Why People Do Not Believe in God

I was talking with some individuals not long ago and we were talking about why people choose to not believe in God. In my experience, I have found three common answers to that question:

1.Intellectual pride.I don’t want to believe in God. If I believe in Him, then this implies that I owe my existence to Him and that I am responsible to Someone.

2.Moral freedom.Aldus Huxley, author of Brave New Worldand other humanistic, atheistic books, has shared (observation by Feldhahn, The Veritas Conflict, 252). “It’s not as if I have all these great intellectual arguments for not believing in God or all these reasons why Christianity is wrong; I just want to have sex with my girlfriend.”

3.Personal hurt. God didn’t come through for me. He has let me down. Life has been a hoax. Where was God back when I was 13 or 6? Why didn’t God hold my family together? Why did He allow that idiot to do what he did to me? How could God not do something? I’ve served you faithfully and reached many for you and you can’t help me now?

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25 Comments

Filed under Atheism, Free Will, God, Uncategorized

25 responses to “Why People Do Not Believe in God

  1. Sorry, but I don’t hold to any of those.

    My reason is the lack of evidence for any god or gods.

  2. Check out my post “I have never met a true atheist or agnostic…”

    https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/i-have-never-met-a-true-atheist-or-agnostic/
    Would you be willing to share with me how you have disproved God or exhausted the search of knowing God?

  3. Sure. I’ve disproved/exhausted the search for god in the same way that I’ve disproved/exhausted the search for leprechauns and dragons.

    Is it absolute? Of course not. But I don’t hold to absolutes.

    All atheism is is the lack of a belief in a god. “A”- meaning without and “theism”- meaning the belief in god.

    When there’s no evidence for something, I don’t believe it.

    That goes for psychic powers, unicorns, magic crystals, homeopathy and god.

    I can’t absolutely disprove a god, nor do I feel the need to. One need not disprove things that have no good evidence supporting them.

    If you still think I should, however, then I would ask you to disprove fairies. When you do so, then I’ll worry about disproving god.

  4. Are you sure you don’t hold to absolutes? Your statement “I don’t hold to absolutes” is itself an absolute. We can’t live with the consequences of a world with no absolutes. North, South, East, West. Those are directional absolutes. They don’t change. There are also moral absolutes. if someone decides that its not right to pay you for your work, you will find that you believe in absolutes right away. Futhermore, a ‘no-absolute’ view is not liveable. Just as there are laws of gravity, there are moral laws that govern our world. When they are violated, there are consequences. It’s a world no one would want to live in.

    Regarding fairies, there’s obviously a whole lot more evidence for the existence of God than for fairies. How would you explain the evidence of intelligent design? Our cosmos points to a designer, not random chance, or fairy tale hype. There is plenty of evidence for an Intelligent Designer behind all that we see.

    While there’s more that i will post on this later, check out this post for starters if you care to…

    https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/a-first-cause-intelligent-design-and-sacred-romance

  5. You might have a point – there are probably many people who identify as atheists for those reasons. However, you left out a very important reason, probably because it isn’t condescending to atheists.

    4. Intellectual Integrity
    In modern times God is carefully conceived in such a manner as to lead to predictions that are utterly unfalsifiable; a universe with such a God in it would be entirely indistinguishable from a universe with no God. To suggest the existence of an entity as gigantic as God on the basis of no objective evidence whatsoever is utterly absurd. My moral values will not permit me to delude myself into accepting – or dishonestly professing to accept – any proposition that I find to be absurd.

  6. Thanks for the 4th point. Will continue to ponder it. I do believe however that there is ample evidence to prove the existence of a Someone, an Intelligent Designer, behind all that we see and experience. Contrary to the absurd, one can discover in an honest intellectual search, many reasons why a belief in a Supreme Being, a Someone, is perfectly rational and within the scope of solid scholarship.

    For non-academic devotional thoughts on this…
    (https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/a-first-cause-intelligent-design-and-sacred-romance).

