Desperate Atheism

I have come to at least one more conclusion about the mindset of some Atheists when it comes to confronting God and religion.  There is a differing degree of desperation in a number of Atheists to disprove the existence of God which manifests itself in a number of ways.  Yesterday I encountered two of these.

The first I found rather humorous in my brief interaction with an Atheist on Twitter.  While perusing I read a blog post which referenced a few Twitter handles and I thought I’d check them out.  On his feed I saw his responses to an apparent Christian whom he was ridiculing.  For all I know they are friends, but I decided to join the fight nonetheless.  I saw he commented on a survey in which the results found that Atheists had more religious knowledge than Theists.  I remember the survey and had posted my thoughts shortly after its release: Funny Thing About Surveys.  I found it a rather shallow victory given that in each category the Atheist on average answered more questions correctly, it was by a very slim margin and in all but one category was less than a one correct answer advantage — so I called him on it.  So after he claimed substantial knowledge of the Bible to which the content of the posts belied, I offered an open unedited debate here on Sifting Reality.  My offer was replied with calling me a science denying liar, and then blocked.

They thrive on the piecemeal closing of the so-called God of the gaps by new scientific discoveries and has long been a favorite “refutation” of God and religion.  This became apparent to me while reading God… or Science of the Gaps?.  I think back to the elation in them I see whenever some new discovery comes to light which is perceived as yet another nail in the coffin of God.  Many of them profess to have no belief (See: I don’t Not Believe It), or a lack of belief (See: Not At All Lacking) in God, so I find it particularly curious how invested they become to attach some scientific discovery to religion.  Given the fact that science measures the physical world, and is not equipped to address the non-physical i.e., God, an awful lot of stock is placed in an institution ill-equipped to conclude what they so desperately need it to conclude!

So here’s what I’ve learned: Of the skeptics I have encountered, more of them than not exhibit these two particular defenses, and they often overlap.  For all the Atheists who claim to hold the keys to refuting the existence of God, they are thoroughly reluctant to debate the issue.  For all their claims to have refuted apologetic arguments and evidence for God, they never seem to want to share it in an environment in which they can be cross-examined.  They run from it as though there were crowds cheering Olé in the background somewhere.

Now, I’m willing to accept that at some point they have probably encountered a Christian somewhere and have been down this “fruitless” road before.  But for all the back and forth I have put myself through over the years with skeptics, I beg for the opportunity to do it all again.  My view is that if I have the truth, I don’t mind debating it.  I have found that the most obstreperous skeptics who are confident in their ability to disprove the existence of God, they are the least willing to engage with something more than ridicule and mockery.

On the other hand, for someone who purports to be making no claims and have no stake in the issue to be so excited to discover something which will disprove something they don’t believe in, I have to ask myself, why do they care so much.  It all smacks of…desperation.  It’s almost as if they need God to not exist.  Why would that be?


  1. I have wondered why is it atheist fight so much against something they don’t believe exists? like you say, desperation.

  2. rowanwphillips says:

    It is a ‘fruitless road’ as you put it because it is impossible to prove the non-existence of anything, especially if that thing is immeasurable. As for the arguments for the existence of god, I’ve never seen one with any substance behind it, not one has even begun to convince me that I may be wrong. More here –

    • Rowan

      Containing no substance is world’s of difference from uncompelling to you. Just because you aren’t convinced doesn’t mean the arguments lack substance. Evidence proper is different from strength of evidence and just because someone remains unconvinced doesn’t mean what was offered wasn’t evidence or a valid argument.

  3. rowanwphillips says:

    Evidence or arguments are generally useles in the debate anyway. I’ve never heard of anyone who was convinced either way after watching a debate. Faith is about taking things that are by definition unprovable and believing them without doubt. While I may have faith in my wife because I personally know her character or faith in my senses because I have used them before, having no experience of god makes me unable to believe in his existence or predict anything about his nature.

    Witness testimony may work in a court of law but would always be outweighed by physical evidence such as DNA, fingerprints or CCTV. As for the philosophical arguments such as creation of the universe or morality, they only work with the premise of belief. If you start from a sceptical viewpoint (as I believe we all should about everything), they barely get off the ground.

