Are atheists angry at God? Part 1
I was watching a youtube video by Gary Habermas who is a popular Christian apologist. In that video, he claims that atheists become atheists because of emotional reasons and not intellectual ones. In short, atheists are angry at God on some level. Something bad must have happened and therefore that person is blaming God for some desired outcome that didn’t come to pass. Now in my case this is partially correct. Something did in fact happen to me and if it didn’t cause me to lose my faith, it would be strongly correlated with it.
I wasn’t ready to read the atrocities in the bible when wanting to enter into ministry. My notion of God was very naive and I suspect most people’s notion of God are equally naive. After all, I did learn my idea of God from various priests and preachers who went to seminary and “knew” a lot more about God than me. I asked lots of questions and got many different answers that were curiously dependent on the flavor of Christianity. For me God is/was very much an emotional thing. I learned roughly that if one doesn’t have the correct set of beliefs and perform certain actions, one goes to hell. To a child who doesn’t know any better, this is pretty frightening. One also learns that one’s emotional state is an indicator of one’s relationship with God. It becomes a kind of emotional Ouija game in which one plays with their conscience.
But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.
What does it mean if one is no longer comforted? Has the Holy Spirit abandoned the person? Did the person sin against the Holy Spirit?
As you can already see, the ground is set for OCD.
Decision-making is, in some way, emotional. Otherwise we wouldn’t have conviction or confidence in the arguments and experiences one is presented. We couldn’t say an argument is compelling if we didn’t feel, on some level, that the argument makes sense. Where Gary Habermas gets it wrong in what he is states is that if a decision is emotional therefore reason has nothing to do with it which is what he seems to imply.
At some point I had to evaluate the evidence given to me. I have to use my senses to evaluate said info and make inferences. In many ways, different mental illnesses can highlight an underlying assumption we take for granted. People with auditory or visual hallucinations undercuts the notion that our senses are always or absolutely reliable (which we take for granted).
People with OCD suffer from persistent doubt. It isn’t called the doubting disease for nothing. The next time you brush your teeth or wash your hands, be aware of when you have determined the event has completed. This is the part, we with OCD, lack. Without the ability to determine something is complete or unharmful, we will tend to repeat an action or ruminate until the cycle (I mean this in the sense of a brain protocol) is complete (and the sense of completion is based on emotions for many actions). It’s like not having the “Pop-Up Turkey Timer” of the brain. Or not being able to get off of a roller-coaster because the guard won’t go up.
I was “angry” at God, and the people who indoctrinated me, for a time (during my deconversion), but I realized that I simply do not know if God exists and I especially lean toward the Abrahamic faiths being untrue (the logic part of my brain), but the lizard part of my brain is fearful of being wrong which impairs my ability to make decisions and discard this as brain noise. The turkey timer popped for me, regarding religion, when I realized I was engaging in double-think and cognitive dissonance. Everything I was taught had to be questioned and for the first time I started to feel relief from OCD. Realizing that no thought is “unthinkable” helped me to understand and compartmentalize less (a form of exposure, I suppose, since I resisted thinking about faith issues in any critical way). Nonetheless I still do suffer from religiously themed OCD. From time to time OCD can still intrude on my life despite my efforts.
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