I usually try to keep the squabbles with atheists on Atheist Watch. I quote atheists from the CARM atheist board a lot on AW. This is an exception, not becuase it's a chance to take a swipe at an atheist, but becuase it's such a prime example of self brain washing and affords an opportunity to broach a topic I've been wanting to talk about for some time. That topic is the inner life and the rationalizations we put up to keep God at arms length. The atheist foil is a poster on CARM atheist board called "1337."
This essay is excluding the reality of atheists and skeptics and non theists have genuine intellectual questions about God's existence. There's a whole other group that is rationailzing a bias against even consider God's reality.
There are often times when people fall away from their faith and are faced with the task of informing their religious parents about their loss of faith. There's an interesting reaction that takes place here.
The blame for why they lost their faith usually goes to one of 3 different things.
1) The parents wonder why they didn't do a better job
2) The one that lost their faith must not have been doing devotions or praying regularly (or just weren't putting in enough effort)
3) The devil has a foot hold in the person's life
For me, this is evidence that god doesn't exist and I'll explain why.
For him this is evidence that God doesn't exist! Here's another desperate charter who is just itching to get God out of the way. He's actually going to try and stick God with the blame for his own bad judgement and silly reasoning. So we know right away this is a rationalization and there's something wrong in the inner life. He made the decision to give up God or to either renounce belief or to admit he didn't have it. Many atheists are told that one can't choose a belief, I think that's utter rubbish. One caters to one's own biases always.
The reason is because the blame is misplaced. The real question should be, why isn't anyone asking what god failed to do to keep this person faithful? Why is it that the almighty creator of the universe who can keep track of the minds of 6.5 billion people and can perform miracles and influence reality couldn't make himself real enough for someone to believe?So he decides he doesn't believe, shuts off the influences of those who do, hangs out on websites of those who don't. Listens to the propaganda of third rate thinkers and those with an ax to grind, fiercely fights the urge to accept God arguments and come up with rationalizations like this every time he hears a reason to believe in God, but it's God fault for not forcing him to accept the truth.
He says "make himself real enough for someone to believe." God is real enough for me to believe. How real does something have to be before you believe it? What he really means is make it so obvious and so overwhelming that he can't resist it. They want to be conquered. This is well known because many times on boards I've seen them argue "why didn't God make me a robot?" I've seen them say "I would rather be a robot than have to risk being wrong about God existing." This is exactly the reason Pascal invented his wager. It's not a proof but tie breaker. Its' a decision making paradigm. They can' hear it without mocking and ridiculing it as a bad proof. They don't want a decision making paradigm they want to be forced. If God wont force them then they are angry and refuse to listen.
But I've developed a theory about why God doesn't make himself more obvious. That is my soterioloigcal drama. Please read that carefully becuase I think it really explains. In a nut shell, God created us to so that free moral agents could willingly choose the good. That's important because we can't internalize the values of the good unless we search for the truth. So the search must remain inviolable that's why God can't go around making demonstrations that render his existence too obvious to doubt.
The fact that it's God's way and not their, it requires effort that outrages them. You can see the difference between the rationalizes and the real thinkers who have a legitimate skepticism because the latter don't rationalize their own choices and try to use them as proof of the veracity of the choice. This guy is literally saying "I must have made the right choice because I made it." He's trying to turn the fact of his unbelief into a proof of the veracity of it.
It would be like if a child stopped believing in santa, nobody blames santa because there is no santa doing things to keep the kids faith alive. The parents may think "We could have done a better job explaining santa to keep his faith alive longer" which is recognition that there is no santa that can play a part in the kids faith. Likewise, there is no god that can play a part in people's faith so we blame people. If we don't want to blame people and aren't really interested in the reasons for the rejection of god, we may just blame the devil because that's the easy out for parents, it's not their fault or god's fault, it's the devil.Of course he's leaving out certain obvious aspects:
(1) The people making such excuses are rationalizing too, they covering for their loved one. they could be saying "It's our kids fault because he's an idiot." or "I knew that kid was no good the first time he pooped in his diapers"
(2) Of cousre he's over looking the fact that 92% of American society and 90% of the world believe in some form of God. So they find the reasons satisfactory and the proof level adequate. So apparently God does enough to keep 92% happy but this guy must be in the hard cases.
(3) I highly suspect that like many atheist he doesn't really want evidence of God's existence. Like one said the other day on the same board in teh same discussion "I didn't read the evidence you posted because it's too long." So not only do they want God to give them indisputable proof but it has to be 25 words or less. It's has to be convenient for their busy schedules. That guy had a lot more mocking and ridiculing to do that day and didn't have time to read the proof about how wrong he was.
TL;DR - Nobody blames god for not trying hard enough to make himself known, which implies he doesn't exist. This is really just a version of the Divine Hiddenness problem.Or that you hate God for making you the person you hate most and you are not willing to listen to reason. Now that's not to say that all who decide the evidence doesn't move them are just rationing. Yet people who try to turn their decision into proof that they made the right decision are clearly rationalizing.
Please read my essay on why God doesn't make himself more obvious. This is another case of not letting God be God. Belief is not a matter of being overwhelmed by the obvious it's an inner life. The search is in the heart and if one is not willing to confront the heart one misses the search. To rationalize one's own choices as proof of their own validity is a short cut that is designed to doge the problematic nature of the search, but in so doing it also negates the possibly of insight that leads to belief. We can't circumvent the search by dodging the necessity of inner life, confrontation with our own self imposed demons and the necessity of the deicision to reject doubt. that's all part of the process one must pass through on the way to faith.