As a Christian Apologist its difficult to understand at times what makes the Atheist tick. Over the years I’ve come to understand some basics of how atheism works in people. I was an atheist while I was growing up, my mom was a strong atheist and would have nothing to do with religion or religious people. I learned from the outset that religion was to be mocked and relegated to unproved and unsubstantiated claims. It seemed God was an idea not thought-through. I had many questions for the theist growing up, but I never met one where I could articulate my questions and expect any kind of reasonable answer. My distance from religious people was not one that I created or even my mom, I just never grew up around religious people that would share their faith or question me about mine.
Atheism must grow to survive
Of course not everyone shares that estrangement from religious people, others grew up in homes that were Christian or Catholic and they always had doubts about God and the bible. For a while they acquiesced to their parents and Christian friends at church but those nagging questions and uncertainty sat powerfully upon the throne of intellect. After a while atheism for them was the adolescent quintessential rebellion, it struck at everything around them and formed a world of isolation. This isolation is the pairing up of what was in their hearts and what they were now experiencing by going against the tide of Christian upbringing. It takes strength to swim against the norm, atheism in the heart could not be just a simple ‘uncertainty’ it must have greater horsepower in order to survive the Christian assumptions of God, the authority of the bible, the morals of the Christian and the meta-narratives of creation, Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and many other Christian teachings.
What is the Void?
What the young atheist needs is a way to find freedom from all constraints in order to garner all the horsepower one can from a belief that describes itself as unbelief. Enter the Void. This is a mental construct that is placed upon the throne of the heart to reign supreme. What is it? Negatively it is a rejection of all moral constraint, all religious authority, all personal bonds with any ideology that attempts to bind their conscience to a code of ethics or morality that impinges their free expression. Positively it is the personal construction of a mindset that unbinds itself from genuine logic or reasoning that pushes them back into religion or ideologies they have renounced. Here in the Void logic need not be true logic, reasoning need not be coherent, irrationalism is never exposed to the light of actual logic. The Void is a suppressed conscience validated by the emotional state protected by the intellect.
Atheism must reject sound reason
There is a lot of work that goes into maintaining the supreme power of the Void when the intellect is assaulted by sound reason and valid logic every day. In order to maintain the Void, the atheist must become a spin-master. When I say he must, that is an understatement, he absolutely under no circumstances can permit the entry of valid reasoning or logical argument that questions the authority of the Void and its right to hold such a sway in his/her life. In short, as amazing as this seems, the atheist which glories in proclaiming himself the logician and sits in judgment over vast multitudes as reasoner-extraordinaire, cannot allow the entry of valid argument and logical conclusions move him/her from abandoning the Void.
The atheist it seems identifies him/herself with the Void to such an extent all information is sifted through the grid of “Void-protection”…kinda like a virus protection program for a computer where every program is checked and every file scrutinized to protect the internal information from corruption.
This is where the work must begin, in order to keep up the pretense of Atheism-is-logical, the atheist must engage in the dangerous occupation of listening too and articulating a logical argument and display valid reasoning. The problem of course is not seen immediately. You find many atheists who argue very persuasively and many people reading or listening to them find their logic and reasoning sound, verifiable and coherent. But, using the evolution analogy the micro-evolution or adaptation equivalent to minor atheist claims eg. gods have been found false, religions oppressive and superstitions harmful, are valid claims. But atheism itself wants the whole enchilada, it wants to validate itself with a jump to macro-evolution which is equivalent to saying those smaller generalizations inductively prove atheism as an ‘unbelief’ is founded upon science, logic and evidences which cannot be denied. However, when the Christian goes beyond the first defense of intellectual battles and recognizes their defeat is actual even though they claim-in-chains they have won; the emotional battle begins. Now all bets are off; logic, reason and evidence serve no purpose for the atheist. It must be understood the Christian is under strict rules not to break the laws of logic, but that does not apply to the atheist, nor will he permit it to apply to him/her. A double standard is paramount in atheist conversations where emotion is the attacker.
