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Non-Atheists view of Atheism

Beliefs by some conservative Protestants:
Why Atheists reject God; what they fear

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Why Atheists reject God, according to many Christians:

Many conservative Christians state that Atheists reject God because of an ulterior motive. They argue that if Atheists were to accept God's existence, then they would have to yield to God's criticism of their profoundly immoral behavior, and adopt a higher moral standard to govern their lives. We have seen numerous references to this conviction published on the Internet and broadcast over conservative Christian radio programs. Some are quite abusive and do not reflect well on the authors' religion. Examples are:

bulletJohn Blanchard wrote that:

"What is certain is that those who want to live godless, self-centered lives have a vested interest in keeping God out of their thoughts." 1

bulletDr. John Bechtle of ChristianAnswers.net attacks everyone who does not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. This presumably includes Atheists, liberal Christians and many others. He wrote:

"Each generation rejects more and more Scripture, as it gets in the way of their own opinions." 2

bullet Citizens for the Ten Commandments gives the following description of Atheists:

"... the instance or act of deploring and fighting against morality, Christianity and God while buffering oneself behind the fanciful notion of the non-existence of God, and often Satan, in order to avoid the appearance of the inevitable linkage with Satan." 3 [Spelling errors corrected]

bulletAn anonymous spokesperson at the Citizens for the Ten Commandments believes that Satan lures people into Atheism so that the latter will feel free to engage in immoral activities:

"Since Satan wants to make mankind more comfortable in performing deeds God will punish them for, Satan, likewise feeds them the deception that God doesn't exist. This is his tactic to make them feel more free to practice the evil deeds they will be punished for." 4 [Spelling errors corrected]

bulletTim Gorski, of The North Texas Church of Freethought, himself an Atheist, repeats a statement that he hears often from Theists:

"But without God there can be no absolute morality. That's the real reason for Atheism. It's nothing more than wanting to be your own god so you can do whatever you want." 5

bullet "Jalandoak" writes that Atheists:

"...don't believe in the Bible, because they have a problem with authority. God being the ultimate authority, oppresses them, and they can't be 'free thinkers'. This depresses them, and finally they reject God's reality to make themselves feel better. By living their own way, and not following God's laws, they no longer feel guilt." 5

bulletAn author from the Believers' Church wrote:

"... 'being an atheist' is not really about what a person believes, but about what they want to do, or not do. They just don't want to answer to God -- as they perceive Him. They don't want to follow the rules God would give. They want to be free to do whatever they choose, which is tragic." 6

bulletChuck Baldwin, writing for The Covenant News, and referring to religious liberals stated:

"The bottom line is, men [sic] are looking for a reason to not be held accountable for their conduct. If there is no absolute truth, there can be no absolute standard of righteousness by which men are judged. In short, everyone may do what he or she feels is right."

bullet "Tracy" of Jesus-is-Lord.com writes that Atheists:

"... want to control their own lives and not submit to the Lord. They are actually rather tragic figures just like any other unsaved individual. It is hard to live out their atheism--if they did, they'd actually be considered crazy ..." 8

bulletHugh and Kathy Ross have a different interpretation. They attribute Atheism to a fear of ridicule and loss. They wrote in their essay on The Creation Date Controversy:

"In the anti-Christian academics we see the fear of having to take the Gospel into careful consideration. That's just too risky for those terrified by the prospect of peer ridicule and rejection, terrified to face the losses that might accompany a change to Christian values and morals through a relationship with Christ." 9

bulletAccording to Steve Hays:

"Unbelievers deny the existence of God because that gives them sexual license. Unbelievers deny the existence of God because they're afraid of divine judgment." 10

It might be worth mentioning again that many -- perhaps most -- Atheists do not believe that Gods, Goddesses, Satan, demons and angels do not exist. They merely have no belief in them. They find no evidence that either proves or disproves their existence. To some, the concept of God makes no sense.

What we have observed:

Atheists realize that, in the past, followers of many religions believed that:

bulletSupernatural forces controlled the weather,

bulletComets were harbingers of doom,

bulletAngels physically pushed the sun, moon, planets and stars across the sky,

bulletA male God created the Earth, its life forms, and the rest of the universe;

bulletGod micro-manages the life of every human on earth.

Elements of these beliefs remain today. But the Atheists with whom we have communicated, including a volunteer in our own group, reject these concepts. Many find that these ideas make no sense. They are seen as left-over relics from a pre-scientific tribal culture.

Many Atheists believe that their personal moral code is superior to that taught by the Bible. Some point out the Bible's numerous immoral teachings, including its acceptance and regulation of human slavery; its oppression of gays and lesbians; oppression of women; execution of religious minorities, support for mass murder and genocide, etc. Some point out that every major change in the culture, from the elimination of slavery, to granting women the right to vote and enter various professions, religious tolerance, access to birth control, equal rights for lesbians, bays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals, same-sex marriage, etc. have only been achieved by rejecting a literal interpretation of various biblical passages.

Many Atheists feel that their personal ethical system, being human-centered, and typically free of sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia, is superior to that of the Bible. Most would personally agree with the Ethics section of the Humanist Manifesto II, as being at least on a par with the Christians' Golden Rule and the Ethics of Reciprocity of other religions. The Manifesto says, in part: "

bullet"THIRD: We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest."
 
bullet"FOURTH: ...critical intelligence, infused by a sense of human caring, is the best method that humanity has for resolving problems. Reason should be balanced with compassion and empathy and the whole person fulfilled."

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What Atheists fear, according to columnist Ken Schram:

In a 2002-JUN-27 column, columnist Ken Schram of KOMO, Seattle, WA, described some of the characteristics of Atheists:

bulletThey fear God so much that even hearing the word "God" distresses them.
 
bulletHe has observed Atheists squeeze their eyes shut when they remove bills from their pocket out of fear that they might see the phrase "In God we Trust."
 
bulletSome go out of their way when driving to avoid passing churches, synagogues, mosques and temples.
 
bulletSome recoil at the sight of a cross, crucifix, menorah, Star of David, or the presence of Hare Krishna proselytizers. 11

Our Atheist staff member reports that they have never performed any of these behaviors. None of the rest of us in this office have observed our Atheist friends and acquaintances engaging in these behaviors. It makes no sense that someone who has no concept of Gods, Goddesses, Satan, angels, demons, magical powers of writing, etc. would fear such religious manifestations. They seem to be figments of Ken Schram's imagination.

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. John Blanchard, "Does God believe in Atheists?" Evangelical Press, (2000), Page 483-4. Read reviews or order this book
  2. John Bechtle, "When we say that the Bible is the Word of God...." at: http://christiananswers.net/
  3. "Citizens for the Ten Commandments," at: http://www.hom.net/
  4. Anon, "Atheists cannot understand the true God," at: http://www.hom.net/
  5. Tim Gorski, "Does God Exist?," at: http://www.churchoffreethought.org/
  6. "Jalandoak," "Extra Spout: Feb. 10 -- Atheism," at: http://jalandoak.its-official.com/
  7. "Atheist & Agnostic Help Page," at: http://www.believers.org/
  8. "Tracy," "The atheist and his atheism," Jesus-is-Lord, at: http://jesus-is-lord.com/
  9. Dr. Hugh Ross & Kathy Ross, "The real issue: The creation date controversy," Reasons to Believe, at: http://www.origins.org/  (May no longer be online)
  10. Steve Hays, "The Case for Atheism," at: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/
  11. Ken Schram, "Sometimes, Atheists get lucky," at: http://www.komotv.com/

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Copyright © 1996 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-AUG-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

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