    As commented earlier in another reply, we can conclude from all that we see that it can be explained in one of 3 ways: naturalistic causes, accidental causes, or intelligent design. intelligent design I would argue is the best explanation; and upon closer investigation, the Intelligent Designer, is none other than the God talked about in the Bible.

    A theist is simply one who believes in God based on the evidence (the fingerprints) available. It’s not a blind faith; it’s a faith based on the evidence that we do have.

    A related topic – Why doesn’t this Intelligent Designer give us more evidence of his/her existence? Will post a response to that later.

  7. I do believe however that there is ample evidence to prove the existence of a Someone, an Intelligent Designer, behind all that we see and experience.

    Heh. I guess I’ll have to stand in polite disagreement with you on that one. Either we’re looking at totally different sets of evidence, or we’re processing that evidence in totally different ways. If it is the former, then the question is: Which set of evidence is the more representative of true reality? And if it is the latter, the question is: Which mode of critical analysis is the superior?

    As commented earlier in another reply, we can conclude from all that we see that it can be explained in one of 3 ways: naturalistic causes, accidental causes, or intelligent design. intelligent design.

    Notot exactly true. There’s also unknown causes to consider. It could always be the case that the true underlying nature of reality is something we’ve never even conceived of yet – or, worse, could be so alien to human mental faculty that we cannot conceive of it.

    I know that this one is really nitpicking, but it’s nitpicking for an important reason – even if we should decide that both random causes and naturalistic causes were ultimately unsatisfactory, that doesn’t mean that theistic causes can be automatically be presumed to be correct – it still has to be shown that theistic causes are correct in order to justifiably dismiss the possibility of unknown causes.

    A theist is simply one who believes in God based on the evidence (the fingerprints) available. It’s not a blind faith; it’s a faith based on the evidence that we do have.

    So it seems like we both agree that blind faith isn’t good enough. Yay consensus!

    That said, there is still another question to consider. Evidence alone is only half the battle. Evidence on its own is kinda useless. That evidence has to be analysed critically and investigated before we can draw an informed conclusion from them.

    Consider that we are presented with a mushroom ring in the forest. This is an empirical observation, and hence counts as evidence. We two could each interpret this evidence in different ways.

    I might observe that these mushrooms are shaped like barstools. Stools are the shape that they are because they designed by humans to be sat on. Therefore I could conclude that these mushrooms must be the shape that they are because they too were designed to be sat on! But they are too small for a human to sit on, so maybe some small form of intelligent humanoid – say, a fairy or a gremlin. This hypothesis, I would argue, is supported by the mutually reinforcing evidence that the mushrooms are arranged in a perfect circle. Perfect circles are too improbable in nature to be the result of random causes, and since I cannot understand how nature could allow for such a phenomenon, I could reasonably conclude that my initial hypothesis of a something like a fairy. Maybe you point out that I can’t be sure that it was a fairy or a humanoid, so instead I reform my argument in terms of Diminuitive Humanoid Theory.

    You, on the other hand, might decided that these mushrooms are all fungii, and they are nearly identical with one another. You might know a thing or two about the scientific research about fungii – for example, that fungii often reproduce deep underground, sending out tendrils that only pierce the surface of the earth in order to form the mushroom heads that distribute the spores that allow the fungus to reproduce. Given the similar appearance of these mushrooms and their circular appearance, you conclude that there is probably a stem deep in the earth that has radiated tendrils outward at a constant rate, all of which broke the surface at the same time and causing the illusion that they had been arranged in a circle with the illusion of intent.

    Let’s go even further. Let’s say you use your theory to make a falsifying prediction – that, if we dig into the earth beneath the mushrooms, we will find a series of tendrils leading down to a central point. We dig, and find exactly that.

    You might get a bit chuffed about this, thinking you’d shown that these mushrooms really were just mushrooms after all and that I’d been a bit silly for even suggesting fairies – no, wait, ‘Diminuitive Humanoid Theory’ – in the first place.