Protect the Void by all means
The atheist is nuanced, he/she has a Void that is purely their own and has no authority outside of itself. This is partly why we read of so many atheists that will not align with any other atheist to protect the Void. The atheist own personal intellect is the sole guard and has been entrusted with that duty. Atheists band together for the peripherals eg. evolution, gay rights, leftist agendas. These activities are the first defense, albeit the weakest. The intellect of the atheist can agree with other atheist intellect to form a common alliance for the purpose of protecting the Void within each of them. This is where the Christian often meets with the front-lines of atheism, when anti-theist claims are made, the Christian fights against those claims, or when evolution is promoted the Christian resists with anti-evolutionary counter-claim. But, again the Void is never actually questioned at all. The atheist can talk all day long and invent myriads of assertions and claims that contain no substantive argument or evidence. The atheist may join ranks with another atheist on an intellectual level for the sole purpose of attacking the Christian and yet personally hold no other commonality than the defense of their own personal Void.
The Void has its reasons
Remember the Void itself is the engine that powers all of the arguments and produces the desire to reject anything that endangers the Void. Remember also that the Void is not a logical choice, its an emotional action who’s sole purpose is to suppress the internal knowledge of God, truth, logic and anything else that disrupts the emotional state and draws the mind into conclusions it cannot accept. At the base of many atheist arguments you hear this. My mom died…God should have; I was alone, afraid and victimized…God could have; I am unloved, unwanted, rejected…where is God? These difficult scenarios are encountered by us all, but some at their darkest hour wanted to believe, but their hopes were crushed and with that there arose an anger that ‘rejected God back’ for what happened to them. After years, these scenarios have been overlaid with intellectual argument that compares to the strata of the Grand Canyon. This is only one type of person that chose the Void, there are others. The point here is not to psychoanalyze the atheist, its to recognize the chosen Void that set them free ( in their opinion) to live how they want is completely self-serving. It seems the real purpose of the Void is for self-preservation and atheism is one aspect or avenue the mind can use to deal with reality. If any atheist is reading this right now and says “religion does all of these things too”. That would be true, the difference of course is humanly devised religion invents a god while rejecting the true God. The invented god is one that is tame, one that is predictable and always one that is accepting of their own personal proclivities. Its an opposite method using the same principles found in atheism. For this reason Christianity is opposed to false religions equally as much as atheism; they both deny the One True God and replace Him with alternative solutions.
Atheism and its intellectual arguments are smoke-screen
From the most advanced and intellectual Christian Apologist to the novice Christian believer, they both know that atheism and false religions are suppressors of the truth which permit the person who is suppressing the knowledge of God to have emotional stability while he endeavors to please himself however he wills.
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Rom 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Rom 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
It is the experience of every Christian who debates or engages in conversations with Atheists or Agnostics that suppression of the truth is the very heart of the Void. What other group of people declare how wise they are in logic, reason and science than the atheist? I know of none. What other group of people see without perceiving refuse to give thanks to God nor acknowledge him or his creative power than the atheist? What other people are to be so pitied and so lamented as the atheist? Who among men in our culture are so backwards in their thinking, so illogical and so irrational as the atheist? I can think of no other people group that pretend to so high of intellectual and rational thinking but internally they are in a chaotic world, lost and scared. Oh the smoke screens are up, the actors are on stage, the masks are on and the directors are guiding the cast. But the play must come to an end and the actors eventually remove the masks step off the stage and join the audience.
The gospel is the power of God unto Salvation
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
This is Paul’s words to the Romans before he commenced to illustrate the downfall of pagan men. The best Christian apologist cannot remove the Void, we cannot nullify irrational arguments with rationality. We cannot introduce enough logic to persuade the illogical man/woman that its ok to abandon their need for self-preservation. In short, they would die first…and that my dear Christian is the genuine call of discipleship and biblical salvation. It is recognizing that until we all come to grips with dying to self that God will lavish His love upon us and pour out grace after grace and bring faith and hope and love into empty lives.
Eph 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
Eph 2:2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
Eph 2:3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
Eph 2:6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Eph 2:7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Eph 2:11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—
Eph 2:12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
For a remarkable and first rate explanation of Atheism please visit this blog where I took the term ‘Void’ and used it to clarify my own understanding of atheism.