Recently I posted a question on reddit.com. I simply asked “What are your questions about God, or the existence of God?” Essentially, I believed this to be a rather harmless inquiry; however, I was surprised to see the anger communicated both to me and to the idea of God. My intention was not to spark a torrent of rage, but simply to get some good questions that people struggled with when it comes to a belief in a higher power. I received over 200 comments within 3 hours of posting this question, and although I did my best to “weather the storm” so to speak, my attempts proved futile. Amongst the fierce barrage of rather unhappy criticism, I was unable to begin a meaningful conversation. Even if there were a few that were genuinely interested in doing so, their voice was lost in a sea of displeasure. Although I understand that perhaps this website is not the best place to find strong intellectual advocates for atheism, it still inspired inquiry to the motivation behind the atheist’s mission. I find that amongst the atheist community there is great anger toward belief in God. Whether they have been hurt by the church or people whom they know to be Christian, or even hurt by what Christians stand for, clearly there is something more than just intellectual blockage involved. So then, what is the deal with Atheism, really?
I have had many conversations with atheists, and most of them are positive. They usually begin with thoughts and ideas from both perspectives. Obviously I attempt to explain why belief in God is reasonable, and they usually counter with an argument against; thus begins a healthy dialogue. I have typically enjoyed my conversations with those who disagree with the existence of God. Not because I like hearing why God doesn’t exist, but rather because it sharpens my ability to give an account for the hope that I have (paraphrasing 1 Peter 3:15). That all being said, there does sometimes come a point in the conversation where reason is no longer valued…or so it seems. Instead of friendly dialogue, there develops an accusative tone that suggests belief in God is idiotic. This is when arguments are no longer made but are replaced by sarcastic comments about invisible spaghetti monsters and cosmic Jewish zombies. I often cannot help but wonder, “what happened here?” All of a sudden the conversation turns hostile. Our once civil discussion meets its end and I begin searching for answers as to what went wrong. Although I cannot give an account for what was said that triggers such change, I can only speculate that there has to be more than meets the eye.
The media has also played an influential role in the uprising atheistic community. Although perhaps there is not much of a strong intellectual attack taking place, I often see shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons taking cracks at Christianity. These jests toward Christianity not only claim that it is untrue, but make it seem laughable to believe such things. Often I see Christianity represented by a particular character in the show that turns out to be some crazy fundamentalist that does something insane or says something bizarre. In a plea of guilt, I must say that I have even found myself laughing at these satirical scenes, however, soon realize that these scenes are created to point out the stupidity of religious belief; particularly Christianity. Therefore anyone putting any social value in shows like these could actually feel embarrassed to believe in God. As ridiculous as this may sound, people (especially teens) don’t necessarily care about what is true, they care about what their friends think; and according to these shows, their friends think it’s stupid.
So then what is it? Is Atheism overly emotional? Is there something beyond intellect that holds them back? Or are we as Christians just so wrong that getting passionate about it is a natural response? I guess if the latter is true, the question I would ask is, if they have such a solid “case-closed” argument for the non-existence of God, why hasn’t anyone heard it? Also, if it is so unreasonable to believe in God, why bother getting so passionate? In fact, why even bother engaging in a debate with anyone that is so clearly delusional? Perhaps it is because it isn’t so cut and dry as one may think. Perhaps it is because faith is actually reasonable!
So if you find yourself in the middle of a hostile situation, don’t become discouraged. Instead continue articulating the reasons you believe in a respectful and loving manner and trust that God can change hearts no matter how impossible it may seem!