    Oh no you don’t! I would counter. You can’t really be sure that the mushrooms weren’t planted as footstools, and that their roots then traveled down through the earth to the central point!

    That’s silly, you would counter. We can see perfectly well how the mushrooms grew to be in the improbable shape of a circle. Why go around talking about fairies? It’s just silly!

    Ah, I would say, smiling with sage wisdom and tolerance. No, my child. It is not silly. In fact, it is very revealing you said that – it shows that really you are closed minded. If you would just set aside your a priori assumption that fairies do not exist, then you would see that I have truly drawn this conclusion from the availible evidence, so surely it is valid.

    When the heck did a priori assumptions come into the conversation? you could justifiably ask. Weren’t we just discussing how the mushrooms got there? Look, we can see that they just grew that way!

    No we didn’t. We can’t actually see them growing under the earth. It’s hidden from us because we can’t see through dirt. So really, your idea that they grew that way is just a theory.

    But my theory is supported by the scientific research on how fungii grow, you would object. No scientist thinks fairies really exist.

    Ah yes, I would say, a note of sadness on my voice. Those poor scientists are all so closed minded about the existence of fairies. I pity them for it.

    Now, possibly a bit frustrated, you might ask me: If there really are fairies, why don’t we see them around the place? No little footprints? No little houses or shoes. Heck, even just actually seeing a fairy would be nice. How do you claim to know they exist when you only have such flimsy, circumstantial evidence to support that idea?

    Simple! I would reply. Folklorists always talk about the hiddeness of fairies, how fairies are there, but yet they seem shy to intervene or show themselves directly to us. But they have given us clues we can follow, some of which are breathtaking – beautiful flowers, mushroom rings, the general beauty of nature that only exists because the fairies attend to the wild forests like a garden, that sort of thing. The fairies have given us just enough evidence so that those who want to appreciate them can do so. Those who want to reject fairies can do that as well. Think about it. It’s the only way a relationship with fairies could not be forced. If they were here in visible form, sitting on mushrooms or arranging flowers right in front of us, would anybody choose to ignore them? Fairies give everyone the room to either choose or reject. They’re hidden fairies. But yet what the Folk tales so clearly teach is that they remain active in their “hiddenness.” They are working a plan in the arrangement of nature. And their first objective is to woo and win our hearts, to have us enjoy and respect the fruits of nature. The problem is not that the fairies have not shown themselves; it’s that we haven’t paid attention to their works. We’ve suppressed the truth and yet still they leave their fingerprints all over nature for us to find.

    And somehow, I doubt you would find that convincing. Why would they want to hide themselves from us? You might ask.

    I already said, I would tell you. So that we could reject their existence if we wanted. They’re very compassionate creatures, that way.

    But why would we want to reject them?

    You clearly seem to want to do so – after all, it’s you that’s arguing that they don’t exist, I would point out. Look into your heart and tell me why you really choose to close your mind to the possibility that fairies exist.. Maybe it’s just your intellectual pride – you don’t want to think that anything else out there looking after nature, because then you would have to acknowledge that you owe your existence to them. Or maybe it’s because you enjoy the moral freedom to do whatever you want to nature without a second thought about the poor fairies. Or maybe you’ve suffered some kind of personal hurt in nature – say, thorns – and you don’t see how fairies could let something like thorns grow, despite the fact that thorns are part of the essential and vibrant beauty of roses.

    No, you would say. I really just think the whole idea of fairies is absurd. I can’t accept it.

    But look at all the the evidence! I would say. Of course, by ‘evidence’ I really just mean ‘fingerprints’, but still! See the mushroom ring? It’s a perfrect circle! It must have been finely tuned!

    … and so on and so forth. Damn. That story was waaaaay too easy to write.

