No, I haven’t rejected God

Revelation CloudYou 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.

AlienNor 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.

Images courtesy of VinnyPrime and spekulator, used with permission

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About Recovering Agnostic

I'm Christian by upbringing, agnostic by belief, cynical by temperament, broadly scientific in approach, and looking for answers. My main interest at the moment is in turning my current disengaged shrug into at least a working hypothesis.

7 responses to “No, I haven’t rejected God”

  1. chialphagirl says :

    “atheists can’t reject God because they don’t believe He exists”

    I agree with this statement philosophically however I have found that most of the arguments atheists make have to do with the way that they perceive the Christian God to behave: “God is petty, egotistical, violent, etc.” They bring up laws of the old testament, they bring up all kinds of things they don’t agree with but none of it is actually an argument against the existence of God but more that if he exists they don’t like him because of x,y,and z.

    I think Christians hear all of these arguments and that is where they get their idea that you are rejecting God instead of simply not believing in him. I think most atheists genuinely do not believe in any god but it is still a bit odd that they seem to spend a lot of time arguing about the behavior of a God they don’t believe in.

    • Recovering Agnostic says :

      How many would give that as their only reason, or even their main reason for not believing? It seems to me that it’s generally a response to Christians appealing to a particular image of God. It’s observing that despite the claims, the God of the Bible is far from the sweet, cuddly guy He gets portrayed as, even on Christianity’s own favoured evidence, seeing that Marcionism is officially heresy.

      • chialphagirl says :

        Most of them do not list it as the main reason. But given how often it is the main point of the argument, I could see how the general Christian population would assume what they do. Most Christians have not even ever really talked to an atheist, they just hear about Dawkins or see something on the internet.

    • Arkenaten says :

      @Chialphagirl

      ……it is still a bit odd that they seem to spend a lot of time arguing about the behavior of a God they don’t believe in.

      It is still a bit odd that Christians spend a lot of time indoctrinating children about the behaviour of their god, whose existence cannot be demonstrated in any way whatsoever. They also conveniently forget that this erroneous faith was spread around the world like an unwelcome STD ( a literal consequence in many countries, sadly) from behind the point of a sword .
      It is odd that Christians refuse to acknowledge archaeological evidence which clearly demonstrates the stories of Moses, the Sojourn in Egypt, the Exodus, and the conquest of Canaan are nothing but fiction. (See: Israel Finkelstein etc)
      Odder still, that they refuse to see the connection between a fictitious Jewish prophet, Moses, and the fact that their own Jewish prophet, Jesus, mentions him in the Gospel narrative.

      Blind faith and truth have always been uneasy bedfellows, yet Christianity has never shied away from being the whore in that bed if it meant ensuring its lies were spread.

      • chialphagirl says :

        You find it odd that Christians who believe in God teach their children to believe in God? Really?
        The Gospel also did not initially spread by force, nor is it spread by force today. You give a little too much credit to the crusades.
        How can there be archaeological evidence that something did NOT happen? There can be evidence that it did not happen in a certain way but there can not be “evidence” of an absence of a historical event.
        The Jewish culture as a whole accepts the existence of Moses, it’s not like Jesus was odd in accepting this as a Jew.

      • Arkenaten says :

        You find it odd that Christians who believe in God teach their children to believe in God?
        Considering there is no evidence, yes.

        The Gospel also did not initially spread by force, nor is it spread by force today. You give a little too much credit to the crusades.

        Smile…the naivety of the christians. How sweet.
        I was not solely referring to the Crusades,.
        Try Theodosius, first off.
        Christians butchered and slaughtered more of their own while stamping out ‘heresies’ first, and then during the ‘glorious’ age of discovery did they set out to infect the rest of the world.
        South America, South Pacific, Africa and of course what was done to the indigenous North American Plains Indians.

        How can there be archaeological evidence that something did NOT happen? There can be evidence that it did not happen in a certain way but there can not be “evidence” of an absence of a historical event.

        Smile…yes the old absence of evidence, right?
        You really need to educate yourself a little more. There is no evidence of any of the biblical story in Egypt or anywhere else.
        This has been known and acknowledged by the world’s leading archaeologists for decades.
        This post/ article has enough links to keep you busy for a while ..if you are interested in the truth, of course?
        http://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/well-this-is-a-little-embarrassing-isnt-it/

        The Jewish culture as a whole accepts the existence of Moses,

        Really? You are so sure of that are you? 🙂

        Moses did not exist therefore, Jesus citing him suggests he was unaware of the myth or he lied…
        or the biblical character was as substantial as Moses.

  2. raintreebranches says :

    This feels similar to the whole idea that following/believing in god or not is an exercise of our free will, it’s our choice.

    I find it difficult to see how it’s really a choice that is within our power; you don’t -choose- to believe if something is true or not. Your opinion about whether or not something is true depends on the information and experiences available to you, on how convincing they are to you. If what I read, learn and experience around me cannot convince me that a god exists, then there is no way I can ‘choose’ to believe in god, no matter how much I would like to do so.

Love it? Hate it? Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: