Causes of Atheism
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

  Dear Friends and Readers,

  I have neither died nor quit writing.  Maybe worse, I have made a move.  If you have ever moved you know what I mean.  It is all consuming and very tiring.  But I am back, my computers are once again operational, and I have a backlog of ideas and inspirations I want to share with you.  So tune in and expect to hear more from me.

"Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities -- His eternal power and divine nature.  So they have no excuse for not knowing God."  (Rom. 1:20)

              Atheism has been developing a real head of steam in recent years.  Popular best sellers have been written defending the “non-belief” system and the rebuttals have been sparse in comparison.  It gives me cause to worry as our youth hear less and less of the gospel which enables their lives and saves their souls.  But atheism has also caused me to wonder.  In light of Scripture’s clear admonitions about the existence of God, the overwhelming witness of nature as to His existence, and the basic human need to seek God, I wonder, how could atheism be given such traction in the world.  I received some insight from reading a lecture given to the Truth Forum and if you have the same questions, maybe some of these concerns and questions, the may be of some help to you as well.                I have written much about what I call practical atheism.  By that I mean that the preponderance of Christians profess a belief in God, but behave as if He does not exist.  We see that in the moral discourse and actions which permeate the Christian culture.  However, atheists are practicalin their unbelief as well.  So there is a practical side of atheism.  These are people who choose a non-God lifestyle because of pleasures, money, or commitment.  Simply put, a person chooses to not believe in God because they want to indulge in the pleasures of their liking and not be accountable for such endeavor.  They don’t want to give up money, either in form of financial commitment to a church or lost income by living according to a Christian ethic.  And, they don’t want to commit their lives to a cause whose leader they cannot see.  They don’t want to be bothered by a Sunday of worship; involvement in life made meaningful through giving to others; or simply making study, prayer, and worship a priority in their lives.  Those things make many a college student a practical atheist.                But according to this lecture there are psychological reasons behind this.  One comes from Freud.  It is called the Oedipus Complex.  Now most know of this as a male characteristic that causes a boy to hate his father because he loves his mother.  And when the father directs a life away from following the practical atheism, he wants to murder his father – to have Mom to himself; and to eliminate rules.  Carry this forward to our relationship with God.  God in the minds of many is the stern Father who keeps us from doing what we want to do.   He is the authoritarian figure that stands between us and our pleasures.  He punishes wrong and rewards good behavior according to His own rules.  Therefore, atheists hate God and mask this hate by saying they do no believe.                Another psychological reason given for hating God again relates to the father figure.  People are atheists because of resentment of their fathers for ineptitude in fathering: deadbeat dads; abusive fathers; weak or complacent fathers; or philandering fathers.  This is born out in our prisons.  I read several years ago (Chuck Colson) that the one common denominator of 98% of male prisoners is that they hate their fathers.  And this hatred is attributable to the causes mentioned above.  And because the earthly father is so hated, the hatred is transferred to God.  The author of the lecture gives several case studies from Freud to Russell to Marx to demonstrate the basis of his thesis.                But notice in all this, science is not listed as a cause for atheism.  And the reason is, science is evolving as we learn and what was absolute truth only a decade before becomes comical today.  And science offers no repose for those seeking truth of life and the problems of evil.                  So how are we to respond to this growing phenomenon?  First in foremost, as in all things we are to respond in love.  Atheists are not to be hated, but to be pitied.  They are lost, and maybe if the psychological phenomenon listed above are true, not because of their own personal choices.  We can love them into a relationship with God; we can pray for them; and we can show them the grace that Jesus Christ has shown us.   The proof of the existence of God is in their court and we must not ever fear that evidence will be obtained which disproves our Creator.  He has made the universe, set in place laws that keep it running, and how demonstrated how love can conquer evil.  They live without excuse as Paul says, let’s not give them reason to belief we are foolish in our beliefs or mean in our understanding.

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