No, I haven’t rejected God
You know the phenomenon I call Satan’s Fork, where people find ways of discrediting anyone who’s left a religion? Well, there’s another version which is similar, but used in slightly different circumstances.
“If you’re an atheist, you must never have read the Bible”
I have, all of it
“Then you must not have read it with an open mind”
I did, completely
“Then you must not have understood it”
I did, in minute detail
“Then you must not have accepted it”
I did, in full
“Then you must not have lived it”
I did, for my whole life
“Then you’ve rejected God, and you’re doomed for all eternity”
I’m getting pretty sick of this. Work through a series of attempts to discredit and reject your conclusion, and if you pass all these, your “reward” is to be told that you’re wilfully denying the plain facts. I even had someone telling me the other day that there’s no such thing as an honest atheist! (I’ll ignore the whole eternal damnation thing here, but it’s kind of cute that anyone thinks it might have any persuasive force to someone who’s been there, done that, and still rejects that whole belief)
What this crude rhetoric misses is that fact that atheists take a balanced decision based on the evidence. There are probably some who haven’t considered the matter in any great depth, but by definition, atheists can’t reject God because they don’t believe He exists. I’m provisionally prepared to accept the possibility of extraterrestrial life, but I don’t expect any alien contact in my lifetime, or within any timeframe short of epochal dimensions. That isn’t a rejection of ET, just my honest (and possibly inaccurate) opinion.
Nor does that mean I have anything against the little green men. If the evidence changes, or if they turn up one day and turn out (against all the odds) to be friendly, and not homicidal Mars Attacks-style lunatics, I’ll be as delighted as anyone else. More so, probably. But right here, right now, my assessment of the evidence is that this is very unlikely to happen.
It’s painfully tempting to turn this line of reasoning around, and tell apologists like this that they’re either badly misinformed, to the point of wilful ignorance, or being deliberately dishonest to make a claim like this. But I think it’s better to take the moral high ground. People can honestly disagree without being morally inferior in some way, and they can also reach false conclusions about other people without deliberate distortion.
Anyone who thinks I’ve deliberately rejected God is simply wrong. I know what I’m talking about, and my conclusion is both honest and, in its way, unwanted. My personal experience is sufficient to disprove the claim, and there are plenty more who could say the same. To continue to repeat those claims even after being corrected is only going to make their apologetics look not just weak and inaccurate, but incredibly rude.