Proof That Atheists Believe in God

January 4, 2011 at 12:20 pm 18 comments

Angry man

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I haven’t known that many atheists, let alone been close to them. But the ones I have known, frankly, didn’t seem like true atheists to me. They still seemed to acknowledge God’s existence. They just seemed angry or bewildered at God. They spoke of God and their frustrations with Him and their perplexity at the dichotomy of a cruel world and a loving God. They spoke of their disappointment and disillusionment with the God of their childhood.

Finally I have “proof” that atheists actually believe in God. An article I read yesterday on CNN is about a study on college students that will be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Students of all religious backgrounds were studied, and they reported having felt anger toward God. Not towards fate. Not towards the deck of cards they were dealt. Not towards The Force. Not towards Xenu. Towards God.

I ask you, logically, how do you experience anger towards someone who doesn’t exist? Well, you don’t. The fact is that whether you choose to believe that God created man or that man created God, God does exist for you if He’s real enough for you to be angry with Him. And anyone can start there.


Entry filed under: Chrisitanity, Faith, Relationships, Social Commentary, Spirituality, Theology. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. NotAScientist  |  January 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    “I ask you, logically, how do you experience anger towards someone who doesn’t exist?”

    I don’t.

    I’d be interested in seeing all the details of the study. But they certainly didn’t ask me.

    • 2. gooseberrybush  |  January 4, 2011 at 11:42 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to post a comment. I appreciate your insight and opinion.

  • 3. kayisacute1  |  January 4, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I don’t believe in Atheist, simply because when the crap hits the cracker (like that one), one of the first things that folks (believers or non-believers) holler is Oh, God/Oh Lord/Jesus.

    As a kid I believed in both Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and had an Imaginary friend named Grin (A blog or therapy session for another day) as did most ppl. Who do you know that have ever been behind the 8 ball and shouted out any of those things.
    Have a very blessed day.

    • 4. Shamelessly Atheist  |  January 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      I don’t believe in Atheist, simply because when the crap hits the cracker (like that one), one of the first things that folks (believers or non-believers) holler is Oh, God/Oh Lord/Jesus.

      The very best I can say about this comment is “What a load of crap!” Seriously. This is an insipidly stupid thing to say and WRONG. Saying “Oh God!” when something happens is not an expression of belief. Perhaps we atheists should take that word right out of our vernacular lest people like you think we might believe in it? Maybe we should stop using the words “unicorn” and “leprachaun” as well? I way the word “Christmas” and celebrate it too in my own way, but there is essentially no evidence Jesus existed let alone born on December 25. Like “Christmas”, the exclamation “Oh God!” is a secularized expression of surprise, not an expression of belief. Sheesh.

    • 7. NotAScientist  |  January 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      “one of the first things that folks (believers or non-believers) holler is Oh, God/Oh Lord/Jesus.”

      Sorry, but this is fundamentally false.

      First of all, you can look up a group in the military called “Atheists in Foxholes”, which include members of the armed services who are out there protecting your and my freedoms without a belief in any god or gods.

      Secondly, what does calling out an expletive that has become common in our language matter? When you shout “Holy Cow!” does that make you a Hindu?

      Sorry, but that is a very silly argument.

  • 8. popsdumonde  |  January 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Some time ago, a friend saw a quote in a bar’s toilet stall. “God is dead! Nietzsche”. Someone wrote under it, “Nietzsche is dead. God”
    It must be sadly amusing to God that the creatures He gave free will to, deny His existence.
    He is real and through Jesus, we can know Him.
    Remember this “NotAScientist”, when you cross into the spirit realm. I’d love to see that meeting!
    All arguments are silly, as I’m sure my comments are to you.

    • 9. gooseberrybush  |  January 4, 2011 at 11:58 pm

      You know I don’t think you’re silly, Pops. NotAScientist is entitled to his viewpoint. I wish he would have expressed it a little more nicely, but we can’t have everything, and perhaps he experienced the original post as insulting. It wasn’t meant to be so, but it was meant to generate some controversy. And that it did.

      • 10. popsdumonde  |  January 5, 2011 at 12:56 am

        Thanks Gooseberrybush!
        I know some atheists and I can’t say I really care for their personalities. You’re right, as Christians we are to love them. I don’t care to judge anyone.
        I have tried God out in times past, testing to see if He is there,and/or interested in my pathetic life. He is.
        I know Christians who act as if there is no God and what He desires doesn’t apply to them. I personally think in that case an atheist is more honest and stands a better chance of having a “God experience”, than that Christian.
        I have been humbled in my “walk” and realize the only one I can do anything about is myself. Everyone has a different journey and they will either accept or reject what God has offered. So be it.

  • 11. Amanda  |  January 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm


    • 12. gooseberrybush  |  January 4, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      I purposely posted something controversial with the tag of atheism in the hopes that some atheists would come and give their opinions. Two of them were kind enough to do so, and I have published their responses. I knew that when I published this post it might even anger a few atheists, since atheism is a belief system that I might even go so far as to say is a “faith” of its own. Naturally, they are just as passionate about their beliefs as we are about ours. No one can prove or disprove the existence of God, and all God’s children have free will. None of us truly intellectually “knows” that God exists. We only have what we believe, and their beliefs are just as viable and valuable as ours and should be treated with respect. We have a lot to learn from atheists, just as we do from other world religions.

