Atheists are Delusional

The younger, the juicier!

I came across the website of some philosopher named James Spiegel, who has written a book called The Making of an Atheist. The opening paragraph on his web page caught my attention:

Sigmund Freud famously dismissed belief in God as a psychological projection caused by wishful thinking. Today many of the “new atheists”—including Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens—make a similar claim, insisting that believers are delusional. Faith is a kind of cognitive disease, according to them.

Too bad he threw that last phrase (“according to them”) in there. That tells us that this guy thinks there is actually something incorrect about the idea that theism is delusional.

Christian apologists, from Dinesh D’Souza to Ravi Zacharias, have been quick to respond to the new atheists, revealing holes in their arguments and showing why theistic belief, and the Christian worldview in particular, is reasonable.

Seriously? Dinesh D’Souza? Is that the strongest card in Spiegel’s book?

In fact, the evidence for God is overwhelming, confirming the Apostle Paul’s point in Romans 1 that the reality of God is “clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20, NIV).

In other words, just look around! How could all of this have come from nothing?

That is a problem isn’t it? It’s a good thing God just didn’t appear out of nothing, then, isn’t it?

So if the evidence for God is so plain to see, then why are there atheists?

The same reason there are still monkeys.

In other words, the premise of his question is wrong (Have you stopped beating your wife yet, Mr. Spiegel?).

That is the question that prompted The Making of an Atheist.

I can think of a question to prompt my next book: The Making of a Wife Beater. If you want to know who it is about, you’ll have to buy my book.

The answer I propose turns the tables on the new atheists, as I show that unbelief is a psychological projection, a cognitive disorder arising from willful resistance to the evidence for God. In short, it is atheists who are the delusional ones.

Yes. We are willfully resisting the evidence of non-evidence as evidence.

Unlike Dawkins and his ilk, I give an account as to how the delusion occurs, showing that atheistic rejection of God is precipitated by immoral indulgences…

Haven’t you heard? The American Association of Immoral Indulgences is just like AARP. As soon as you become an atheist (or turn 50), you get a membership application in the mail.

…usually combined with some deep psychological disturbances…

Such as reading the Bible.

…such as a broken relationship with one’s father.

Wait. What?

This guy is basing his whole thesis on debunked Freudian fairy tales?

I also show how atheists suffer from what I call “paradigm-induced blindness,” as their worldview inhibits their ability to recognize the reality of God manifest in creation.

He’s right. You really have to be careful that your worldview doesn’t interfere with your ability to see evidence.

Anyway, since the new atheists are bold enough to trumpet their claim that theists are delusional, it seems appropriate that someone should be willing to propose that the opposite is true.

That would be completely appropriate, if someone could actually support such a claim.

27 Responses to “Atheists are Delusional”

  1. Shannon Says:

    I was already feeling cranky because an old man called me an idiot. This just made it worse.

  2. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Okay, I’ve got a few minutes. Let’s see…

    1) The book is published by Moody Publishers. The name derives from D.L. Moody, of Bible Institute fame, and not because they’re depressed.

    2) Spiegel is a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and the Society of Christian Philosophers.

    3) He teaches at a college with a Statement of Faith.

    4) His blog has an account of an atheist philosopher who had a conversion experience (kinda – and no, it wasn’t Anthony Flew).

    5) His wife homeschools their kids.

    6) He’s a Calvinist, but also a proponent of Conditional Immortality. That means we won’t suffer eternally; we’ll simply cease to exist:

    Cease.

    Ceasing.

    Ceased!

    I suppose we deserve it, though, ’cause of all that willful resistance and immoral indulgence.

    Yeah, this guy’s a philosopher like a fry cook is the chef at L’Escoffier.

    Can I move to Europe now?

  3. Syldoran Says:

    Welp. I got along just fine with both of my parents–in fact, it could be said that I have a healthier relationship with each of them than many, perhaps most, teenagers my age. So what’s my excuse for atheism?

