The odd behavior of non-believersI am a theist, and obviously that means that I profess a positive belief in the existence of God. Naturally, a belief in God—who is claimed to be the source of being, consciousness, love etc.—shapes and molds almost all of the ways I carry out my life. I pray, go to church, read the Bible, talk about the faith I share, fellowship with other believers, and read books concerning my faith etc. A lot of the things I do are done with a thought towards the divine in some sense. Now, it should seem quite reasonable to state that if I lacked a belief in God, I would not concern myself with many of the aforementioned activities. Why would I pray if there’s no God to hear me? Why would I talk about the faith Christians share if I don’t share it? Surely these endeavors would be a waste of time. However, such a reasonable line of thinking seems to be absent from the “New Atheist” movement—which is ironic since atheists pride themselves on being at the frontier of the movement of reason.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that even though atheists lack a belief in God, they nevertheless still pray, or go to church, or read the Bible devotionally. Of course they don’t. But my point is this: atheists do spend a lot of time constantly discussing the very thing they claim not to believe in. Surely this is, to say the least, a bit strange. Why spend so much time arguing over, talking about, and demeaning something you belief is non-existent? Has anything ever seemed like such a waste of time and energy? I think Neil Degrasse Tyson said it perfectly:
I don’t play golf. Is there a word for non-golf players? Do non-golf players gather and strategize? Do non-skiers have a word, and come together and talk about the fact that they don’t ski? I can’t do that. I can’t gather around and talk about how much everybody in the room doesn’t believe in God. I don’t have the energy for that.Yet, the lifestyle of the new atheists is even more embarrassing than the picture Tyson paints. It’s not as if these individuals only occasionally sit around and discuss their non-belief; rather, in many cases people are devoting so much of their time and energy to such non-belief! Think of the hundreds of thousands of blogs and websites predicated on atheism, or the dozens of books printed each year on the “delusion of belief”. Dinesh D’Souza articulates my point:
I don’t believe in unicorns, but you’ll notice that I haven’t written any books disputing the existence of unicorns. I am not the author of, for example, The Unicorn Delusion or The End of Unicorns or Unicorns Are Not Great. I don’t attend conferences on the fallacy of unicorn belief, nor do I go around debating people on whether there are in fact unicorns.The point is, when you lack a belief in something you ignore it. Why, if you lack a belief in a supernatural entity, would you spend your energy discussing your non-belief in the existence of said entity?
Now, I anticipate the response of the non-believer: so much time is spent arguing over belief in God because our society is overrun with the delusional belief in such a thing! Perhaps if the world was populated with a bunch of people believing in invisible unicorns then we would be obligated to focus our energies on them.
But surely this is not a good analogy. It is true that if people by the millions believed in invisible unicorns I might occasionally feel obliged to “set them straight”. But, I wouldn’t see myself devoting much time at all to converting the unicornists to a-unicornists. I would, most likely, just ignore such delusions, and probably laugh incessantly anytime the topic came up. Who wouldn’t?
But, this is not the path of the atheists, who, instead of ignoring the thing they lack belief in, utilize their efforts trying to convince the believers (and themselves) that they should lack belief too! And every once in a while you’ll see an atheist come to their senses and realize how absurd their endeavor is. Take John Loftus over at Debunking Christianity. Every couple of years or so he realizes exactly how meaningless his whole cause is and attempts to jump ship. Take these claims made from him in May 2012:
I have no more desire to engage Christians. They are deluded, all of them. I have never been more convinced of this than I am now. I have better things to do. I spent 39+ years of my adult life on a delusion. If I add the years of my childhood that’s almost my entire life. Yet this is the only life I will ever have. It’s time to move on[…]I see no reason to waste large chunks of my time on this delusion anymore.
Yet a few months later Loftus was back posting full time on the blog. How sad.
Why would anyone, as Loftus articulated, want to waste large chunks of their lives on what they take to be a delusion? Why waste your resources writing blogs, writing books, posting videos, setting up conferences, and even making television broadcasts talking about the very thing that you find to be nonexistent and delusional? I mean geez, I’ll bet that John Loftus spends more time thinking about God than most the congregation of my church. Is this not insane and delusional in itself? Do not these actions on behalf of atheists beg for a psychological evaluation?
Obsession with GodIt is, I dare to say, an obsession with God. Why would you waste your energies and resources on something you don’t believe in unless you are obsessed with that very something? You don’t write books and blog posts on a constant basis on a topic unless that topic is constantly on your mind.
But what does this mean for the atheist? Are they, deep down, trying to constantly resolve some sort of cognitive dissonance they harbor? Perhaps they have given up an intellectual assent to a divine being, but maybe they still feel that personal lure of something beyond themselves and beyond the world. Perhaps they still have the knowledge of the divine embedded in their consciousness or being. Why else would someone constantly spend their time discussing how much they lack belief in something, unless they are trying to resolve the cognitive dissonance that accompanies the lack of belief in said something.
Non-believers have claimed that one reason believers meet every week is to constantly reinforce their own delusions. But what does the same line of reasoning mean with regard to atheists, who constantly (and also at least on a weekly basis) feel the need to write about, talk about, discuss, and argue about what they claim to not believe in?
Perhaps atheists are trying to reinforce their own delusions.