Recently we had 28 people from an atheist group visit our church, then I went to their atheist meeting. One of the guys has written a first draft of a book about atheism. He was trying to get other members of his group to read it and give him feedback, but they weren’t, so I offered to do it. He is intelligent and makes some valid points in his book, including some complaints against Christians. I thought it might be interesting to share a few things he wrote, along with my feedback to him. Here’s one:
He writes about the need for atheists to find “your own personal Divine, or what it is that gives you a sense of transcendence” and how difficult it is. Then he writes, “Ultimately, we have to do the same thing with our choice of “The Divine” as scientists have to do with the choice of a paradigm: choose on whatever grounds feel right, and embrace that choice on faith. It seems to me that we can have those fulfilling, numinous experiences in any of three ways: through living with a purpose, through our affiliations, or directly.”
But why is this even necessary? It seems silly. Like a kid who discovers there’s no Santa Claus trying to figure out how to construct an experience of Santa Claus. If there is no God, and life is an accident, then just deal with it. Nihilism may not be fun, but at least it’s honest and consistent. What you’re proposing doesn’t seem honest or consistent. It sounds like someone who is trying way too hard to deny God and His imprint on his life.
He goes on to ask, “But what of the claimed transcendental importance of religious groups in particular? What replaces the sense of affiliation with God? Fortunately, that’s not so hard to replace either…”
But, again, what inside of you needs to replace God? I don’t have a need to replace the tooth fairy.
This chapter is interesting. But, honestly, it seems like you’re grasping at straws. Feels like you can’t live with the obvious ramifications of your belief – that our lives evolved from a random accident. And so, able to deny God but unable to deny His “imprint” on your life (the need for purpose, transcendence, relationship, love, etc.) you are trying to justify it, and reconstruct a life with God, just without God. I mean no disrespect, but it all just seems extremely inconsistent.