    Wait, I must be psychologically disturbed because I’m not in the kitchen. D’oh.

  4. TB Tabby Says:

    The only claim sillier is Shockofgod’s “Santa Syndrome” nonsense.

  5. 4ndyman Says:

    Wait. In the first sentence, he brings up Freud’s pronouncements on God as delusion, and then later, he uses Freudian psychology to prove that atheists are the delusional ones? So which is it? Do we accept or deny Freudian psychology?

  6. Jeff Eyges Says:

    4ndyman, it works like this: Freud is right when we can use him to prove our point, and wrong when we can’t.

    See how easy?

  7. McMurphy Says:

    Gee… what a new and exciting explanation for atheism. I’ve never heard that one before. Atheism is caused by bad relationships, immoral indulgences. Wow.

    This isn’t a response to the new atheists. This is the type of shit they’ve been slinging for an age.

    It’s just taking some horse burgers, slapping them into the rough shape of a horse and trying to get it to run in the Derby.

  8. TheRealistMom/Spamamander Says:

    Wait, I sent Syldoran into the kitchen earlier to unload the dishwasher. Shouldn’t she be fulfilled in some womanly way and eager to hear the word of Bob or something? Or has my Evil Atheism™ corrupted her completely?

  9. Pete Moulton Says:

    Believing in an invisible sky-daddy = non-delusional

    Observing the world, and seeking rational, testable explanations = delusional

    WTF? I may need to get his book, though. One of my tables needs leveling.

  10. Jeff Eyges Says:

    So where’s the conversion incentive for that?

    Eternal bliss. Although, without our eternal torment to capture their attention, I don’t what there will be to keep them occupied.

  11. Parrotlover77 Says:

    He’s a Calvinist, but also a proponent of Conditional Immortality. That means we won’t suffer eternally; we’ll simply cease to exist

    Wait. That’s basically what most atheists believe will happen to them anyway (personal metaphysiscal “spiritual” hypotheses notwithstanding) and they are okay with it. So where’s the conversion incentive for that?

    The brilliance of religion over the ages is that they are selling you a solution to a problem you didn’t know you had. Telling you that you are going to burn in hell and “HEY have I got a solution for you and it’s free, my friend!” is how it perpetuates. It won’t work if you start out with, “what you already believe and are okay with regarding death will actually happen to you, I agree, but I can sell you something that will make all your… hey wait, where are you going?”

  12. Taz Says:

    Great, an entire book based on the child’s argument “I know you are, but what am I?”

  13. Jeff Eyges Says:

    It’s only been out since Feb 1st, and, already, its attracting a following among fundies (including one of the Pyromaniacs).

    Anything that validates their beliefs. One of the dissenters contributed something I liked, however:

    Here’s a quote from him in “Christianity Today” : “There is a phenomenon that I call ‘paradigm-induced blindness,’ where a person’s false worldview prevents them from seeing truths which would otherwise be obvious.” This broke my irony meter.

    I SO don’t want to live in this country any more.

  14. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Turns out that quote is from Spiegel himself.

    This is why he’s teaching at a Christian college no one’s ever heard of. I have to think that at a Christian institution with even a reasonable commitment to scholarship, such as Calvin College, this guy would be viewed as a joke.

  15. Arizona Atheist Says:

    I just recently got this book and it’s horrible, though to be fair the guy is a good writer, just highly illogical. I actually asked him a few questions on his blog about his book but he hasn’t gotten back to me yet:

    1) http://wisdomandfollyblog.com/2009/10/23/darwins-ten-worst-nightmares/comment-page-1/#comment-873

    2) http://wisdomandfollyblog.com/2010/04/11/to-the-god-who-might-be-there/comment-page-1/#comment-859

    Based upon his horrendous post about evolution, this guy hasn’t got a clue. I also wrote another review of this book pointing out all the reasons his case hasn’t got a prayer.

  16. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Oh I’m sure great comedy will ensue if he ever replies! Keep us updated (not holding my breath).