    The basic problem I’m trying to illustrate is that contradictory conclusions cannot be equally valid. Either the evidence is too ambiguous to be useful to either conclusion, or one (or both) of the parties involved is engaging in a deeply flawed chain of reasoning.

    It isn’t stressed enough that evidence is the necessary but not sufficient condition for us to draw informed conclusions. You need good critical thinking, too. It is my critical analysis of all the availible evidence I have seen that has led me to to realize that the conclusion that God exists is as absurd as the conclusion of the fairies. The hiddeness thing just doesn’t cut it.

  8. You have done a great job of pulling together so many things previously spoken (posted), weaving it all into a thoroughly enjoyable narrative, that I personally enjoyed reading. I love how your mind works! But don’t miss the obvious.

    We are living on a “visited planet.” This cannot be denied. It’s as if “it” knew we were coming – it is “just right.” See my post:

    https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/10/08/a-just-right-world-created-by-a-someone

    Francis Bacon asserted that “A little bit of science takes a man far from God. But a lot of science brings him back.” Why? Because the evidence for design is overpowering.

    “True science discovers God behind every door.” Behind the door of biology, chemistry, embryology, anthropology, cosmology, you’ll find God. The earth in perfect orbit around the sun – close enough to sustain life but far enough away to keep from burning up. Sculpted mountains. The earth’s crust carved into breathtaking canyons. Fish that glow in the blackest depth of the sea. The meticulously spun web of a gray spider. Molecules, atoms, electrons. The growth of a child in the womb. Birth. Pick your field of study – chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physiology, physical therapy, meteorology, education, business – and you’ll find God there, overseeing some great principle or embedding some great pattern or design into what He has made.

    Chance? No way. Folktale? Are you kidding me?

    Let’s not patronize with this nonsense about fairies. Don’t miss the obvious.

  9. Nope. Sorry. Evidence-for-fine-tuning-via-improababilty doesn’t cut it either.

    If organic molecules (ubiquitous throughout the universe) were going to make it past abiogenesis and into evolution, then of course they could only do so on a planet that would permit it to happen. Logically, it would have to do so, because it couldn’t happen anywhere else.

    Are such planets rare? It’s hard to tell – the error bars on the Drake Equation are too large for us to make any kind of useful prediction. So, let’s pull a Dembski and just make a number up. Let’s just say that it’s one in a trillion – 1×10^12

    There are 400 Billion stars in our galaxy alone – 400×10^9 = 4×10^11.

    Now, we cannot possibly know the upper limit of the number of galaxies in the universe. But it’s a general catchall that there’s a good chance that there is at least as many galaxies in the universe as there is stars in our galaxy. So that’s (4×10^11)^2 = 16×10^22 = 1.6×10^23.

    So even if the odds against a system of planets that could support life was just one in a trillion (a number which I, like Dembski, have just invented out of thin air) isn’t all that meaningful:

    1.6×10^23 / 1×10^12 = 1.6×10^11

    So even if the odds against a solar system like ours is one in a trillion, we can very easily expect that there should be at least 160 billion such worlds in the universe. This is all shaky math, of course. We don’t know the real upper limit on the number of galaxies, and we can’t know the true average size of each galaxy, and the estimate of 400 billion stars in the Milky Way could be off, and there’s absolutely no basis for placing any figure at all on the improbability of the configuration of our solar system – etc, etc, etc. However, the fact that such a calculation is the natural result of the numbers involved on the scale of the universe is inevitable.

    Chance? No way.

    Au contraire: Welcome to a universe of large numbers. With enough chances, even odds of one in a trillion can be expected to come up positive billions of times.

    And all the evidence of evolution – and there are mountains of mutually reinforcing evidence from multiple, independent lines of inquiry in support of evolution – shows that the reason our environment suits us so perfectly is because we have evolved to suit it, and not because it was designed to suit us.