      As far as “converting” anyone goes, Jesus doesn’t need my help with that. I’m not going to be able to say one thing that will change either of these people’s minds, nor would I want to be disrespectful enough to try. What would Jesus do? He would love people. That’s what he’d do. And treating people with love will do a lot more towards making Christianity look good than any words I could type or ideas I could try to push down someone’s throat.

      Thank you for the reminder.

  • 13. casualhero  |  January 5, 2011 at 7:06 am

    I believe your argument, when broken down, is very simply summed up as follows:

    1. Anyone who is angry at some entity/agent must believe that it exists.
    2. Some atheists report being angry at god.
    C. Therefore these atheists believe in god.

    As a counterpoint, I offer that there is no contradiction with this proof:

    1. It is a common occurrence that human beings become emotionally engaged in fiction and fictitious events.
    2. Human beings do not usually believe for a moment that the characters in fiction exist.
    3. But they are nevertheless become happy, sad, angry, and many other emotional states in relation to those fictional characters.
    C. Therefore there is no contradiction between feeling an emotion toward a fictional character and knowing that it doesn’t exist.

    • 14. gooseberrybush  |  January 5, 2011 at 11:37 am

      Thank you. I would have to read the actual study rather than just the CNN article on the topic, but I don’t believe that we’re dealing with the same kind of anger that, say, you might feel towards a fictional character because while you are pretty angry at the grinch when he’s stealing Christmas on your TV screen you don’t tend to carry that anger around with you permanently, on a daily basis. The quality of the anger itself and its duration are very different from the kind of anger one feels toward God.

      The study also seems to be trying to link the health of its participants and their level of anger towards God. While we do feel anger for fictional characters it’s very rare for us to hold on to that anger for longer than we are watching a movie or TV show or reading a book. There are exceptions, of course, like the grandma shut-ins who become convinced that their soap opera villains are real people. But then the argument might be that all atheists who feel anger against God are therefore mentally unbalanced. Not so much.

      As I understand it, your argument is like equating the anger you might feel towards a past lover who did you wrong with the anger that you felt towards the villain in the last Spiderman movie. Hardly the same thing.

      • 15. casualhero  |  January 5, 2011 at 7:24 pm

        I am not sure what you mean by “kinds of anger”. It’s been my experience and observation, and my studying of psychology, that inclines me to think there is only one kind of anger felt to varying degrees. And if you mean that, for some, there is a pervasive nature to their anger, then I can certainly agree to what you call “kinds” of it.

        I don’t think this effects the second proof I gave, though. We must take into account that many, many atheists have had torturous experiences in their religion. Some have been told since childhood stories about the eternally burning fires of hell, and it’s precisely for this reason that someone may carry around anger towards a fictional character. One must not leave out some key elements: we are to assume you had been raised to worship that character, told it was real, and that it wanted to torture you forever, and perhaps occasionally reminded about there being a shot at heaven — essentially, and especially in this light, god is a thief in a dark alleyway pushing a gun to the child’s temple, who plays god with the child’s soul. Firing the gun throws the child into never ending flames, and not firing allows him into heaven, but the gun is held there nonstop and the situation is never resolved. It’s not a forgettable experience. But one who has never been there cannot say too much about it — as I have never been there, and I hope that you haven’t either (though to some extent, it’s the nature of the religion). If ever there were a justifiable hatred, though I don’t think there is, this would be it.

        We must also take into account the fact that although the atheists understand god is fictional, many people do not; they build churches, go worship him every weekend, and they evangelize in his name. They have a man they call the pope who claims to have a phone line to the character, and almost everything that comes from the pope is backwards: condoms are worse than aids and children being raped must never get an abortion. The fictional character is invoked almost constantly in the game of politics, and it seems half of the US cannot muster any self-doubt or self-criticism because they think their country takes a special liking to this fictional character. Our wars are blessed with god’s graces, say the politicians, and many don’t challenge those words. We add the toll of preventable deaths caused by the demonstrably false belief that prayer is equivalent to medicine. And these observations are true experiences for every atheist who has even the most basic idea of what is happening in the world. If one cannot imagine that it is a good cause of anger, one can only blame their own lack of imagination.

        That this situation parallels something like Spiderman is false; no one worships the Spiderman villain. But suppose he took the same place as god in the two paragraphs above, then there would be a similar situation. And there would be plenty of anger.

  • 16. gooseberrybush  |  January 6, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Well, I can see why you’d be angry with that god. Or maybe not you personally but many in the atheist world. For the record, I don’t like him, either. For one thing, he seems very preoccupied with punishment. He seems to definitely be Roman Catholic in only the negative aspects of that Church and none of the positive ones, and, worse yet, that God is a hypocrite and not much of a moral human being.

    Believe it or not, there are Christians and moderates of all religions who don’t worship the god you just described. If that’s who I thought god was, then I’d be an atheist right along with you. I’d be first in line, in fact.