  17. Arizona Atheist Says:

    Parrotlover77,

    I sure will. Still haven’t heard back yet…

  18. Johnie Says:

    Here is a list of things that science can explain but intelligent design cannot: the fossil record, biogeography, the existence of vestigial organs and pseudogenes, selection for genes within an organism, elements of poor or suboptimal design, and many other features of development. Here is what design can in principle explain and evolution cannot: any adaptation that could not possibly have evolved by natural selection. No such adaptations are known. Since 1973, more than 100,000 peer reviewed papers on neo-darwinian evolution have been published. Intelligent design is represented by just a single peer reviewed paper, and this is a generous statement since that paper has been refuted!

  19. Idajo Says:

    WHY ARE ATHEIST SO ANGRY? WHY? IS IT THE TRUTH THAT IS MAKING THEIR HEART SO ANGRY AT THE BELIEVER? HE BELIEVES YOU DON’T AND YOU’RE MAD THAT HE DOES…ATHEIST PLEASE EXAMINe YOUR ANGER…

  20. Ron Britton Says:

    Angry? I’m not the one who is yelling.

  21. Parrotlover77 Says:

    The believer believes that the atheist doesn’t believe and the atheist is mad that the believer believes that the atheist doesn’t believe?

    Okay. Good. Just had to double check.

  22. Syldoran Says:

    I read that as “ex-ah-mee-neh” because of the random little “e.”

  23. zool75 Says:

    ah yes im atheist so im angy. i love that one.
    get it into your head. we atheist arent angry.
    we are annoyed with you people. VERY VERY annoyed. if i say west a normal person hears west. a theists ear recives west, then goes trough the fairy land flying unicorn indoctrination processor and he percieves i say i hate god…
    what always baffles me is that how people with such disregard of using the ability to listen and read properly is staggering.
    you litteraly say one word and just at that very moment they can already changed the meaning of it completely out of context or even out of meaning of that word.
    but these are the same people that tell the bible speaks of a benevolent god. a book filled with more slaughter and abuse in his name then his kindness. in fact preachers have to revert to almost all the texts of what jesus supposed to have said to show something benevolent in gods will.
    jesus healed blindness. god smites 42 children by uhm summoning up two female bears to slaughter them.
    Jesus cures the sick. god kills all the firstborn to prove he is mighty. (just makign the moon flicker like a groovy discolight would have told that pharao who dances on top.
    these kinds of things make me annoyed and sometimes angry. when i ask them to explai nthat they eventually end with but thats what he wants so then it makes it right. along with the usual ‘god has a bigger plan for all of us’
    telling god made those children be born only to die in their hands of their mothers who breastfeed them. this makes it infinitely more petty and cruel then most psycotic people would be able to do. this is hitless henchmen evil. doctor Mengele evil. these people who by Christians or Muslims that say their god is kind see as the bottom of what is evil.
    god ordered a tribe to be butchered of all its adult men and women. then the boys. to top it off the boys got the reward of all the girls they were ordered to make babies with.
    and they don’t understand why we atheists are annoyed hearing nonsense about us being benign and disturbing people.

  24. jack Says:

    Jeff,
    I am homeschooled, and have been doubting theology since I was little. You should change that to “homeschooled for religious reasons”

    Syldoran,
    I too have one of the best relationships with my parents. Better than anyone I have ever met.

  25. Coty Says:

    To add to what Jack said, I was also home-schooled up until high school, yet theology was never taught, though evolution, big bang, and the rest of reality was. I’m lucky to have been raised by one of the few liberal home-schoolers.

  26. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Liberal and/or non-religious homeschooling? I thought such a thing was a myth!! Kudos to your parents. That’s a hell of an undertaking for which most people simply do not have the time or resources.

    Also, too…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3IkMFeE0nE

  27. gcam Says:

    I love the sarcastic theme this entry exposes.

    “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”
    -René Descartes