    In fact, there’s plenty of examples of bad design throughout the universe. I certainly wouldn’t have made childbirth near-fatal and blindingly painful for women. Neither would I have piped the male urinary tract straight through the prostate gland. Our spines are imperfectly aligned for a bipedal animal. The light-receptive cells in our retinas are aligned the wrong way – light has to pass through blood and tissue to activate them, and this strips quite a lot of precision out of our perceptual system.

    And then there’s the really sick and twisted stuff that nature throws up. The good guys don’t always win. Wasps are sadistic monsters, as are lancet flukes. Even the humble fly is a being of some not inconsiderable malice. What then it’s designer, if such a designer exists?

    If we can imagine such a man, that is the man that could invent the fly, and send him out on his mission and furnish him his orders: “Depart into the uttermost corners of the earth, and diligently do your appointed work. Persecute the sick child; settle upon its eyes, its face, its hands, and gnaw and pester and sting; worry and fret and madden the worn and tired mother who watches by the child, and who humbly prays for mercy and relief with the pathetic faith of the deceived and the unteachable. Settle upon the soldier’s festering wounds in field and hospital and drive him frantic while he also prays, and betweentimes curses, with none to listen but you, Fly, who get all the petting and all the protection, without even praying for it. Harry and persecute the forlorn and forsaken wretch who is perishing of the plague, and in his terror and despair praying; bite, sting, feed upon his ulcers, dabble your feet in his rotten blood, gum them thick with plague-germs – feet cunningly designed and perfected for this function ages ago in the beginning – carry this freight to a hundred tables, among the just and the unjust. the high and the low, and walk over the food and gaum it with filth and death. Visit all; allow no man peace till he get it in the grave; visit and afflict the hard-worked and unoffending horse, mule, ox, ass, pester the patient cow, and all the kindly animals that labor without fair reward here and perish without hope of it hereafter; spare no creature, wild or tame; but wheresoever you find one, make his life a misery, treat him as the innocent deserve; and so please Me and increase My glory Who made the fly.

    — Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Thoughts of God

    Such cruelty is inconsistent with a loving designer, but precisely compatible with the impersonal disinterest of blind nature.

    What next?

    True science discovers God behind every door.

    Actually, no it doesn’t. True science is impotent to discover God, because no matter what result you get from any possible experiment, that result will always be consistent with the hypothesis that an omnipotent being arranged things that way. Science only works by disproving enough of the little jigsaw pieces that we can start to work out what the rest of the puzzle must look like. The modern, popular concept of God is couched in such banal sophistic psycho-babble (theology) that it cannot be falsified by science (unfortunately). Because of this, science can’t shed any light on the subject whatsoever.

    So no. True science most emphatically does not find God behind every door. It can’t. It is utterly impotent to do so, and for good reason.

    God was only ever redefined as an unfalsifiable being because science can narrow down the range of possible Gods. Any God that has been conceived of in such a way as to be falsifiable has been pretty thoroughly falsified. For instance, we now know that lightning doesn’t strike the earth because a large bearded man in the clouds is throwing a hammer against the ground. There are many such examples of falsifiable, falsified Gods. I’m quietly confident that the overwhelming majority of falsifiable Gods have been thoroughly and convincingly falsified. The only concept of God that is respected today (by the intelligent) are the ones that are left over. The unfalsifiable ones. This is a telling point.

    In contrast, evidence falsifying atheism could be very easy to procure if God really did exist. Let’s say that the statistics showed that all Christians everywhere, and Catholics in particular, recovered from illness and disease more quickly and with fewer complications than any other faith group. Furthermore, let’s say this result was true irrespective of ethnicity, nation of residence, income levels, education, or any other social signifier. Even better, lets say that the beneficial ‘Christian Effect’ took place from the moment of conversion to the worship of Christ – a person’s first Reconciliation, say.

    There would be no possible naturalistic explanation for such a result; as such, a supernatural explanation would be required, and naturalistic atheism would be falsified.