    I frequently feel like the “born again” right wing conservative fundamentalist people who spout that claptrap have hijacked my God!! And they replaced God with this other guy that they call god. (For the record, although I use the personal pronoun he, I don’t believe that God is a man or a woman).

    Thanks for subscribing to my blog and for commenting. I hope we will be able to continue a meaningful dialogue. You have important things to say.

    • 17. popsdumonde  |  January 6, 2011 at 7:44 pm

      No one can hijack God. I wonder how many atheists have come to accept the gospel message on the strength of criticizing other Christians.

      We are an imperfect lot. I do not subscribe to what seems to be a current trend of encouraging us to love the sinner, while hating Christians who don’t measure up to our expectations. If Christians misrepresent God and His message, I believe He will correct them. Even Christians who sin are to be loved, we are to hate the sin, not the sinner.

      All these debates about what God is or isn’t, only directs and keep our focus on human constructs and on people themselves. God is waiting to present Himself to those who accept what He has provided for EVERYONE.

      I have no idea what God looks like. I believe he created man in His own image, both male and female. I believe he created hell for Lucifer and His followers. What I believe doesn’t really matter, what God provided is what matters, right standing with Him through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, for all who accept it.

      I know without a doubt that God is and I know without a doubt that He has forgiven me and given me eternal life. He has saved my mortal life many times, even when I did not want to have it saved. I believe God has given the idea of eternity to all humankind. He has given faith to everyone and deep down, the desire to be at peace with God.

      I believe we have free will that is strong enough to shut God out of our mind. Ultimately God wins, He will not continue to strive with our thick headedness and our hardened hearts. If I choose to, I can disobey and shut God out, right to the point of mortal death. I don’t want that. It’s much more rewarding to seek His will for my life and the power to carry that out, than resist.

      It’s like someone said to an atheist, you have absolutely nothing to lose by accepting salvation.

      • 18. gooseberrybush  |  January 7, 2011 at 12:16 am

        I have to admit that I am frustrated at what some Christians represent Christianity as being, and it’s not right that they do so. If we let them continue to send a message of hate and intolerance and don’t resist it, then we are guilty of letting them hijack our religion. No, no one can hijack God per se, but they can certainly misrepresent God. I’m not trying to judge those people’s sincerity or whether or not they are saved, but I am trying to send a message to those believers who feel disenfranchised and the people who won’t or can’t believe because they think that God is the god described by that guy’s comments. God doesn’t bless wars. I don’t think he relishes holding us over a pit of fire like a spider on the end of a web, Jonathan Edwards’ thoughts to the contrary. He doesn’t rejoice in priests or pastors taking advantage of parishioners sexually. He doesn’t approve of covering up the matter afterward, even if it is supposedly for the “good” of the church. I don’t think that God always disapproves of abortion in absolutely every circumstance; I think that he’s always saddened by abortion. But which is sadder? A woman dying because she was forced to carry a child who might not survive anyway? A ten year old girl who’s raped by her stepfather having to carry a baby to term and risking her life and emotional health? I don’t think that God means for gay people to forever be denied true physical and romantic love. If good people don’t speak up, then others will think that we are part of the problem and not part of the solution. They will think that all Christians feel the way that they see us portrayed in the media, and that frightens me.

        God’s given us all eternal life, and when we send the message that “they” are others, and we can’t understand them, we’re ultimately sending them the message that we (and by inference, our God) don’t ultimately care about them. We ALL have doubts occasionally. Usually, I’m secure in my convictions. But I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t admit that I had, over my lifetime, questioned my convictions. Even Mother Teresa questioned the existence of God. I’m sure that atheists have, on occasion, questioned their own convictions about God. That’s natural. For anyone on either side of the fence to not have doubts would be a sign of a lack of intelligence. And I don’t think either side lacks intelligence.

        I’m not shutting out God, and if anyone comes here and wants to dialogue, then ultimately he’s saying that he has an open mind, and that he’s interested in listening and sharing. I think that’s a good thing. I don’t feel that my faith is threatened by dialogue. I’m sharing what I really and truly think and feel about God in an open and honest way. I’m not claiming to be SuperChristian or saying that I have the only pathway to God. I’m just describing my journey with God.

        Also, I have to say that I’m not sure that I believe in the existence of hell in the physical and literal sense that some believers do. I believe, rather, that hell is an eternity without God. Maybe it is fire and damnation and Satan cracking the whip. I don’t know. The point is that none of us does. We can read the Bible, yes, but the Bible is truly complicated and has to be read for more than its surface message and taken in historical context and judged with church tradition and its meanings looked at through the prism of the literary genre being used. People much smarter than me know more about it, and even they don’t agree.

        The biggest thing that we have to be concerned with as believers is this: loving one another (by that I mean all humankind) and being in relationship with God. I love my fellow Christians, even the right wing fundamentalist kind. I love atheists, too. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with them. We can debate the everything but love until the world comes to an end, but it won’t make one whit of difference to God. He won’t be asking us whether or not we believe in hell and, if so, what we think it’s like. I don’t think there will be 20 questions in heaven. I think we’ll be judged by our hearts and not our minds.

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