Warning: Atheist readers of the Wintery Knight blog are forbidden to read this post. I forbid you! Forbid!
Sigmund Freud famously dismissed belief in God as a psychological projection caused by wishful thinking. Today many of the “new atheists”—including Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens—make a similar claim, insisting that believers are delusional. Faith is a kind of cognitive disease, according to them. And they are doing all they can to rid the world of all religious belief and practice.
Christian apologists, from Dinesh D’Souza to Ravi Zacharias, have been quick to respond to the new atheists, revealing holes in their arguments and showing why theistic belief, and the Christian worldview in particular, is reasonable. In fact, the evidence for God is overwhelming, confirming the Apostle Paul’s point in Romans 1 that the reality of God is “clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20, NIV).
So if the evidence for God is so plain to see, then why are there atheists? That is the question that prompted The Making of an Atheist. The answer I propose turns the tables on the new atheists, as I show that unbelief is a psychological projection, a cognitive disorder arising from willful resistance to the evidence for God. In short, it is atheists who are the delusional ones.
Unlike Dawkins and his ilk, I give an account as to how the delusion occurs, showing that atheistic rejection of God is precipitated by immoral indulgences, usually combined with some deep psychological disturbances, such as a broken relationship with one’s father. I also show how atheists suffer from what I call “paradigm-induced blindness,” as their worldview inhibits their ability to recognize the reality of God manifest in creation. These and other factors I discuss are among the various dimensions of sin’s corrupting influence on the mind.
Nothing makes the Wintery Knight happier than seeing the truth of Romans 1 come out in encounters with atheists. I love to understand how atheists come to their atheism. What I am reading about this new book makes me think that Dr. Spiegel and I will be in broad agreement – but I still must know the details. And you should know it too – understanding atheism helps Christians to understand why they should not cave in the pressure to water down doctrine, e.g. – annihilationism, inclusivism, etc.
By the way, has anyone read R.C. Sproul’s “If There is a God, Why Are There Atheists?“? I love that book. (No, I am not a Calvinist!) Christians need to get really comfortable with the reasons why people reject the Christian God in particular. This is the best book I’ve ever read on that topic. We really need to do a better job of calling atheists out on the real reasons for their unbelief. (Note: I never talk to individual atheists about their individual sins – just don’t do that ever! But their speculations and unbelief are fair game)
Just last week I was dealing with an atheist who was trying to tell me how fair and balanced Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart are. He also said that the Discovery Channel does a good job of exploring the historical Jesus, and that debates like the kind I recommend are woefully inadequate. One of my friends has a non-Christian father-in-law who is listening to Bart Ehrman lectures. I wonder if this father-in-law is open to watching Bart Ehrman defend his views in a formal debate? Probably not, and that’s my point.
There seems to be a whole boatload of busy people trying to twist the material world into some sort of lasting happiness apart from God and autonomous from the moral law. They do not want to bow the knee to Christ, which is the natural result of any honest investigation. Instead they deliberately look for speculations to keep the real, living God at a distance. We need to be courageous about pointing out the real reasons why they are pushing a fair investigation into these matters away with both hands.
Note, if you are an atheist and you read my blog and you’ve seen a William Lane Craig debate, then I don’t mean you. At least you were open-minded to some degree. But I’ll tell you right now, that’s only about 10% of the atheists I know. Atheists usually don’t know because they don’t want to know. That doesn’t mean I don’t love you, it just means you’re not being fair with your investigation of these matters and I’m going to call you out.
By the way, Jim and Amy Spiegel operate a blog called Wisdom and Folly. It looks good.