    However, the fact that the real result is that there is no such detectable statistical effect does nothing to disprove God in the least. God could have just done it that way on purpose. God is under no duress to play favorites with anyone, so no matter the results of such a study, He cannot be falsified. Which is good, because none of the studies done actually back His existence up.

    The ‘Christian Effect’ is just one of the many ways in which naturalistic atheism could be falsified. As of yet, no such result has occurred. If it did, I would happily change my mind on the spot. All I require is real evidence, not hollow rhetoric.

    So to summarize my second point: True science cannot find God behind every door, because the modern concept of God is unfalsifiable. Naturalistic atheism is falsifiable, and as of yet it has not been invalidated by strong evidence. It is also notable that all the ancient and falsifiable deities have been falsified to pretty much everyone’s satisfaction, and only the unfalsifiable ones are left. I find the combination of these three points to be particularly telling.

    This is taking too long. I’ll try to keep things brief from here on in:

    The earth in perfect orbit around the sun – close enough to sustain life but far enough away to keep from burning up.

    Universe of large numbers – had to happen eventually, probably billions of times.

    Sculpted mountains.

    Movement of tectonic plates. We actually get more monumental mountains on other planets like Venus and Mars due to asteroid strikes that that don’t get nearly as much weathering as the surface of the earth does.

    … breathtaking canyons.

    Erosion over time. Yes, they’re breathtaking. No, that doesn’t imply that they were sculpted with intent. Just flowing water and time.

    Fish that glow in the blackest depth of the sea.

    Evolution again, sorry. Deep sea creatures use bioluminescence for everything from mating to hunting to fighting. Once again – beautiful, shaped by evolution, but no indication of intelligent intent required.

    … spun web of a gray spider.

    Didn’t actually know about the evolution of spiders and spider’s webs until now. Thanks for that.

    Molecules, atoms, electrons

    Now you’re reaching. Go ahead. Lool as hard as you want. You just don’t find ‘God did it’ in the mathematical models used chemistry and physics. They don’t require that hypothesis.

    And before you try it, no, the laws of physics do not imply a law-maker. Possibly they imply that number is logically anterior to matter, but if we want to get into that kind of pointless abstract philosophy we can just point out that you can bootstrap number from the void and be done with it. Still no proof for an invisible sky wizard there.

    Pick your field of study – chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physiology, physical therapy, meteorology, education, business – and you’ll find God there, overseeing some great principle or embedding some great pattern or design into what He has made.

    Utterly wrong. Look closely and with courage, and you’ll find the words of Democritus laced throughout reality, quitetly staring back at you:

    By convention sweet and by convention bitter, By convention hot, by convention cold, by convention colour: but in reality, atoms and void.

    — Democritus

    All things happen by virtue of necessity. Not purpose. Purpose only exists in the minds of man and, recently, our thinking machines. That is precisely what makes man so precious. The universe is vast and majestic and hauntingly beautiful, but it is cold. It was not until the advent of life and humanity that the universe acquired a basis for softness and warmth and compassion to impose themselves on the universe.

    Delegating that kind of responsibility to an imaginary bronze-age alpha male in the sky is nothing short of criminal negligence.

    Folktale? Are you kidding me?

    I kid you not.

    The documents in the bible were compiled long after the events they claim to describe. The documents selected at the time of the Council of Nicaea for inclusion in orthodoxy were sampled based on what tales of Christ were the most popular, and then got whittled down based on compromise and vote. It’s exactly as if a set of urban legends had been allowed to flourish, then all the interested parties got together to piece together an approved version of the legend. This is precisely how folk tales are formed. Well, almost. People throughout history have hardly ever been tortured and killed as heretics for disagreeing with an approved version of a folk tale.

    In fact, ‘folk tale’ would really be a step up for the myths of Christianity.

    Oh, and lest not forget how many of those myths were borrowed from other cultures. The way the early Christians invented Lucifer to discredit Hellenistic take on Prometheus is particularly telling.

