Bible is, in this scenario, the word of God – directly from the power that controls the entire universe.

      Coming back to the “management” scenario, you’re now complaining that I”m quoting emails from the boss to you, which is faintly weird. I’m not saying that the Bible is true because of what the Church says, it’s one of the assumptions behind the question.

      There is no contradiction in God hating sin, but providing unlimited forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t pretending that nothing happened, it’s an act of mercy towards the guilty.

      Your final paragraph shows a lot about your mindset towards the Church. You suggest I don’t consider myself sinful. I most certainly do. I sin every day, and the church I go to we every week ask for forgiveness for wrongs, while acknowledging they are covered by Jesus’ sacrifice. I would have serious questions for any church that teaches that it’s members are without sin, it’s simply not true and can’t be justified by the Bible.

      What *is* true is that Christians extort each other to be without sin and frequently condemn sin in the world. That doesn’t mean those condemning sin are sinless, just that they consider themselves forgiven and want others to confess and gain God’s forgiven too. The fact that the positive part of this message is often lost is largely why you don’t get such “hellfire” messages anymore.

      The church is made of fallible people. One of the reasons for the existence of the protestant faith is because of a gradual creep of errors into the Catholic church, Luther, Calvin and others spent years studying the scripture to try and reset the church back on it’s original path.

  6. Became atheist/agnostic after growing realization that a commitment to rationality combined with a lack of evidence for the existence of any deity combined with Occam’s razor meant that belief in a god, however comforting that belief might be, needed to be abandoned. How could I fault others for their irrational but comforting beliefs about economics if I held irrational but comforting beliefs on other dimensions?

    If the hand of god came down tomorrow, I’d change my mind about his existence. If hand of god came down with credible evidence about life after death and with a list of rules for getting there, I’d weigh up the costs and benefits (as well of the probability of deathbed conversions being accepted).

  7. Homer Sylvester said:

    If the earth is round why many thought that it was flat? And mabe some still believe so.

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