Why do atheists lie to themselves?
I made the tweet below as a kind of joke. I liked the contrast between the words “fallen” and “risen”. In reply I got a tweet from the account of “Inspired Walk“, a Christian apologetics site which contained a link to a video entitled “Why do atheists lie to themselves?”. I have commented on their stuff before and found it to be thoroughly unconvincing.
— The Crusty Sceptic (@CSceptical) August 27, 2017
So let’s have a look at “Why do atheists lie to themselves?” and then see if there’s anything to it, shall we?
Watched it? Okay, then let’s take it apart. As you’ve just seen, the video begins with introducing us to the concept of Intelligent Design or “ID” for short. So right off the bat, we’ve left the land of reason and entered the realm of pseudoscience. Intelligent design is nothing but creationism in a lab coat, making claims about the natural world yet unhindered by such trivialities as facts and the scientific method. It’s been debunked many times and even lost in court. I’ve also examined if there is any evidence for creationism here and was forced to conclude there is none.
There are at least three fundamental flaws with the argument of things being created, presented here in the video:
- There’s no way to prove that the Christian God is the God who created everything
That means that the best you can do is arrive at some form of deism, not theism. There may or may not be a god who created everything but there’s no way you can take that claim and arrive at the God of the Bible.
- Not one designer
All the examples mentioned, like the aeroplane and the robotic hand, don’t have a designer. They have multiple designers. In the case of an aircraft there are dozens if not hundreds of separate designers, working in different places, designing different parts of the aeroplane. Following the logic of the video, birds wouldn’t be designed by one designer, there should be many. Not exactly proof of the Christian God, is it?
- We know these were designed
Any intelligent person will readily admit that computers and aeroplanes are designed because we know it was us, humans, who designed these things. If in doubt, you can visit the very places where people design things. For living, breathing organisms, things are not so simple. We simply have never seen them designed. So how do you prove they are?
None of these things are evidence that a god exists, much less are they evidence of the specific God of the Bible. I could go on dismantling this introduction, but let’s look at the meat of the video, shall we?
Why do atheists lie to themselves?
- Atheists may experience cognitive dissonance
I had to laugh when I heard this argument, to be honest. It’s kind of rich when a Christian accuses atheists of cognitive dissonance. The video defines cognitive dissonance as “a mental conflict which occurs when current beliefs are contradicted by new information”, which is more or less accurate.
Unfortunately, to make his point, the presenter has to completely misrepresent atheism. He makes the claim that “atheists believe that nothing made everything” which is completely wrong. Atheism, as I’ve explained many times before (here for instance), is not a position of belief, it’s the exact opposite. It’s a position of disbelief in god or gods. Nothing more, nothing less. Atheists don’t hold a belief as described so mentioning your God doesn’t cause cognitive dissonance. All it causes is a wish to have your God-claim backed up by evidence.
- Atheists love the pleasures of sin
An utter cow-pat of an argument. The concept of sin is a religious concept, something which an atheist doesn’t subscribe to. While your God may have given you rules to follow (or rather, the scribes who wrote the various books of the Bible), they don’t apply to people who don’t believe in your God. For instance, a Muslim may accuse you of “loving the pleasures of sin” if you eat pork. Different religion, different rules. So how do you know you’ve picked the right one?
Atheists don’t deny that there are morally good and morally bad actions. However, these have little to do with sin. They have much more to do with objective well-being and suffering, not with what a certain group of religious people deem good or bad.
Admitting the concept of sin would mean I am morally accountable for my actions? I don’t need to admit to the concept of sin to be morally accountable because I already am. Unlike Christians, I don’t believe that someone else dying on my behalf can take away my moral responsibility. So which of us is more moral?
- Atheists suppress God in their life
The argument here goes as follows: why do atheists oppose God when you don’t believe in him? We don’t! We don’t oppose God because we don’t believe in God. Do you oppose the Easter Bunny? What many atheists do oppose is the effects of irrational beliefs on the minds of our fellow human being. We oppose the denial of science and reality in favour of an imaginary deity. We oppose the discrimination of our fellow human beings based on religious motives.
How can a person deny the existence of God in the face of such evidence? What evidence? There is no evidence, only religious texts of dubious origin and speculation by apologists. Quoting from the Bible is meaningless because the Bible isn’t the evidence of your belief, it is what you believe.
Most atheists have considered the existence of God, probably for longer and harder than most Christians. Most atheists have read the Bible better than most Christians. The only difference is that we didn’t just look in one book, didn’t just listen to the same sources. We have looked at other sources and seen that there is no rational basis for believing in any god, not just the God of the Bible.
The video “Why do atheists lie to themselves?” by Inspired Walk is actually one of the least convincing, least impressive and least inspired pieces of Christian apologetics I have seen in a long time. The video completely misrepresents atheism, evolution and morality to make a series of points that are laughably easy to defeat. I am not an atheist because I lie to myself or because I love to sin. I am an atheist because the teachings of Christianity are utterly unconvincing. This video has only strengthened that conclusion.