    Folk tales? Oh yes!

    Let’s not insult the intellect with this nonsense about fine-tuning. Don’t miss the obvious: You only resort to that kind of nonsense precisely because you have no real evidence to speak of.

  10. You have provided many points of discussion. It is fascinating to me to see your mind at work. Thank you for your lengthy reply. My temptation is to tease out some points of response and challenge.

    Obviously, you are working from a set of assumptions (a worldview), and the data is going to be filtered through that. If you assert that contrary to the evidence of what we do know, that God does not exist, then your worldview will reflect this. Since the Bible is a questionable document in your view, I argue from a different standpoint.

    Here’s how I would like to respond. I’m not going to try to convince you of God’s existence. Why? Because you already know that God exists (but it may have been repressed). And you know it in the following three ways:

    Conscience. He’s written it into our world and into your conscience and self-awareness. There’s a voice inside the center of your soul that says it’s not morally right to push a little lady into the path of oncoming traffic, but to help her across the street instead (Romans 2:14-15 if you care to). If there is no God and everyone just evolved from animals, why would it be wrong to give her a shove? Biological machines don’t have conscience – made in the image of God people do. No one had to teach you this. You just know injustice when you see it; you’re self-aware and introspective.

    Desire. And there’s a voice inside that says I am designed for something more than just an overbuilt “banana-picker” (please excuse my phrase, but true to post-modern idealogy, it works for me) Over-built banana pickers don’t paint sunsets and capture the colors of an arboretum. The incandescent colors of sea life. The golden daybreak. The mountain vistas and glistening lakes. The human body with complex organs and eyeballs, and skin. The cellular information found in a single cell. Human beings who have personality and the capacity to recognize, write about, and photograph scenes of beauty argue against the Banana-Picker theories. Banana-Pickers don’t write stories about courage and hope and purpose and romance; all they need is grass and bananas. They don’t long for home and family. They don’t appreciate the arts and sciences. They don’t hunger for love and lose themselves in music. They just eat bananas. Someone gave you an ability to create, shape, and appreciate beauty and to long for purpose and home. We pay attention to what’s going on inside us. We seek to piece together all that happens into some larger picture of meaning. “Would it not be strange if a universe without purpose accidentally created humans who are so obsessed with purpose? (John Templeton)” All we needed was basic “banana-pickers” but what we have is Steven Spielberg, etc., etc.

    Nature. If you will listen to the inner voice and read the Book of Nature, God has already convinced you of his existence; what we see and feel is not mere chance. The science of common sense says that it couldn’t just have happened. Chance doesn’t adequately explain it. Laws don’t adequately explain it. Design does. And there’s a message of love embedded in the design.

    I share with you this story.

    John Powell, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago writes about a student named Tommy in his Theology of Faith class:

    Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the day I first saw Tommy. His hair hung six inches below his shoulders. It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long.

    Tommy turned out to be the “atheist in residence” in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father/God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was, for me at times, a serious pain in the back pew. When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a slightly cynical tone, “Do you think I’ll ever find God?” I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. “No!” I said very emphatically.

    “Oh,” he responded, “I thought that was the product you were pushing.”

    I let him get five steps from the classroom door, then called out, “Tommy! I don’t think you’ll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!”

    He shrugged a little and left my class and my life. Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was duly grateful. Then a sad report came. I heard Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted, and the long hair had all fallen out as
    a result of chemotherapy, but his eyes were bright, and his voice was firm.

    “Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often. I hear you are sick,” I blurted out.

    “Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It’s a matter of weeks.”

    “Can you talk about it, Tom?” I asked.

    “Sure, what would you like to know?” he replied.

    “What’s it like to be only twenty-four and dying?”

    “Well, it could be worse.”

    “Like what?”

    “Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life.”

    “But what I really came to see you about,” Tom said, “is something you said to me on the last day of class.” “I asked you if you thought I would ever find God, and you said, ‘No!’ which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But He will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time.

    “But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, that’s when I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging fists against the bronze doors of heaven, but God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that I didn’t really care about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that.

    “I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.’ So, I began with the hardest one, my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him.”

    “Dad.”

    “Yes, what?” he asked without lowering the newspaper.

    “Dad, I would like to talk with you.”

    “Well, talk.”

    “I mean . . . it’s really important.”

    The newspaper came down three slow inches. “What is it?”

    “Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that.”

    “The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me. We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me.”

    “It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry about one thing-that I had waited so long. Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.”

    “Then, one day, I turned around and God was there. He found me. You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him.”

    God will find you Ubiquitous Che – even after you stop looking for Him.

    I love how your mind works. Research and learning and investigation is what God created us to do. But learning fails if it isn’t connected to One who gives to us our life and existence. He will find You (and in reality); He has already found us down here on the “pale blue dot.” But that’s another post…

  11. Just to digress for a moment: I put both of our last posts into Wordle.

    Here’s your last post:

    Here’s mine:

    Not sure whether or not WordPress will let that render properly. Here’s hoping. I found it interesting. 😀

    Okay, back on topic:

    Obviously, you are working from a set of assumptions (a worldview), and the data is going to be filtered through that. If you assert that contrary to the evidence of what we do know, that God does not exist, then your worldview will reflect this. Since the Bible is a questionable document in your view, I argue from a different standpoint.

    Wonderful! A double-edged blade. I just love playing with knives that cut both ways. 😀

    Here’s how I would like to respond. I’m not going to try to convince you of God’s existence. Why? Because you already know that God exists (but it may have been repressed). And you know it in the following three ways…

    Then I’ll follow you in this, and stop trying to convince you of God’s nonexistence.

    You offered me a question in a story (how can you deny God). I’ll reciprocate your generosity with a story in a question:

    God and You are One or Two?

    Enjoy. 😀

  12. Am I missing something from the previous post? I don’t think it rendered… and I wouldn’t want to miss it ;o)

  13. Yeah, WordPress decided to strip the html out. It won’t let me insert images. I’ll try links:

    Post 10

    Post 11

    See Wordled Posts

  14. Pingback: Wordled Posts « Spiritual Questions Blog

  15. I wonder whom you are asking because none of those three answers are common among any of the atheists that I know – including myself.

  16. Well, it did not escape my attention that the three reasons you offered are all either emotional or otherwise nonrational. You did not even consider that an atheist might actually have a rational or intellectual reason for rejecting God’s existence. Maybe you do not even believe such a reason is possible.

    Nonetheless, I am simply not convinced by any of the evidence offered by believers for God’s existence. I am not saying that I know that no god exists or that I necessarily have reasons to believe that no god exists. I don’t find the evidence to be closely compelling enough to warrant my assent.

  17. Pingback: A Better Reason ‘Why People Do Not Believe in God’ | anatheist.net

  18. ME

    All god has to do is show up in front of me and show me he exists, then I won’t be an Athiest anymore.

    In fact, if God just scheduled a meeting with the president, and did a few magic tricks for us (turn the washington monument into solid gold), we’d all believe.

    Sadly, God is too lazy to let everyone know he exists.

  19. He’s already shown up and done far more than you’ve mentioned here.

    Sadly, we are too lazy to see it.

  20. He’s already shown up and done far more than you’ve mentioned here.

    Yeah! The mushrooms were clearly designed to be sat on!

    😛

  21. Ubiquitous Che…how are you!?! Glad you’re still engaged…I would not think otherwise… Loved our conversation some time ago!

  22. “Sadly, we are too lazy to see it.”

    Because there is nothing to see.

  23. altron2095

    I’ve got a deconversion story of my own, sort of a side-story to my general life stroy. But I’ll be expounding more on the points of my unbelief in later posts. If anyone cares to read-
    thedeathoflanguage.blogspot.com is my blog.

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