    • Rowan

      That may be your understanding of faith, and admittedly it is the understanding of many Christians, but theologically speaking it is inaccurate. I’ve never written on the issue, but I suggest going to and searching faith.

      Also, I can speak from my own anecdotal conversion. I was convinced through argumentation and presentation of evidences. I have never had an overwhelming emotional faith event like many have.

  4. I have come to at least one more conclusion about the mindset of some Atheists when it comes to confronting God and religion. There is a differing degree of desperation in a number of Atheists to disprove the existence of God which manifests itself in a number of ways.

    Similar to the argument you made to Rowan, just because you have come to a conclusion doesn’t make it true.
    I might add that you could look at Christianity in the same light:
    Christians seem awfully desperate to prove God does exist, as though they were attempting to convice themselves.

    I think intentionally or not you misinterpret the real reasons atheists seem interested in questioning the existance of God. Perhaps you have bought into the pulpit propaganda and honestly believe that atheists are subconciously trying to argue themselves out of a truth they deep down know to be true.
    Sure, and perhaps Conservatives argue against liberal values because they know deep down liberalism is right.
    Perhaps AGW denialists subconciously know humans cause climate change.
    I bet, though, in your attempt to point out how ridiculous I’m being you will touch on many of the actual reasons why atheists do spend so much energy arguing against something they don’t believe in.
    Have at it. I’ll respond on Wednesday, when I’m back at my computer…..

    • Similar to the argument you made to Rowan, just because you have come to a conclusion doesn’t make it true.
      I might add that you could look at Christianity in the same light:
      Christians seem awfully desperate to prove God does exist, as though they were attempting to convice themselves.

      I think this is true. I think there are many Christians who desperately want God to exist, for whatever reason. But the fundamental difference is the type of Atheists I am referring to claim to have no belief at all about God, or know he doesn’t exist — not mere theological skepticism. They claim to be a disinterested party to the discussion (which is why many believe they have no burden of proof). If I were to make the claim that I have no interest or stake in an election, but publicly campaign against one candidate, my actions belie my assertions. So to invest so much in claiming to have the proof that God doesn’t exist, but then refuse to share it or discuss in a manner where they can’t simply filibuster is disingenuous. I think it shows low maturity levels. Granted most of the kinds of Atheists who have found it amusing to condescend and mock on Twitter, are likely in their teens or early 20s, but this behavior among internet Atheists is common, and you, Oscar, and Jason are exceptions to the rule, not the rule.

      Your analogies were a bit hasty I think, but not ridiculous. A truer parallel would be Conservatives argue against liberalism because deep down they know liberal ideas really exist. That AGW deniers subconsciously know AGW ideas exist. They just arent parallel. But I am not suggesting that deep down Atheists want to believe in God. I am saying deep down they know he exists, thats all.

  5. Alex Jones says:

    The arguments over “God” is pointless. “God” is silent, thus no side will ever prove their argument. All will know what the position is at death.

    • Alex

      Well, I don’t know that it is pointless, and it is debatable whether God is silent- it seems he just doesn’t scream.

      But only if God exists will we all know after death.

  6. Are you claiming John, that God exists only as an idea? If that were true, then most certainly I believe in God. So do most atheists, I suspect. I am aware of the idea of a higher power- I am of the opinion that no good evidence exists to support that hypothesis and much evidence exists that contradicts anything but a deistic Prime Mover-type conception of God.
    Like Anthopogenic Global Warming, God in the sense that is meaningful is either a fact or a fact-based myth. There really isn’t a third rail. God exists or does not. Global warming is either impacted by human activity or it is not. There are degrees here- perhaps God exists outside of the classical Christian conception, perhaps global warming is a confluence of natural and man-made factors- but there is a central question that is answered only “yes” or “no”.

    As I have said here before, I actively disbelieve the biblical concept of God- just as I actively disbelieve every other specific concept of an active and interested diety. I am agnostic only in regards to a very vague and unspecific concept of God- the God of Einstein, God as an anthropomorphization of the laws of nature or a prime mover.

    When I say “agnostic”- even in this context- I only mean that I do not believe there is any means by which I might disprove to any real degree of certainty this concept of “God”. Besides, the idea of God as merely “the Laws of Nature” or just a “Prime Mover” is in and of itself an entirely foreign entity to the God of Christianity. That particular God I am certain does not exist.

    My analogy was not hasty, it was intentional. If God is merely an idea based on a measure of evidence- then I believe in God if only because I believe that people have an opinion of God based on a measure of evidence one way or another. This seems a far cry from your thesis, however.

    • George

      I am not quite sure how your comment pertains with my post. Let me see if I can reword a few things for clarity, since the type of Atheist I am describing herein is not you.

      There are some Atheists, usually young — teens – early to mid 20s — who are obtuse, condescending, arrogant, and very boastful as to how much time they have invested in thorough study of the Bible, religion, and the philosophy of religion. These particular Atheists Do not appear to be used to being questioned by apoligists as to their depth of knowledge, or how specifically they came to the conclusions they did. Instead, they attempt to control the entire dialogue through dismissals, mockery, poisoning the well, interruption, and (if in person) by sheer volume. They refuse to participate in a scenario in which they will be responsible for answering for their assertions and beliefs of their own. In fact, when put to the test i.e., an offer to have such a dialogue, the name-calling, mockery, and ridicule ramp up and either the apologist decides to no longer persue the discussion, or the Atheist cuts it off claiming something like “I don’t need to argue about an imaginary sky Daddy”.

      In another way, there are a whole nother class of Atheist (often have both of these traits) who cling to any new scientific discovery which may have (by any stretch of the imagination) the slightest implication that some form of evolution by natural selection is true. For example, a minuscule previously undiscovered notch in a hip bone on some organism or something, and Atheist blogs are all aflutter with “more evidence God doesn’t exist”

      These particular Atheists seem to avoid a controlled (I mean keeping attitude in check) discussion at all costs. They seem desperate to cling to their Atheism by any means necessary. Of course there are Christians and other theists who would also fit these descriptions but in the other direction. But the difference is, the Atheist is making a claim that the thing they are arguing against with such vigor all the while claiming it doesnt matter because it’s a fairy tale. My point is their actions speak louder than their words. They do in fact care whether God exists. They care tremendously. They argue as though something truly significant is at stake in the argument.

      I am not saying they secretly want God to exist. I am saying deep down they know he does and argue fervently against him.

      Again, you do not fit these “classifications”

  7. I’m not saying I take anything you said as a personal insult. I’m just cautioning you not to go around divining the thought processes of people you obviously don’t have much in common with.
    It is more likely the case that arrogant atheists are arguing the way they are not because they know God exists but that they feel compelled to mock you for being less enlightened than they.
    What you are doing by projecting opinions onto them that 1.)you are in no position to know firsthand and 2.) seem slyly designed to inflame their temper- is sink down to their schoolyard tactics. If that is what you are trying to do, then fantastic, but I’ll have no part in it.

    You are just using a Christian equivalent of “People who are homophobic are secretly harboring homosexual lust”. It may be true in rare cases, but this hardly makes it something that can be used as a general rule.

  8. War stories are good fun, aren’t they?

    • Daniel

      I’m beginning to think you only post to attention for yourself. You don’t have anything to say, why post? Do I need to fix that for you?

      • I don’t much care what you think, nor visa versa, I would imagine.

        Your cryptic threat is amusing though.

        • Then why do you comment here, you need the attention? Or just trying to get traffic? Either way, its pretty sad.

          • Oddly enough your most recent response continues the pattern. See there isn’t much hope of escaping your narrative, nor much reason to answer your question directly. Which was my point to begin with.

            • My pattern of wondering why someone who doesn’t care what I think posting comments that have nothing to do with the blog post. You have no point, unless its to post nonsense.

              • Lol, so you don’t respond to full arguments, nor to allusions. You are air-tight.

                Well done!

              • Well if you think “war stories are fun” is a full argument, then you’ve got a law suit against where ever you went to school. Have a nice day, thanks for flying Sifting Reality. We here at Sifting Reality realize you could have been an idiot on other blogs, but you chose ours, and for that, we’re grateful.

Any Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: