Lay Gnosis

Lay Gnosis answers Atheists

Why don’t some people want to believe in gods? from Quora

Back when I was an atheist, I had a few reasons that seem fairly common to atheists. I’ve met plenty of atheists who have other reasons. Now that I’m on the other side, I’m starting to see a few of the real reasons for it.

Here’s a general list. (I’m not arguing for the validity of these reasons, just listing them.)

Reasons atheists typically give:

1. Lack of evidence. This is probably what the majority of non-militant atheists will claim as their primary reason for lack of faith. They just don’t see any evidence of God.

2. It’s a “crutch,” and I don’t need one. Many atheists view religion as a sort of emotional/personal support that they are strong enough not to need.

3. God is outdated or an old way to explain difficult aspects of the world. This is the “science can explain it all” approach. God is seen as a concept that was used to explain why the sun went up in the morning before we knew about celestial mechanics. It’s a sort of outgrowth of the fallacy of chronological snobbery.

4. Religion has harmed a lot of people. They point to things like the ongoing sectarian violence in the Middle East or the Inquisition and Crusades, and believe that if religion didn’t exist, we would probably live in greater peace. This is typically a view of more militant atheists who want not just to co-exist with religious followers without being proselytized to, but who want to actively stamp out religious belief.

5. Religion is a system of control. This belief views religion as the “opiate of the masses,” as Marx once said. Religious belief tends to be hierarchical, and those at the top use their position to keep people under control. Concepts like blessed are the poor or meek are viewed as keeping people happy in poverty and donating their ten percent to the already wealthy priests at the top.

6. I don’t need God to be moral or “good.” Religion is viewed, similarly to the system of control, as a system of rules and regulations to morality, with justifications for breaking those moral rules when it suits the religious. For example, “do not kill, except the infidels who don’t believe in our cause.” Atheists often state that there are alternative ethical theories that perfectly allow morality without God, such as game theory.

7. The Problem of Pain. Atheists often use the mere fact of an imperfect world as justification that a loving, omnipotent God doesn’t exist. (And if God is not loving or all-powerful, then what’s the point, really?) They believe that if God really was as advertised, we should live in a perfect paradise. Apologists for faith have long sought to reconcile this exact problem, and the fact that there is no convincing answer is often enough for atheists to justify their lack of faith with this.

8. Contradictory holy texts. Many atheists I know typically are against mostly just mainstream Christianity and sometimes Islam, and don’t have a problem with more “philosophical religions” such as Taoism, because they point to apparent contradictions in the religious texts. They view these holy texts as one giant book, not as individual constituent texts written by dozens of people over thousands of years.

8a. Painting all believers with a broad brush. Many atheists point to views like Creationism and paint all believers with that broad brush. They refuse to believe because they are under the impression that they must sign up to all of the views of religion, which often contradict with what they see as rational thought or scientific belief. Because Creationism is easily disproved, the whole thing must be false, in other words. While not all atheists do this, I find a great many of them do, particularly ones who are active on the internet.

Reasons that atheists either won’t admit to or don’t even realize:

1. They personally have been hurt by religion and want revenge. I’ve met a number of atheists, usually the militant ones who want to stamp out religion and not just allow for difference of opinion, who at some point experienced either persecution or ridicule by believers and who have a personal grudge against them. Many of these atheists were believers at one point, and when the church didn’t have the answers they wanted or when they chose not to wholeheartedly march in lockstep theologically with their peers, they were shamed, ridiculed, excommunicated, or otherwise outcast. Religion hurt them, and now they’re going to hurt it back.

2. Religion didn’t live up to their expectations. This is the issue of wanting a god in our own image, rather than the other way around. Founder of the “Freedom From Religion Foundation” Dan Barker basically exemplifies this. He was an evangelical pastor, and he found that God didn’t measure up to what he personally expected. He had questions his fellow believers couldn’t answer, and he felt like God didn’t personally speak to him in ways he wanted. So, he took his football and went home, basically. He quit believing and started an organization that, like reason 1 above, sought revenge on the religion that didn’t live up to his expectations. If the God he wanted to exist didn’t, then no god could.

3. The Slot-Machine God. Many believers get frustrated with God and walk away because they view God as a benevolent grandfather who should just give them what they want. Pray the right prayer, say the magic words, and God should shower down some blessings. If God isn’t just blessing you with things you want, it’s because either He doesn’t like you, or you did something wrong. This view of God tends to cause believers to become disillusioned over time, and ultimately walk away from God in many situations as they realize this isn’t true. It’s something of a subset to reason #2 above.

4. They discount evidence because they personally don’t like it. I’ve been in plenty of discussions with atheists where they just keep moving the goalposts because they don’t happen to like the evidence, or it isn’t convincing enough to them, or they have some sort of convoluted potential scientific explanation that might maybe explain it without resorting to God. I’ve met atheists who have twisted themselves into Windsor knots to save themselves when confronted with examples of people who have been healed by God. I would like to be clear, this is not all atheists.

5. Pride. The view “I don’t need a crutch,” or “I can explain things some other way even if I can’t right now, so God can’t exist,” or “I can be moral all on my own, thank you very much,” are really all pride. They don’t want to believe in God because they think that they are better than God. I doubt many if any atheists would say that out loud, but it’s certainly a factor.

6. Insecurity. I think some atheists actually fear God a little bit, though they would absolutely never admit it. These are typically the angry, militant atheists who go online and will probably try to comment on this and call me names or try to talk me out of my faith. I’m starting to realize that these kinds of atheists are just really insecure about their lack of faith and can’t own up to it. They have to justify their lack of belief by going around and disproving believers or putting them down. They can’t genuinely dismiss God, so they have to find fault with anything a believer says to feel better about themselves. These kinds of atheists are usually spotted by lots of snarky comments, insulting statements made towards believers, and other trollish behavior.

This is neither a comprehensive or definitive list, but it is what I have seen in my experience both as an atheist and as a believer.480 viewsView Upvoters8066 That’s from Quora

In my LG experience its mainly about anger. They simply can’t be Calmly Curious. Anger prevents their creative forebrains working. Many will lie and say the BEGINNERS TOUR tour doesn’t work. Nothing happened to me, they badger. So God doesn’t exist so Nyeah. That childishness is so easily dealt with. I simply ask them to get a female, sister or mother, to do the BEGINNERS TOUR and they will teach this militant atheist how to do it

That’s when the militant atheist goes totally quiet.

Its not always anger but frequently Asperger Syndrome which prevents them connecting dots and having metaphorical memories like the rest of us. So Aspergers is a learning disability which dooms them to being 19th century materialists. Spirituality utterly baffles them which makes them angry.

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